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


4 P’s + 1P = Good path to focus on local community


Separate yourself not from the community – Pirche Avot 2


I just love when the universe hears me. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the significance of local initiatives and how important they are. Maybe I’m a contrarian, but as the world becomes more global I’d like to see people focus on their communities.

So, I was thrilled when I came upon two posts that spoke to local issues. The first, Local Businesses Need to be Findable by Paul and Sarah Edwards had suggestions that in my mind worked as well for nonprofits as businesses.

According a Local Consumer Review Survey, 85% of people use the web to find local businesses. Do you know how many of your clients/donors/event participants use the web to find your nonprofit? If you don’t have a website or are unhappy with what you do have, consider some alternatives:

  • Get a free listing on Google Places.
  • Create a Facebook page for your nonprofit. You can find oodles of posts on how to use Facebook for your nonprofit.
  • Make sure you have a presence on LinkedIn. Invite members of your community to Link to your page. Join relevant groups that touch the issues in which your nonprofit is involved in your community.
  • Start a blog. This will attract the search engines and bring people to your website.
  • Make sure your address is consistent on all your social media sites and your website.

Then I was reading another excellent post by Clair Axelrad “Purely Practical SMIT: 4 Keys to Never Lose the Why.” Claire always reminds me why I’m committed to empowering nonprofits to do good.

Claire’s March SMIT (Single Most Important Thing I have to tell you) is to never lose sight of the “Why.” It is virtually impossible to connect with people unless you know your purpose.

“Your vision or, if you will, your dream is your purpose. It’s the “why” of your existence.”

So, instead of bemoaning the fact that you can’t be everywhere at once, bring your passion to your neighborhood or your community.

Okay, but how do the two posts mesh?

To me, the first speaks to the tools you can use to make sure you have a real presence in your community. Remember the 4 P’s of marketing – Product (service), PLACE, Promotion & Price. Well, Local Businesses Need to be Findable speaks to some of the social media tools you can use to make sure you’re found.

Then, add the 5th P – PASSION from Clair’s post and you’re on your way to making a difference in your community. You see, even when your focus is on your community, you must know your purpose and care about it with passion.

In a future post I’ll introduce you to a friend who is working on what he calls a Hyper-local initiative. Sound intriguing? You bet!

Any thoughts on staying focused on your community? I’d love to hear them.