It’s December, and let’s face it, we could all use a break. Unfortunately, marketing stops for no one, especially when you’re still fighting for attention in the void also known as “the internet.” Fortunately, though, I’ve got 4 tips that take most of the effort out of marketing so you can have your cake and market it without thinking about it too.
Prewrite social media posts for friends and family
When people reach out to their built-in support system for help promoting their projects, almost 100% of the time they make the same mistake: not making it as easy as possible for them. The fix? Pre-writing two or three generic tweets or Facebook posts (made easier with Twitter’s new 280 characters) that people can simply copy and paste into their own feeds. This also allows you to maintain a consistent voice and description for your project.
Seriously. That’s it. I promise it will increase the number of people helping you promote by at least 20% because while people want to support you, they’re busy with their own lives and thoughts, and the effort of coming up with a tweet about someone else’s passion project is more than you might think. It’ll take less effort than it took me to make up that statistic, and that was a very easy statistic to fake.
Best practices: include any preferred hashtags or @ usernames and links. The people you’re sending these to should literally be able to copy, paste, and post with no further work. If you’re feeling fancy, attach an image or two to the email if they want to include that as well.
Stalk other shows for press inspiration
So you’ve read our press release and press kit posts, but still aren’t having much success actually getting outlets to cover you. Fear not- you’re probably working too hard! Instead of scouring the internet yourself, keep an eye on the Twitter and Facebook accounts of other shows in your genre or theme. Whenever they post a new article or interview about THEM, go to the source, find the source’s “contact” page, and get in touch yourself! Better yet- mention the other article in your cold email; something like “we loved your article about our friends at [other show] and thought you might enjoy our show as well!”
This shows you’re paying attention, you’re connected to something they’ve already proven they care about, and it personalizes your outreach.
Best practices: if there’s no obvious contact form or email on the site, wait about a week and then try asking the show who was covered directly for the email of the reporter or publication (especially if you’re already e-buddies with them). In most cases, they’ll be happy to share the love.
Have templates for everything
This tip might not sound like laziness, but it very much is in the long run: write a template for the following scenarios in advance so that all you have to do is copy, paste, and lightly personalize them as needed:
Press release cold email- The email you write to press when you’re attaching your press release. Base this largely on the first paragraph of your press release (the topicality/announcement paragraph) to make it even easier.
Press cold email (web form version)- oftentimes you won’t be able to find an email address on a press outlet’s website, but you will find a contact form, and this will require a slight tweak in language from your usual cold email since you’re unlikely to be able to attach details or add links.
Multiple synopses of your series in varying lengths- perhaps you’re applying for a grant, or to be IndieWire’s Project Of The Day, or you’re submitting to a distributor. In each of these cases, you’re going to need to describe your show, and your character limit will vary. Having pre-written versions of your synopsis in varying lengths will be super useful because nothing is more annoying or time-consuming than having to rewrite the same stuff over and over again in slightly different ways.
Best practices: Keep all of these templates in the same document, somewhere really accessible like a Google Drive doc or a digital sticky note, so you don’t have to go searching for them.
I’m obsessed with the social media scheduling tool RecurPost. The UI isn’t great and there are definitely things I would change (like a mass edit option), but it has completely transformed the way I go about my social media, because half of social media is just maintenance. Reminding people about the link to your series, reminding people to leave a [Stareable] review, reminding people that you exist. You could try and post something, anything, at least once a day, but that sounds like work, and this guide is for lazy people. Here are a few ideas for easy, breezy, repeating posts you can set to a schedule and then completely forget about, cutting your social media efforts in half:
Reminders to review your series on Stareable- no joke, guys, even on weeks where I don’t get new reviews for my web series, there is a direct correlation between how frequently my account auto-tweets with a Stareable link and how long I spend on the Stareable trending shows list. You should have access to some Stareable design assets you can add to promotional images to accompany these reminders.
#TBT- On RecurPost you can mass-add photo and text updates, so upload your favorite 20-50 photos and then mass apply #TBT and a link to your series. If you’d like, you can go through and personalize each caption a btit, but it’s not a requirement. From there, schedule these posts to go up once a week on either Tuesday or Thursday and if your library of posts is large enough, no one will notice when they eventually start the cycle over again.
Newsletter/YouTube Channel subscribe- Pretty self-explanatory. Make sure to accompany these with an enticing image.
Follow Friday- #FF is actually a great way to garner community support and show everyone you aren’t just in it for yourself. In the same vein as making a large #TBT library of posts that take awhile to cycle all the way through, make a few #FF tweets and set them to go out one at a time every Friday. Try to group them in themes- a tweet for other web series in your genre, another for specific creators you’re a friend/fan of, another for press you love and who covers you, etc.
Best practices: every once and awhile, switch up your schedule, even if your posts are unchanged, because you want to make sure there’s some variety in this highly automated system. Also, no matter how busy your social media pre-schedule is, make sure to post improvisationally occasionally to remind people it’s not just a bot.
Marketing is a draining exercise, especially when you’re also doing fifteen other things on your project and working a full-time job and maintaining a social life and taking some time to relax. Hopefully, some of these tips will help lighten the load as we move into the holiday season so that you can start 2018 refreshed and ready to work.
Do you have lazy marketing tricks to share? Let us know- we’d all love to work less!