Online events listings can be a good way to way to reach new and bigger audiences, but you have to be willing to put in time, work, patience and a bit of creativity.
There are many options out there, and we'll outline the main types below. Also, before you venture deep into the web, did you know that you can list your events on the Making Music website?
Bachtrack, founded in 2008, calls itself ‘the largest classical event finder online’, and boasts 250,000 monthly visitors and listings of ‘12,000 upcoming events in classical concerts, opera and dance’. It will publish events organised anywhere in the UK (or abroad). Register for free and add your events, but keep in mind that you might need to wait up to 48 hours for your account to be activated.
Concert Diary is an interactive guide that specialises in listings for opera, ballet and classical music performances. It is the only one on this list that does not allow free listings, but it does have the advantage of getting its listings displayed on the Classical Music Magazine and BBC Music Magazine websites.
TimeOut publishes city guides for several UK cities, but its events listings are limited to London. They’ve decided to stop accepting listings by email, and now they just choose their events from the ones provided by the Press Association.
There are smaller websites that you can find via Google. For example, I looked up ‘events listings Birmingham’ and found LIVEBrum, which seems to be a very independent but well-put-together operation. How do you know one of these websites is worth it? You can always check how much traffic the site gets, but a good indicator is how big and how varied are the listings that they are currently displaying.
Want to find other websites? Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes and do a Google search for concerts in your specific area. You should consider targeting some of the websites you get in the results.
You might also want to check some local forum sites. For example, this one about East Dulwich, has a category for local events.
Another option to keep in mind, though it isn't proper listings, are local groups on Facebook. Find the time to make a list of the ones relevant to your area and post a link to your event or website. The great thing about social media is that if users find the event interesting, they might share your post with all their contacts.
The Press Association compiles a list of upcoming events in the UK, for publication by The Guardian, The Times, Time Out, Visit London, Visit Birmingham and the hundreds of local newspapers that are owned by publishers Trinity Mirror and Local World. Visit the PA's very user-friendly website to promote your events for free.
Top tips for events listings
- Do you know who you are trying to reach? Where do they go to find about events? Target those websites.
- Do as many Google searches as time allows, to find the best online listings for your events.
- Be methodical and patient about identifying which listings work best. Try different websites one by one, and give time for them to show results; or conduct post-event surveys with your audience to see how they heard about your performance.
- If your event is in a large city like London or Manchester, you clearly have a good number of listings options, but you will also have more competition. So do make an extra effort to have your event stand out.
- If you are elsewhere in the UK, be prepared to invest more time in an online search.
- Try to use a snazzy title for your listing; so it doesn’t disappear amongst all the other events.
- Have you got great, engaging, high-quality photos? Use them! Sometimes web editors will highlight an event just because the photo is attractive.
- Make sure to add all the relevant information for the listing (date, time, venue, ticket prices, performers, repertoire, genre) and, if given the chance, include contact information like your website, email or social media.
We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.