Monday, 31 July 2017

Making It So

Who would have thought that a Star Trek captain would hold the answer to unlocking Audience numbers?....

So, it has occurred to me that the area of Social Media sales is being sold as the new cash cow for our generation. Got a product, got a service, a film or a show? Need bums on seats? Need investment? Well then all you do is mention it on Twitter and you will be able to hear the sound of wallets opening. All you have to do is wait and your bank account will soon be bursting with money as people invest or buy tickets. Social Media is seen by many as the virtual London streets paved with gold and it is leading to disillusionment, failure and people giving up and walking away. Surprise, surprise people do not just hand over money and you need to be a lot cleverer if you want your creative project to make it over the finish line. I make no apologies for the Picard image as it embodies exactly what I am getting at, YOU have to get off your backside and make it happen! Unless you are lucky enough to be affiliated to a massive production house, film studio or you are Andrew Lloyd Webber then your show will fail if you don't attract your own audience. Actually, even if you are Webber there is no guarantee your show will do the business and he has had his fair share of failure. I am proud to work in the independent film and theatre sectors and most of my clients do not have the budgets to attract named stars. In fact I believe this is a positive as they are have to rely on the attraction of a well told story and cast that perfectly fit the parts they are playing. When Independent Theatre and Film is created well it eclipses big budget as it doesn't just lazily rely on Brad Pit being all Brad Pitty to sell tickets. There is a downside though, you have to get out and tell people about it and you have to do it a lot. It involves time, effort and passionate enthusiasm that will engage with your audience. So, engaging with your target audience on social media is a lot more than simply dumping tour dates or a trailer and hoping that people will click on links and buy what you are selling. Do this and you will fail, because people wont just buy! 

I think its about time that creatives face the horrible reality, if they haven't already, you are the best person to sell your project and you are the only person who can connect with the audience. The other big change that needs to happen is that PR and Marketing has to be seen as much more than an ancillary service or an add on when the film making process has been completed. Sales and Marketing is not an after thought and, if you want your project to be actually seen by anyone, you need to start budgeting for promotion. It isn't free and you are unlikely to succeed on your own! No man is an island and no more is this true than with creatives. PR services have so often been viewed as the service that you pay over the odds for and are who you just leave to weave their dark and shadowy spells without your involvement. This doesn't work with the mainstream and it will never work within the independent sectors. My most successful projects have seen the PR element seamlessly woven into the film making process. It has involved consultation and hard work with many hours of discussion to tailor a solution that fits with the project. When you want to increase your audience you don't just pay for PR and leave them to it? Why would you treat your project with such little respect? You are your project and you are still tasked with engaging with the audience. Why? because they belong to you! Perhaps the blame can be attributed to the PR companies that support this viewpoint and effectively take the money and run. This is also the reason why I set two companies that directly work against this widely held belief. I don't work with national press and I work closely with creatives who are interested in growing their audience and engaging. It can be a scary prospect but I believe it is the only way that develop and cultivate an audience. You need more than ticket sales, more than investment, you are seeking the most valued and hardest to find commodity in the world. What you need is brand loyalty, you require nothing less than an audience that is so motivated to support that they will cheer with you as you cross the finish line. 

Engage with your audience and make it so! 

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