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Blogs for Films, what’s wrong with them?

SnakesonaPlane_Logo.jpgOver the last few years we've seen the trend grow for the marketing people attached to movies look towards the Internet. They've raced ahead with Snakes on a Plane and proven that marketing does not make a sellable movie, you need a good film to go along with it, but the Internet marketing model is not something that they're giving up on, and it's not something that should be avoided.

Yet, try as they might, these marketing companies just can't seem to crack it. They can't make the Internet work for them. Lately we've seen the rise of official Film blogs, now I don't mean someone sitting at home writing about the movies they've seen, I mean a marketing company hired to promote a film who create a blog for that sole purpose. Sometimes they put a crew member on the payroll, sometimes they just get the crew themselves to do it, but they never quite get it right, and for the most part just making a site that feeds the real blogging community material.

So where are they going wrong? Why aren't the audience flocking to their film blogs and feeding off the hype and then translating that to buying tickets? What are they doing wrong?

There are a number of reasons, but the main one that always stands out is content, the focus of it, the frequency of it, and the quality.

First up is focus, most of these blogs miss the mark totally, they focus on uninteresting angles or stories unrelated to the film production, what you often find is that they are merely churning out the odd piece of promotional video or photo clip. For example the Hallam Foe blog hardly ever talks about the film and features the guy who writes the blog writing about how he's feeling during the production, or some expenses paid trip he's been on. Forgive me, but where's the stuff about the film to get me interested?

The frequency is another aspect that is missed. The Rocky Balboa blog, when it first started, posted something like three stories in six months, and these were simply photos of Stallone, although since then it's changed hands and picked up somewhat.

The last issue, as alluded to above in the examples above, is quality. Not only do the stories have to focus on something to do with the film, but they have to be written well and draw the audience to them, just dropping a new picture on is useless, unless that picture has some fascinating connection to the film.

So these are the three areas that really suffer when companies make a fim blog, even if it's a MySpace blog, all they are interested in is creating a buzz, landing hits or friends, and getting content out onto the Internet for other sites to use. In other words, it's a marketing tool.

Now that's all well and good, but if you're going to market through a blog you have to follow what works in the blogging community and apply it to your film blog, you have to think about what the audience want to see.

Out of all the film blogs listed on Filmstalker Feeds List (see the bottom section marked Film Blogging\Marketing), which carries feeds to some of the better film blogs, there's only a very few I rate.

Spider-Man 3 has it nailed for me, and unsurprisingly all the film blogs that are connected to Raimi and Ghost House Pictures are strong - see Grudge 2 and 30 Days of Night which don't supply feeds. The Spider-Man 3 blog has rich content, interesting interviews, behind the scenes content, and all updated pretty frequently.

This is also true of Casino Royale, although there are far too many write ups where the blogger as little to give us other than a quoted line from a star. Ghost Rider, regardless of the quality of the film itself, does another good job of blogging.

So which film marketing blogs have you been reading, and what makes it work for you? What do you want to see from an official film blog? Do they actually work in getting the audience to spend money on tickets, or are they a lost revenue stream for the marketing department?




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Comments

I've never really been keen on following a film by means of their blogs, nor would any film blog would make me want to see the film, hearing it from a film site and the buzz it generates is already enough for me.

To be honest, I never visit film site blogs. I just rely on sites like Filmstalker to bring their important/interesting news to me. Even in that capacity, I don't feel they're lost marketing dollars because some stories originating from those sites have made me interested in movies. Rocky and Transformers would be two that I've become interested in due to stories and pictures propogated from their blogs.

there's also the fact to consider that the audience of the internet just may be much much smaller than any marketing team is willing to admit. Think about this:

I know maybe 100 people who are online. big number, right?

well 50% of them are so old they would rather not go online as much as the younger ones would.

30% of them are the type of people whom are so stalwart as to use the whole "no thanks, i'll make up my own mind" philosophy. These people aren't effected by ANY kind of blog because they see them all as a waste of time.

10% of these people are complete idiots, whom will follow anything that's thrown on their plate. These are the only people I'd think would be reached by these online marketing strategies. Problem is, most of these people are also too inept to hold any kind of job that you or I would consider worthwhile.

the leftovers, roughly ten out of 100, are you and me. Simone and Peter and the rest of the filmstalker community ( site plug and ass kiss all in one ) seriously, the number of people whom visit movie news sites whom can actually think for themselves and have the money to support their decisions are few and far between.

In closing I'd say perhapse online marketing is misplaced in advertising feature films at this point. On the other hand, films like Clerks 2 which cost next to nothing to make stood to gain quite a bit. After all. If you can get 20 million bucks' worth of revenue from online marketing, and your film only cost 5, it's a no brainer that it may be ALL you need to do to market your film.

On the other other other hand, maybe we're just too eearly on yet to see the net accessible to enough people to actually crack into the demographic that feature films need to to be successful.

these are just possibilities I ponder from time to time.

Other than my friend Fiona who also writes for ISOYM, I don't really know anyone in "real life" who visits film blogs. If I mention my blog to anybody away from the internet I tend to get a look that say's wow you were never so geeky when we were younger and I doubt any of them have ever visited it. Most of the people I know offline just go see the movie that sounds best to them on the night they choose to go to the cinema. Everyone watches films, but for most people it’s throwaway entertainment they have no real interest in reading about.

As for film specific blogs as marketing tools they just are not interesting, you have to be pretty geeky to care about photo's from the set etc. even amongst most hardcore film fans that stuff is only marginally interesting. Films would be better off choosing a couple of blogs and getting those authors to write about their movie, either by offering them exclusive content or even paying for posts (I.e. product placement), though some people may have an issue with that as damaging to integrity. There’s only so many blogs you can visit in your lunch hour so I expect people choose to go to blogs such as filmstalker that give a range of news and comments, rather than wasting time visiting sites dedicated to one film, which always seem to be done as an afterthought and really don't have enough interesting content to make more than one visit worthwhile.

I think the marketing people missed the main point concerning "Snakes on the Plane". Let me ask you, in this world how many people are terrified of snakes or has snake phobia? Yeah, most of us and myself included. I can't even look at the pictures without my blood freezing up. It was stupid of them to invest and spend money on this movie. These marketing people need to be logical and well versed on what does interest the general public. Believe me, it aint SNAKES.

I too have never been one to become too immersed in film blogs. I have visited the Spider-Man 3 blog on occassion but it's not a regular stop for me. Usually I'd only head in the direction of a film blog if directed there from Filmstalker or another independent site.

I thought Peter Jackson and Bryan Singer's online diaries gave a decent insight to the movies they were making, and being it with the director, it certainly gave it that more personal feel rather than some Joe Soap writing from the outside looking in.

Thanks for the mention Mogulus. It´s nice to be in the community!

I don´t enter into film blogs. But I guess the success of an Internet based campaign depends on the quality, or the originality of the film.

I remember the Blair Witch Project. At least the idea was original, and it paid off. A.I. had a simillar ad campaign in Internet, but it failed, for several reasons (the movie was too complex and personal for a wide audience)

Snakes on a Plane... I haven´t seen the film, but I bet the audience of the first weekend was aroused by the promoblog but then the word was spread that it wasn´t that good...

So far it´s the same. Spiderman 3 doesn´t even need a blog, it´s gonna be a blockbuster anyway. And Casino Royale... I am unsure, but it looks appealling.

It´s only another ad strategy. But, ultimately, what it counts is the chocolate bar, not the envelope.

;D @ mogulus

Maybe they should think about getting someone like Rich here to wrote for their film blogs, what do you think eh?

Can't help it, since mogulus is kissing ass let me crawl on Richard. LOLOL

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