There's one equation in comedy that will not change.
Number of comedians = LOTS. Number of spots available = NOT LOTS.
Not a scientific representation, but fact nonetheless.
Social media isn't going anywhere. Fact. Whether we agree with the premise or not, it is as (if not more) important than following the golden rule of comedy - be funny. The attention of audiences is shifting and bookers need to balance putting on the best show possible with putting butts in seats. It is what it is. Get with it, or get left behind.
When you do get lucky and a booker wants to know more about you, they will check you out online. The good news is, making sure you have a strong presence is easier than ever (and not particularly expensive). Here are five things bookers will look at (and five things you should be including in submissions to make it easier for them):
1. CLIPS: YouTube, Vimeo - whatever floats your boat. Your clips don't have to be studio production quality, but they DO need to be clear. If you need to film with your phone, that's perfectly acceptable, BUT... make it the best quality you can. Jump on Amazon and for a total of about $50, you can purchase a tripod and a small microphone that plugs into your phone. Set it everything up so the picture is clear and use the stabilizing feature when you upload it. Set the mic up close to a speaker. You could have the set of your life, but if you can't hear it, neither can the booker.
As a quick side note, bookers are watching clips constantly. Don't send them your hour and hope they land on your best joke 26 minutes in. Send a series of short clips, highlighting your best stuff. And while we're here, public or unlisted clips only. If you REALLY have to send private clips, remember to include passwords.
2. WEBSITE: It doesn't have to be fancy/interactive/virtual reality, but it does represent you and your brand, so be mindful of how it looks and what it says. At a minimum, you want some images and your bio, credits, your clips all in one place, show calendar and a contact page.
Using an online builder, such as Wix or Squarespace, is easier than you think and not particularly expensive ($10-$20 per month).
3. IMDb: Yes, you need one. A standard IMDb page is free. Include a nice headshot. More and more, bookers are requesting comedians TV credits. IMDb is the easiest place to lay everything out - even that bit part you had four years ago. Web content counts as long us it's in the database.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA: You don't have to be a huge presence on all of it. Pick a platform and go to town. We all cringe when we see that YouTube star has booked a headlining week (but they're not a comic!). It's not a fad. It's not going anywhere. Find where you feel most comfortable and where your audience is (how they like to engage with you). Coming to a booker with a strong Instagram/Twitter/Facebook following is helpful. If a booker can see you're active and your audience is engaged with you, you have an edge. You don't need to have millions of followers! 10,000-20,000 followers who love everything you do is way more valuable.
5. PROMOTION/MARKETING: I can't tell you how many bookers I've spoken to who, when faced with two comedians at a similar level, will book the comedian who puts the most effort in to promoting. I've seen amazing comics lose work because they don't "get" social media, or don't think it works. Simple things, like making nice flyers (free with Canva.com), using your social platforms to post about your shows, talk about your work or engage with the community - be active. Being active on social media leads to more followers, anyway, so don't be afraid to put yourself out there. It makes a difference!
All of the above contributes to your brand - how people see you. You are your own business and each of these platforms communicates you to the world.
If you would like any assistance, Comedia, Inc will provide a complimentary online check to the first ten comics to reach out via our contact page. Pop "Check Me Out Online" as the subject, provide a link to your website, IMDb and social media handles.
Even though all this digital crap is important, keep being funny - it's still rule number one.
Until then, subscribe to our newsletter, or give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for more marketing tips. We're new and we're looking forward to growing a community with you.