Directors, casting agents and producers alike are all taking good, long, looks at an actor’s online presence when seeking that special something for their next big hit. They’re googling your website, checking your youtube views and even requesting a minimum number of followers on your Twitter account. And whilst your agent works hard to market you to the industry, a little self-promotion never hurt anyone.
I’ve helped actors get to grips with digital to build their careers and hopefully land their dream roles. Here are a few tips for actors wanting to get ahead with digital marketing.
1. Get a Website
This seems like a bit of a no brainer, but a lot of actors are put off by the amount of time and perceived skill they believe goes into building a website. Thanks to companies like Squarespace and WordPress, it’s now extremely easy to build yourself a website that you can have up and running in a few hours. If you’re strapped for cash (waitressing is tough ya’ll) then both of the above have free options that don’t need you to invest in hosting or a domain name.
Actors, your personal website is your opening line, it’s your first impression — so make sure it’s a good one. Your website is your central anchorpoint — a place for directors to view your work, a way for casting agents to contact you and something your Mum can be proud of you for.
2. Reserve your name.com
If you do have some cash lying around, check if yourname.com is free and if it is, grab it. This avoids awkward spellings, begging domain squatters and just general confusion for your fans when they get directed to a holding page for desktop wallpapers when you hit the big time.
3. Create your Online Showreel
Remember all those international commercials you hunted down on Youtube, those independent shorts that you helped students film and those full length films you featured in? Now’s the time to bring them all together and create an online portfolio of your work that showcases the best of your ability and your range. The great thing about online is that it’s really flexible (unlike a showreel DVD) and you can chop and change your portfolio to your hearts content.
4. Less is More
Sadly, your website is not the place for your future Oscar acceptance speech where you thank everyone from your first teacher to your pot plant and the simpler the better.
- Make it easy for interested producers to contact you and place your contact details and those of your agent in a prominent place
- Showcase you – put your headshots and showreel on the home page
- Keep the layout clean and simple. If in doubt about a website theme, opt for a one-pager design (here are 85 of them you can use)
5. Start Blogging
Trust me on this, whilst blogging might sound like a drag, it’s still the best way to get press releases, film trailers and updated head shots up on your site quickly.
A blog helps you keep your website dynamic, gets you extra traffic and helps you build up your fan base. The more you update it, the better, but always aim for quality over quantity.
6. Get Social
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that most of your on-screen idols are tweeting like there’s no tomorrow. They’re instagramming behind the scenes on their latest movie, posting stills or bantering on Twitter with a few of their co-stars.
Platforms like Youtube, Twitter and Instagram are a great way for you to build up an audience and loyal community of fans. Post your experiences as an actor, share articles and inspiring monologues that helped you hone your craft and even experiment with weekly 15 second video diaries on Instagram. The only limit here is your imagination.
PS A lot of you guys fall victim to the hashtag virus, there’s no need to hashtag every word okay? It doesn’t work like that.
7. Tie it all together
Make sure that everything you do online pushes your audience back to the central point — in other words, your personal website. Your social media profiles should link to your site and any piece of content you promote (a trailer on Youtube, photo diary, etc) should be hosted here as well.
8. Get creative — you’re an actor after all!
Start a Youtube series, film a parody, experiment with Meerkat, or get yourself dubsmashing like a pro — there are apps for everything you’ve ever dreamed of and you’ll definitely find one that’ll make you stand out from the crowd.
Lastly, good luck out there! Thanks to Twitter I’ve discovered great film projects, attended auditions and landed some fun roles. You see, digital helped me market myself in a way that an agent just never could. Hopefully it’ll help you too.