• Search Keywords

  • Year

  • Production Status

  • Genre

  • Co-production

  • SA Supported

  • Indigenous creative

  • Length

  • Technique


Part 3: how to get there

There are a range of communication channels you could consider for your strategy.


  • Social media: You must be on social media, but the platform or platforms that are right for your brand and content will vary. This is covered in more depth later.
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): It’s rare for someone to actually type a website URL into a web browser. Which is why you need to make sure your title is coming up in major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo and that’s essentially what SEO is referring to.

The Australian Government published this basic overview of SEO, but all the search engines have their own guides. The SEO you can most actively control relates to your website, but it’s also important to be aware how other content is discovered e.g. YouTube is owned by Google, so if you’ve decided to publish video natively on Facebook or Vimeo only, it’s not going to be as easy to find on Google.

  • Direct marketing: Traditionally this refers to items like flyers and postcards, but for online originals email marketing is the most common format. Essentially you are offering your fans the chance to sign-up to get news from you direct.

Keep in mind open-rates for email marketing are generally low (can be under 30%), but unlike social media where your fans may miss your messages, they will definitely get your email. There are also hybrid platforms like Thunderclap, which Superwog used to get their TV pilot to #1 trending on YouTube Australia. There are lots of fantastic, low cost (often free to start) packages that enable you to do email marketing professionally, like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor.  Remember you are subject to Australian privacy laws, so you can’t add people to your list without asking them and they must be able to easily unsubscribe. Never share, sell or buy lists.

  • Website: The cost of creating a website is low and you can easily do-it-yourself (DIY). Although YouTube allows customisation of your channel, the main benefit of having a website is it’s a simple way for fans to find all your content in one curated place, plus information about your cast and creative team, reviews, upcoming events and how to connect with you e.g. many websites have social media feeds.

To have a website you need to buy the domain name or URL (something.com.au) which is fairly inexpensive at around $20 a year. It’s a good idea to buy the .com and .com.au variants, but the Aussie version will require you to have an ABN or similar. If you can’t get your domain, you may need to consider changing the name of your online original brand. If you can’t afford to build a website straight away, you can still buy the domain in the meantime and have it auto-direct to your YouTube channel. Indeed some creators have chosen to not have a website, such as The RackaRacka.

You will also need to buy a website hosting subscription which is an ongoing cost and depends on the size of your website and how many people visit it (traffic). Typically this will range from $15 to $30 per month.

The final cost is the design. It is possible to DIY using various services that let you build a website like you would design a Powerpoint document. Some well-known services include Wordpress, Squarespace and Wix, which allow you to buy the domain, the hosting and access to the design software all-in one.

You can also do a hybrid solution e.g. you buy the domain and hosting yourself and hire a web designer to setup your site build using Wordpress, meaning you can maintain the site yourself after the initial design is done.

Remember SEO is an essential part of your website build and your website must be mobile friendly (which you may see referred to as ‘responsive’).

If you’re already writing scripts for your online originals, you can make use of your team’s writing/creative skills for your website. Or you may wish to pay a copywriter to do it for you (the going rate in 2017 is between 50c to $1 a word, so this paragraph would have cost $36.5 to $73). Make sure the text on your website is short, concise, typo-free and on brand/in your tone of voice.

  • Cross promotion: When you’re starting out, it’s imperative to leverage the audience of other creators and/or brands to build your own profile.

A simple example of this is asking other content creators who know your work to give you a shout-out on social media, such as sharing your latest video. This kind of endorsement is highly valuable because fans trust their judgement and if their fans enjoy your video, they will likely become your fans too.

Sometimes you’ll forgo views to do this, such as allowing another brand’s Facebook to post your video natively. Unilad has made a global name for itself by curating other people’s content for its 30 million+ audience and giving the creator a credit in the form of a tag. There are now innumerable brands, blogs and pages that do similar cross promotion, for every conceivable genre, market and topic. (You should know which ones are relevant to your title from the audience exercise you did earlier in the piece.)

Language warning

You can also custom create content for cross promotion. For instance, it there is a 15 second extract of one of your videos that has a self-contained joke, you could turn that into a meme video (a square format video that is topped/tailed with text). Then using hashtags and tags, you insert the video into relevant social media conversations. As long as you include a subtle watermark of your social media handles, it doesn’t matter how many people post your video natively, new fans of your work will still be able to find you. Australian comedian Alex Williamson often has his work shared in this way, and as of August 2017 he had over 1.3m fans on Facebook alone.

The very best cross-promoters will be able to jump onto a topic and quickly film, edit and issue content that enters the public conversation (like this one from The Katering Show which may remind you of this one). That individual piece of content may not be part of your series, but it’s a clever way to introduce your brand, cast and concept to a broader audience, some of whom will become new fans.

  • Paid advertising: As you might expect, the most common kind of paid advertising that online creators employ is online advertising.

The first main form is paid placements, which can be on social media, like the ads you see running down your Facebook sidebar and popping up on Instagram. They can also be on YouTube itself, such as pre-roll ads (the ones you can press ‘skip ad’ on unless you really like them!) or placements like bumpers. Search engines like Google also have expansive advertising options (ever noticed if you google something it follows you around all day on multiple websites?). You can also go direct to buy advertising from certain sites, including news publications, if you know they are frequented by your core audience.

The other main form of paid advertising is sponsored posts which are common on social media. Using Facebook as an example, you can pay to ensure your post stays in your fan’s newsfeed for a certain amount of time (‘impressions’). You can also pay for your post to appear in the newsfeed of people that aren’t following your page.

The big advantage of online advertising is you can target your messages, particularly on social media, right down to location, gender, age and interests. You can also set your budget and most platforms allow you to pick the outcome you are trying to achieve e.g. video views, new followers, post clicks.

For both paid placements and sponsored posts, you are expected to create the advertising content yourself. Online creators generally have no problem doing this using their existing skill set.

If you have a significant new piece of content about to drop such as a follow-up series, it may be worth getting a quote from a digital marketing specialist if you’re considering a campaign budget of $10K or more. Companies like ACMN and Playmaker Media specialise in entertainment and offer capped-prize packages for emerging artists*. You’ll find there are lots of agencies to choose from in your local area, but just be sure they have some entertainment (ideally screen) experience and offer capped cost campaigns. One of the key advantages of using a consultant is they are more accustomed to the bidding process involved in securing more complicated ads.

*Screen Australia is compiling a list of digital agencies with experience in the online original sector and willing to offer packaged services for mid-career online creators. If you are a digital consultant / agency, email Publications to register your interest. If you are a creator, subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when the list is published.

  • Appearances: This is a broad term encompassing live performances, public stunts (e.g. flash mobs), panels/talks (e.g. Video Junkee, Vidcon) and events, with screenings being the most obvious.

Particularly for comedians, it’s very common to use live performance as an advertisement for online originals, and conversely, to use the online originals to generate ticket sales for live performances.

However any genre of online original may benefit from holding screenings, particularly when they have a larger core audience who may want to meet the cast and creators. For instance, web series Horizon premiered their feature-film length episode at the Queer Screen Film Festival in Sydney in 2016 before releasing it online. You may require payment (ticket price) to attend a screening or offer free entry depending on the popularity of your content.

If you do hold an event and there are potential new fans there, make sure your URL, YouTube Channel and social media handles are clearly displayed at the event and on any materials promoting the event. Make sure people know where to find you after the event. And don’t let them leave empty-handed! A program might be supplied at a screening, but if you’re an established brand you can be creative e.g. The Katering Show have a heap of merch.

  • Media relations: This is covered in more detail later, but essentially refers to generating editorial content (stories) in the media at no cost.

Further reading

This guide is aimed at Australian online creators and is for educational purposes only, and does not replace professional advice. The guide cannot be replicated without written permission.