Keys to building film festival audiences!

Film festivals need a lot of promotions & marketing to be successful!

Keys to building film festival audiences!

Keys to building film festival audiences! Film festivals need a lot of promotions & marketing to be successful!

Here are my favorite keys to building film festival audiences:

  • Email: Email is one of the most important marketing tools you have to promote your film festival. According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, email is still 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.The Austin Film Festival uses email for direct communication to their audience. They see most of their returns from dedicated email subscribers, and use an email marketing platform to compare and report email performance.
  • Social Media: Visual storytelling comes to us naturally. Humans process visuals faster than they process text. Considering our attention span is about 3.9 seconds long, presenting information as visuals just makes sense.
  1. Facebook and Twitter are the two most useful social media channels for growing your audience. Facebook is more conducive to marketing with information, whereas Twitter is best for shoutouts, retweets and community engagement.
  2. Instagram is good for brand building and photo sharing, but it’s still a relatively small platform.
  3. YouTube is great to post behind-the-scenes video content on festival events throughout the year to keep people engaged.
  4. Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube & LinkedIn combined. Mainly, the site now attracts women in the age range 25-44 who love fashion, home decorating and family related products. As it gains more of a following, this is bound to change.
  • Sponsorships and Partnerships: Sponsorships can be a huge gateway to growing recognition and audience. Partnerships with institutions, brands, and businesses can bring additional value to your festival through in-kind donations and exposure. Getting businesses and influencers to back your festival where there’s a mutual exchange will build the momentum and your reputation. Use this social currency to expand your reach.
  • One-on-one promotions: We’re bombarded by messages every day. Community Engagement Committees are a great way to engage with people directly, and bring your value to them.
  • Press-kits: I’m a big fan of press-kits. They ensure that reporters, bloggers your audience and sponsors have what they need. Key to success is an easy-to-find contact link and phone number.
  • Off-line promotions: Don’t forget newspapers, flyers, flags, posters, presentations at community meetings and events, cross-promotions with other festivals, etc.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for building film festival audiences! If you’re interested in our CS&I Film Festival PR/Marketing Template? Contact


Special Events without Sponsors? – No Way!

I’ve written a lot about sponsorships. Sponsorships are about building effective partnerships that enhance both an organization’s mission and the sponsoring company’s business goals. They are fundamental to your organization’s survival.

Special events are the main key to acquiring corporate sponsorships. And, they lead to other sponsorship opportunities beyond events, such as long-term strategic alliances, and cause-related marketing.

Marketers learned that programs that combine loyalty with value equal profits. Your relationships with your clients, volunteers and community provide that loyalty and help ensure the audience that your corporate partners want. While many marketing verticals are flat, sponsorships continue to grow and provide positive results.

Pat Kahnert, PBK & Associates Inc., is a Marketing Public Relations Effectiveness Consultant. He is committed to ‘Helping Business Leaders and Their Teams Build Better Communities’. Pat’s excellent checklist for designing sponsorships with confidence is a great tool when venturing into sponsorships:

Objectives –

  1. I know how to help sponsors connect with community through our event.
  2. I focus on desired outcomes and event audience needs and benefits.
  3. I ask key influencers to help me reach the right business contacts.
  4. I have done extensive research to determine preferences of sponsors.
  5. I have a personal contact plan in place for getting to know a prospect.
  6. I will focus first on friend raising and then embark on fund raising.
  7. I have allowed ample time for establishing a strong strategic”fit” with a sponsor.
  8. I understand my prospect’s business goals and primary audiences.
  9. All sponsorship partners are clear about objectives, roles and expectations.
  10. The contract has been signed with plenty of time to deliver on all promises made.

Implementation –

  1. We have developed a customer-centric sponsorship policy with our sponsor’s input.
  2. We have developed an integrated project map process to fulfill all obligations.
  3. My sponsor has agreed to serve on our event organizing committee.
  4. We have organized advisory councils (volunteers, sponsor employees, community)
  5. We have secured media sponsors to help raise profile and promotion.
  6. Sponsor logo recognition was approved and applied to our sponsors’ satisfaction.
  7. We follow a clearly defined risk management policy, with back-ups to everything.
  8. We proactively look for ways to leverage sponsor’s name and association.
  9. We stress professionalism, and give sponsors regular updates against plan.
  10. We facilitate personal introductions of sponsors to others involved.

Measurement –

  1. We measured what matters most to sponsors and their key stakeholders.
  2. We explained to our event audience what our sponsor’s role meant to their enjoyment.
  3. We often asked sponsors if they were pleased with value received so far.
  4. We thanked the sponsor publicly and one-to-one for making a difference for our event.
  5. We produced a summary of benefits (media, audience, logo recognition, value-added)
  6. We optimized promotional investment and publicity effort, keeping within budget.
  7. We appreciated the value of our sponsor’s total contribution (money, time and more).
  8. We shared feedback from audience, volunteers, employees and customers.
  9. We celebrated success and recognized important personal and team contributions.
  10. Our sponsor is delighted with results generated and will return next year.


If you have any questions, please contact me at I’ll gladly share my Timeline for Sponsorship Efforts with you.

Position Sponsorships as a Marketing Vehicle

Sponsors Mingle at Special Event

We all know that sponsorship is important to nonprofits and businesses alike. Sponsorship is all about marketing.

 Securing sponsors is about building effective partnerships that enhance your organization’s mission and the sponsoring company’s business goals. And, sponsorship is about raising money.

All sponsors want to reach as many people as possible in their target market. So, the more you know about your organization’s audience, the better your chances of securing sponsors.

But, do we know why special events are so significant in developing these relationships?

Chalk it up to experiential marketing – the best way to deepen the emotional bond between a company and its customers, through creating memorable experiences.

Experiential marketing is a well-known concept to business marketers. It is a great way to deepen the emotional bond between a company and its customers, through the creating of memorable experiences.

The goal is to establish a connection based on emotional and rational response levels and always contains a face-to-face interactive element. This is exactly what sponsors want. And, during a well-designed and executed special event this is exactly what they get!

On the other hand, special events are a way for the nonprofit to interact with its audiences including donors and prospective donors. They help raise the nonprofit’s voice in a crowded field and ensure that people will know who they are and what they do and why they are important.

Sponsorship guru Patricia Martin brings real focus to the issue with her post Just One Question to Ask a Sponsor in her Culture Scout blog post. She notes that no matter what shape the economy is in, sponsors still need to market their brands. And, what better way than in partnership with a cause?