If you take nothing else away from this article, listen up: you need to do pre-production for your marketing just as much as you need to do pre-production for your production. I have been on the wrong side of this too many times, so I implore you to take this guide to heart. It will streamline every part of your marketing process and make you at least 80% less likely to want to pull your own hair out.
Step 1: Define your goals
We’ve got an article for that! Important note: if your particular goal does not require the online “success” of your series (via view count, subscribers, or any other metric), don’t bother marketing! Just let friends and family know it’s available for viewing and focus on whatever else you need to complete your goal.
If your goal is about those above metrics, though, read on!
Step 2: Plan your press release and press kit
Read how to write a press release, and how to make a press kit, respectively, if this is your first time. You may not actually make these materials yet, but you can plan for them, and start putting together images and copy.
Step 3: Define your external outreach
Make a spreadsheet for press outreach, which includes but isn’t limited to:
Publications, websites, and journalists related to your themes/genres
Publications, websites, and journalists who have covered web series before (or cover web series specifically)
Podcasts, blogs, social media accounts related to your themes, genres, cast/crew demographics, format, etc
This means if you’re making a female-led zombie apocalypse show, you should be looking for outlets that cover horror generally, zombies specifically, female filmmakers, women-led media, and everything in between.
I organize my outreach spreadsheets with the above header.
- Email- self-explanatory
- Name- if possible, try to email people (editors/writers) instead of outlets in general. It feels more personal and you’re more likely to get a response
- Company- the outlet’s name itself, or the most common outlet for this writer’s work
- Relationship- do you know the writer, or has this outlet covered you before? You may have press releases catered to how familiar the outlets are to you and your work, so having that organized will make it easier to remember that in the future
- Category- Is this outlet/writer specific to web series, or to indie film in general? Are they a horror blog, or a sci-fi blog? This is another way you should be separating your press contacts, so that you can cater language to outlets more interested in the fact that it’s a female-led project versus a project about zombies
How do you find these outlets? The best advice I have is to stalk similar series and find out who’s covered THEM in the past. For more on that, check out this article about tips for lazy marketers.
Step 4: Decide your calls to action
A good marketing plan shouldn’t have more than two, maybe three, calls to action at any given stage. This will just confuse people who may want to support you or consume your content but are constantly inundated with so many requests they get overwhelmed and give up. Your calls to action can change as your production stage does (shifting from crowdfunding to production to release, for example), but try to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Examples of calls to action:
- Subscribe / follow / like
- Sign up for this mailing list!
- Watch this episode!
- Watch this show!
- Give us money, once!
- Give us money, regularly!
- Come to this event!
- Engage / Comment / Participate
- Share our content!
Step 5: Define your platform priorities
You only need to have one or two active social media accounts, unless you have a full team with plenty of time and resources to curate and post consistently on each, which I find hard to believe. For advice on which platform to pick, head to this article. And remember- if you have a Stareable show page, you have access to our free social media tool Stareable Updates! Head here for advice on how to use it and what to be posting to social media so your feeds never feel stale.
Steps 6-10 next week, OR, RSVP for our webinar on this very topic on Wednesday, April 10th, LIVE on YouTube and Facebook! I’ll not only reveal the next few steps early but I’ll also go into considerably more detail!