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Expanding Your Career: Top 7 Marketing Tips For Actors

One area that many actors get intimidated by, and yet, it is a vital part of building your career…Marketing.

Let’s first look at how you view yourself in relation to your career. Do you realize that you are the CEO of your own company? What does your company sell? You!

Essentially, you are the product and the brand. You are also the Vice President of Marketing/Advertising, Publicity, Finance and Public Relations. Your agents and managers are…the VP’s of Sales and help sell you to potential buyers. (And if you don’t have an agent yet, then you are VP of Sales for now, too!)

At first, you probably have to do most of the work in order for your small business to get off the ground or even to grow to the next level.  As you become more successful you will hire people in these areas to assist you.

So, now that you are thinking like a CEO, how many hours a week are you putting into your company?  If you think going to the gym and checking your Facebook on your ipad at Starbucks is a full day’s work, then you will probably be beaten by the competition.

If you want your business to succeed, you must let the buyers of your product know who you are, what you’re selling, and how to find you, all of which requires good marketing.

Top 7 Marketing Tips For Actors

1. Know your niche now and be versatile later.

Casting directors like to categorize actors, which can work to your advantage if you really know what you play.  Successful actors know they’re niche.  So often actors fight against playing a certain type or a certain age at the expense of great success in that category. Be honest with yourself and how you are perceived!  For example, if you can accept that you get cast mostly as a “young mom” (even if you aren’t one) and that you rarely get called in to play the “hot chick,” and you start to embrace this in your marketing materials, you’ve opened yourself up to many more opportunities just by knowing your niche.  Once you become more successful, then you can use your marketing to change people’s minds.

2. Know your marketing goal.

Your goals will change as your career changes.  Ask yourself, what message do I want to get across?  In the beginning, you want to let people know you exist and what you play.  Once you are getting out, you want to inform them of what you are up to, and keep up good relationships.  Once you are booking jobs it is important to let everyone know!

People want to hire actors who other people have already hired, and you are in charge of creating that buzz through your marketing.  Or maybe you’ve changed your image and you want to be seen in a different light.  Social Media is one of the most effective marketing tools for building relationships +  building your brand.  Keep it professional though.  Your comments on the internet are written in INK!  Be interested in others first, that makes you interesting.

3. Have something to say.

It’s your job to remind casting directors, producers and directors that you are acting!  If you are working on your craft, then you should almost always have something to say.  And if you don’t, then get busy!   If you don’t have an agent yet, then do a play, a short film, and study somewhere reputable.   Make it your goal to have something to announce.

Then when you do, update your Social Media, (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) connect with those you have worked with, or even send a postcard.  Postcards get noticed now more than ever, since fewer actors are sending them, although they are more costly than the internet. Even if you do have an agent, you can’t expect them to let every casting director in town know what you’ve been doing.  That is your job.

Work begets work, so let them know of your latest tv episode airing, current commercials, a quote from a great review in a play, recent film roles, if you’ve changed agents, or drastically changed your hair or your weight through updated pictures. Use the method that feels best to you, and ultimately puts you in the front of their minds.

4. Know your target market.

If you know what kind of television shows you’d like to work on, what film directors you want to work with, and what theatres you’d like to perform in, you can focus your marketing more often to those casting directors, producers and directors.

You can begin to compile your own database that is specific to your career goals. You can also create Twitter Feeds via TweetDeck where see the live feed +  tune into the conversations of your favorite industry people.  Instead of only shouting out your message, listen in on theirs + become an informed fan of your target market.  Be sure “favorite” or “retweet” what genuinely resonates with you + begin to build a relationship.

Then when you have something to say, your message will be noticed in a much more positive way, than just using Social Media only as a shout-out platform.

5. Compile a Fan List.

Your fans are any casting directors who have called you in, called you back, or hired you on a job.  Of the thousands of actors out there, just getting called in these days means your marketing or your agents have done something to make you stand out from the crowd.  Keep in touch with them!

What about directors and producers you have worked with?  Often they go on to work on other projects where they might have an opportunity to hire you again. Why not keep them abreast of all the work you’ve been doing?  They may end up requesting you for a job with a casting director you haven’t yet met.  Keep your fans informed!   This list can be very helpful when you go to change representation and they’d like to know “who knows you?”   You can confidently hand them your “Fan List!

6. Be consistent and persistent.

So many actors do one or two mailings (or status updates), don’t see any immediate results and call it quits.  How many Bed Bath & Beyond coupons did you collect before you went there?  How many times did you see a movie trailer before you decided to go see the film?  Advertisers know the importance of repetition, and so should you.

Eventually your name and face will be a brand that casting directors know, think of and rely on often.  Get to know the CD”s who know you on a deeper level.  Check out what they are in to, and get interested in them in an organic way.  If you like to do postcards, every 6-8 weeks is a good time to do a targeted mailing, as long as you have something new to say. If not, get busy!  Use Social Media to build your relationships by liking and commenting on what others are saying as well as shouting out your own news.

7. Don’t let the coupon expire.

This business is all about personal relationships with your agents, managers, casting directors, and those you work with on the set.  Keeping in touch with people in a positive way is something every CEO would do for his/her company.  Keep in mind that you have a certain amount of time to say thank you, get the word out on your next project, or contact someone who offered to assist you.  Don’t let the coupon expire.  Make a plan, set a date and get busy marketing yourself!  It’s not bragging, it’s just good business.

Here’s to running your acting career like a CEO!

~Wendy Braun

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