As an experienced copywriter and media enthusiast, I’ve long been aware of how search and social marketing are changing online journalism. In my day job I see first hand how each serve clients looking to improve their web presence, but I was keen to know more about the mechanics of both.
While strengthening my knowledge in this area would undoubtedly give me more to offer in my role as an SEO copywriter, I would also have the perfect playground to test out the things I would be learning. As the person in charge of online marketing for the Grimm Up North movie weekender in Manchester, I was already using social networks for film marketing and festival promotion – but now I had the chance to see if I was doing it right.
Firstly, I addressed the ‘conversion versus branding’ debate, deciding that our event would be better using an optimised website to sell tickets, with social media creating a brand identity and greater awareness. Starting with Google’s AdWords, Analytics and Webmaster tools, I began a process of keyword research and site monitoring. In turn, this led restructuring the site to improve navigation and revising all on-site content to reflect a more search-friendly approach. Off-site, I began targeting some of the industry’s most influential bloggers and building a relationship that would trade ‘exclusive’ information and festival access in exchange for content and links on their pages.
Naturally, this external content began to feed into the existing Facebook and Twitter campaigns, allowing us to grow our list of followers and create a #GrimmUpNorth hashtag that would be monitored using Social Mention. Visitors to the main site could see – thanks to an integrated widget – the level of engagement we were having and join the conversation, which in itself became an incredibly useful tool for feedback during the weekend itself. Finally, an event listing was set up on Foursquare to reward users for checking in, with a special prize awarded to the Grimm Up North ‘Mayor’ at the closing night ceremony.
Once the film festival was done, I turned my attention to my own website FilmRant.co.uk, which would be where I would continue to publish my own film writing, but would document my adventures in film marketing, festival promotion and social media. Once again, I redesigned, restructured and optimised the site, using guest blog posts for linkbuilding and revitalising the existing Film Rant social networking channels.
If there’s one thing I’ll take as a hard lesson learned is that online film festival marketing – like any other search and social media campaign – requires careful planning. With this knowledge and much more, I will now approach future tasks with confidence, but with the readyness to adapt and grow in a field that changes every day.