I spent some time at the American Film Market this week wearing my badge with my name and company on it. Most of the time when people read it, they said “oh, you’re a publicist” and I thought, “no, that’s not what I am. Why do they think that?” I guess a publicist is most often associated with films after they are made, but I do not really think of myself this way. I use publicity as one element of a marketing plan. So, it is more accurate to say that I am a marketer who uses publicity, among other tools, to build awareness of a film, gather an audience and ultimately make money for the filmmaker and their investors. I do these activities before, during and after the production process. What’s the difference between marketing and publicity? I mean all of it is promoting a film, right?
Marketing is a combination of all the activities that help to increase the sale of your film, including a mix of public relations (publicity), advertising, online marketing, social media marketing and other promotional activities. It encompasses two basic things. One, identifying your audience. Who they are; why would they be interested in your film; and how to reach them? Two, building a plan for how to make the audience aware of your film and see it or buy it.
Publicity is one tool in the mix and it uses the media to reach the audience. This includes reviews; print, radio or television interviews; blog mentions; Twitter mentions; Digg/Linkedin/Deli.ci.ous mentions, etc. Publicity is a less expensive method to advertising and a less visible process, but when successfully used, its effects are long-lasting in helping to build up a reputation for the film and the filmmaker. A publicist is the the film’s advocate and a conduit to the media, essentially the informer to journalists and bloggers that their audience may be interested in your project because of various reasons (angles) and that they should consider checking it out. This is known as a pitch. There is no guarantee that the journalist will decide to make that connection with the film and write about it but the chances that they will are increased if they have been made aware. I do this work and have been successful in getting press attention, but it isn’t the only element I focus on.
I am mainly concerned with creating an overall plan to use as many outlets as resources will allow to build awareness for the film that will lead to increased sales and recoupment of costs with profit.
Here is a good visual to explain the differences between the elements in product promotion.