16 Film Promotion & PR Strategies for your Independent Film

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Film promotion is a whole different exercise that most filmmakers don’t like to do, but it is one of the most important thing after and before making a film. Film promotion is done in various creative ways. 

Promoting a film means making the correct audience aware of an upcoming film. The main cast and director usually promote a film by talking about it in talk shows, interviews, reality shows, etc. Other essential ways are releasing a trailer, teaser, having posters circulated, etc.

But, for an independent film, the above-mentioned high-end formulas and film marketing strategies might not be possible. As a low-budget filmmaker, the best way to promote and market your film is through digital campaigns. 

The sheer vitality of film promotion brings us to this article where we discuss the top 16 online marketing and PR Strategies for your independent film.

Before one decides on a marketing strategy for a film, one must analyze three crucial factors which lead to successful marketing:

  1. Budget– An independent film has a minimal budget allotted for marketing and promotion. Thus, as a distributor or producer of the film, it is imperative to precise the final account that needs to be invested in the marketing campaigns. Once the budget is vivid, you can proceed to plan an effective marketing campaign.
  2. Target Audience– When you decide to make a film, your instinct will let you know your primary target audience. Target audience is the concept that narrows down the infinity of viewers to a specific age group and class. The familiarity of your film’s target audience helps to design the perfect marketing campaign in the ideal medium that tends to make your movie a commercial success.
  3. Medium of Marketing– The final step is to narrow down the medium of marketing. The decision of either choosing a traditional media platform or a digital platform must be vividly taken. You can also venture out to transmedia methods of marketing.

After you know the perfect media for promoting your film, the process of the positioning of your campaigns can begin.

Once the primary factors narrow down the objectives of marketing designs, you can finally decide how to market your independent film.

Why is a Film Promotion Strategy so important?

16 Film Promotion & PR Strategies for your Independent Film

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For the last decade social media has played the most important part in promoting a film. From YouTube to Facebook and now Instagram, film studios create so much enthusiasm about the film months befoe the release date.

Merchandise and the suspense keeps people searching for more information on social media and websites and the word ultimately spreads out to everyone.

And that’s the reason, without an online marketing plan, films have lower chances of box office success.

Several filmmakers have made their independent films a commercial success by applying correct promotional strategies.

This article will introduce you to the different seeds of the marketing and PR plant that will effectively bear fruits. We’ll also discuss how some of the commercially successful films were marketed to the audience.

Marketing strategies and public relations strategies are very close yet different from each other. One uses direct techniques to promote films, and the latter uses subtle formulas to create a feeling of desire among the masses.

Both techniques contribute to the effective promotion of your film.

The Online Film Promotion Techniques are:

  1. Film Trailer
  2. Social media campaign
  3. Influencer Marketing
  4. Online Ad agencies
  5. Film website or blogs
  6. Create social media profiles
  7. Viral Marketing
  8. Teaming up with Radio Channels

Let’s get into some detail about the above mentioned film promotion strategies for your independent film.

1. Film Trailer

Independent films are known to be creative and fabulous in their own ways. The trailer of your film must be a thrilling glimpse of your film. Remember not to reveal too much through your trailer or make it long.

A trailer must engage the audience with its storytelling elements in the first few seconds. Cloverfield, the 2008 film, released a mysterious trailer without the film name or any spoilers that intrigued the audience and drew immense engagement.

Stranger things, the 2019 Netflix Original series, released a 360 degrees trailer that let the audience gain a new and exciting experience. This engagement with virtual reality became a subject of discussion among viewers, consequently leading to consumers’ growth.

2. Social Media campaign

Social-Media-Campaign-Strategy-for-film-promotions

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

One of the biggest boons to the world is social media. With the introduction of social media, the marketing scenario has seen a drastic evolution. A social media campaign promoting your film might just be what you need.

Social media marketing has stepped up in the marketing game with the popularisation of hashtags. An independent film can be popularised among the exact target audience by using algorithms. 

However, more than technicalities, the content matters. You must have engaging content that will make a generic social media user who’s a compatible target audience stop scrolling.

3. Influencer Marketing

I think social media campaigns promoted via an influencer works 10x times more. Film marketing units have started using online influencer marketing that has contributed to the efficient growth of publicity.

Influencers with high followers can be hired to promote your film in their own innovative way. This appeals to their audience, and your film spikes up engagement.

Another reason why online influencer marketing has gained popularity is comparatively inexpensive than traditional influencer marketing. One can consider this method as an effective marketing technique for an independent film.

Online-Ad-agencies-for-film-promotion

Credit: sawyer-studios.com

The copyright game has been strengthened in the online world after the sheer popularity of internet services. With an upsurge of multiple online ad agencies, we have witnessed brilliant success stories and some great advertisements.

Hiring one advertising agency with its quirky ways to market brands can be another best choice for low-budget film promotion. However, before choosing an online ad agency, it’s best to look at their history at film promotion because film promotion is a lot different from commodity brands.

5. Film Website or Blogs

Once you surf through a search result page, you will come around a plethora of websites that celebrate film. Your online marketing strategy must target websites that have a dedicated audience.

Film websites can be paid to review your film or talk about it. As a result, their audience will come to know about your film from an influential medium. Thus, your low-budget film will attract the right audience.

You can also create a website of your film with blogs and news about the shoot, release dates, interviews, etc. However, you might have to invest in digital marketing professionals for launching a specific film website.

6. Create Social Media profiles

Create Social Media profiles for film promotion

Movie franchises like Marvel and DC, are great examples of creating a social presence online. These franchises make a unique presence over the viewers months before a film is finally released through their aesthetic, social media profile.

You can create profiles on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with an open space for creativity. Keep your fans updated about your movie and behind the scenes. Sticking to a dedicated format or aesthetic increases engagement.

Filmmakers have found Instagram and Twitter to be great mediums for film marketing and promotions because of obliging algorithms. Social media marketing techniques have been creatively used to promote films in the digital era.

7. Viral Marketing

Viral marketing in film promotion strategies

Credit: geekanything.com

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was marketed extensively through a very creative technique called viral marketing. It is so far the best marketing of film on a transmedia platform.

With the liberty to use the online medium, you can develop several techniques and content that tend to go viral. Contests, surprise gifts, some transmedia games, etc., are minute inspirations to learn from.

The only purpose of viral marketing is to make people talk about your film with a thrill. It is vital to analyze geographical and psychological factors before experimenting with content designs so that your movie unintentionally doesn’t attract negative publicity.

8. Teaming up with Radio Channels

You might consider radio as a forgotten mass communication platform, but it is still a prevalent medium that plays a significant role in brands’ marketing. Radio jargons and jingle are effective ways to grab audience attention and make a long-lasting impact.

Radio shows talk and review your film and develop innovative techniques and contests that grab instant audience attention. Not the primary, but a fundamental approach is a radio.

The PR Techniques & Offline Film Promotion Strategies are:

These PR marketing strategies are important while promoting any kind of film.

  1. Press Conference
  2. Live sessions with the Star cast
  3. Talk shows and reality shows
  4. Supporting a cause
  5. Online game contests
  6. Film festivals

1. Press Conference

The public wants to know about your film and what it represents, by you. The psychological studies reveal that word of mouth in any industry is crucial to building the foundation of a project’s success. 

The best way to elaborately introduce your audience to your film is by holding a press conference. A press conference is an event where journalists are invited by newsmakers who want to make an announcement or answer an important question.

You can talk about how your film was shot, the film’s budget, the special training taken by the star cast to justify a character, etc. People always like to know about things that led to a film and its characters.

2. Live Sessions with the Star cast

The star cast of your film might have an individual fan base that can be of great use. It is typical for filmmakers and their star cast to indulge in Instagram, Facebook, or youtube life to talk about their upcoming venture. 

Most independent filmmakers have used this tactic to draw attention from the netizens and make the film a success. Live sessions of the star cast have a personal influence on their friends and followers, making the audience watch a film.

However, independent films are also a medium to introduce new actors in the industry who may or may not have a considerable fan following. These actors can use intriguing techniques to announce their film and talk about it so that their profile gets more engagement.

3. Talk shows and reality shows

An online medium like youtube hosts several talk shows where your film can be talked about. These talk shows are meant for the primary purpose of promoting and marketing movies and brands, whichever format it believes in following.

The talk shows are one of the common concepts where you can talk about your film, how it was filmed, behind the scenes, etc. briefly, talk shows are an excellent way to initiate gossip about your venture that’ll eventually lead to your film’s engagement.

Measures must be taken before appearing in talk shows so that no significant spoilers are revealed or controversies are originated. These can backfire on your upcoming project.

4. Supporting a cause

Your film’s story may or may not highlight an issue (societal, political, psychological, or personal). The best way to make your film a trending topic is to engage with activities that indirectly help you gain an audience.

If your film revolves around a social issue, you might get involved with organizations that work for the betterment of society. These tactics not only make you inclined towards the betterment of society but also indirectly promotes your film.

5. Online Game Contests

Digital marketing campaigns that involve games and contests have tended to engage target audiences and secondary audiences. Some wildly successful films have used this strategy to highlight their films among the millennials.

Fantastic Beasts used clues on digital posters that made curious audiences log on to their official website and consume content. This led to hype about the upcoming film and its grand aesthetic.

Similarly, The Dark Knight’s marketing strategy created a buzz among the public with Gotham’s virtual world. Initiated 15 months before the film’s release, the marketing campaign extensively attracted audiences through online games, leading to the characters’ grand revelations.

6. Film Festivals

If you believe your film to be an appropriate fit for a film festival, you must register your film to one of those. Various film festivals are taking place in different parts of the world.

You can register your film for different categories and expect to get nominated. Check out how to correctly convey your film nominated in various film festivals to get a positive promotion among the cinephile community.

Conclusion

These methods can make your film a commercial success. You just need to invest in the right strategy that engages your audience and makes your film a trending subject.

Various filmmakers apply innovative designs to attract their target audience. Some of them are experimental but draw immense success. Some of the poorly designed methods also result in the unfortunate sag of the film.

However, with an expert marketing design with segmentation, targeting, and positioning, you can make your independent film a commercial and artistic success.

About the Author

Sarang Padhye

Being an avid film buff and a content marketer, I started this blog to provide the best information on screenwriting and filmmaking. Screenplays is certainly where it all begins. However, I also provide writing and advertising tips regularly through my articles.

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