Anyone who works in the entertainment industry wants to be found.
We want Google to know us. And Bing. And Yahoo…and any other indexing service provider that might potentially help connect us with our next job, collaborator or fan.
But for those of us who don’t currently have a publicist working tirelessly to get and keep our good names in the press, it’s increasingly hard to stand out. If you are like me, we act as our own publicists – which means we do all the work. In addition to our actual work, we maintain our credentials on our personal websites, seek connections though social media, attend meetings/classes/events and try our best to utilize the benefits of top-notch online industry communities, like Stage32 – so that anyone interested in partnering with us might know us and our work. These are not passive activities by the way. They require time, maintenance and thought.
Recently, I started thinking about realistic no-cost ways to improve the chances of being found. I weighed adding more social networks or spending more time online. But, I realized that doing so might also diminish the quality of engagements I can create.
And that’s when the proverbial light bulb above my head began to shine.
Engagement. It is the cornerstone of every healthy networking relationship spanning from in-person networking to social media, across email and video, teleconferencing and the like. Yet, so many of us continue to put out blanket sales pitches to those we target as potentially in a position to help us.
This is especially true online. “Check out my reel.” “Contribute to my crowd-funding campaign.” “Like my page/video/content.” “Read my treatment.” “Give my IMDb Star Meter a bump.”
Collectively we seem to have fallen into the trap of being presentational – in other words, simply giving static information – rather than being focused on making dynamic connections.
The reason companies like Airbnb, Etsy, and Uber are suddenly so wildly successful is that they rely on audience building through personal and relevant online interactions. They build trust and loyalty by being relatable and present – not presentational.
As individuals seeking employment or with a service to provide, we would be smart to adopt a similar tactic. By shifting our online goals to building trust and community engagement we not only can improve our rankings but also start audience building. And no matter what your role in the entertainment industry, having an audience of supporters and advocates is akin to having a bankable commodity.
Here are two quick tips to help make the shift:
1. Limit Yourself: The Niche Crowd Is Actually The Biggest Catch
Fine-tuning our web and social media strategies to connect with a larger network ironically means thinking smaller. It means targeting something specific – like common areas of interest. Just as you would do for a crowd-funding campaign, getting specific is the basis for building a niche audience.
When it comes to personal audience building, choose 2 or 3 personal interest areas. Find the online platforms where these topics are discussed and join the conversation. Take steps to establish that you are trusted voice, opinion-giver or a fan there. Bonus, you can easily use these topics to start new conversations in professional networking settings. The point is to find your tribe, build trust and be relatable, so that you can be perceived as being of service to the community you are engaged in.
2. Think of Your Website as Your Business Hub
Once you have connected with your niche community, its time to drive traffic to your website. Keep the generic sales pitches to a minimum and instead focus on purposeful promotion. A great way to do this is through blogging.
Use social media to let your audience know you have additional resources and/or points of interest for them based on what you have in common. Your blogs don’t have to be long, but they should get people thinking and generate traffic to your site. Whether you create your own content or simply re-post from other sources, the goal should be to make your website an area of further engagement for your community. [Pro tip
: when re-posting always cite the source & block search indexing.]
Of course all the great static information that potential collaborators and employers would want to see should live there too. But, if you want to improve your search rankings and build more buzz without paid advertising, your audience should be the goal not your work or service.
Add your voice to the conversation! How do you build your audience and grow who knows about you? And is it working?
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As always, Marissa is available for remarks and questions in the Comments section below!