How To Promote Your Film Online

Note: This post was originally published in June 2013 and has been revised and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Making a film is all fun and games until you realize you still need to work after your film is completely done. The online world is changing quickly, and compared to just half a decade ago, putting a film on YouTube or Vimeo won’t guarantee you views.

Being prepared should be your plan of attack

We touched on this briefly in our Short Guide to Making an Awesome Short, your marketing preparations should start from pre-production creating posters, blogs and social media pages.

Having a simple web page with a blog set up can be very beneficial to your film. If that’s not an easy thing for you, creating a Tumblr page can be just as effective. A Twitter account just for the movie is not necessary, since you will always start from zero followers, you can use your studio’s account or your personal one and promote through that. However on Facebook, it is beneficial to create a Page for the film, where people can like it and constantly get easy updates. If your studio or production company is big enough you can just use it’s Facebook page, just don’t use your personal account as the main source of promotion, use it sparingly to bring your friends to your page.

Read also Seven Ways to Fail at Promoting Your Film Online

Description, keywords & SEO

But that’s all things done in pre production, now what do you do when your film just finished uploading online?

Start by finding a good title for your video. An important thing to keep in mind is to think like a Search Engine [read this interesting article on Thinking like a search engine on V3IM], think about the people that are looking for a film like yours, and what they would type to search for it. Your title should, or must include your movie title, putting your name is not necessary, unless your a well known person and your name is a commonly googled name, then use it for marketing purposes. Details like putting the term “short film” and the film genre in your title is at your discretion – but you don’t want it to be mixed up as the title of your film.

Description

The description is perhaps the most important part of video uploading and extremely valuable to search engines, even more than keywords. So make sure to write up a good synopsis with key words describing your film and its genre, or any word that can be commonly used to look for a film or subject like yours.

Many filmmakers do the mistake of leaving the description area empty, or just putting a link to their website. Believe it or not, lots of people read the description before watching, including myself when reviewing movies. And receiving so many films I often have to overpass films with no description or synopsis, especially if their main preview image is not convincing.

Good read: The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization

SEO - Description for Broken Cycle

SEO - Description of The Old Samurai

Writing your name and words like “short film” and film genre in your description is more important than in the title. Don’t need to write the entire cast and crew, but having the director, producer and lead actor can be beneficial. Add any links that can relate directly to your film, website, behind the scenes, Facebook and also links from a few websites that have reviewed your film will all generate traffic from whoever is interested in your short.

Keywords

Keywords for short film The GhostsYouTube and Vimeo both allow you to put keywords in your upload details. Keywords are not as effective as they used to be as search engines have become ever smarter, and now understand content and descriptions much better. Although keywords have fallen down the pecking order after Titles and Descriptions, it will not hurt to add certain relevant keywords to the video, again, use searchable words like the genre, and key elements directly linked to your film. ex. Drama, dream, apocalypse…

Articles

Writing articles about your film can get interest from people on the web. Talk about your ideas, how it came about and what pulled you through to make this story, but more importantly talk about your experience and tips to other filmmakers. This will add rich content connected to your film and will help in search results.

Besides your blog, a good idea is re-write your blogs on online article directory sites like Technorati, GoArticles and EasyArticles among so many others. These sites are usually limited in the number of links that can be added, but if your article is interesting people usually follow up by clicking on your profile and finding your site and film.

Online Submissions

The interweb can be a harsh place for young filmmakers, but great talent usually does not go unnoticed. The most important thing is not to give up and learn from previous experiences.

Any Filmmaker’s main goal would be to be featured on Vimeo’s Staff Pick Channel, which instantly generates millions of views. Unfortunately chances of being picked are very slim, but is always worth a try. Then there are curated sites dedicated to short films like our own, Film Shortage and Short of The Week, where the best films are chosen, reviewed and featured. These can serve as a great filter to bigger sites like Vimeo. There are plenty of other short film sites out there, like Online Short Films and House of Shorts, but these serve more as libraries rather than ‘featured’ sites. Still good to submit, but you will not get much recognition between the other thousands of shorts.

Finally, aim to submit to popular sites and blogs that are connected to your film’s theme. Sites like i09, Motionographer, Geeks are Sexy, LikeCool, Fubiz, DeadFix and IHeartChaos are few a few examples of sites that thrive on original content. A feature on one of these sites means instant visibility.

All this will take time, but with perseverance and rightful networking, it will pay off. And of course, making your films awesome will help and will probably define your success ultimately.

Now that your ready to promote your film, don’t forget to submit your awesome short to Film Shortage, so we can give you a hand in getting your film out there!

Good read: YouTube: Ultimate YouTube Guide To Building A Channel, Audience And To Start Making Passive Income (Social Media, Passive Income, YouTube)