As a professional consultant, I work with productions and businesses to create publicity and find their influencers. Influencers are people and/or brands that share similar values and have a large, loyal following or community that will spread your message to an audience you are not yet connected to. Lately, I’ve been working with businesses more often than filmmakers and their productions (not surprisingly with Alberta’s film industry, like many regions around Canada and the world, being all but decimated in 2009-2010). Most of these businesses are a far cry from the “glitz and glam” inherent in media productions, however their initiatives are always creatively designed and told for the same reasons. To sell enough product to make the venture profitable .
Now, how does this apply to filmmakers? And as I sat down for coffee with one of my mentors, discussing strategies to promote my business, I had a “Eureka!” moment. Well, do you need investors? A viewing audience? Interested broadcasters? These people can be found in your community, if you build it strategically.
By adopting these same principles and tactics, you can build your brand as a filmmaker or professional in the screen industry. Here is a strategy that could work for you:
Business owners often collaborate to pitch stories, videos, etc. to the press — to attract visitors to their business, idea or project. For example, a shop owner and a condo developer can pitch a “live, work & play” segment in their community to a TV news producer. They get interviewed on camera, their businesses get on camera, and their information or links are in each caption. This happens for each television or radio broadcast and online or offline print edition.
A producer or filmmaker could collaborate to pitch a “live,work & play” segment that showcases a local actors’ studio (Why would the public care? They can take classes, learn a new skill, and nurture the creative arts), your business or current project (using those locally trained actors) and perhaps the local film commissioner or culture minister speaking on employment statistics for the local screen industry (don’t be afraid to approach them, they need good publicity too!). Press love these stories because they can be used any time of the year and are relevant to their audience. Invite them to an event or to your office for an interview. These pieces are used to validate your place in the community, they reinforce your values and help build relationships with your potential broadcasters, investors and audience.
What segment could you pitch to the press? The press publishes what the public wants to read about. So, when putting the elements of your pitch together consider the following questions:
- Why will the general public care about this?
- Will it benefit the community (Locally? Provincially? Nationally? Globally?)
- Who will want to be associated with your Business or Project?
- Do the elements all share the same values?
- Does each member of your “pitch” team bring their own unique community of followers?
And finally, the most important part really, you’ll need to update. Whether it’s your website, Facebook page, Twitter page or whatever link you give the press, this will be where they look first to verify your pitch, your audience, your authority and your business or current project.
Have an idea of a segment to pitch? Put it in your comments and I will take a look at it for you in the next week. No one can steal your pitch, as there is a endless variety of ways to put the elements together and position them for the press to take notice. So start brainstorming!