By Afiqah Rozali
(Reposted courtesy Melbourne Web Fest)
The growing pervasiveness of the internet means more creators than ever are now turning to the digital space to display their work and build their audience. So, in a time where everyone is making videos, how do creators set themselves apart from the competition?
1.They produce original work
The growing number of quality web series has made it increasingly difficult for creators to differentiate their work from the masses.
However, “what separates a ‘good’ series from a ‘great’ one is originality of idea,” says Alyce Adams from Screen Australia.
“A series about four friends living in a share house together will struggle to find an audience unless there is a fresh hook to it, as there are so many shows like that already online.”
2. They value the audience
A strong relationship with the audience is the key to the success of a web series. They are the ones who will “support you and elevate your online status,” says Paul Walton, the Head of Production at Princess Pictures.
However, a web series can only grow and maintain their audience “if they are remarkable and people want to talk about them with their networks. To achieve this, you have to give them what they want”.
“My main mantra that I repeat to anyone when discussing web series is that ‘niche is king,’” says Adams.
“Many successful web series are aimed at a very specific target audience, because online that ‘small’ audience can actually be millions of people.”
These niche audiences “are more likely to share your show, because you are giving representation to something they are passionate about but rarely see in traditional media.”
3. They do their research
A creator’s ability to learn and utilise their knowledge is crucial to the success of any web series. Despite this, “there are many creators who make their own show but haven’t watched much online content,” says Adams.
As a result, they are unable to identify the right target audience and video-sharing platform for their content, she says.
Ultimately, the sustained success of a web series is determined by long-term planning and research. According to Walton, “If you want to be noticed on a regular basis, have goals, have a plan, be consistent executing the plan, constantly assess how you are progressing and don’t be afraid to change your plan based on the feedback you get from your valuable audience (and the data).”
4. They respect the format
Successful web series creators understand and adhere to the “language and structure of web content – it cannot be short form TV, “says Walton.
“I can always spot a web series that has been created as a fall-back to not being able to make a TV series of the same idea. Online audiences see through this too, which is why they choose not to invest themselves in it by watching and sharing.”
5. They find the best platform/s for their content
“Some shows are great, but if they’re on the wrong site, then their audience is never going to find it,” says Adams.
“YouTube is a great platform, but it’s not a one size fits all. Some series are better suited on different platforms like Facebook, Instagram or even Vimeo.”
Additionally, creators might benefit more from releasing their work on multiple platforms. “With the explosion of video on demand websites and other video sharing platforms, creators need to embrace the fragmentation and try to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. However, a different marketing strategy should be developed for each site or else it can be challenging.”
But, how do creators know that they’ve found the right platform for their work? Walton believes that the audience is the best indicator of this. “If you hit your targeted numbers or audience, you will know you are in the right place. If not, try a different strategy until you start to meet your content goals.”
6. They promote their work
Today, there are a growing number of ways for creators to get their work noticed, “from getting recognition in different web festivals, to partnering with big social influencers or larger channels,” says Adams. However, having personal connection is also important. “The audience is going to feel more connected to the series and encourage others to watch it if they feel like they personally know the creator behind it.”
Read more about Melbourne Web Fest, happening June 29-July 2, 2017.
Afiqah Rozali is currently studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications, majoring in Journalism at La Trobe University. Afiqah hopes to someday make a place for herself in the media industry and create a lasting, positive impact on humanity through her work.