You can have the next Citizen Kane or The Godfather under your belt, but if no one knows about you or your film, it will simply end up in a pile of trash. That’s the sad truth about this industry. However, that’s where film marketing comes in.
Film marketing is a critical component of the filmmaking process. We get it, independent filmmakers working with smaller budgets already juggle multiple responsibilities — whether it’s writing, directing, producing, casting, production design, and storyboarding, etc. You have too much going on to worry about marketing your film.
However, those who manage to successfully market their films and gain film exposure are those who find the most success with their work.
Film marketing is not an easy task, but it’s a worthwhile one. Typically, well-established filmmakers obtain marketing and promotion from major production companies and distributors. But independent filmmakers who lack those resources will need to figure out the best film marketing strategies on their own.
So, with that being said, let’s go over the intricacies of film marketing and some of the best ways to properly promote and market your independent films.
What Is Film Marketing?
Film marketing is essentially the activities and strategies filmmakers use to promote and bring in audiences for their films.
Film marketing is like storytelling. The marketer’s job should be to spark interest and to engage and connect with new audiences all over the world.
Much like directing and cinematography, film marketing is a major determining factor for the success of a film. Without it, you might as well not have made the film because no one will see it.
The most successful film marketing campaigns begin in pre-production because it’s important to promote and advertise your film throughout the production process.
Check out our previous blog post where we discuss pre-production more in-depth for those looking to learn more about this process.
Film marketing is more than just creating a marketing plan for individual films — it’s also about marketing yourself.
The film industry is very competitive and can be challenging for young filmmakers to break in. The best way to get your foot in the door is by properly marketing yourself and networking with others.
Take a look at more film marketing techniques in our previous blog post if you’re interested in learning more about marketing yourself.
Create Useful Marketing Materials
Before any marketing takes place, you should write up a list of marketing materials needed for any future film promotions and advertisements.
To do this, you will need to determine what your brand is. The brand of your film is simply the stylistic and thematic choices of all your media, imagery, and positioning tactics. It’s what distinguishes your film from other films.
Some of the branding materials you’ll need include movie posters, the design of your website’s landing page, profile pictures for social media platforms, etc. Your brand will ultimately be how your audience perceives your film, so make sure your materials match with the tone and message you want people to feel from watching your film.
Utilize Social Media Platforms
Once you’ve figured out the brand of your film, one of the first things you should begin doing is building a social media presence. According to the MasterClass article, “How to Promote Your Independent Film,” online marketing platforms, specifically social media, outweigh TV marketing for films in today’s media market.
Social media is one of the best places to build an audience and market your film. It’s also an easy way to connect with your audience on a more personal level and to maintain interest and relevancy throughout your production.
There’s plenty of social media platforms you can use for your film. Some of the best sites to use include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, you’re not limited to using these sites. Go out and make a Tumblr, Google Plus, and even TikTok. Anything that will help increase your film’s exposure is useful.
Some content ideas you can post on your social media accounts can be release day count downs, behind-the-scenes footage, cast and crew bios and fun facts, milestones reached, trailers, teasers, etc.
Be creative and try to keep your followers and audiences engaged.
Build A Website
Having a website can be a great promotional tool for your film. Your website can act as your home base and headquarters where people can go for updates on your film and subscribe to email lists potentially.
Gather an email list from your website can be of great benefit to your film marketing efforts. Having your site visitors’ information can allow you to keep people updated and informed with everything going with your film.
You can also sell tickets or include links to streaming outlets or showtimes at local theaters in your area on your website.
Make sure to match the look and design of your website’s landing page with the brand of your film. Make sure to spice it up and be creative. If you’re not familiar with building a website, look into your creative network and find out if there’s anyone who can help you out with this project.
Create Teasers And Trailers
Once you’ve pinpointed your target audience, you’re going to need to grab their attention. One of the most common ways film marketers generate interest is through movie trailers and teasers.
It can take a good amount of time to create a film, so one of the best ways to keep your audience engaged and interested is to release trailers. You don’t have to be completely done with production to generate a trailer, especially a teaser.
A teaser can be a short promotional video ranging from a few seconds to 30 seconds. Whereas a trailer can range from one to two minutes. You have the power to be creative with the length and content of the trailer, just make sure that your trailer does a good job hooking and grabbing the attention of your audience.
You want them to want more, so be smart with the footage you choose to use in your trailers.
Once you’ve completed your trailer and/or teaser, feel free to post them on your film’s website and social media pages to generate more exposure.
Create Press Releases
Generating great press can help your film marketing efforts and film exposure. Press releases, a component of press junkets, can help spread exposure through word of mouth.
Not everyone finds trailers, ads, or promotions directly from the filmmakers appealing because they don’t know whether or not to trust it. However, if you’re able to build their trust another way — such as with friends, coworkers, bloggers, film critics, influencers vouching for the hype of your film.
Before you write a press release, you need to figure out what about your film production is newsworthy. You want to generate interest and engagement with the story you tell in your press release.
Check out Filmsourcing’s guide for creating press releases if you’d like to learn more.
Filmmaking is more than just creating films — it’s also about generating interest and building audiences.
Independent filmmakers struggle the most when it comes to generating interest and exposure for their films. So film marketing is given much more emphasis to smaller productions.
Film marketing, however, can be a very fun experience, especially when finding and connecting with new audiences around the world interested in your work. You get to interact with and share some joy with your loyal fanbase eager to see all your hard work on the big screen.
If you need funding for your film or marketing efforts, don’t forget to check out our one-sentence pitch competition for the chance to win up to $10,000 in funding.