How To Market Your Short Film or Web Series
[ and spread the word about your fundraising campaign ]
1. First things first – consider your audience. Is your short film or web series a comedy? Horror? A horror comedy? Know who would genuinely enjoy your project and who wouldn’t. Make your intended audience as defined as possible. The tendency will be to say that anyone of any age will be interested in your project, but that’s simply not the case. Be honest with yourself.
2. After you’ve pinpointed your audience, create a marketing timeline that coincides with production. For example, during pre-production you will want to start developing a fan base through social media, and by the end of your film you may be looking for distributors and sharing your press kit. Have a marketing strategy for every point of production and beyond.
3. If you are fundraising for your film or web series, be sure to build hype before you launch your campaign. Know that you will essentially be marketing for two entirely different things: your fundraising campaign, and your actual completed project. Check out this post for more tips on crowdfunding.
4. Using your audience as a guideline, think about what social media outlets they’re most likely using. Consider Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Vimeo, and YouTube. Where will you find your audience? An artsy-existential film may be easiest to market on Tumblr & Vimeo, while a political documentary may be better suited for Twitter and YouTube.
5. No matter what social media platforms you decide to utilize, develop a website that serves as the hub of your project. From pre-production to distribution, keep your fans and followers engaged. Never forget that content is key – the more high quality content you share, the better the long-term return. Also, make sure that all of your social media links are easy to access on the site.
6. Blogging is a great way to update followers on the progress of your work. Consider starting a blog on your main website where you can share your thoughts on the creative process, concept art, and information about your story/plot. If you do start blogging, look into search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to gain an understanding of what key words will drive readers to your site.
7. Develop a brand. This concept goes hand in hand with determining who your audience is. All of the content you share on social media should relate to your project, or at least fall within the stylistic realm of your work. If your film is a documentary about street art, don’t tweet about the latest Disney movie or last night’s episode of The Bachlorette. Save that for your personal social media accounts. Instead, share photographs of local street art, develop cast bios, and retweet posts from well-known artists. Also be sure to engage with fellow filmmakers, bloggers, and content creators.
8. Keep track of key influencers. Stay connected with those individuals who show a true and genuine interest in your work. If there’s someone who absolutely loves your script and has access to a wider audience than yourself, nurture that relationship. But be warned – phoniness is easy to detect, especially on the internet. Just because you’re promoting your work doesn’t mean you have to be as aggressive as a car salesman. Keep things relaxed and sincere.
9. QUID PRO QUO. Don’t forget to share someone’s work if they’re willing to share yours.
10. Make sure that all of your promotional materials are high quality and fit with the style of your work. If you are submitting your short film to festivals, have your press kit looking great and ready to go. Although the content of your film or web series is of the utmost importance, the design of your poster, DVD cover, and press kit are nearly just as important. Because there’s a massive amount of competition in the entertainment industry, you must make sure your work stands out in every way possible.
11. If you decide to make a trailer for your short film or web series, be sure the editing and tone of the trailer reflects the style of your completed project. Keep it short and make sure to create interest while withholding a bit in order to sustain intrigue.
12. If you’re planning on submitting to film or web series festivals, create a killer press kit. Check out this article from Raindance – Fourteen Essentials Of A Great Press Kit. Also – set up an IMDb for your work!
13. Keep in mind what your final goal is. Are you posting an episode of your web series weekly and hoping to grow and sustain your viewership? Are you premiering your short film on Vimeo? Screening it at local film festivals? Major film festivals? Looking for distribution? Just sharing a few DVDs with your biggest supporters? Know your goal from the beginning and keep it in mind the entire time you are marketing your work. Even a year after you uploaded your film online, continue to engage your followers. Update them. What’s your next step? Another short film? Maybe this time a feature?
14. CLEVER > CLICHE. When it comes to content, share something unique.
15. Never forget that the two most important elements in marketing a short film or web series are presentation and audience. Keep in mind how you display yourself as the creator both online and in person. Are you engaged, sincere, and great at sharing quality content? Also consider how your project is shared: are your promotional materials (poster, DVD cover, press kit, etc.) well designed? Lastly, are you reaching the proper audience that will actually enjoy your work and share it with others?
If you have any additional tips for marketing a short film or web series, please share them by commenting below!