How to Market your Film Production
Updated: Sep 20, 2018
For many filmmakers, especially independent artists, getting their new film into the public view can prove to be the most difficult part of the entire process. No matter the brilliance of the plot, cinematography, directorial genius, or even the amount of a-list talent, a film that does not reach its target audience will not get the recognition and success it deserves.
To get your film the publicity it so desperately needs, you must take proactive measures to get it in front of moviegoers. The following, are some of the most effective means of marketing your film.
Social Media Campaigns
It’s 2018, and even if your production is about the dangers of a fast paced, postmodern world, social media is still the way to get there. Creating a vibrant and active social media presence long before production even kicks off, is ideally the best way to create massive public interest.
Facebook, Twitter (yes, Twitter - just look at Sharknado's sucess!) and Instagram, are the biggest social media platforms, and by implication, are the biggest billboards to promote your new film feature, series and creative content. With active accounts, you can encourage fan engagement and interest in your projects—before you have even written a script.
The key is to provide, above all, valuable content to your audience. Avoid sounding like a salesperson, with endless sales pitches and advertisements on your pages. Share content film lovers actually want to see: nuggets from the moviemaking process, behind-the-scenes look at the production—even insights into your motivations for creating the film will intrigue your followers.
Follow other related social accounts and even repost relevant content that will connect you to your audience demographic. Following successful social accounts may even give you some of your own ideas for original posts. For example, if your series is a dark comedy, follow other dark comedy series’ accounts with large community engagement, this can spark inspiration on how to reach your own audience.
What makes social media such a compelling marketing tool is how well fan engagement can be tracked; everything you do on social media can be measured using certain metrics. Use analytics tools to track how effective your posts are, and see just how much your audience enjoys such posts. With Twitter analytics, for instance, you can track every tweet; track user engagements, retweets and likes.
Analyzing your audience’s engagement will give you valuable insights into what your potential ticket buyers want. Find out what posts get the most impressions and interactions, and channel your energy towards providing more of the same content.
Leverage The Internet’s Power
The internet is the filmmaker’s best friend. Explore its full potential, and even with a tiny marketing budget, you can make a big impression at film festivals and the box office. Be sure to purchase some real estate for your movie in the global village that is the World Wide Web.
i. Wikipedia: A Wikipedia page gives your project some element of credibility in the eyes of casual fans. It is a resource that can help fans get details about the film—synopsis, cast, and details about the movie that might pique their interest.
ii. IMDB: Put your film in the most comprehensive database of films in the world. An IMDB listing is a hallmark for all films and series; giving you an extra layer of credibility.
iii. Blogging: Your blog is your avenue to reach a larger audience. Connect with your blog’s audience, sharing interesting content, and developing an active communication chain with your followers and fans. Walk your blog followers through the filmmaking process, your blog can be your journal: storing valuable information as you move towards opening night. A blog is a valuable tool for positioning yourself as a brand, and developing a relationship with your audience.
iv. Paid Advertisements: Even with a minimal budget, you can have a successful marketing campaign. Consider engaging in PPC (pay per click) campaigns, to draw in your target demographic.
Competition and Contests
Get your audience excited and looking forward to your project by organizing a few contests, and offering prizes to interested members of the public. Fan the flames of public interest and get your film the much needed awareness it needs to make an impact upon launch.
Contests, competitions, and even sweepstakes are a low risk, high reward strategy to create a ton of public interest in your project. With contests, you can offer exciting rewards like a visit to the set, a meet and greet with the cast, and tickets to your movie’s screening and festivals.
Competitions are also a great way to launch a great viral campaign for your new movie. User generated contests, like fan made videos are a great way to launch an organic campaign on social media. Competitions to create the most compelling and exciting fan content for a chance for perks like free tickets, or even a cameo or credit, are a win-win for you.
The value of trailers cannot be overstated. Any good filmmaker knows that trailers are probably the most compelling pieces of marketing for your project—short clips that create excitement and leaves your audience craving the entirety of the project. Make your trailer as exciting and interesting as possible, it may be what pushes indecisive audience member to commit to going to see it.
However, you must be careful of what type of image the trailer projects. What you do not want to do is, create a false impression of what your movie is, while trying to pander to your potential audience. In this era of social media, rotten tomatoes, and googling everything before we decide to watch, one bad review is all it takes for your movie to get buried in an avalanche of negative feedback.
Create a thrilling trailer, but be sure to fully capture the tone of your movie, to avoid disappointing, and angering vocal audiences.
Make yourself available for public engagements, to put a relatable face to your film. Host events for influencers, investors, and interested members of the public to mingle with you. Attend press conferences, interviews. Be on panels at festivals, hold Q&A sessions to discuss movie details, create an avenue for the world and, more importantly, the press to have an in-depth, personal point of view on your project.
Outreach to press has never been easier. Research press outlets and find e-mails to the relevant entertainment and arts contact. Make sure you do your research on them, what they usually write about, their likes and dislikes of prior film and series features and reviews. Doing your research and outreach to the RIGHT journalists and press personal is very important. For example, you should not be e-mailing a comedy writer at Huffington post for your new horror short. Create an excel of all relevant press contacts and begin personal e-mails to them. Be honest and passionate about your project, honesty and passion go a LONG way.
Also, you should reach out to friends, family, coworkers, to help promote your project. Your closest friends and acquaintances helping you spread the gospel of your film is the cheapest form of advertisement you can get.
Go out today and start getting your film the publicity it deserves.