5 WordPress Plugins to Help Advertise and Sell Your Film
By Nic Baisley
For those of you who are not familiar yet with WordPress, let me give you a brief introduction. WordPress is the most popular content management platform in the world. Even better, it’s free. For those of you who aren’t very comfortable with working on the back end of web hosting there is a free version you can use over at http://wordpress.com, and for those who like to tinker and play around (and also own their site from end to end), there is another free alternative that you can download and manage yourself at http://wordpress.org. Once you have installed WordPress you can configure your theme (i.e. the look and feel of the site) and activate your plugins. There are plugins to extend functionality for almost every facet of a website. Below are a few examples of 5 available plugins that you can use to showcase your film on your own WordPress powered website.
- WP E-Commerce – (http://getshopped.org) If you are interested in selling your film on your own website then this is the plugin for you. The plugin itself is free but to extend its functionality there are several additional add-ons that you can purchase such as other payment methods (Stripe and DPS PX Pay gateways), the ability to add more than one image to your product using the Gold Cart plugin, and a Download Manager plugin that is ideal for keeping track of the sale of digital downloads.
- Mailchimp – (http://mailchimp.com) Mailchimp gives you the ability to set up and manage your own mailing lists and newsletters. The Mailchimp plugin for WordPress allows you to easily embed a widget on your site to allow people to sign up for your newsletter or mailing list with minimal hassle. You can customize the look and feel of the plugin from the font to the background and more. Mailchimp has a “forever free” account that allows you to subscribe up to 2000 people to your list and send up to 12k emails per month. If you are a filmmaker and you don’t have a mailing list, you’re doing it wrong.
- YOURLS: WordPress to Twitter – (http://planetozh.com/blog/my-projects/yourls-wordpress-to-twitter-a-short-url-plugin) YOURLS: WordPress to Twitter is a nifty little URL shortener that will automatically post anything you publish on your website to Twitter and will also give it a unique short URL that you can use to track click-throughs (I recommend pairing this plugin with a service like bit.ly). Depending on how you decide to set up this plugin, it can either be pretty complex, or pretty simple. Either way the included instructions are very easy to follow and got me through my setup in about 10 minutes. Pair this with the Simple Facebook Connect plugin as well and soon you will be automatically sharing all of your posts across both social networks. It’s a pretty decent timesaver if you are posting daily updates, set videos, or other regular posts.
- Social Metrics – (http://riyaz.net) I just recently started using this plugin myself and really have no idea what took me so long to discover it! Social Metrics allows you to easily keep track of every share across various social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Digg, LinkedIn, Google+, and StumbleUpon are included in the free version). Social Metrics has a spreadsheet-like interface that shows you each post and how many times it has been shared across each network. If you forgot to share your post yourself, then all you have to do is click on one of the icons and it will share that post out right from the management screen. It’s very nifty to see just how far your post reaches at a glance! This can be handy for when you make screening announcements, are promoting a contest, announcing your DVD or other distribution news, or just production updates.
- Paypal Target Meter – Have you ever wanted to set up your own version of http://kickstarter.com or http://indiegogo.com but didn’t just want to slap a Paypal link on your site? Paypal Target Meter allows you to set up an interface similar to these popular crowdfunding sites that allow you to set goals and show progress to those goals. It will connect with your Paypal account and, with a little styling; you can set up your very own crowdfunding campaign that is also driving visitors to your site rather than somewhere else. This solution works best if you have already been growing your audience from Day 1 and are ready to put the endless work in to drive people to your site, but it still beats having to pay the extra fees that crowdfunding sites charge.
There are thousands of themes, plugins, and widgets available for WordPress, and many of them are free. It’s a good time investment for your budding production company to look into this easily scalable platform to grow your business on. The above plugins are a good place to start, but if you do your research you’ll find a plugin or theme to suit almost any need for your production’s public face and audience engagement functions.