I come from a marketing background. I spent 12 years in marketing in the corporate world before venturing out and starting our own ad agency. So when the time came to promote our series, I did what I would do in marketing any new venture. I thought I would take a moment and share some of our experiences with you.
1.) Be a pro: You want to make money at this? Then treat it like a business. One of the first things we do with new businesses at our day job is establish their look...their branding. And then we start putting together materials to promote that brand. These might be business cards, postcards or brochures. Or in this market, great looking graphics for your YouTube channel, Facebook page or other outlet that promotes your show. And a website. You are creating a web series. People are going to look for you on the web. We spent nearly as much time developing Shotgun Mythos' website as we did writing the show. It is constantly updated and is a place everyone from fans to cast to the media can go for more info about our show.
2.) Know Your Market: Knowing your market is key to promotion. You wouldn't try to sell opera CDs at a Rock concert. We have a sci-fi series. One of our first points of outreach was the sci-fi convention world. And we are getting a great response. We are able to get our show in front of viewers who love the genre we create. By combining that with step 1, and creating professional materials and cool giveaways, these events will be a great way for us to expand our fanbase
3.) Invest in Yourself: Shotgun Mythos is a full time job on top of our regular job. Clint puts in hours each day working on the production end of things, while I spend hours each day promoting it. If you don't have time, or just aren't comfortable, enlist help. Get friends, cast or fans to help you, or barring that, hire someone to help you. Just be careful that the person you hire is on the same page. Make sure they understand your show, and what you hope to accomplish. I am going to give you a checklist in a moment to help get you started.
4.) Be persistent but patient: It is not going to happen overnight, but your time and efforts will pay off.
- Website: Does it present the image you want for your show? Is it easy to navigate?
- Press Kit: This should include a press release about your show, as well as a synopsis and bios of key players.
- Promotional materials: These can take many forms...business cards, postcards, flyers, just make sure you have something with your show's information on it for people to pick up if they are interested.
Several great sites exist exclusively to feature content.. Some include both TV and web series, others are specific to web shows. Some sites for you to check out include:
- OVGuide.com: This online video site features 13 million unique monthly users. It is free to submit. It just takes a little time on your part. All of the instructions on how to submit your show can be found here http://www.ovguide.com/info/promote_web_series
- WebSeriesChannel.com: This site brings together great web content into one place. You can list your show, embed your episodes and find a new audience. Listing is free, and you can promote your show on the site for a small fee.
- Slebisodes.com: This site is in part a TV Guide for Web Series. It has a calendar of when new episodes are releasing and features info on those episodes as they come out. Their sister network NutralTV just launched. This site operates like a radio station, with a VJ introducing your show and promoting it before playing it. (There is a small fee for this one.)
- Contact your local media. Send out press releases and updates to them as necessary. We had two newspapers and a TV station come to our premiere and launch party. The clip from the TV station went out over the newswire, and as a result, info about our show was seen in 24 markets across the country.
- Press Releases: There are a lot of sites that offer free press release distribution. My favorite at the moment is prlog.org. They are easy to use, and provide you with stats to give you an idea of how you are doing. And you can upgrade your release for a small fee to expand your reach.
- Social Media: Never underestimate the power of an active social media campaign. You can keep up with fans of your show in real time, and give them breaking news, contests, calls to action and in general, keep them engaged in the show.
--Darla Gaige, Executive Producer, Shotgun Mythos, and co-owner of Growth Media Services