The March DC Film Salon offered tips from Allied Integrated Marketing on promoting your independent movie or documentary. The salon is a free monthly networking opportunity for film and video professionals.
The meetup began at six, allowing filmmakers plenty of time to mingle before the presentation started at 7. There were about forty people at the super-hip Gibson Guitar Room, one of my favorite venues in DC. Located near the Verizon Center, it’s a beautiful space complete with a piano and scores of electric guitars.
After showing a “sizzle reel” (a flashy intro movie about their agency), Ivory Zorich and Gloria Jones from Allied Integrated Marketing shared their expertise on how to bring a film the attention it deserves. Allied Integrated Marketing is a marketing agency that specializes in the entertainment industry. They have offices around the country, including a small one in DC.
Ivory and Gloria shared examples of how they promoted the films that they represented. Their talk held some interesting tips for anyone promoting a product:
- All marketing is local these days. Even in Washington, newspapers want to see a local angle. You can’t just have a story about a movie – you have to tie it to the local community somehow. For example, if one of the stars is from the area.
- Secondary press partners are key. These are smaller publications like the City Paper that are easier to pitch too.
- Use niche marketing. For example, with the film Sin Nombre, they targeted Latino audiences. Milk was aimed at the LGBT community.
- Tastemaker screenings are another useful marketing tactic. These are preview screenings for “tastemakers” in the community, i.e., influential people who love movies.
- Partnerships. If you have a documentary about AIDS, then you should partner with AIDS organizations to get the word out.
- New media. They mentioned Brightest Young Things as a “hipster” site to reach out to. (I am not hip – I find BYT to be unfathomable.)
One question I had was, “How do you measure results?” That’s difficult to do, according to Ivory and Gloria. It’s hard to tell if a movie’s success comes from PR or something else. I think that’s part of the reason why the field can be so frustrating to people – if I bought Google Ads, I can track how they’re performing. But how do you measure schmoozing tastemakers?
Still, these are all excellent ideas for getting the word out about your movie, or your product. The most important thing is to think about your movie from the perspective of the audience, and tailor your efforts accordingly.