So let’s say your web series premieres on June 25th right? I’d take the final press release a week or week and a half (ideally) before and pitch like my top 5 publications or reporters. I’d tell them this is an exclusive, send them the embargoed release, which is basically an understanding that this news doesn’t go out until the 25th and in exchange, I’ll send you 1-3 screeners before it airs.
This a) makes reporters feel special. b) gives them an opportunity to review so that their piece goes live around the time your series premieres and c) gives you an idea as to what you can potentially expert your media outreach to look like.
I will say I also offer screeners and an interview with the creator as well.
How early should a show start posting on social media? Before crowdfunding? During? Waaay before? Or stick with personal accounts for crowdfunding and then spin off to show-specific accounts before release?
Hi Michelle! Congrats on the successful crowdfund! I’m excited to see how netTVnow evolves in the next year.
Since you’re a PR pro turned journalist, I’m curious your take on the email follow-up? I usually do a quick one-sentence followup a week or so later if I haven’t heard back and know that the person I’m reaching out to is the right target, but do you feel differently?
I’m glad you asked this. I think social media is key, I personally prefer Twitter for web series. However, when it comes to posting, sometimes things don’t always go as planned during pre-pro, or maybe you end up having to recast. So I sort of evaluate by two ways:
If you don’t have a funding campaign, I would start to post on social media once you have your cast, once the scripts are done and you’re basically amping up to shoot.
I mainly feel this way because like I said, it’s pre-pro, things can easily change. BUT if you’re working with a production company, you can do social media even before. I’m a fan of anything BTS so showing like photos of your meetings internally etc are a great way to engage with people.
If you have a funding campaign, I’d start engaging on social 1-2 days before your campaign goes live. I think that gives you enough time to really figure out what you want to push on social and what you want to save for media.
In regards to accounts, if you have your own production company and plan on creating more, I’d say maybe keep it to one main production company account and create official tags for the series.
You can create a production company one and an account for your series. I kind of like this one mainly because when I cover things, I like to direct people straight to their social media profiles. And this allows you to not only target people via the production company Twitter and on the series page. Like lets say you create a literary web series and then next year create a comedy, you can use the production company’s page to target audiences in both genres and push followers to both of your series.
Also, is making NetTVNow a full time job something you’re working towards? Or do you just want to leave it as a side hustle?
Speaking of side hustles, you talked about crowdfunding a couple times, for you and for other shows you support- do you have any tips about it from the inside? Best sites for crowdfunding? Best practices? (especially from a PR perspective!)
So you would suggest having accounts for each project? I’ve been going back and forth about this myself, because I have so many accounts for Brains specifically but I’m starting to branch out (hopefully) and I’m like… shit. I kind of wish they were production-company accounts, because I already have ten Twitter accounts I control and the thought of another one fills me with exhaustion.
Follow ups, oof. I still struggle with those in my day job but depending on what the pitch is would determine how I follow up.
If it’s to send me a, “hey check out this web series I’m working on,” maybe give me a week. I would also advise people not to follow up on Twitter. I keep my DM’s open but I honestly was floored when a web series DM’d my personal Twitter asking if I’ve read their email, safe to say, I deleted it.
I think you’ve got a pretty good grasp on follow up protocol. If you know this person strictly covers web series, then I would follow up but maybe if you don’t hear anything after the 3rd or 4th time, give them some space.
In my case, I am responsible for majority of the pieces you guys see. I have people like Nick Feldman and Aria Bauer who contribute as well, but more on a feature-piece basis. So it takes me quite a bit of time to respond to everyone. I literally have about 100 emails sitting in my inbox that taunt me every single day, but I take the time to personally reply to everyone and give my feedback. I think taking the time to get to know the person you’re pitching too helps.
I know when I pitch journalists, I follow their Twitter accounts and when I’m pitching them something I think is right up their alley or literally something they’re talking about it, but then find they’re not replying to me, I take a look at what’s going and sometimes you’ll see they’re traveling for a conference, or maybe they’re on vacation. Stuff like that helps, then it gives you an opportunity to in your follow up to reference something.
I think I would create Twitter accounts for each series and then a production company FB/Instagram that you can use to post for all series with corresponding hashtags. Then obviously, this is where a prod. website would come in handy.
Ok follow up (sorry guys, hogging the thread here!) so how do you decide what to post to the production company page versus the show-specific one? You wouldn’t want to have all the same content on each, right? And then, what do you share to your PERSONAL accounts, because again, you don’t want to just be retweeting and sharing the exact same content on three separate accounts, right?
I appreciate the use of side hustle! Right now, netTVnow is definitely a full-time job, but I do it mainly because I love to do it. It gives me an opportunity to watch more web series and give me creative freedom that I may not necessarily get elsewhere.
I’d love to do it for the rest of my life to be honest, but sometimes it is hard to keep things consistent when I am by myself. Ideally, I’d love to see it grow and potentially even make a production company out of it where I can feature web series and call 'em a netTVnow production!
Crowdfunding, oh man. It’s still very much a new thing for me. Best tips, talk to your fans, talk to other web series creators who have done campaigns. Find out what worked for them and what didn’t. That helped me a lot when it came to finding perks for people who weren’t necessarily fans but web series folks. Which is why I ended up doing a PR perk and a side banner ad perk.
I’ve personally only used Indiegogo but I do prefer them over Kickstarter, mainly because it caters more to the indie/entertainment side of things. What have you used or are considering using?
Right now the competition is Seed&Spark versus IndieGoGo, honestly. Seed&Spark takes a higher personal interest in the campaigns on their site, but there’s more oversight, you have to get approved, and it’s a platform less known outside of the film world, which is where most donations are coming from. IndieGoGo isn’t quite as sleek or filmmaker focused but gives you more freedom and is more recognizable for your great aunt.
I should preface this by saying that I personally have not done this yet, but this is a strategy that I will be deploying for a project I can’t name yet.
BUT, yes, varied content is key. For me, from my personal accounts, I’d probably share more like POV shots of what I’m doing, which is something I’ve done when I’ve been at Radar working with Neal in prep for the #WKHSeries premiere.
From the series accounts, I’d tweet out things more pertaining to the series itself. Teasers, cast announcements, etc. From a prod. account, I would generalize the tweets maybe make it more announcement based with links to your specific series.
I think the amazing part about this is that you can really set the rules, it’s really a trial and error process. Find out what works best for you and your audience and run with it because what might work for LGBTQ series might not necessarily work for drama series or LIW.
I know some folks who have used Seed&Spark and haven’t had the best experience but they provide such great care into your campaign. So I’d say if you already know when you’re going to launch and really have a set strategy down and are looking down the road, then reach out to them sooner rather than later and see how you can work it that way.
Indiegogo obviously is a bit more well known, and personally I would go that route, at least until sites like Seed&Spark get a larger audience. I hate to say it, but community is so important and I’ve learned that through my own Indiegogo for netTVnow. Even though web series fans or other creatives are struggling to fund their own work, they still take the time to help others.
I will say that series that are LGBTQ focused have an easier time getting noticed on Tumblr, the tag system there is very simple to use. But here’s sort of my rule of thumb on posts for each:
Facebook - More lengthy posts, that you can then share the link to Twitter, photo albums (also great when reporters like myself need photos for features and I can easily download and give you guys credit)
Twitter - Announcements, fan engagement, teasers, etc., any media coverage
Instagram - Mini clips, teasers, etc.
Without disclosing anything, obvs, can you say why they didn’t have a good time with Seed&Spark? I just got hired to produce a show that’s about to launch a campaign with them (if all goes well- fingers crossed!)
The approval time took too long and I believe the time in which would allow them to actually receive their funds wasn’t ideal because of their shooting schedule. But disclaimer: I haven’t personally used them or spoken with the creators so I don’t know too much!
As a rule of thumb, I’d also looking to crowdfunding site FAQs!