So you want a kick butt website? Let’s face it your website is one of your most powerful tools not only for branding, but also because it connects you to your fans and potential employers (i.e. directors, producers, cds, etc). With that in mind ask yourself this: Is your website web 2.0? In other words, does it have the key components necessary to keep people coming back for more?
Before you answer that question, there’s a huge misconception that I must first clear up. There are some well-intentioned folks out there saying that as an actor you no longer need a website and can rely on Facebook, Twitter, and IMDB to serve as your main hub. In my humble opinion that’s incorrect.
Because, unless your last name is Zuckerburg, Stone, or Needham all of these sites are owned by someone else.
What that means is that you’re bound to the usage agreement you essentially said yes to when you signed up for these sites. If for any reason, these websites decide to close up shop or close your account (which can happen if you violate their terms) you would no longer have that space on the internet. This isn’t meant to scare you, but to point out the simple fact that unless you have ownership over your site, your virtual square footage on the web isn’t guaranteed.
So what’s the point of having twitter, Facebook or IMDB pages you might ask? The simple answer is that these pages are meant to lead fans, followers, and the folks who may hire you back to your website, which by the way – you COMPLETELY own! And that’s pretty awesome, right?
So now that we’ve finally landed back on the topic at hand, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. When people visit your site are you cringing at what they will see or are you proud? If you’re in the cringe category or somewhere in between, all hope’s not lost. There are three key components you can add to your site that will not only show your web 2.0 savvy, but will guarantee your viewers be coming back for more.
1. Let them know where else they can find you
Do you have social media icons clearly displayed on all your web pages? If not, you’re missing on a great opportunity to crosslink between sites and have people talking about you in different places online. Anyone visiting your site should easily be able to find icons that link back to your twitter, Facebook and IMDB pages. You can even add your twitter and Facebook streams to your website that will allow your visitors to see your latest status updates and tweets. Even though these sites aren’t your main hub they are important tools that will help you build your fan base and create ‘social proof’ (we’ll get to that topic in another post).
2. Fire up your blogging engine
Do you blog? If you answered no to this one too, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. There are over 300 million blog readers worldwide, and this also represents your untapped audience. Your fan base is out there waiting for you, if you’re creative enough.
I recently asked an actor friend of mine to give me their definition of blogging and this person said “an online diary”. This would’ve been an accurate description years ago, but blogging is no longer jotting down what you ate for breakfast. Blogging today is interactive, fun, and uses various mediums. For example, even if you’re not much of a writer you can vlog (blog via video).
How most actors admirably try to do to solve this blogging dilemma is by having a “Latest News” section on their site. However, most of the time this section is rarely updated, and frankly most people won’t keep visiting your site to check this section.
So why are actors shying away from blogging? One of the main reasons actors don’t blog is CONTENT! All blogs are driven by content and most actors think they’ll have nothing new to share. Well, that’s exactly where you want to be as an actor. That may sound counterintuitive, but the reality is that every actor should be challenging themselves to become content producers and if you have no news to share guess what? You have to create it. This can look like a web-series, variety show, or anything else in addition to your posts about when you’ll be appearing on primetime.
3. Get creative with building your list
Is your grandma the only person on your mailing list? Okay, that might be an exaggeration, because Uncle Eddie counts too. Seriously, if you’re committed to your career, you must get just as serious about building your list. Yes, we know your website is a great place to showcase your work, but imagine if you could capture the email addresses of all the folks who visit your site. Of course in order for this to happen these people must sign up.
Many actors do have a place where a person can sign up for their newsletter, but the key is having people actually enter that elusive email address. Most people won’t randomly enter their email address unless they have a specific reason why. Think about the stuff you actually subscribe for. Most of the time you probably sign up because you’re receiving something special for joining the list. So, why not apply that same principle and give your fans and followers a reason they MUST sign up for your list.
Here’s a simple example for how you can do this. Let’s say you’re niche is comedy. You can entice people to join your list by telling them if they join they’ll receive your most embarrassing outtakes from your recent comedic projects, or maybe they’ll see some behind the scenes footage. Whatever you decide to offer make sure that it’s not something that’s readily available on your website or any other site. And of course, it must be also something that peaks your visitors’ interest. In this case, since your focus is comedy you’ll be enticing them to want a good laugh. Furthermore, this also keeps consistent with your brand aka a comedic actor. So it’s a win for you but a win for your new subscriber too.
So there you have it, three simple ways that you can make your website more effective today. Better yet it won’t cost you anything, except a little creativity and time.
So now it’s your turn, what do you think? What are some other creative ways to make your website rock? Please share your thoughts and remember share this post with your friends by retweeting and liking it!
In addition to being a filmmaker, Thérèse Cator is a social media, publicity and business coach. She combines her business and artistic background and teaches actors and artists how to empower themselves and think like entrepreneurs.
Here’s a special free gift she’s offering to Daily Actor readers – a 1 hour webinar Twitter and Facebook for Actors (What You Must Know). To access the webinar click here