What is your movie marketing strategy?
This is one of the first questions I ask filmmakers whenever I put on a talk.
And the reason I ask the question is simple. We need to solve a major filmmaking problem. But before I tell you about some of the awesome solutions out there – I want to first tell you about the problem.
. . . And this is a problem many filmmakers don’t realize they have.
If you’re like most filmmakers, your primary goal is to make a movie. So odds are good this is one of the first times you’ve considered a movie marketing strategy.
You know you need Twitter, Facebook and a robust mailing list of people who can’t wait to see your work.
While you know social media is important, you also know that raising money, hiring crew and refining your script so you can actually finish your movie is equally, if not more important.
Movie Marketing Strategy
When time and energy is limited, the last thing you want to do is think about your movie marketing strategy. You probably assume that if you make a good movie, some major distributor will swoop in and do all that marketing stuff for you.
And you never know. . .
You might get lucky. You might win an upfront cash advance and a three picture, studio deal.
But since only a small minority of filmmakers garner these types of deals, let’s focus on the other 99%.
What if your movie has an awesome run at the festivals, garners a lot of buzz?
And against your wildest dreams, you find yourself getting several calls from distributors who want to “pick up” your movie?
If you’re a first time filmmaker, getting attention from a distributor is exciting.
But once the excitement dies down and you actually start reading the offers – You may notice that very few of these distributors provide minimum guarantees. And if you are fortunate enough to get an MG, odds are good the amount is much less than you ever anticipated.
The reason for this is simple.
Production is cheaper. A lot of people are making movies these days. DVD has been replaced with VOD, which means there are over a gazillion affordable ways to upload your movie and share it with the world.
What Movie Distributors Don’t Want You To Know
As a result of this paradigm shift, many former film distribution companies have become VOD aggregators.
Talk with a few of these distributors and you will realize that most VOD aggregators offer the same solution. They put your movie on platforms like iTunes, Cable VOD, Amazon and others.
Most tell you they are better than the other distribution company because they “know the guy at iTunes or Amazon or…”
And based on these relationships, they can get you special placement. But when making this pitch, what most distributors don’t realize is that every distributor knows the same guy and pitches the same placement.
Which brings me to my next point… Are you ready for this?
Movie Distribution has become a commodity.
There. I said it, finally…
If you want to get your movie into the marketplace, you can.
And if you do some internet searches, you’ll find out that for a few thousand bucks you can access most any VOD platform. Want iTunes? Bypass the middle-man and go straight to an iTunes approved encoding house. Want Amazon? Go to CreateSpace. Want to sell on your own website?
Try one of the hundreds of VOD platforms that allow this.
And all this to say…
Finding movie distribution is NOT your problem.
The real problem for filmmakers is audience engagement. How will you source an audience for your movie?
How do you find people who care about your movie? And from there, how do you make it easy for your fans to share your movie with their friends? In other words, how do you find and exponentially grow your audience?
To this end, as part of your movie marketing strategy, one of things you must do is create a valuable internet experience for your audience… And you must do this well before you make your movie. In the simplest form, you should refine your movie website. Your blog should include access to exclusive, interesting content focused on your movie.
Think of this content like the behind the scenes bonuses that used to go with your DVD.
Collect Email and Contact Information
When you first arrived at this article, you probably noticed my BIG opt in form, asking for your name and email address. The reason for this is simple. I would love to build a working relationship with you. A great way to do that involves building trust by sending you valuable filmmaking tips via email.
As part of your movie marketing strategy, you need to do something similar on your website. In this sense, you not only build a relationship for your next movie, but if you do it right, you can build a solid fan base for the rest of your career.
This will help you:
- Sell more copies of your movie.
- Leverage your audience to crowdfund and test concepts for new movies.
And as always, please feel free to comment below.