How can I use the Internet to promote an interactive film and arts site?
July 7, 2006 9:15 AM   Subscribe

There are a lot of buzzwords being bandied about regarding the 'viral' 'grassroots' ways that 'Internet 2.0' can be used to 'create a groundswell' through 'guerilla marketing'. What? What do these buzzwords actually mean? After getting vague advice like 'use MySpace' by people with marketing degrees who don't use the internet to market anything, I am interested in cutting through the crap by hearing from real people with actual experience in these matters. How can the Internet be used to promote a site with interactive stuff, games and short film... and little-to-no budget for marketing?
posted by Elle Vator to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Three simple steps:

1. Have good content.

2. Have good content.

3. Have good fresh content.

I mean, Rocketboom isn't rocket science, but they have new stuff every day, it's almost always interesting and entertaining, and they get like a billion hits per second.

Oh, rule #4: Whatever some 24-year-old with expensive flip flops and a marketing degree says, ignore.
posted by ImJustRick at 9:33 AM on July 7, 2006

Well, alot of that means, make things that ppl like, so that they talk about it, and promote it to their friends. One way to think of Web 2.0 is the way in which collboration amongst many people creates more links to better content.

It's actually kind of a response to all the spammy, crappy content out there. Hence the popularity of something like, say, If a TON of fellow geeks like a link, then hey, it's probably worth my while to check it out. An infinity times more likely to get my click than say, a web banner (since I've never click on a banner in genuine interest).

Particularly the terms viral, grassroots, and groundswell. This is the result of lots of actual, real, unpaid ppl liking something and sending the link to their friends (think, Star Wars Kid; that guy who did that amazingly synced christmas lights display at his house, to techno; or more recently, that Diet Coke and Mentos schtick).

In the increasingly junkspace of the internet, real links that real ppl recommend are a godsend. Everyone has had an experience of searching for some info and having to click on about 10 links before something useful came up.

Insofar as your project, I'd recommend getting one killer cool thing that lots of ppl might like, then submitting it to some social rating link site (Fark, digg, even metafilter, although mefi link would usually have to be a very pithy, interesting link, like folks who explore abandoned buildings for fun while reciting Shakespearean sonnets in latin after downing a six pack of Beck's, or something).

My 2 cents, I am not a Marketing Person.
posted by eurasian at 9:34 AM on July 7, 2006

Content is king.

On the intarwebs, fresh content is king.

There's a whole grassroots marketing machine out there on the web that Metafilter, Digg, Slashdot, "the blogosphere," etc are a part of. If you can make content that people want to talk about, it will get talked about, and other people will hear about it.

Sadly, this seems to shift the dynamic in favor of short, funny bits of media, particularly in the film/video arena. If we can think of a way to leverage blogs to promote long form, serious content in the same viral way, that would be like, whoa.
posted by Alterscape at 9:45 AM on July 7, 2006

Make sure that your content is actually something new or interesting, especially if you are going to be looking for advertisers. Entertainment sites that feature funny videos, flash games, and the like are a dime-a-dozen, and you're going to be hard-pressed to get a lot of attention to a site like that. Why is yours different/better? Make sure there is something that makes it stand out.
posted by tastybrains at 9:50 AM on July 7, 2006

Response by poster: Okay, so here's where I am now...

Have good, fresh content? check.

Ignore entitled, inexperienced, perky marketing grad with silly shoes? check. (that was easy!)

Get stuff on taste making / social rating sites? will do.

This is the first I've heard of (for example) and it seems like an ideal place to post something about my site. Are there places specific to film? Specific to games? (for girls, especially - all the gaming sites I have come across are all guys on the forums) Specific to other types of interactive stuff?
posted by Elle Vator at 10:01 AM on July 7, 2006

Response by poster: PS

I'm going to stay general, but by 'interactive' I mean an interactive flash romance/adventure and things you can design yourself and send out, like e-cards, but better. Is there an incredible niche for this I may have not heard of?
posted by Elle Vator at 10:07 AM on July 7, 2006

An easy start is to post your site to
posted by voidcontext at 10:08 AM on July 7, 2006

1. Have good content.

Yes, and I'd add...

Have consistent content. Something new every single day. Do not skip a day. If you cannot do that, develop a fixed schedule of updates.
posted by frogan at 10:14 AM on July 7, 2006

Best answer: 1.
Guerilla marketing can be defined as any type of marketing that is non traditional. Some people extend the definition to simply mean any type of advertisement that is not consumed through TV, Newspaper, Radio Magazine or Billboard. The word "guerilla" imples that there is a blurred relationship between the advertiser and the advertisee. Usually (but not always) the person who is or represents the advertiser knows that he is advertising a product. On the flip side, the consumer does not usually know that a product pitch is happening. This can be viewed as deceptive or dishonest, though deception is not a necessary requirement.

Example 1: On 60 minutes or dateline there was a segment on guerilla marketing. The advertiser was red bull (or equivalent) and they hired a very attractive male/ female team to buy drinks for the opposite sex. The catch was that the advertiser recommended a red bull drink, and otherwise could not be differentiated from the casual bar-goer.

Example 2: Anything on this page might be considered guerilla.

Grassroots markeing is similar, but is different from guerilla marketing in that the marketers have no official relationship to the advertiser whatsoever. A buzz is created by enthusiasts for a product. It helps when these enthusiasts are popular and already carry weight in a community (A-list blogger, etc). But it is also "grassroots" when I tell my friend that I really like Jamba Juice, and he buys through my recommendation.

To answer your question, if you wish to promote a site on a shoestring budget, your best bet is to a) HAVE KICK ASS CONTENT b) find the influencers in your target community and establish a relationship with them. This can mean anything from getting them to link to your blog or more generally to network your way to powerful people. Grassroots is slow, time consuming and unclear how and when it works.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 10:28 AM on July 7, 2006

Best answer: Mashable recently had a great post on this - how AskANinja used zero marketing dollars and sites like MySpace, YouTube, Frappr, and Friendster to build a successful brand. Social networks are the way to go; add a profile to the aforementioned webites, digg yourself, add you site to and other social bookmarking sites, let other people add you to social bookmarking sites. As for video/film, don't limit yourself to YouTube, upload it to a variety of video sharing sites.

And include Web2.0 buzzwords. Lots of 'em. And rounded corners. Lots of 'em
posted by youarenothere at 10:29 AM on July 7, 2006

Have consistent content. Something new every single day. Do not skip a day. If you cannot do that, develop a fixed schedule of updates.
posted by frogan at 10:14 AM PST on July 7

I would say this is not something that should be a priority. Most people I know who read blogs are reading them through feedreaders, which tell them when Jim Bob posts again, whether it's been 30 minutes or 30 days. I still read Tofu Hut each and every time he posts because his posts are good, and if he were posting crap, even crap every day, I'd quit reading it.

There are a ton of film blogs out--if you haven't yet, take a look at Girish, Long Pauses, Filmbrain, The House Next Door, and That Little Round-Headed Boy. If you find something you like, make a comment. Where it asks in the comment submission form for your URL, provide it. People will read the comment and, if they like what you have to say (or if they hate it!), they'll follow through to your site. If they like your site they'll link to it, maybe in a post, maybe in the sidebar.
posted by Tuwa at 12:08 PM on July 7, 2006

P.S. about getting a link back: it might take awhile. Some people link right off; others wait awhile to see if the person does consistently good work. Patience is handy here. :-)
posted by Tuwa at 12:11 PM on July 7, 2006

Most people I know who read blogs are reading them through feedreaders

Well, I'd argue that the "most people you know" are significantly ahead of the mainstream curve, representing a small portion of a huge audience. I'd be shocked if more than 10 percent of the entire Web audience even knew what an RSS reader was. Granted, that 10 percent is pretty influential, so you should provide this feature. But don't rely on it to drive people to your site.

There are a ton of film blogs out

So there's a ton of film blogs out there that no one has ever heard of. outdraws them all, traffic-wise, by 10-to-1. Good content. New reviews every Friday.

In the end, what separates the great from the merely OK is content and professionalism. And consistency of product in both quality and quantity separates the cool sites from the sites that become daily stops. When something is a daily stop for someone, they're the most likely to share it with someone else ("read this, it's cool"), and that's the essence of "guerilla marketing."
posted by frogan at 1:20 PM on July 7, 2006

Yes, those are both good points, frogan. That said, I can't think of a single single-author site on the net that I consider a daily stop. All of them--metafilter, boingboing, even the dreaded slashdot--are co-operative weblogs. Maybe I'm atypical in that too.
posted by Tuwa at 2:30 PM on July 7, 2006

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