Blogs for Films, what’s wrong with them?
Over 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?