Buzz doesn’t just happen. It’s typically the result of a long-term strategy that has been well-crafted and executed with consistency. In fact, studios, networks, and even celebrities employ an entire team of people to create attention for their work. Let’s face it, there’s an entire industry that centers around building buzz. So, I understand why you might feel a little overwhelmed by the whole thing.
The good news is that in today’s entertainment environment, you don’t have to be an established “name” to grab attention. There are things that you can do right now that can impact your ability to attract fans, followers, and press coverage.
Here are a few key areas to focus on that will help you boost your career buzz:
1. Use project connections.
Actors are often hesitant to share their latest bookings. Considering all the intimidating nondisclosure agreements you’re expected to sign these days, I don’t blame you. However, recognizing what you can say and when are the key.
Try to connect yourself publicly to a project as early as you can in order to give you the maximum time to gain traction. Two solid options for establishing this association are contacting the production team and asking for permission or trying to submit to be listed on the project’s IMDb page.
If the production accepts it, then you’re safe to “officially” mention that you’re in the project. As a general rule, be careful to only give details that are already in the public’s eye, like anything on IMDb or other similar websites. Don’t share additional plotlines, characters, or details about your scenes unless this information has been published somewhere publicly. Keep in mind, if you never hear back from IMDb and you don’t see your character listed, then the team probably isn’t ready to verify the information and you need to hold off. The goal isn’t to upset the team, but you don’t want to miss an opportunity either. It never hurts to try for approval.
2. Pay attention to appearance.
No matter what level you’re at in your acting career, it’s important that you appear like you’re a total pro. You should have a consistent personal brand that showcases who you are and what you do immediately.
Whether it’s a fan, casting director, or reporter searching for you online, they should instantly recognize you. This is why it’s a good idea to use the same main image for all your social accounts, promotional sites like IMDb, the home page of your website, and anywhere else that you have control over. Of course, additional images are great and also necessary to include but you want everyone to recognize they’re in the right place without hesitation.
You want all of these different places to feel similar in tone and reflect your personal essence as well. So, if you often play serious dramatic roles, don’t use hot pink as your background color. You only have a few seconds to make a first impression, so don’t confuse anyone who takes the time to look you up.
3. Get engaged.
If you build it, they will come—but only if you reach out and invite them along for the ride. It’s never too soon to start seeking engagement with your audience. Even before you can start sharing your news, it’s important to figure out where your potential fans, including the press, hang out online and start engaging with them. Start understanding what they’re interested in and how they digest information, so you can build a target list for the future.
Once you’re allowed to say you’re in a project, you can engage directly with people who are already interested in it. Participate in their conversations, join their fan groups, and connect with them in a genuine way as you’re sharing your excitement to be part of this project. Also, you don’t have to be named directly in a press article to share it. Posting the latest article along with a congratulatory shout out as a cast member can be a simple way to connect you to the project. Be sure to tag the production team and include any hashtags they’re using for the project to help connect you to their fans and followers.
The “news” you share can be articles published by a news organization or even just updates that the creative team posts. A savvy way to keep track of the latest news is to set a few Google Alerts for the project including one for the title, key individuals, and your own name.
Overall, building your buzz is an on-going and necessary part of your career. There is no short-cut, but there are definitely small steps that you can take to boost your buzz no matter what level you’re at in your career.
*This post was originally published on May 22, 2019. It has since been updated.
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