The best stock photo for online marketing, hands down
Step 6: Decide your content themes
Tom Pike taught me about content themes in his Forget The Box podcast episode, and it completely evolved my marketing strategy. Essentially, content themes are extremely specific buckets of content that relate to your project’s ethos, theme, aesthetic, and resources.
In general, you’ll want at least 6 unique content themes throughout your marketing plan, and you’ll want to save your highest-quality stuff for the final portion of your schedule (closer to the actual release of your content, usually).
Examples of content themes include:
- Cast/crew interviews
- Companion podcast
- Basically any/all supplemental content you create
Step 7: Lay out your schedule
Just like you schedule your shooting days, you should be setting up a calendar for marketing. Make sure to make note of your major milestones (trailer dropping, screenings, season premiere, season finale, etc), as well as what content themes will be posted when. Some scheduling hacks to simplify this process for yourself:
Do your social media scheduling in sprints. Since you can schedule tweets and Facebook posts as far in advance as you like using Stareable Updates, set aside a few hours one day to do a month’s worth at once, then bask in not having to maintain things for a while.
Space out bigger/ more resource-intensive pieces of content. If you spend a significant amount of time or resources on a particular content theme, chances are you have less of it than you have of, say, behind-the-scenes photography. Space that out further, maybe only posting it every other week, so you don’t run out too quickly.
Remember your “runway.” The longer your marketing plan lasts, the better positioned you are to get eyeballs on your content. Emmy-winner Bernie Su talks about the importance of runway in the first episode of Forget The Box- listen here or read the abridged transcript.
For basic announcements, plan to post the same thing a few times. Something to keep in mind while you’re scheduling ahead of time- if it’s a fairly straightforward post (“new episode!” “remember to review us on Stareable!”) you’re going to need to post it more than once, at different times of the day. Not every social media user or follower of yours will be online at the same time, and it’s rare that people dig through their feeds after a day or two away to make sure they’re caught up.
Use the same content in different ways. A great way to easily extend your marketing runway without making brand new content is to recycle content in new ways. For instance, in marketing our podcast Forget The Box, for every episode released we also made a promotional image with the guest’s headshot, a teaser audio clip of the episode, and multiple promotional images with different key quotes, meaning that we could mine one piece of content for up to four or five more, each unique and explicitly pointing back to our call to action- listen to this podcast!
Example schedule for content themes and major project milestones
Step 8: Draft your team
The most successful marketing plans incorporate multiple people, so gather your team and have a meeting to answer the following questions:
- What is everyone’s strength/weakness?
- Drafting long messages/ emails
- Taking photos
- Editing photos
- Editing videos
- Making GIFs
- Monitoring the feeds and replying
- What is everyone’s time budget?
- What days of the week are they available?
- How many hours on those days?
- Are they consistent about this kind of stuff / are they willing to agree to regularity?
- Who is in charge of creating which content?
- And how will other teammates hold them accountable?
- Who is in charge of posting which content?
- Ditto above.
- Who will help amplify posted content?
- What are the expectations of cast/crew not directly involved with crafting and posting marketing content?
Check out this article for tips on enticing other cast and crew members who aren’t explicitly helping execute your marketing plan to post.
Step 9: Make all the stuff
Once you’re getting closer to the start of your schedule, you should have most of the content already made, or at least in progress. If you have to, push things back a month, but make sure you push back your release date similarly- the point of this whole process is to set your series up for success, so don’t undermine that because you’re feeling impatient, and don’t publicize a release date until you’re absolutely sure it’s in line with the rest of your marketing plan.
Step 10: Execute the plan
That’s it! If you follow the first 9 steps, step 10 should be a breeze! Just kidding. But at least now you should feel more in control of your own destiny, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?