[MAPR Book Review] New Rules of Marketing and Public Relations for Filmmakers and Content Creators

I recently finished reading the sixth edition of The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile, Applications, Blogs, News Releases / News Jacking & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott.  In my MAPR blog posts, I detailed various sections of this book (and others) while extracting useful information for filmmakers and content creators.  Here I am now with the full book review *drum-roll please*.  The New Rules of Marketing and PR is amazing for informational purposes and historical context.  There are many examples, real stories, case-studies and accounts from the author and his colleagues.  This book has no shortage of details on Meerman Scott’s experiences and business dealings.  On the flip-side, this book is only lukewarm with providing practical applications for readers. 


Graphic for social media, online video, mobile and going viral

New Rules is a notoriously successful guide and continues to evolve since it was first published in 2007.  The book is overly long and contains a lot of filler and fluff, but is otherwise well-written.  The title of the book is: The New Rules of Marketing and PR.  The sub-title of the book is: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile, Applications, Blogs, News Releases / News Jacking & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly.  This says a mouthful, and as I read the book, it became increasingly apparent that the main title and sub-title warranted the creation of two separate books.  I understand having all items in one title can make buyers feel like there is increased value, however, it created organizational challenges and made the book feel like a maze.  It isn’t discombobulated, but it didn’t feel concise.  I can appreciate Meerman Scott’s attempt to compartmentalize the content, but I feel like this should be TWO SEPARATE BOOKS.  Part I contains the overview and how the web has changed the rules of marketing and PR.  Part II introduces and provides details about various media.  Part III contains how-to information and an action plan for usage of the rules.  After finishing the book, Part I is the strongest and where the author shines the most.  Part III is the weakest (based on what is available in the market for how-to guides).  Part II is unnecessary since the content is already scattered throughout Part I and III making the section more redundant than enlightening. 

Book Cover for David Meerman Scott’s New Rules

I am very happy about having the digital, Kindle version of the book because it contains hyperlinks where you can jump from one area of the book to another.  I felt like I had to do that an awful lot.  For example, buyer personas is introduced and discussed at length in chapter 3, but implementation, usage and associated links for buyer personas were placed in chapter 10.  Chapter 3 references (and links) chapter 10, and vice versa … when you get to chapter 10 you are pointed back to vital associated information in chapter 3.  There was a lot of back and forth, and the content was somewhat repetitious.  In short, I am not a fan of the zig-zagging.  I read this book for my graduate-level Online Public Relations class and initially didn’t understand our jumping around in the text for our lectures (chapter 6 paired with chapter 16, chapter 7 paired with chapter 17) etc.   As I read the book, it became increasingly apparent why this was necessary.

Key Takeaways:

  • The web has made public relations PUBLIC again.  Before, emphasis was almost exclusively placed on the media, but now, organizations communicate directly with their audience.
  • The web is about INTERACTION, INFORMATION EDUCATION and CHOICE

In conclusion, I WOULD recommend this book to businesses and non-profit organizations with a dedicated budget who seek to increase online presence, communicate directly with customers, and enhance sales conversions.  I WOULD NOT recommend this book to individuals and freelancers since it isn’t really geared toward DIYers.  I also wouldn’t recommend it to people who are already experienced in online marketing since they don’t stand to benefit from all of the primer; much of the content would appear to be common sense.  For future editions of this book, I would love to see some content reorganization or a breakout title dedicated to “how-to” and applications.

Women in Film, Meet the Team Behind Drama-Comedy Short, Daughters of Solanas (Part 2)

From a historical perspective, are you familiar with Valerie Solanas?  She is widely known as the radical feminist behind the SCUM Manifesto.  There is an American Horror Story on Solanas where her beliefs and the infamous shooting of Andy Warhol are detailed.  While she denied SCUM being an acronym, it was referred to as the “Society for Cutting Up Men.”

Daughters of Solanas is a short, dramedy film about a group of friends who innocently become followers in a cult. It isn’t long before things get out of their control. The film, created as part of the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge is screening tonight at the Museum of Moving Image in New York. Here is the Part II of the blog post containing profiles and some fun facts about some of the women involved in the creation of the film. Click here for Part 1.  You can also visit the Instagram and Facebook pages.

Team Banks, Cast and Crew of Female Filmmakers for Daughters of Solanas – Women’s Weekend Film Challenge. Photo by Briana M. Andrews April 6, 2019.
Jodi Savitz, DP/Cinematographer – Daughters of Solanas

Jodi Savitz is the DP/Cinematographer for the Daughters of Solanas. She is a director and cinematographer based in New York City who specializes in documentary, narrative and branded content. A graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Communications, she started her career as an actress before transitioning into filmmaking. Her feature documentary, GIRL ON GIRL, received viral attention for its coverage of the LGBTQ community.  Jodi currently works with NBC Left Field as a cinematographer and investigative video journalist. Learn more by visiting her website: www.jodisavitz.com

Casey Killoran, Assistant Director – Daughters of Solanas

Casey Killoran is the Assistant Director for Daughters of Solanas.  She is a television, film and stage actress and filmmaker. Casey received her MFA from NYU Tisch Graduate Acting Program where she became known for her ballsy portrayals and nuanced performances. Her film and TV credits include Shades of Blue (NBC), Sex in the City (HBO), The Zebra Room (Reinaldo Marcus Green), and her first self-produced feature film Viral Beauty. She also completed, Let Me Leave, a short film about regretting motherhood, co-staring Marc Menchaca (Ozark).

Lillie McDonough, Composer, Daughters of Solanas

Lillie McDonough is the Composer for the Daughters of Solanas. She works as a composer on indie films and games. She is also an adjunct professor at NYU. Fun fact about Lillie: Her dad was an astrologer when she was growing up.

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Katie Dickinson, Production Assistant – Daughters of Solanas.

Katie Dickinson is the Production Assistant for Daughters of Solanas. She is the co-artistic director of APT Theater, and also an actor and playwright branching into film. She has a web-series playing 80’s Shelley Duvall as if she had a never-aired cooking show.

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Chantel Simpson, Writer – Daughters of Solanas

Chantel Simpson is a Writer for Daughters of Solanas. She is a writer and documentary director / producer from Brooklyn, NY. You can learn more by visiting her website: www.thelenswoman.com

[MAPR Blog Post] Digital Video in a Viral World: Filmmaker Turns the Lens

The internet is built on video! Video has changed the way we capture, create and consume content from websites, blogs and social media. Fun fact: One of my first personal video cameras was a Flip Ultra HD when I was in middle school. The device allowed two hours of HD video, came with proprietary editing software, was battery-operated and cost less than $200. It was quite innovative at the time since smartphones weren’t equipped with HD video capabilities (or the space / speed required). Times have since changed and video capabilities are accessible by everyone. The fact that online video is a great way to connect with your audience and develop a following is undeniable.

Video in a Viral World Graphic

We all turn to images where numbers or words can’t get the job done. The concept of storytelling through photographs is nothing new. Photographs are compelling content, and this basically explains the popularity behind image sharing services like Pinterest and Instagram. There is a saying, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” In contrast, I would imagine a video is worth 100,000 words *snickers*. Funny enough as a content creator and filmmaker, my emphasis was never on personal videos, being a vlogger or YouTuber per se. I used visual storytelling to promote companies and causes, but me? Meh. Not so much. I spend much more time behind the camera than in front of it. I named this post “filmmaker turns the lens,” because I literally had to shoot myself … with the camera, what did you think I was talking about?

Screen-grab from Briana M. Andrews – Television Academy Foundation internship finalist video interview

Okay, story-time … recently, I was selected as a finalist for the Television Academy Foundation internship in Interactive Media (New Media / Social). This category blends my talents and interests because it’s a hybrid of photo, video, text, mobile, audio, social, animated-GIFs and EVERYTHING THAT SPARKLES. From what I hear, the candidates are selected by the same panel that pick Emmy winners. Nonetheless, I was super excited to even make the final round. Here’s the catch, one of the final requirements in request of consideration for the position is the completion of a web interview. When I tell you I had HireVue flashbacks … OMG. I hate it.

I learned something from the experience, though.  I am never the subject of my own videos!  I need to address this head-on and get as comfortable in front of the camera as I am behind it. In this week’s lecture, Professor Dunnington played a video clip from Amy Schmittauer.  Her book, Vlog like a Boss is next up on my reading list.

Let’s get away from me being a deer-in-headlights while in front the camera for a moment and revisit the importance of video content.  Below are a few highlights from two Dunnington lectures (on Digital Video and Vlogs, and Communicating with Images and Video in a Mobile and Viral World) and from David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Photos and videos resonate with your audience MUCH MORE than text
  • People who write good captions and headlines improve SEO and capture good readership
  • Use photos that support the text … and write text that support the photo.
  • If you create an interesting story, others will share it for you.
  • When an idea takes off online, it can catapult your brand.
  • Find topics that interest you and pick subjects organically; don’t script things.
  • Videos WILL HELP introduce people to your business.
  • Use descriptive words (keywords) in file names. 

I recently finished reading the David Meerman Scott book and wrote a review.  Be on the lookout for that.  I am also attending the screening for our film, Daughters of Solanas tonight at the Museum of Moving Image in New York.  Bookmark my page and be on the lookout for updates.  Take care.

Thug Motivation: Drama Short – Written and Directed by Briana M. Andrews

I am pleased to introduce you to Thug Motivation. This is a drama short-film written and directed by (me) Briana M. Andrews, Rowan University senior and owner of BibbyFame Digital, LLC. The shoot took place over the weekend, and it was a awesome demonstration of teamwork and resourcefulness.

BTS Social Video Clip – Thug Motivation shoot

This story is an actor’s plea for “less thug, more motivation.” The protagonist, Kevin, played by Howie Jones, senior Computer Science major at Rowan University expresses frustration because he is a classically trained actor, however, he’s routinely cast and sent on auditions for demeaning roles which he reluctantly accepts. During this contentious meeting with the casting director, he lashes out about degrading role offers and visualizes inspirational, thought-provoking roles that contribute to humanity.

Gang-members and thug roles are disproportionately played by black actors. However, this isn’t reflective of the actual demographics of American gangs. While Thug Motivation shares the story of one actor, it serves as a launchpad for discussion on casting directors engaged in type-casting, limited role opportunities, inadequate African-American representation in film and potential societal implications from such imagery.

  • Production Title: Thug Motivation
  • Union/Non-Union: Non-Union
  • Production Type: Independent / Student
  • Project Length: Short (5 minutes)

I submitted this screenplay for consideration earlier this semester and in recent weeks, I presented the look-book and defended the film concept. There was no budget for this film, however, campus resources were at our disposal for equipment. For the film setting, we converted an 8-max group study room at Campbell Library into a convincing office location. I am extremely proud of the entire team. I also appreciate their open-mindedness and willingness to wear several hats to pull this off successfully.

Crew Group Photo – Thug Motivation Short – Rowan University Film Production II RTF
  • Director / Writer: Briana M. Andrews
  • AD: Ryan Baitinger
  • DP: Bill Kosturko
  • Producer: Kyle Cann
  • Prod. Manager: Anthony Mitchell

[MAPR Book Review] Social PR Secrets for Filmmakers and Content Creators

CONTENT IS KING! I enjoy reading titles with actionable, real-world tactics and extracting elements for creatives occupying digital space, particularly filmmakers. I’d like to share my review on the fourth edition of Lisa Buyers’ Social PR Secrets: How to Optimize, Socialize and Publicize Your Brand. I recently devoured the Kindle edition of this field guide on public relations, social media and digital marketing. I recommend checking out, it’s an easy read with strategies for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat and LinkedIn.

Public Relations Impact Graphic – Social Media and Digital Marketing.

Social PR Secrets packs 32 chapters, yet remains a relatively simple and quick read with short, easily-digestible chapters.  Buyers personalizes each chapter and often details her experience while offering examples and leaning on associated subject matter experts.  She provides historical context, the current state and best practices.  She also outlines tools such as Xtensio.com and Hubspot to create free persona profiles, tools like Paper.Li and Scoop.It for content curation tailored to your audience and ScribeContent.com for content optimization, search engine visibility and social sharing.

From the standpoint of a creative filmmaker who blends art with digital media, below are several excerpts from Social PR Secrets that are poised to assist with the development of an online strategy:

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Awesome content lasts forever
  • Stay fresh, find inspiration
  • Create materials and content that addresses the needs of your audience
  • Think like your audience, create a persona profile for your audience

Another key takeaway that I felt was important to point out for creatives is to “Skip self-promotion and find your passion points.”  For instance, Red Bull rarely talks about their drink, rather, it details the passion that connects the brand to their audience and living life to the extreme.  For another example, I recall a recent ad slot by Bumble app starring Serena Williams.  The commercial never referenced what the product is, rather, it details an ideology – one that supports women taking the first move in work, love and life.  The message resonated with me, and prompted me to research the company.  It is important not to get so caught up in the act of promoting your services and accomplishments that you overshadow what the brand represents.

CONTENT CREATION CHECKLIST

  • Make sure your message is REAL and AUTHENTIC
  • Use VISUALS to illustrate your message
  • Ensure the content has a CLEAR VALUE PROPOSITION
  • Offer a clear next step or CALL TO ACTION

TYPES OF CONTENT TO DRIVE MORE TRAFFIC (50 different types listed in Ch. 4)
Video, How-To, Email Campaigns, Events, Promotions, Live Chats, Guides, Infographics, Blog Posts, Interactive Content, Interviews, Tweets, Photo Galleries

Personally, I love that Social PR Secrets offers a comprehensive list of free graphic and image sources.  I also like that Buyers’ chapters are broken down by subject and platform.  The book has a list of bullets in almost every chapter making the material visually scannable, which makes for great reference document.  I finished reading the book, but will definitely revisit.  In short, I recommend this book (especially the digital version for search-ability and hyperlinks) and encourage you to check it out.

Behind-the-Scenes, Still Photography – Film Set, Daughters of Solanas.

Poster for Daughters of Solanas Film.

The film, Daughters of Solanas is now complete and on IMDb.   I am credited under Camera and Electrical Equipment for my work on the set handling BTS.  I also manage the social media presence for the film; you can read about this in the previous blog post.  The screening for Daughters of Solanas will take place next week at the Museum of Moving Image.  Here are a few photos I took of the crew, which consisted of 27 women.  Bravo!

[MAPR Blog Post] SEO and Content Marketing for Filmmakers – The Basics

Graphic on SEO applicability to content creators and filmmakers

As a content creator, it is imperative to have an understanding of SEO and content marketing. This will help you navigate the online space and understand what “works” for the marketplace.  Most importantly, this will arm you with important tools for driving your works (and business) forward.  WE ARE ALL CONTENT MARKETERS NOW.  In this article, I’ll explore the intersection between content creation, search engine optimization and digital marketing.  I will also delve into Hyper Local SEO and Marketing – How US Marketers Win Global By Going Local by Donald L Dunnington, extracting the major points applicable to filmmakers and content creators.

The secret to successful content marketing isn’t actually a secret. It involves the commitment to producing a continuous stream of useful and engaging content. A poignant statement from Dunnington is, “SEO is the new PR and PR is the new SEO.” While SEO media relations are focused on online media and search engine results pages (SERPS), there are comparable objectives with public relations professionals, since the emphasis for both are increasing brand awareness, relationship building and boosting placements.

The digital age takes content production to a hyper level and there is a premium placed on consumer-friendly, authentic content. This holds true for various platforms: websites, blogs, YouTube channels, social media etc.  As filmmakers, we are all looking for innovative marketing strategies to engage our expand our audience.  This involves researching your niche audience and how to reach them.  I mention this to stress the importance of SEO and relationship building.  I will write additional articles on avenues, such as posting behind-the-scenes moments, creating graphics, strategically hashtagging and personalizing the experience for your audience.  Stay tuned, and bookmark my site.

Key Takeaways:

  • CONTENT IS KING. Quality in-bound links start with producing original, quality, authentic and compelling content for online, social and mobile platforms.
  • WE ARE ALL CONTENT MARKETERS NOW. This is the prime driver of sales leads for B2B and B2C industries.
  • SEO is the new PR and PR is the new SEO.
  • Develop a personal touch, stay in contact, maintain a two-way relationship.
  • Relationships are built in relevancy, quality and the value they bring to the vertical market they serve.

Sidebar: One lesson I learned directly from the author, Donald Dunnington, who happens to be the professor of my grad-level public relations course at Rowan University is that Google penalizes sites that contain duplicate content. This was important because I had a secondary site geared toward women in tv and film where I would republish some of my articles and blog posts first featured on this website.  After this discovery, I later elected to create a category page.  There are important technical considerations involved in our quest for SEO relevance.  Oftentimes, creators share the same content across social media and various platforms, however, with blogs in particular, even if you are the original author, you should be mindful of mirroring duplicate content across sites because there are associated search engine penalties.

Daughters of Solanas: Dramedy Short – Women’s Weekend Filmmaker Challenge

Daughters of Solanas, Film Graphic – designed by Rachel Fischman of Planet Papaya

Creating the dramedy, Daughters of Solonas was an incredible experience and I’m excited about our screening next week at the Museum of Moving Image in Astoria, NY.  One of the items on my filmmaker bucket list was to work on a film with an all-female cast and crew.  This month, I will have the opportunity to complete that, twice over.  The Women’s Weekend Film Challenge bought together women from all walks of life … different races, different socio-economic statuses, different religions, different education levels … complete strangers, all coming together with the common objective of creating a short, in a really short period of time.  The footage looks amazing, the film was submitted, the screening is next week and at a later date, the festival submission activities will commence.

Personally, I would like to thank Tracy Sayre and Katrina Medoff for their work organizing the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge, and for all of their efforts for women in film.  They emphasize how much representation and diversity matter.  These are causes that are obviously very close to my heart.  Some of the challenge sponsors include RED cameras, Gotham Sound, IDX, Zeiss Lenses, AbelCine Brooklyn Lighting and Grip, Lightbulb Grip and Electric and Below the Line. 

I handled BTS photo / video on this project.  I also created and manage the socials. Check out and follow @DaughtersofSolanas on Instagram and Facebook.  A photo-story BTS montage can be found below.  I’ll be sharing some video of the crew (Team Banks) in action in the near future, stay tuned.

60-second social-video containing behind-the-scenes stills photography montage for Daughters of Solanas by Briana M. Andrews

[MAPR Blog Post] The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How the Web Changed the Rules

Social Media Bullseye Graphic: PR Spam, Marketing Activities

One of my latest Kindle readings include, The New Rules of Marketing & PR – 6th Edition by David Meerman Scott.  In coming weeks, I’ll post more of a comprehensive book review, however, for this blog post I’ll highlight some of the gems highlighted in Chapter 20, New Rules for Reaching the Media. 

For a long time, public relations professionals viewed coverage as a numbers game … full-on blitz, reach out to as many journalists and outlets as you can.  The process was literally, “throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks.”  The non-targeted e-blasts and sleezy methods to lure people to open the messages are partially why strategic communicators received a reputation as spammers. 

The web changed the rules and traditional PR techniques are becoming less effective.  To provide an example and illustrate using layman’s terms; there are parallels between a PR rep securing coverage, and an individual securing a job.  I say this because in one point in time, people were able to blast resumes and play the numbers game, with hopes of landing some interviews.  Now-a-days, attempting the same wouldn’t be effective, in fact, you’d be agitating people.  The process takes time, and personalization.  You have to KNOW the company, understand what comes along with the role, research the applicants they are likely to hire, understand expectations etc.  Letters and resumes need to be customized and even then, it needs to be keyword heavy since pretty much every company has software to scan and eliminate who they deem to be unqualified.   Your resume may never even reach a human. 

Networking is key, because nothing trumps personal relationships.  You’d be surprised how many companies post positions as a formality when they already know who they want.  In both the PR example and the  individual finding a job example, it is very much a “Don’t call me … I’ll find you.”  Correspondence must be personalized, pay attention to the stories a journalist is likely to cover, develop personal relationships; send individualized pitches and target one reporter at a time.  Do what you can to build your audience and showcase your own brand in the best possible light.  This includes having a comprehensive online media room including photos and videos.  “To get noticed, you need to be smart about how you tell your story on the web – and about how you tell your own story to journalists.”

Some key takeaways are as follows:

  • Refrain from sending non-targeted broadcast pitches
  • Develop personal relationships and send an individualized pitch, tailored to the needs of the journalist
  • Target one reporter at a time and pay attention to the types of stories they cover
  • Content drives marketing … make sure your information is up to date, define your niche and use hashtags

Women in Film, Meet the Team Behind Drama-Comedy Short, Daughters of Solanas (Part 1)

Elizabeth Banks – Industry Producer, Actor, Director

For the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge, Team Banks was named after the Elizabeth Banks. A long-time supporter of female-centric storytelling, she is largely known for her starring roles as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games and Gail Abernathy-McKadden in the Pitch Perfect Film series. She is also a producer behind the Hulu series, Shrill and co founder of WhoHaha which spotlights women in comedy.

Cast Actresses – Daughters of Solanas. Actresses Rebbekah Vega-Romero, McKenzie Mayle and Malinda Logan – Photo by Briana M. Andrews April 6, 2019

Here are the profiles and some fun facts about some of the women involved in the creation of the film. You can also visit the Instagram and Facebook pages.

Shanna Riker, Associate Producer Daughters of Solanas

Shanna Riker is the ASSOCIATE PRODUCER for the film. Shanna is a writer, producer and director from Brooklyn, NY. Her first feature, Unfinished Works is currently in post-production. Fun fact about Shanna: Her first acting role was the icicle in a kindergarten Christmas pageant.

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Liana Edward, Boom Operator Daughters of Solanas

Liana Edward is the BOOM OPERATOR for the film. Liana is a master of many: a creative director with photography, film producing and writing talents. You can check her out at www.behance.net/invisionaryimagery

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Jayde Kim, Editor – Daughters of Solanas

Jayde Kim is the EDITOR for the film. Jayde worked as a film / video editor for many years. Fun fact about Jayde, she enjoys watching horror movies before she goes to sleep.

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Rachel Fischman, Assistant Editor – Daughters of Solanas

Rachel Fischman is the ASSISTANT EDITOR for the film. Rachel is a sophomore at Hunter College in New York studying Film and Media Production. She is a graphic designer on Planet Papaya as well as a theatrical Technical Director. Netflix’s Explained and Heathers fully encompasses her TV and movie habits.