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 things after and before making a film. Film promotion and PR strategies are a must these days for independent films to get seen by the world. If you can’t market it, you won’t have anyone to watch.

Film promotion is done in various creative ways. But what is the best marketing strategy for your independent film? There is no one rule that fits all. Instead, there is a lot to consider when crafting your film promotion and PR campaign.

In this post, I will divulge important tips for boosting your films’ reach through some tried and tested film promotion and PR strategies

What Is Film Promotion?

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 and a teaser, circulating posters, 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:

Budget

An independent film tends to have a minimal budget allotted for the sole purpose of promotion and marketting. Thus, it is imperative to be precise on the final account that needs to be invested in the marketing campaigns. 

On the other hand, a project with the financial backing of a studio would be able to afford more investments and a better promotional campaign. Once the budget is settled, you can proceed to planning an effective marketing campaign.

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 infinite number of viewers to a specific group of people.

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.

Mode of Marketing

The final step is to narrow down the way you will be marketing your film. The decision of choosing a traditional media platform or a digital platform must be taken carefully. You can also venture out to transmedia methods of marketing for movies.

After you know the perfect media for promoting your film, the process of positioning 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

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

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 before the release date using social media platforms.

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

And that’s the reason why, without an online marketing plan for a successful film marketing campaign, 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 websites or blogs
  6. Create a social media presence
  7. Viral Marketing
  8. Teaming up with Radio Channels

Let’s get into some details 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 way. 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 too 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. However, as an independent filmmaker, 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 hyped up among the exact target audience by using specific algorithms and tactics. 

However, more than technicalities, the content matters. It’s surely effective but challenging to create social media videos that are worth watching and sharing.

You must have engaging content that will make a generic social media user who’s a compatible target audience stop scrolling.

You may want to consider releasing a short promotional video on social networking sites or some behind-the-scenes footage that would give exposure to your film, create awareness as well as make your audience crave more.

However, make sure that there are no spoilers in the content you release as part of your film marketing plan.

3. Influencer Marketing

I think social media campaigns promoted via an influencer work 10x times better than other marketing strategies. 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 that it is comparatively inexpensive than traditional influencer marketing. One may 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 ever since the increase in popularity of internet services. With an upsurge of multiple online ad agencies, we have witnessed brilliant success stories and some great advertisements.

Hiring an advertising agency with its quirky ways to market brands can be another great choice for low-budget film promotion. However, before choosing an online ad agency, it is advisable to check out their history with independent film marketing because film promotion is very different from commodity brands.

5. Film Websites or Blogs

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

Film websites can be paid to write an excellent film review for you 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 for 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 A Social Media Presence

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 to create a buzz.

You can create profiles on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with an open space for creativity. Keep your fans updated about your movie, sticking to a dedicated format or posting aesthetic content. This also 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 by far the best method for marketing a 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 from which you can learn.

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 jingles 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. Perhaps not a 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. 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 press releases. 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 the building of 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 more eager to 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 discussed. These talk shows are meant for the primary purpose of promoting and marketing movies and brands, using 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 promote your film.

5. Online Game Contests

Digital marketing campaigns that involve games and contests tend 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 it for one of those. Various film festivals are taking place in different parts of the world.

You can register your film for different categories to get nominated. Check out how to correctly convey your film nomination 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, however, result in the unfortunate sag of the film.

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

About the Author

Disha Saha

Disha is a media student with a soft corner dedicated to film, music, literature, and arts. Apart from being able to escape the real world through fiction, she enjoys being productive as a content writer and marketer. She is also passionate about photography and admires aesthetics. Check out her Linkedin profile.

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