Okay class, if you're that budding filmmaker, video producer, microbudget filmmaker, you name it and you are creating
It's all "content" in the marketing world these days.
So you have to have a plan to share it.
If you're a budding filmmaker, you have short films to share. It's always disheartening when you hit 1,000 views or less.
Dumping it online and praying about it can work. Yes. God is awesome.
For example, Darren Wilson said his first film's strategy was none other than putting it up on Amazon - and it worked.
Will God always blow down the doors and throw 1,000,000 impressions your way? No.
By the same token, if you fail to reach even 500 people, does that mean there is some spiritual oppression? Please...
Like David or Joseph before him, we spend seasons in development. Your favorite directors did too. Shoot, read about Sly Stallone. I bet you don't think of him when you think of your short list of directors/writers. Like Clint, he will likely never receive the Oscar for acting. But his stories have.
Back on track: you need to ask people for help with sharing your content.
It's a murky world out there, and it's super crowded online.
YouTube is a powerhouse. Periscope alone had over 40 years of video consumed daily - and that was in August of 2015. Hehe. Remember Periscope?
So what's your plan?
It should include asking for help. Remember, when it's in God's will, we just need to ask (cf James 4).
Yes, titles this long are bad for SEO, but come on. It's the Mighty Mississippi.
And frankly I don't care today if the title is hurting the SEO for this post. God's bigger than SEO, I'm from GA, and Bob's your uncle.
Yes, cold-call someone. Unlike email, it can't be filtered into spam/promotions/updates folder.
Call 'em. Can't find their info? Scout them out on Linkedin. Find their email (coming up next). Hire someone on Upwork to find their contact info: phone #, emails, etc. Build a list.
Have a script ready. Get past their admin if you can, and if you can't, always leave a message, as the good Uncle G has taught me.
Get them on the phone and ask for help (note: this works for your video production too).
You: Hey Sydney, this is Frank; is Steve there?
Admin: No, he's on a call right now. I can have him call you back.
You: Absolutely, do you have a pen and paper? I'd like to leave a message.
Admin: Okay hold on.
...or, you get the person on the horn...
You: Hey Steve, this is Frank. Am I calling you at a bad time?
Person: What's this about?
The phone scares me. It still does. But, we haven't been given a spirit of fear, and if you're going to be a filmmaker, trust me, you and your phone are going to be good buddies; keep a charger handy.
So face that fear. I do every working day too.
1. Use email
It's tough being a cold-caller.
I was that guy in the summer of '15. I called over 700 recovery ministries.
Thick skull here and apparently a thick skin too (need both for filmmaking). I wanted to see if what few videos we had were going to be useful to those groups.
Guess what the conversion rate was?
It was awful. I think we had two recovery ministries sign up for our Kickstarter campaign in 2015. Two out of 700+ that I reached out to.
Cold-calling is tough.
Let's break it down. Cold-calling interrupts someone's day. All you're accomplishing is "Hey, look at me! My time is more important than yours."
Tough job anyone?
It's quick though. And it won't see the dreaded filters/folders we talked about above. Still, at some point, you'll want to couple emails with those phone calls. And if you're strapped for ideas, use some of the same creative energy you would use if this were a video production prospect or client.
In my first 6 emails using the Brian Dean method, I heard back from 3 people within 24 hours and one of them (Paul) went ahead and shared the Church Films content.
Thanks Paul for your help! If you're looking for his blog, check out his bold predictions on the state of abandoned mega churches ten years from now.
You didn't explain the Brian Dean method!
Read on amigo.
2. Don't copy the bad copy
Copy refers to the written word here.
And here is a fine example of bad copy.
a. No picture. Red flag!
b. My name is??? I'm not obsessed with myself, but last time I checked, if you're going to make a sales pitch, learn your prospect's name.
c. Show me these results instead of flapping your jaws about them.
d. Such as? Really. Show me what you're talking about. How else do I know you're qualified?
e. Bad spelling? Come on spammer!
These examples are pretty darn lazy copy, and their conversion rates are probably less than 0.05%. The old math teacher in me can't help but illustrate: that's less than 5 out of every 10,000. Shucks, it might be worse.
- It's impersonal.
- It ignores basic facts about the person or group.
- It's spammy.
Promise me you won't do this. Ever.
Have you ever launched a Kickstarter campaign? It doesn't matter how little of an "online presence" you carry - these guys will come out of the woodworks with spam-riddled emails that don't even acknowledge your name.
Don't be this lazy.
Solomon said there's nothing new under the sun; no matter how slick you think you are, follow the guys who are doing it better than you.
3. Send a warmup email
This idea has worked really well ever since I learned the strategy from Brian Dean from backlinko.com.
Essentially, you're just introducing yourself. Usually there is some sort of connection you can start with (be genuine):
- Stephanie, I am a big fan of Crowdfire. I've tripled my Instagram following in 5 days since using it.
- Bob, I saw that you shared the top ten faith-based films of 2015 on Twitter. That article from JimClimbAWall was amazing, and already I've scratched three of those films off my list.
- Hey Chuck, I love your blog. That post on baking corn bread with sweet corn and dulce de leche opened my eyes and I realized I've never had corn bread before.
Then you can ask if they'd be interested in a related piece of content (blog post, video, song, etc.), and if it would be alright to share it with them.
Sometimes, despite your truest intentions and claims, people will be extremely guarded. I don't get 'em often, but sometimes, people are just tired of being burned.
Be yourself, care for those around you more than yourself, and if someone wallops you, agree and stay positive.
Okay, in fact, two days before this blog post hit the airwaves, I got this in my inbox:
- No name; false start. 5 yard penalty.
- Connection? Yeah I remember that. Ok.
- Made the ask to share the content? Check.
- 2 out of 3 - did I want to help? Check.
The final step, and one that you can see in the above example is to say thanks.
Thank your POC for their time and encourage them. After all, we're called to encourage and build one another up.
In the above example, I wrote this lady Aileen back with the greenlight to send her script. It is a feature, and I was honest when I said I would not read it, but she gave her blessing to share it. You can download it here and contact her here.
4. Follow up with the content and an offer to do some leg work
Your next and final step is to send the content along when you hear back from the person.
And ask if they want a custom intro to share it.
One person (out of dozens) has taken me up on this so far. They wanted to tweet the content, and I so I gave them a custom tweet.
Another just shared it directly to the Facebook page they managed and let me know it had results - not great results, but okay results.
Here's the deal.
Most people (most) are reluctant to send you away empty-handed. Innately, it's the Golden Rule. We WANT to help others (also see what Simon Sinek talks about).
We genuinely want to help others with something. Why? It's how we are hard-wired.
Which is why most people, if approached respectfully, are willing to tweet about your new post.
Or share your video.
Or email that dropbox file to someone who needs to hear your stirring melody.
Or link to your blog post inside of their blog that gets 1,000 unique visitors a day.
A lot of folks get so busy, they won't respond. That's fine.
If they don't respond, then you're not the droid they're looking for. Try again. Or move along. I prefer the former.
Note: if you don't get a first response from someone (be it a job application, a new lead, etc.), wait at least three days if you must shout at them again (more often for the brave, obsessed, or in-it-til-I-die crowd only) . Likewise, if you wait too long (greater than 10 days I would say), you could be a fly chasing a runaway locomotive.
Now get to work.
If you're in film, great. You can't do it alone. I pitch people every day a new idea or job proposal.
I also share and promote Church Films content every working day. I ask people for help too.
And you need to do the same or your video will never reach 1,000 views, let alone 10,000 views.
Why do you care about 10,000 views again?
Because you want to impact 10,000 lives with the message of hope, true freedom, unconditional love, grace - you name it.
Since using the Brian Dean method, I've had two phone conversations with gents that I would have never connected with if it hadn't been for this simple, non-threatening, non-spammy way of breaking the ice.
Both conversations were fruitful and will lead to future chats. One of the conversations led me to a group called "The Increase." They're hq'd in Colorado, and I managed to connect with those guys when I originally penned this post in March of '16.
So where are you stuck?
What's holding you back from reaching out and asking for help?
I've put together a swipe file of email templates I've used in the past, including the best one I'm using right now to reach out to people that's getting a roughly 33% response rate.
To get in on all of the action, download the goodness here.
Less than one in ten of you reading this will do this.
Most of us settle. Don't do it. You carry the greatest story ever told and that's still being told.
a. Identify one piece of content - something you worked on. Right now. Write it down, clip it to Evernote, pin it - whatever you have to do.
b. Then look on Twitter for 10 people who have shared a related piece of content.
Use Buzzsumo if you're lost in the sauce and don't know where to find related content.
c. Email all ten of them asking them if it's okay to share your content with them.
d. Write down how many respond. Then follow up and ask if they will share it or blog about it (whichever is appropriate - not everyone blogs).
e. Then write down how many end up sharing the content.
f. Thank them and be sure to return the help someday. You can leave 'em a review: Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.
You can do this with a video, song, infographic - you name it. Be creative like our Father is and be bold in telling the greatest love story ever told.
Original: Mar 4, 2016. Updated: Mar 11, 2017.