email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on reddit pin on Pinterest

Industry Report: Marketing

Content Marketing for Filmmakers Part 2 (Digital Content Strategies Conference)


- Read Zack's second part of how films as content can get top space on the internet.

Read Zack's second part of how films as content can get top space on the internet.

Zack's first part contained these useful tips:


•   The Web is used predominantly as a learning tool, so in your content strategy it's imperative to build in an informative component - 46% of Web users want a question answered and 28% are looking for education on a topic. 

(The article continues below - Commercial information)


•   Use Yahoo! Ask and do research on what kinds of questions are being asked in your area (perfect for documentaries!)  Build some of your blog posts around these questions and use your social media efforts to support this.


•   Make an editorial calendar (download a free one here.)  It's important to keep to a schedule so you can begin to create a lot of relative content on your site.  Google loves this and it will increase your rankings along with getting you more followers/readers.


•   Do comparisons and lists and find a way to make them relevant to your subject (yes, people still love top ten lists!) - Superman vs. Batman, Homeland vs. Zero Dark Thirty, you get the idea.


•   "Interviews make you the expert."  This is a great idea for content - find experts in your field and interview them.  It's a win-win.  This includes VIDEO!

A couple weeks ago I did a post about Content Marketing for Filmmakers and after attending the intimateDigital Content Strategies Conference (DCSC) last week, and realizing yet again - I WAS THE ONLY FILMMAKER THERE - I thought I'd better keep banging the drum with a follow up.  It's a new world out there and unless you have a ten picture deal at Warner Bros. it's important for everyone who creates filmed content to start learning how brands and marketers think. 


Films are brands and unless you are making them for pure art's sake they have to be treated as commodities in a crowded marketplace.  Getting to the top of YouTube is as much an exercise in brand awareness and SEO (Search Engine Optomization) as in creating great content.  At the Variety TV Summit uberproducer Chuck Lorre was asked by an audience member whether he would consider opportunities in working directly with brands that want to finance content and series.  He guffawed and said, "It sounds horrible!"  ...Easy to say when you are at the top of the broadcast food chain.  


Proof is in the pudding: Just this week, a focused Content Marketing discussion came in handy and helped convince a distributor to raise his offer on our new film by 15% because he admitted that they are having a hard time cracking YouTube and social.   I offered some advice and said my team would be more than happy to support his staff during the release; twenty-minutes later he sent an email with a higher offer.  That said, here's some takeaways from Global Strategic Management Institute's DCSC.  


Two days of Content Marketing - Even though it was GSMI's first outing for putting on a content strategy-focused event (they specialize mainly in Social Media Strategy events) everyone was impressed by the level of speakers and attendees that attended.  Online marketing luminaries such as DeAnn Wright (Lead Content Strategist for eBay), Jonathan Perelman (Buzzfeed, formerly of Google), and Cheemin Bo-Linn (big-data guru at Peritus Partners) shared tips and strategies with high-level representatives from Hershey's,, A+E Networks, and others.

Lead Experience Architect Jonathon Colman of REI was hilarious and his presentation offered a lot of candid insight into the way a global independent brand like REI uses content to connect with its loyal consumers.  He made a great point by saying, "Write from your audience's need out, not from the keywords in."  He's referring to Google's keyword generator tool which all SEOs use to determine what words people are searching for on Google and how that affects whether a web-page is indexed highly or not.  He added, "Search engines reward you for building brands, not using keywords."  What he's talking about is what I like to call the "art of content marketing".   As Google's algorithms get smarter and smarter, it's not as easy as it used to be to game the system to get a high ranking (thank God!)  The techniques of basic SEO still apply, but engaging, relative CONTENT is more and more important.

Brands are becoming media companies - Jeff Nowak of savvy new content agency Rocket Man Digital(previously of General Mills) gave an insightful look into how a massive brand is literally financing and distributing content.  His presentation offered step-by-step examples of how the big boys at General Mills create media and content strategy.  (I had no idea they owned shows like Bewitched and Third Rock From the Sun!)


Social Media and Content Integration - Pam Didner, Global Marketing Strategist for Intel offered her solutions for integrating compelling content into a social marketing strategy.  The audience was impressed by her candidness when she openly admitted that while "Intel does a lot of things right, sometimes they really don't."  Her presentation showed concrete examples of using raw footage (behind-the-scenes) as additional content around a campaign or center-piece production.  All those DVD extras from five years ago?  Upload them to your YouTube channel NOW!  Clips of your actors goofing off on set?  Upload it now.  Pam is also a proponent of "Think big.  Distribute small."  Once you have your high-concept content, whether it's a whole film or just a publicity stunt, it's important to reach out on the small social levels directly to your fans and supporters to prepare them for the actual release of the content.  She describes how one piece of event content can have many different smaller and engaing pieces of social interaction pointing to it.

More insight into the big boys - DeAnn Wright, Lead Content Strategist at eBay gave a very forthright and step-by-step instructions on how eBay approaches its content strategy and site design.  This presentation alone would have been worth the price of admission!


Veteran Content Strategist Ahava Leibtag's presentation really summed up Content Marketing by pointing out that it involves all types of content surrounding a topic - She reminds us to ask the following to create an effective content marketing strategy:
What does my audience need to know?
What are the best content types to get those messages across?
What technology platforms make the most sense? Which social media tools do we us?
How did we do? Can we do better?
How are we caring for our brand across the Web and within the ecosystem of content in our organizations?

Download her "Creating Valuable Content Checklist". 

Ahava finished with a great quote from Charles Darwin that pretty much sums up how modern indie filmmakers need to think,


"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent,

but the one most responsive to change."


I'm going to keep banging this drum.  Feel free to join me.

Please COMMENT with your own experiences and thoughts below.


Written by Zack Coffman, Head of Content, Distribution, & Strategy at One World Studios Ltd.  He is an award-winning producer specializing in online strategy and monetizationlive streaming, and YouTube channel development.  Connect with Zack on LinkedInGoogle+, and @choppertown.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy