“If you build it, they will come!”
No they won’t.
And if that’s your marketing strategy, no one will ever see your movie.
Getting people other than your family to watch your movie is hard work. It takes a lot of time and creativity. In no way do I intend to cover movie marketing in a single post. This is just the beginning of a series of posts on the topic, so check back for more! Today I am going to give you a few overarching tips to help get you started:
Have good content
Duh. Moving on.
Nurture your audience
Your first fans are the most important. Don’t be frustrated that only two people are commenting on your videos. Talk back with those people. Let them know they are appreciated. Make them feel like part of the family. Then those fans will start to tell other people who will tell other people and pretty soon your audience will be multiplying like bunnies on ecstasy.
Watch this insightful (and humorous) video about congregating followers. The video talks about leaders gaining followers, but the same principals can be applied to building an audience.
Start local. No one in LA or at the Sundance Film Festival cares about you. But your neighbors do. Your local mom and pop cafe would be thrilled to screen your movie. The high school you went to would love to advertise (free of charge) the great things its alumni are doing. Your neighbor with an awesome sound system will gladly lend you speakers for a concert fundraiser.
Again, build a loyal audience first. And the best place to do that is locally.
Another way to get people to advertise for you for free is finding an organization that supports a cause related to your movie. For example, if you are doing a documentary about the benefits of eating organic, talk to health food stores about it and see if they will promote your doc. And why wouldn’t they? Your movie will bring them business! If you make a fiction film that has a bullied gay character, get ahold of organizations that support LGBT causes or that work against bullying. They can send the link of your movie to their mailing lists!
Get other people talking about you
According to the blog post “100 more social media statistics for 2012” written by Cara Pring, there are over 1 billion Facebook posts per day, around 175 million Tweets per day, and 70 million WordPress blogs worldwide. Find blogs, twitters, and facebook pages that would be interested in your movie. Submit info about it to a blog. @ a twitter user that might retweet you. Post on a facebook page. You can get people to share information about your movie FOR FREE! And it will be better than any paid advertisements.
While these suggestions just scratch the surface, they are good things to keep in mind when trying to build your fan base. The best thing for an independent filmmaker is to gain and keep fans. And if you start now while you are young, that will give you all the more time to nurture your first loyal followers and you will be bursting with fans several years down the road.
What are some creative and interesting ways you have built your audience? Comment below!