Saturday, March 04, 2006

How to promote on clubbing forums

It might seem easy to promote events on clubbing forums. Just sign up, stick an advert up and you are done.

It doesn't work like that.

Forums are cliquéy places in my experience, so unless you are a hardcore member with thousands of posts and loads of mates on the site you are setting yourself up for failure. At best you will be ignored. At worst you will be abused.

Using forums to promote is like going on a date. You don't try and get sex the first time you meet someone. You have to build a bit of a relationship first.

So instead try the following:

Start with the orginal members - The people who run the site are often the most influential, and they have editorial control. talk to them regularly. Meet them in real life if you can. Come up with stuff that would make their life easier: like offering interviews, features, galleries and generally being helpful.

Find the most influential people - Every forum has hardcore members with big reputations to keep. Just like the site owners, if you can build a genuine online (or even better offline) relationship with them, they will start recommending you. Where they lead others will follow.

Get the right people on your side and the word spreads like wildfire across forums and IM. It's a phenomenon called "the tipping point" and you can read the proof that it works in Malcom Gladwell's excellent book about how ideas spread:

Yep, it seems like hard work. It's not as easy as the "hit and hope" tactic of posting listings on 50 different forums. But it works.

Like dating, if you want to get your rocks off you have to buy dinner first!

What do you think?