It’s difficult getting a project off the ground so once it’s been achieved you want to maintain a good relationship with the people who you made it for. The audience.
Maintaining this relationship is a give and take with the rise of social media and fan platforms. But the audience is no longer just the audience. They interact with the content, feel a connection to it and the creators.
Some creators handle this aspect better than others and so here are some tips to take away from notable relationships between creators and their fans.
1. Reward them…with yourself!
Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor (along with voice talent, Cecil Baldwin) have come out from behind the mike and taken their podcast sensation ‘Welcome to Night Vale‘ on the road for a series of live recordings in the United States. The series, which relies on donations from their listeners for running costs, became America’s most downloaded podcast in July 2013 and a book based on the show is set to be published in 2015. The meta nature of the relationship where the listeners are both the listeners of the radio show and the podcast has created a layered bond between the creators and the fans. They regularly promote fanart on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and are very aware of the active fandom that has been created around the show. They are now rewarding their fans visually when they’ve been exclusively aurally based until now. The lesson here isn’t just build it and they will come but be prepared to meet them halfway.
2. Engage online
Social media is your best friend. Never before has it been easier for creators and audiences to engage on an equal platform. The willingness of the creator to be available for the fans to contact let’s the audience know that their opinions are welcomed and valued. It has broken down the sense of “them and us”. Writers and creators such as Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Jim Michaels (Supernatural), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz et al) are particularly note-worthy for their Twitter presence. In the independent cinema world, the filmmakers behind the online distributed, Indie Game: The Movie made it part of their objective to reply to every tweet, be it an enquiry or a comment on the film, resulting in a steady stream of intelligent interaction on their Twitter feed.
He may be a Hollywood heavy weight but Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s heart lies with all things indie. In 2005 he launched Hitrecord, a platform for filmmakers, artists and musicians to share their own work and collaborate with others, including Gordon-Levitt himself. Now they’ve taken the concept to television with eight variety show style programmes featuring original content from the website set to specific theme. The episodes will be available for free on YouTube.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your audience. We’re living in a media savvy world and people are more than happy to share their ideas and talents.
4. Challenge them
Media audiences are sophisticated. You can make them wait for pay-off, just make sure the wait is worth it. Audiences want to be challenged and not just spoon-fed content. The most passionate of followings stem from a need to analyse and discuss, from the need to discover what isn’t been shown. Shows like Breaking Bad, Sherlock, and almost every HBO programme amongst other embrace their fan, often encouraging theories and debate through social media. Push your audience to delve deeper into the content and they will keep coming back for more.
Want to find out more about connecting with audiences online? Check out our 1-day course – Marketing Digital Content – coming up on January 18th.