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Guerilla Showrunner

Make your webseries. Better. Faster. Now

3 Ways To Get More Viewers Right The Hell Now.

I have a secret fear about you, dear reader, and this site. I’m worried that you clicked over here because you thought it was a blog written by an actual gorilla, who also makes shows.

So, yeah, not so much with the silverback here. All I can offer you is some great tips for grabbing new readers for your Internet TV show.

Luckily, I have a few right here.

Do one of these right now - I mean “before coffee” type of right now - and you’ll have seriously buffed your show.

1. Buff up your images.

Do your standard show images kick serious arse? Still images are probably your best bet, particularly in the Social Media Age, for attracting new readers - but they need to absolutely kick butt to do so. You could stress over your images for ages, choose what you think is the perfect shot - but playing a numbers game, both on the shots and the opinions, will win every time. And it’s easier.

Grab the video editor of your choice and flick through your most visually impressive episode, and take shots of anything that could potentially look good as a still image. Don’t be too picky, and don’t dither - if you think “hmm”, then snap it now and chuck it later.

Then rake through those images - you should have a whole bunch of them - at a large thumbnail size. You’re looking for images that make you go “ooh!”. Don’t overthink it, again - just stick anything that jumps out at you into a new folder.Keep going until you’ve chosen 8 or so.

Now, grab those, level and colour-correct them in your photo editing package of choice, and stick all of them online somewhere, then ask your friends - on Facebook, Twitter, Livejournal, whatever - to give you opinions on which are the best ones. Add your existing stills in there for good measure.

And wait. You can have that coffee now.

Chances are, you’ll end up with one or two shots - often totally unexpected ones - that people rate at least as highly as your current publicity images, if not much higher. Add ‘em to your current publicity rota, or replace it with the new ones if they’re testing much better. As the show creator, my experience is that it’s impossible to tell what shots people will go mad over - on BloodSpell, our most-used shot was from such an early episode that I wouldn’t have mentioned it by choice if it hadn’t kept getting picked up by the press.

2. Make Sure Your Next Script Hits The Ground Running

I just wandered in off the Internet equivalent of the street. I’m bored. I’m killing time. I’m going to watch maybe 30 seconds of your show.

In that time, have you delivered something so awesome that it grabs my nuts in a vice and physically prevents me from leaving my computer until I have watched everything you’ve ever made?

If not, you’re losing out on viewers. A lot of viewers. It’s very easy to get into the cycle of only catering for our existing viewers, or at least expecting people to wait a few minutes for the show’s Cool Stuff, but if you can put in the extra effort to move at least a bit of the Cool up front - even if it’s in the form of a Top Gear-style “In this show…” intro - you’ll harvest all the casual viewers whose Internet-addled attention spans would otherwise Never Be Yours.

So go do that now. Tweak your next script, or fiddle with your edit, and you can easily increase your stickiness, just by playing with the order in which you deliver the Cool.

3. Query up a Better Elevator Pitch

Ok, you know that you need to be able to describe your show to potential new viewers, right? And you’ve probably even got one that you use.

Quick test: When you use that tagline on Facebook, do you get a lot of click-throughs? Comments saying “awesome!”? Likes?

Creators suck at putting taglines together. Mostly. So you need a better way to describe your show.

Generally, we suck in one of two ways: either we’re trying to be too clever with the tag, or we’re trying to fit all the stuff in that we think is cool about the show. Now, you’re excited enough about the damn show that you’re willing to put the effort in to making it, so the stuff you think is cool about it is likely to be … extensive.

There’s all these sides to the show, and so you’ve spent ages narrowing down your tagline from dozens of options, until finally, you have the perfect, simple phrase that encapsulates everything that there is about the show -

Stop that shit right now. What you need to know is simple: what’s sufficiently cool about your show that people would want to watch it?

Grab some friends who watch your show, or grab them and make them watch the show. Then ask them how they’d recommend the show to a friend. It’ll sound Too Damn Simple. It’ll miss half the key points of the show. You’ll hate it.

And that’s a pretty good sign that’s the pitch you want to use. Potential viewers don’t want to know about all the in-jokes about the Stig in Top Gear. They don’t want to know about the personalities of the presenters. They just want to know that it’s a car show where they got a nun to drive a monster truck.

_Liked this stuff? Not too scared by the extended gorilla joke? I’ve got more articles on how to grab and keep new viewers coming soon - add our RSS feed to your feed reader to get ‘em fired straight at you.