It's not enough to have your own blog anymore. Professional marketers will go back and forth over how important guest posting (and backlinking) is to your search engine optimization.
I'm here to tell you that it IS IMPORTANT, regardless of the effect on SEO.
In 2016, we released our first feature film and tried everything to get the word out. Local press was the best draw for the independent theater screenings. Our social media was working, but it was nearly impossible to stand out in the crowd of other films coming out.
Then we started submitting guest posts to other websites and going on podcasts to be interviewed. This strategy started to spark interest in the film community about our project.
One caveat that we learned from Blood on the Leaves is that the filmmaking crowd is great to earn respect among your peers and grow your network of potential collaborators. It is not great at driving sales of your film.
Look. Most filmmakers aren't rolling in cash and already love movies. Getting them to spend money on your film is tough. How many films (honestly) do you buy just because you read a behind the scenes article or follow the filmmakers on Twitter? If you do this a lot, then pat yourself on the back, you're awesome.
The average filmmaker doesn't do this. THE POINT here is: You should try to get in front of movie lovers more than movie makers. Reviews, Film Festivals, Local Screenings, Podcasts, etc. can be a great option for that.
Below are the main guest content we produced for Blood on the Leaves and the outcome of each:
Film Courage asked our Director of Photography to shoot a video about the camera gear we used. He made this awesomely insightful video that became Film Courage's most viewed new video of 2016! Sideline Pictures gained a few active subscribers from this video and our website unique viewers spiked slightly each time Film Courage shared the video themselves. It's unclear if any of this drove actual sales, but it's reach was undeniable.
There's this awesome site called The Filmmaker's Process that focuses on the non-gear aspects of filmmaking. I personally love the blog, so I wanted to submit our own story. The creator of the site at the time was post a series of articles about it being okay to do unpaid work.
In the context he was referring to, I agree. However, I thought it would be interesting to look at it from a different angle considering that our film paid our crew as much as we could.
A flat out opinion piece doesn't do anyone much good. So I laid out why and how to pay your crew including some information on financing.
That article has done really well on the sight (and is one of the site creator's favorite posts this year). The awesome thing is how many people have reached out after reading the article to either check out the movie or ask for more advice. (Which we're always happy to give).
The Filmmaker's Process accepts submissions for the Filmmakers Stories, so you can easily write an article and get it onto the site. It's a good idea to research the topics already on there and take a different angle on something already covered.
One of the first guest-content we had was from Film Courage. They're some really great people and we already loved their content. They run the site by charging a really reasonable fee to conduct interviews on filmmakers or write about them.
We forked up the cash and had them interview our director for what turned out to be a really interesting article. (It also led to them asking us to do the GH4 video.)
Even though we had to pay for it, this was a crucial early step to build credibility online. AND there was the added bonus of that awesome video Ryan created.
Podcasts are huge in Pittsburgh. It happens that Ryan works at the same office that one of the major podcast networks does. (and they're some really cool people).
We ended up doing interviews on the Cinema Psychos podcast and AwesomeChat before our first screening. Many of those that showed up to our Pittsburgh screening were from those podcast audiences or friends of the creators. That was absolutely worth it, and we got to hear some cool behind the scenes stuff from Ryan and our actors.
After release we did a live screening at Black Forge Coffee House in Pittsburgh. Then we were guests on a live episode of the Drinking Partner's Podcast. We had some truly insightful conversations during and after the podcast. You can't put a dollar amount on the value of that.
This should give you some of ideas of how & where to create guest-content that can widen your reach online.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention, we accept requests to guest post on Sideline Pictures too!