How To Get The Word Out
Without traditional premiere events to drum up interest and attention, marketing and securing press for your new media project requires you to use some unorthodox strategies and a lot of self-starting, but can be an exciting process.
It’s important to start early – as soon as your project gets off the ground. Build a social media presence for the project at its inception and seed Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. with a project outline and/or shots from your production and planning to start creating a following of loyal fans who are interested in you and your work. Only, however, set up accounts that you can maintain and where you can keep an active presence.
Also, consider setting up a blog for your project where you post updates in addition to the project’s site itself. You could include any relevant video clips, a project summary, creator info, links to reviews or articles, e-mail signup, how to contact you, a journal, snippets of content you may not end up using, etc. You can also consider starting a Wikipedia entry for your project and linking to it from your site.
Seek out reporters on the tech and new media beats, as well as those who might be interested in your project’s subject matter and proactively tweet at them inviting them to get involved in your project by following or friending you.
Always feel free to include @TribecaFilmIns on Twitter and follow us on Facebook as well, and we will retweet or like if appropriate. In some cases social media outreach can be better for new media projects than a traditional press release.
Consider reaching out to local press, press from your hometown (everyone loves a hometown story) trade press and digital media reporters, as well as those relevant to your subject matter.
From a marketing standpoint, there are a lot of grassroots techniques you can take that are very effective. Collect emails at any event you go to – film festivals, conferences, workshops – and add them to a database that will constitute your “inner circle” along with your personal contacts. Send these folks emails regularly.
If your budget allows for a cultivation event where you can invite potential funders, press and community members relevant to your subject matter, that is a great way to start the drumbeat of attention to the project. If not, even investing in promotional postcards and/or flyers and distributing them to local commercial outlets in your hometown, the town where your project takes place, etc. can go a long way.
Promoting Can Be Pretty Lonely
OFFSHORE is an interactive documentary about the truth and consequences of the offshore oil industry, and its impact on people and places that have been placed in harm's way. It's a collaboration between filmmakers Brenda Longfellow, Glen Richards, and Helios Design Labs.
OFFSHORE is also a testament to what happens to interactive projects that have no real marketing channels in place, no media partners, no NFB, no ARTE, no TFI … just … us!
Getting the word out and promoting can be pretty lonely. And arduous.
I think that many grassroots or creator-driven projects, like OFFSHORE, don't really take into account the fact that the hardest part of the work-cycle comes after the launch. I know that we didn't, right up until the site launched. There was the dawning and almost adrenaline-producing realization that it’s not just a matter of socializing, a Facebook post here, and tweet there, it’s also submitting it to festivals, awards, publications. These lists are long, and there are many many hours spent filling out application forms. And when it comes, rejection is hard. But when it comes, sometimes acceptance is harder. Now you have to actually go to an event, most often paying for travel and accommodation, and mostly feeling somewhat lost and alien.
But all existential crises apart, we've learned from OFFSHORE the value of re-defined expectations, of patience, the value of hard work, but most of all the huge need to consider “what happens after” when in the early stages of defining a project: what are the marketing channels? Wo are the media partners? Prepare yourself for the hard part of the project: its marketing and promotion.