Courting a movie studio, any advertiser for that matter, to advertise on your film website is a monstrous endeavor, especially for the little guy. Movie studios are inundated daily with requests, offers, and deals to advertise on websites with clout in the movie website field. They do not have the time nor the inclination to haggle with the little guy with the little website. Its a basic Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). Does the cost and time of advertising on the little guy benefit them in anyway? Is it worth their Sweat Equity? Ninety-nine percent of the time, the answer is no.
Before we get into the methodology of courting that one percent or if you are the big guy, garnering the attention you should be getting, ask yourself a question: How attractive are you?
There are two methods that I have found to get the attention of movie studios and have them advertise on your movie website, no matter the website’s size.
The Indirect Method
The indirect way is through organizations movie studios trust and deal with on a daily basis, the film PR firms. Getting their attention is much easier than the attention of a movie studios that has a vast array of other concerns on their plate. With movie pr firms, film promotion is their bread and butter. Most will put you on their mailing list in you ask and your website looks decent. Some pr films will not pay you anything, they will just give you a heads-up email concerning new available promotion for a film (new movie trailer, new photos, etc). If a pr firm does pay you, it will be in free products and swag to advertise a particular film, not cash. They get paid cash for their services on behalf of the movie studios they are contracted with but they are not going to pay you. Such an occurrence is not budgeted in their business model.
Another indirect way is to join a service like Blogads. Some movie studios and other advertisers browse the websites in Blogads’ “hives” and buy ads on sites within them they like. Try getting listed in the movie hives: The High Traffic Movie Network, Riveting Reviews, and Target Movie Fanatics! for starters.
When the movie studio pays the film pr firm and gives them free products to use in their campaign efforts, they in turn give you free product to advertise those films for them. Some of those free products are DVDs and Blu-rays and to the cinephile movie website owner, this is something that can not be ignored. How many movie website owners do you know that have no movie collection at home? DVDs average about $15 a pop and Blu-rays over $20. If you think about what a pr firm pays you in those terms, you might look at the non-cash issue more favorably. Besides, if you are clever enough and have to have cash, there is always Ebay. Savvy? – Captain Jack Sparrow.
Blogads are sold on a per week basis, the most popular size starting at $20. Do the math if a movie studio advertises a STV release through Blogads on your site for a month?
The Above Question
Remember when I asked you how attractive were you? What I was implying and really asking you was what can you do for the movie studio, the advertiser? What does placing an ad on your site get them? You should have answers to these two important questions. They are your sales point. Hammer these sales points, drive your value home to the potential advertiser. These are the very questions they will be asking themselves about you when you undertake The Direct Method.
The Direct Method
If you are big enough and your website looks professional (remember what we said about professionalism in this post), you might want to try cold calling the movie studio directly and ask them to advertise on your website. Type in the desired movie studio into Google. Their advertisement department and marketing phone numbers are usually listed and clearly labeled under a Contact link. If you are the little guy or the big guy, at some point you have or will try Google AdSense. If you have tried Google AdSense, have you seen all of those movie companies advertising through it? Those companies have pr dollars to spend. They are spending them on Google, why not you? This is not just a question I am asking you, but Gary Vayernchuk as well.
Lets say you run a horror website and a upcoming horror movie is being advertised on AdSense heavily. You think their ads would go perfectly with your website and fit in with your niche. You could use AdSense but you would rather make more money and have them buy ad space from you directly. The movie studio putting out that film does not even know you exist if you are the little guy unless you get their attention. Since everyone is posting their content and they have better SERP position than you, try calling them personally. Look at Blood-Disgusting. I see specific, horror-centric ads on that site all the time. Part of this has to do with the way they tag their stories, the other has to be direct advertisement. I have been on posts on their website that have nothing to do with the ad showing, even if there is an available ad for that subject matter within AdSense. How is this? They are getting paid for the ad, that space on their website, and to heavily advertise that particular movie. Bloody-Disgusting and other big sites are in a position the little guy is not. Movie studios and other advertisers come to them with ad offers. The little guy is behooved to go to them (through emails, persistent and favorable @Tweets, phone calls), selling themselves and what their site can do for them (remember, Hammer).
Tip: Follow the person you are in contact with at a Movie Studio on Twitter and LinkedIn. Send them a friendship request on Facebook and MySpace. Encourage them to do the same. You never know where they or you will be in ten years.
Maybe your direct call efforts yield nothing but being placed on their pr mailing list. Get up to bat enough times and your bat statistically has to connect with the ball at some point. This connection could result in the cultivation of a relationship with the movie studio, them buying ads directly on your website then and there or at some later date or some sort of affiliate program being established. Either way, the studio is directly paying you now instead of going through the movie pr firm. Do you know what that means?
Moola baby. Cashy money debited to your PayPal or Google account, mailed to you via check or directly deposited into your high-yield checking account. You have a high-yield checking account, don’t you? I would wait for payment until putting their ad online so a pay service like PayPal, Google or direct deposit is your best and quickest bet.
Get your target movie studios’ attention indirectly or directly. Be attractive, be persistent, know your talking points beforehand, write them down, and practice them. Be open to compromise and ready for relationship building.