Are you a musician looking to increase your following? Want to know how to encourage people to attend your shows? Well, look no further. Texas-based musician, Rex Allen McNiel has some great tips to share.
Rex has been playing guitar all his life, and has been an active musician since 1973. He currently plays at different venues in San Antonio, Texas, and is a favorite among the locals.
How has he built his music career?
Through custom-made flyers!
We sat down with Rex to learn more about his flyer-making process and how adapts the same content for both online and offline platforms.
Hi, Rex! So, can you start by telling me about your music career?
I’ve been playing guitar and singing since I was eight years old, and I am now 66 years old. I’ve done this for a living my whole life. The first time I heard the Beatles play was the first time I was inspired to pick up a guitar, and I’ve been playing ever since.
I went on the road with a band for five years after graduating high school in 1973, and toured all over the United States and Canada. After coming back, I enlisted in the United States Air Force to further my education. Of course, I joined the United States Air Force band.
After that, I played lead guitar for a lot of other artists. I went in and played guitar for whoever needed a guitar player.
When I was 58, I finally started my own band and became the lead singer. Now, I play in venues all over Texas.
Are you currently working with a band or as a solo artist?
Both. I do solo acoustic shows. And I also have a band.
What type of gigs do you normally book?
We’re in South Texas, so I play at a lot of rodeos and nightclubs. I usually perform solo at restaurants. I also play at private parties for people from out of town.
At one point before COVID-19 hit I was doing four to six shows a week, so about 20 shows a month. Now that live events have started again, I’m trying to get back on track.
Set yourself apart from the competition
So what have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge is the intense amount of competition I have to face in this industry. It’s very challenging to get the contracts and gigs lined up on your calendar, and there’s always younger, better looking people coming along to take over.
To stand out and make a name for myself, I use modern promotional techniques like social media in ways that remain true to my brand. So if I create promotional content for social media, I make sure to match the theme and colors to my traditional brand image, which represents my Texas-based roots and Western music style.
Partner with your venues
So what is your main method of music promotion?
I do both online and offline promotion. My promotion tactics depend on the event and the venue. Some venues have a customer base that doesn’t really use social media. So I make flyers and take them there. Some venues have an active social media presence, so I create more social media graphics to promote those events. For this, I normally tag the venue in my posts so they can share them on their page as well.
I use PosterMyWall for a lot of my music promotion efforts. It has been instrumental in getting my name out there and making people notice me.
Focus on the social media platform that works best for you
What platforms do you use for online promotion?
I used TikTok and Twitter for a while, but most of my following is on Facebook, so I focus mostly on that.
I have an extremely loyal following of about 2,500 people. And PosterMyWall has helped me advertise to them really well. Posting regularly on Facebook about my events has also helped me expand the number of venues I play at. I now get calls from people from other states and even from overseas.
Create engaging, eye-catching graphics
What do you post on Facebook?
I make eye-catching visuals to catch people’s attention. Especially on Facebook. If people see just text on their timelines, they’ll probably keep scrolling, but if a pop of color catches their eye, they might just stop to see what it is. I try to make that happen by creating image and video-based flyers.
Compliment both your own logo and the venue’s logo
How do you make your event flyers represent your brand?
The first thing I do when creating a flyer is add my band logo. It’s a simple logo, but it has the outline of the state of Texas on it, which represents where I’m from and who I am as an artist. I think it’s very important for a logo to represent your brand well.
I also like to include the logo of the venue I’m performing at, so that they benefit from the publicity too. I also like to see if there’s any connection between the two logos, in terms of matching colors, similar themes etc. When I do spot matching elements, I base the entire flyer around those elements.
If the logos don’t have any similar elements, I’ll try to manipulate the design of the flyer in a way that compliments both logos. I’ll match my flyer design to the color scheme of one of the logos.
Match your font style to your brand image
I generally use a Western style font because it goes well with the overall theme of my flyers, as well as my logo. I’ll also add the right animations and design elements. Sometimes, I add bright colors to the background and other times I add a picture from one of my performances to liven up the flyer.
How do you distribute these flyers?
I mainly post them on Facebook, and tag the relevant venue so that they can share the post too. I also provide the venues with printouts that they either put up as displays or stack up where customers can easily spot and grab one as they leave.
I also have a web page, where I add information about all upcoming gigs. If people want to see me play or contact me for a gig, they can visit my site.
That’s great! I have one final question: what do you have planned for your future as a musician?
I want to keep performing until I can’t perform anymore. I’m getting older, but I’m still motivated to perform. I intend to ride it out and perform in venues in other states as well.
Thank you for joining us, Rex! We wish you the best of luck with your music career.
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