Friends and family have told you that your channel is great, but now you just need more people to notice it. Are you’re wondering how to get publicity for your videos, your channel or your next creative endeavor? Do you think a publicist might help?
While increasing views and subscriptions are a top priority for many YouTubers, publicity for your brand is even more important. Of course that brings up the question: is your channel the brand, or are you (the creator) the brand? Your answer to this question will probably affect your end goals as well as your PR strategy.
I’m the Brand
Typically, it’s challenging to generate PR for yourself because, in this case, your goal really isn’t to increase views for a specific video. While your prior work is something you can cite in your press materials, here, you are trying to stand out from the noise to promote, for example, a Kickstarter campaign for your next new project, a new blog or website that you’re launching, or your work at a high profile film festival. In some cases, great PR can be used to attract an agent, investors, sponsorships or even a larger distribution deal.
My Channel is the Brand
Since no one knows your work better than you, in this case, you can really generate a lot of press yourself if you’re willing to put out the effort. Your PR campaign might be focused on getting more views on your channel, or it might be to get funding for the second season of your web series. It doesn’t matter if your work is a web series, a video game app or a feature film; what’s important is that your primary focus remains on that specific work so as to not dilute your message.
What Does a Publicist Do?
A publicist will discuss your goals and create a PR strategy designed to achieve that plan. Your PR campaign may include press releases, interviews, parties, speaking engagements and public appearances. A good publicist doesn’t need to cost a lot of money or have a lot of experience. In fact, a community college marketing major will definitely be cheaper and possibly more effective than a 10 year pro. Why? At the end of the day, it comes down to connections. Most publicists can write a press release, but can they get you a speaking spot on a panel at San Diego Comic Con? Can they organize a party for you with celebrities and industry heavyweights in attendance at SXSW? Do they have connections with the local TV station to get you an interview on the morning news show? A good publicist can access the right people and connections at the right time to maximize your press opportunities.
The key to making these messages effective is to say something relevant and appealing to your audience.
PR Firms vs Ad Agencies
Both of these options are expensive, but either could be a good fit if you have deep pockets. A PR firm is composed of many publicists. Typically, you would have one publicist assigned to you; however, if you had a film at SXSW, the firm might send a team consisting of multiple publicists to manage everything from Q and As at your screenings, to red carpets, to that party we previously discussed. An ad agency creates advertising such as commercials, billboards and magazine ads to your specifications. Once you approve their final work, they will place your ads in such a way as to generate the most exposure or buzz about your work.
Can I Do the Work?
In many cases, you can generate a lot of press through social media. It can be a post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or your own blog; however, the key to making these messages effective is to say something that is relevant and appealing to your audience. If you’re doing a docu-series on lethal force, don’t tweet how great your series is; instead, send topical messages related to this issue such as sharing a quick statistic you read in a New York Times article; in this case you might to include a link to that article as well as one to your own work. Remember, press is only effective if you can get your audience to see it AND consume it.
SEOs, @s and #s
If you’re not already using search engine optimization strategies for your videos, you should start today! SEOs are one of the easiest ways to increase your views. Effectively using mentions and hashtags in social media can also lead viewers back to you and your video work. If you don’t know how to do these things, then you definitely need a publicist ASAP who is savvy with social media.
Other Ways to Gain Exposure
I have a friend who takes a photo with every celebrity he happens to meet. He drives his PR with this through effective use of SEOs and hashtags with these photos on Instagram. Another, collects business cards of everyone she meets and follows through with every contact, which is very important if you’re trying to build a potential mail list. Pairing with a multi-channel network (MCN) might be another option for attracting viewers to your YouTube channel. If you really know your audience, it will be much easier to find ways to connect with them.
You’ll need to think outside the box when crafting an effective PR campaign; this is especially true if you’re doing it yourself. If you do decide to hire a publicist, or your roommate who happens to be a marketing major in college, let them do what they do best. Give them all the information they need and let them run with it. If you trust them enough to give them the job, don’t micromanage. Your time will be better spent on your next creative endeavor.