5 Tips on How to Masterfully Market a Solo Show

This month’s Soaring Solo blog “5 Tips on How to Masterfully Market a Solo Show.”
This month’s Soaring Solo blog “5 Tips on How to Masterfully Market a Solo Show.”

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – This month’s Soaring Solo blog “5 Tips on How to Masterfully Market a Solo Show.”

“Marketing Strategy is a series of integrated actions leading to a sustainable competitive advantage.” -John Sculley

Writing, staging and performing a one-person play is truly one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves as solo artists. However, if nobody knows about it, and there are no butts in the seats (virtually or in person), then how do we truly have the full experience of sharing our solo stories far and wide?

This is why implementing a strong marketing strategy is essential.

For this month’s blog, I will deliver 5 Tips to Masterfully Market Your One-Person Play.

  1. Have Clever and Clear Messaging and Materials

We never want to be so clever that we are not clear, nor do we want to be so clear that we lose our sense of creativity and cleverness when it comes to our branding.  Both things are crucial. 

For instance, you want a show graphic that is eye-catching, attention-grabbing, and maybe even a little bit edgy, provocative or shocking. Yet, once you get the viewer’s attention, is your concept clear? Does your target audience understand the tone of the show, the subject matter your script tackles, and do they feel emotionally and mentally enticed enough to proceed with buying a ticket?

For example, one of my hilarious clients, Sam Jae, is a very gifted stand-up comedian who has a one-man show about the death of his father and their challenging relationship over the years. 

Because Sam’s zone of genius is channeling trauma and pain into humor and dark comedy, we wanted to ensure that the audience got this impression from the title, the graphic and the synopsis. Therefore, we landed on the title MY DEAD DAD and came up with a marketing campaign that had a very clear tone of dark comedy. 

As you see in the graphic, we have an urn full of colorful ashes that have accidentally spilled everywhere and Sam is frantically trying to put them back. This one provocative image mixed with a frank and bold title teaches the viewer that this show will deal with challenging topics in a humorous and somewhat shocking way.

Super sensitive or prudish types are likely not his target audience, and that is okay. Yet, people who need permission to laugh at the painful curveballs life throws at us were the exact individuals whose attention we needed to grab. 

Given the fact that Sam had many sold-out shows and garnered an Encore Producer’s Award during his run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this summer, we feel confident that those goals were achieved. 

So, ask yourself what your show’s tone is (comedic, dramatic, sweet, bold, sexy, etc.) and identify who your target audience is. From this place of understanding, start to ask yourself what images, words, fonts and color schemes will quickly convey this message in a sea of other marketing materials.

  1. Start Early and Share Often

It’s easy to forget about marketing until a few days before the World Premiere of your show with all of the other hats you must wear as a solo artist. Yet, if you start to think about marketing as part of your entire process from the very beginning of your journey, you will avoid feeling that last-minute rush to fill seats. So, start early and share often.

This means that when you sit down for a writing session to brainstorm over show themes, you might tweet about the blocks you encountered, the cool creative downloads you had, or even ask for input from your Twitter following.

It can also look like taking a video while touring theatres you might rent to perform in and then posting on Instagram about the scouting process.

You might consider posting quotes from famous people, capturing statistics and news articles, or finding memes that have to do with the themes of your show on your Facebook page.

Marketing could also look like going to a social gathering, networking event or any other get together that gets you off of your couch and into a community setting where you can connect with others.

And do not be shy! When people ask you about yourself and what you are up to, your solo show should be one of the first things you mention. It does not have to feel like a sales pitch, rather you should look at it like you are sharing about one of your many passions. This is vulnerable and real and people will likely want to know more and come out and support you when the show is finally premiering.

Each of these approaches should include some reference to your show itself and how your future audience will be able to see it, keep abreast of its whereabouts, and support it in a myriad of ways. That said, prioritize having a website, a social media page, or some other tangible home base for your show’s audience to visit as soon as possible. Asking people for their social media handles, emails, business cards and giving them yours is an awesome way to build your audience.

In summation, posting, sharing, and proudly talking about your show does not begin during premiere week. It starts in the infancy stages of your creative process and should continue to be woven into your solo journey as long as you tour your show for many years to come. And this may sound extreme, but I would encourage you to consider “marketing” your show daily. Even a conversation with a friend over coffee can qualify as “marketing” so long as you are authentically sharing about your show, what it means to you and how others can partake in its unfolding.

  1. Diversify Your Approach

This tip goes hand in hand with tip #2. Because you will be marketing your show early and often, you will want to diversify your approach. Be creative. Think outside of the box. 

While it is important that people see your graphic image many times to really absorb your brand, posting your flyer cannot be your only means of communicating that you have a show coming up. 

I have seen solo srtists in the Soaring Solo Community be very creative in how they “market” their shows and each other’s.

 My clients have interviewed one another about their one-person plays on Facebook Live to cross promote. They have offered free workshops giving back to their creative community which allows their network (and beyond) to get to know their creative side and want to support their show endeavors. My clients have posted very vulnerable videos expressing the challenges of the creative process and specifically the journey of a solo srtist. Many have started sending out Newsletters capturing many aspects of their life’s adventures in addition to the progress of their solo shows.

There are endless ways to spread the word that you are a solo artist and have a show you wish to share with others. Don’t be afraid to break the mold with your own unique approach and don’t be ashamed to borrow from other’s tried and true methods either.

  1. Enlist a Team

As you can see, truly doing an awesome job marketing is a big undertaking and one that should not be attempted alone. Enlisting a team is of dire importance. 

I recommend asking friends and family to help you spread the word to anyone they think may benefit from the themes of your show. It’s easy for them to pass along a postcard or forward an email or share one of your marketing posts on their own page.

You might also bring on board a director or a producer who is passionate about your project and will proudly tell their own circle of influence all about you and your show.

Hiring professionals like publicists to pursue theatre critics and other media outlets for various forms of coverage is a fantastic way to reach people outside of your personal network and build your press kit. A solid PR team can get you featured in magazines, blogs, the radio and on television.

Other professionals to consider hiring would be photographers, videographers, editors and graphic designers to help you gather professional looking marketing materials such as a teaser trailer, action shots, flyers and postcards and other assets that will aid you in standing out in the crowd. 

It may seem overwhelming to think about building a team or support system, so let this be something that happens over time. None of this needs to happen all at once, but bear in mind that delegation affords you the time to wear your performer hat more often. 

  1. Do Not Beg, Give an Offering

The single most important aspect of your marketing strategy is to pay attention to your mindset and the energy you are putting out into the world as you take action. 

If you are sitting at your computer about to send an email blast inviting people to come to your show and the energy you are sitting in exudes desperation, begging, and unworthiness, then do NOT send the email in that moment. 

Instead, step away and ask yourself what is the gift you are offering your audience with your show? 

Maybe you are simply helping people laugh for 50 minutes and escape the stresses of their life. Perhaps you are taking 80 minutes on stage to let survivors know they are not alone and that there are resources and community available to them for further healing and help. You might be raising awareness around an important topic that inspires people to make the World a healthier, happier place. Whatever your unique gift is, get clear on that gift and sit in that empowered energy when you post, send, speak, or share about your show in any fashion.

While we often think that creating a One Person Play is all about the final product of the show itself, that is far from the truth. The beauty of this special genre of theatre is that it teaches you how to be your single biggest fan, to stand in your truth, and to let your Voice be heard. So, look at your Marketing Campaign as a means to love yourself better, to believe in yourself more, and to truly value your contribution as a solo artist in a dark world that desperately needs more light.

That concludes today’s 5 Tips to Masterfully Marketing your Solo Show. There is so much more I could say, but that’s enough to chew on for today.

I hope you have learned a  tremendous amount and filled your creative cup. Please continue to persist along on your solo journey. It may not be easy, but it is so worth it!

Jessica Lynn Johnson

Founder & CEO of Soaring Solo LLC



Enjoy these Solo Theatre Resources to further guide you on your solo journey!

Tune in and Support the Soaring Solo Community as we share our stories from stage!

Award winning Director & Developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, hosts a slew of powerful solo show script readings and full staged productions addressing various impactful and inspiring topics.

This enticing lineup can be found by CLICKING HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Start writing your own Solo Show one Freewrite at a time with “FREEWrite Friday”!

Join BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST WINNER Jessica Lynn Johnson for FREEWrite Friday!

Utilizing thought-provoking writing prompts, Jessica will lead you in writing exercises that are sure to assist you in the development of your solo show.

A one-person play is not typically written in one fell swoop. Rather, the Soaring Solo Methodology teaches that the creation of solo art is much like that of creating a Mosaic…one beautiful piece at a time.

All that is required to attend this inspiring event is a willingness to explore, having a pen, paper, or some other means of capturing your thoughts, the ability to access Zoom, and signing up on this page as your official RSVP.

We look forward to having you join the Soaring Solo Community in this event because your story matters!

CLICK HERE TO RSVP and obtain the Zoom link and password.

Attend the Soaring Solo FREE One-Person Play Development class ONLINE!

No matter where you are in the creation of your solo show, idea phase, curiosity phase, full draft written, touring the festival and college market,BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST and Founder of Soaring Solo, Jessica Lynn Johnson, will meet you where you are at and take you to the next level! All that is required to attend is a willingness to explore, a pen, and some paper. No previous writing or performance experience necessary, and no need to have written anything to bring to class. Each week Jessica will guide you in exercises to help generate and stage NEW material! So come and meet other creatives in a supportive space for expression and exploration! The class is ongoing and so you may pop in and out as you please as long as you RSVP by clicking here for this FREE ONE PERSON PLAY CLASS.

Schedule an Online Coaching Consultation with Jessica Lynn Johnson to discuss the possibilities for your solo show!

Jessica brings her 15+ years of solo theatre expertise to work privately with solo artists from all over the world on an as needed basis.

A 1 on 1 consultation is for you if…

-You are curious about creating a solo show, but you need writing prompts to help you generate material.

– You are tossing around ideas for your solo show, but you need some accountability and encouragement to commit those ideas to the page.

-You have already written some material, but you need expert feedback on editing, story structure and play formatting.

-You have a great first draft, but need guidance on how to utilize multimedia and solo theatre technique in order to make your show a dynamic piece of solo theatre.

-You already premiered your solo show and now you want some tips on how to tour colleges and festivals, and garner accolades and great reviews!

-You have heard great things about Jessica’s work and you’re curious about hiring her as a Director & Developer for your solo show, but first you want to feel her out and see if she is the right fit for you and your project.

Wherever you may find yourself on your solo journey, Jessica will help you overcome whatever immediate obstacle stands between you and your solo success.  

If you resonate with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com for more information.

Jessica Lynn Johnson (Director and Developer) is a published playwright, recipient of BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST AWARD, Advisory Board Member of the LA Women's Theatre Festival, and Founder and CEO of Soaring Solo LLC. Jessica has aided in the development of over 150 solo shows (and is still going strong)! As a performer, Jessica has “edu-tained” international audiences touring her own one person shows ZE and OBLIVIOUS TO EVERYONE for over 15 years. Jessica's projects have taken home awards such as TOP OF FRINGE, HFF ENCORE PRODUCER AWARDS, TVOLUTION BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE, LARRY CORNWALL AWARD FOR MUSICAL EXCELLENCE & several other accolades! Jessica was also nominated for the Female Director of Distinction in Theatre by Girl Trip LLC at the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival.