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Content Marketing for Filmmakers Part 2 (Digital Content Strategies Conference)

Content Marketing for Filmmakers Part 2 (Digital Content Strategies Conference)

Read Zack’s
second part of how films as content can get top space on the internet.

Zack’s first
part contained these useful tips:

•   The Web is used
predominantly as a learning tool, so in your content strategy it’s imperative
to build in an informative component – 46% of Web users want a question
answered and 28% are looking for education on a topic.

•   Use Yahoo! Ask and do
research on what kinds of questions are being asked in your area (perfect
for documentaries!
)  Build some of your blog posts around these
questions and use your social media efforts to support this.

•   Make an editorial calendar (download a free one here.)  It’s important to keep to a schedule so you can
begin to create a lot of relative content on your site.  Google
loves this and it will increase your rankings along with getting you more

•   Do comparisons and lists and
find a way to make them relevant to your subject (yes, people still love top
ten lists!) – Superman vs. Batman, Homeland vs. Zero Dark Thirty, you
get the idea.

•   “Interviews make you
the expert.”  This is a great idea for content – find experts in your
field and interview them.  It’s a win-win.  This includes

A couple weeks ago I did a post about Content
Marketing for Filmmakers
and after attending the intimate Digital Content Strategies Conference (DCSC)
last week, and realizing yet again – I WAS THE ONLY FILMMAKER THERE – I thought
I’d better keep banging the drum with a follow up.  It’s a new world out there and unless you
have a ten picture deal at Warner Bros. it’s important for everyone who creates
filmed content to start learning how brands and marketers think.

Films are brands
and unless you are making them for pure art’s sake they have to be treated as
commodities in a crowded marketplace. 
Getting to the top of YouTube is as much an exercise in brand awareness
and SEO (Search
Engine Optomization
) as in creating great content.  At the Variety TV Summit uberproducer Chuck
Lorre was asked by an audience member whether he would consider opportunities
in working directly with brands that want to finance content and series.  He guffawed and said, “It sounds
horrible!”  …Easy to say when you
are at the top of the broadcast food chain. 

Proof is in the
Just this week, a focused Content Marketing discussion came in
handy and helped convince a distributor to raise his offer on our new film by
15% because he admitted that they are having a hard time cracking YouTube and social.   I
offered some advice and said my team would be more than happy to support his
staff during the release; twenty-minutes later he sent an email with a higher
offer.  That said, here’s some takeaways
from Global Strategic Management Institute’s DCSC. 

Two days of Content
– Even though it was GSMI’s first outing for putting on a content
strategy-focused event (they specialize mainly in Social Media Strategy events)
everyone was impressed by the level of speakers and attendees that attended.  Online marketing luminaries such as DeAnn
Wright (Lead Content Strategist for eBay), Jonathan Perelman (Buzzfeed, formerly of Google), and Cheemin Bo-Linn
(big-data guru at Peritus Partners) shared tips and strategies with high-level
representatives from Hershey’s,, A+E Networks, and others.

Lead Experience
Jonathon Colman of REI
was hilarious and his
offered a lot of candid insight into the way a global
independent brand like REI uses content to connect with its loyal
consumers.  He made a great point by
saying, “Write from your audience’s need out, not from the keywords
in.”  He’s referring to Google’s
keyword generator tool which all SEOs use to determine what words people are
searching for on Google and how that affects whether a web-page is indexed
highly or not.  He added, “Search
engines reward you for building brands, not using keywords.”  What he’s talking about is what I like to call
the “art of content
marketing”.   As Google’s algorithms get smarter and
smarter, it’s not as easy as it used to be to game the system to get a high
ranking (thank God!)  The techniques of
basic SEO still apply, but engaging, relative CONTENT is more and more

Brands are becoming
media companies
– Jeff Nowak of savvy new content agency Rocket Man Digital (previously of
General Mills) gave an insightful look into how a massive brand is literally financing
and distributing content.  His
offered step-by-step examples of how the big boys at General
Mills create media and content strategy. 
(I had no idea they owned shows like Bewitched and Third Rock From the


Social Media and
Content Integration
Pam Didner,
Global Marketing Strategist for Intel offered her solutions for integrating compelling content into a social marketing
strategy.  The audience was impressed by
her candidness when she openly admitted that while “Intel does a lot of
things right, sometimes they really don’t.”  Her presentation showed concrete examples of
using raw footage (behind-the-scenes) as additional content around a campaign
or center-piece production.  All those
DVD extras from five years ago?  Upload
them to your YouTube channel NOW!  Clips
of your actors goofing off on set? 
Upload it now.  Pam is also a
proponent of “Think big.  Distribute
small.”  Once you have your
high-concept content, whether it’s a whole film or just a publicity stunt, it’s
important to reach out on the small social levels directly to your fans and
supporters to prepare them for the actual release of the content.  She describes how one piece of event content
can have many different smaller and engaing pieces of social interaction
pointing to it.


More insight into the
big boys
– DeAnn Wright, Lead Content Strategist at eBay gave a very
forthright and step-by-step instructions
on how eBay approaches its content strategy and site design.  This
alone would have been worth the price of admission!


Veteran Content Strategist
Ahava Leibtag‘s presentation
really summed up Content Marketing by pointing out that it involves all types
of content surrounding a topic – She reminds us to ask the following to create
an effective content marketing strategy:
What does my audience need to know?
What are the best content types to get those messages across?
What technology platforms make the most sense? Which social media tools do we
How did we do? Can we do better?
How are we caring for our brand across the Web and within the ecosystem of
content in our organizations?

Download her “Creating
Valuable Content Checklist

Super useful!

Ahava finished with a great quote from
Charles Darwin that pretty much sums up how modern indie filmmakers need to

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
nor the most intelligent,

but the one most responsive to change.”

I’m going to keep banging this
drum.  Feel free to join me.

Please COMMENT with your own
experiences and thoughts below.

Written by Zack Coffman, Head of Content, Distribution, &
Strategy at One World Studios Ltd.  He is
an award-winning producer specializing in
online strategy and
, live
, and YouTube
channel development
.  Connect with Zack on LinkedIn, Google+, and @choppertown.

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