Content Marketing for Actors: Why Actors Need to Promote Themselves and How They Should Go About Doing It

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The digital revolution transformed society. We went from a world of mass communication to one that was interconnected. From a world where select institutions had the power to broadcast messages to one where anyone with a computer is a content creator.

But this new world didn’t emerge overnight. We’re at a turning point and COVID is accelerating this change.

For industries that found a way to thrive in the age of mass communication, this transition has been painful. You see it with theatre companies and nonprofits, for example, but also in places like the construction industry, where relationships were forged over a handshake.

Taking the systems and processes you built in a print era and applying them today won’t help these companies succeed in a digital ecology. They were built in a completely different world. To do well, they’ll need to rebuild themselves around the strengths that digital offers.

It’s the same with actors.

It’s a mass communication era, actors didn’t have the means to ever market themselves. So they relied on the institution of the casting agency to do the work for them.

All the actor had to do was show up at the audition their agent had secured for them.


Casting directors might not be Googling actors today…But if there’s one thing we can be sure of it’s that the digital revolution is coming for the acting industry and that’s not going to be a bad thing.

Of course, the casting agency isn’t going anywhere fast. But the phenomenon that the digital landscape introduced, where institutions are being stripped of their power, is only accelerating. Independent or micro-production companies are emerging at a rapid rate. Content creators are getting more and more access to their own distribution channels that allows them to build a niche audience without ever having to go through an intermediary.


Of course, I don’t recommend ditching your agent because the acting industry is about a decade behind. But what I am recommending is that you as an actor get ahead.

Casting directors might not be Googling actors today. They might not be looking at whose enewsletter they’re subscribed to. Yet. They might not be checking YouTube or Instagram or, yes, TikTok to discover new talent. At this point.

But if there’s one thing we can be sure of it’s that the digital revolution is coming for the acting industry and that’s not going to be a bad thing.

With the tools we have today, you have the power to promote yourself, attract new work opportunities and even build a secondary source of income.

Principles of your content marketing strategy

What even is content?

The dictionary defines “content” as a member of the British House of Lords who votes for a particular mo—I’m kidding.


Content is a message, wrapped in a written, audio, visual or video form that’s designed to educate, entertain, inspire or connect.

Content is a message wrapped in a written, audio, visual or video form that’s designed to either educate, entertain, inspire or connect. Content has a creator, a message, a form, and an audience.

What makes content good, something people want to consume, is that it has value to the audience.


Now before we get into the steps to creating a content strategy that will work, I want to establish some principles that will guide how you approach your marketing strategy. These are the principles that will give you direction so you know what you’re building towards rather than throwing the kitchen sink at the wall to see if that sticks (I encourage a certain amount of throwing, but the following will provide strategic guidelines).

1. Funnel your efforts toward your email list 📬

channels funnel.png

This often surprises a lot of people, but your email list is worth gold. Of all the channels, yes, even your website, your email list is your most valuable. Here’s why: first, you own that. It doesn’t belong to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok. It’s not subject to algorithm updates or Google penalties. It’s a file that you can download at any time and take with you.

Second, when you get a subscriber to your email list, that’s the first active step somebody has to take to receive content from you. Following you on social media is easy. Clicking to your website costs nothing. But joining your email list, that requires typing. And typing what? Their email address. They’re giving you access to something that is, quote-unquote, personal. And that’s massive.

Third, and this is directly related to the second point, email gets higher engagement and conversions (people taking the action you want them to take) than any other channel. It just doesn’t have great PR.

2. Build a library of evergreen content 🌲

Evergreen content is content that’s still going to be relevant years from now. When you publish evergreen content, what you create today is going to bring traffic to your website for years!

This means that all those efforts in creating content will continue to generate traffic, followers, email subscribers and new customers six months, one year, five years from now.

3. Become a content-creating machine 🤖

More than any other industry, as an actor, you’re going to have to get comfortable creating content. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do three TikToks a day or whatever, although it’s an incredible channel for actors and we’ll get into that.

The channel that’s right for you could be podcasts, it could be Twitter or YouTube. It could be written blogs.

Find something you’re comfortable with, something that will excite you. But these are our tools so get prolific.

Step 1: Build a website

Your website is your digital home. It anchors you, gives you root, provides an address you can send people to. As hard as Facebook may try, a social media account will never replace a website. Neither will a free website, like Tumblr or WordPress.com.

These might be convenient solutions that allow you to save money, but you’re still renting their space: you’re just paying using your traffic. You want a website that’s under your own domain.

The good news is you don’t need to be a developer (developers disagree but that’s what makes them special). Wix, Squarespace and Webflow make it easy to build one with no coding required. Their templates give you easy to follow layouts that are genuinely difficult to make look bad.

Want more help? I’ve shared 17 steps to creating a super-duper highly professional website.

Step 2: Blog regularly

Remember that principle of creating evergreen content? A blog’s going to be the best way you can do that. I often get asked: “Do people still read blogs?”

I think there are a couple things in that question. First, there’s a misconception that a blog is just journaling about your thoughts. Like a digital diary. It’s not really. I guess it can be if you want it to be, but that’s not what I’m talking about. A blog is a section on your website where you have the ability to share your expertise through thoughtful and comprehensive content.


I often get asked, “Do people still read blogs?” It’s hard to answer because there are a lot of misconceptions at work here. Do people wake up in the morning and think, “I’m going to find a blog to read today.” Probably not.

So when people are searching for answers relevant to what you do (how to prepare for an audition, how to memorize lines quickly, should you go to acting school, how to prepare for a role…) you’re not only showing up, you’re providing value to the searcher.


Because of that value, if you have a relevant reason for them to join your email list, they’re likely to because they want to hear more.

The second weird bias in the question, “Do people still read blogs?” is this idea that “I don’t read blogs, therefore other people probably don’t either.” (I personally read a lot of blogs, but that’s because I love content marketing and i’m curious about studying it and seeing how different organizations write blogs.)

But again, there’s a lot in that: do people read blogs for fun? Probably not. Not to start. Do people, when they first encounter a new business, go, “I wonder what’s on their blog…!” Not usually. So if that’s what the question’s getting to, no people don’t read blogs, not in that way.

What people do is they look for help. And where do they turn? Google. Or Bing. (Let’s start breaking this monopoly Google has, people!) They tippity-type their questions or their problems on search engines and bada-bing bada-boom, lo and behold, they get an answer. How do you, the organization, get an answer to show up there for questions that are relevant to you? You got it, one of the best ways at your disposal is your bloggity-blog!

👉🏻 Find out how to write a blog post that’ll get found on Google.

And if you’re actually helpful, people will read that. And if you keep on being helpful to a single person, they’ll start looking for your blog.

So do people still read blogs? Heckity-heck yeah they do! And if you’re still not sure, what do you think you’re reading now?

Discover & share this Whoa GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.

Step 3: Start a newsletter

I used to work in marketing at a credit union.

To provide value to its members, the organization would host learning sessions on topics like planning for retirement, personal finances and budgeting. One of the business banking managers thought it’d be a great idea to do a session on how to use social media for business members (great!).

So I got roped in with another colleague to do the presentation (I loved it). The business banking manager really wanted to do the intro (totally fine). He started by setting up the channels: your website, ads…and then he said this: “There’s email, but let’s be honest, we all get too many emails in a day so you’re better off forgetting about it.” (🤦‍♂️)

This is the reputation email often has. It’s considered spammy (email marketers have a lot of responsibility to bear for that reputation). So people rarely think it’s worthwhile. They certainly have a hard time believing that it’s your most valuable channel.

Yes, we all get a lot of emails (remember when COVID hit and you suddenly heard from every business you’d ever subscribed to?) but that’s because at some point, we thought there was value for us.

And guess what? If that value is delivered, you’re probably still opening that company’s emails.

But that’s the trick with email: you have to deliver value. Don’t just add noise. The business banking manager was right about one thing: we all get a lot of emails. So make yours stand out in somebody’s inbox.

Be the email they can’t wait to open.

Step 4: Create a social media strategy

People are always surprised that I put social media last. They usually expect me to lead with it. The value of social media is often hyper-inflated and the reason is this: the metrics are out in the open. You can see people who have millions of followers. You can see videos with hundreds of thousands of views. You can see posts with thousands of likes, hundreds of comments.

Plus you know by experience that you’re on social media probably a LOT more than you wish you were.

So in the same way the business banking manager anecdotally believed email to be ineffective, we anecdotally are biased to believe that social media is the most valuable channel.

I want to say first that social media is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to use. It’s just that it doesn’t occupy the primary place in the content stack expect it to.

Here’s why: remember how we talked about the fact that email is worthwhile because it requires an active step from your audience? Social media is on the opposite end of the spectrum. It requires nothing from your audience (which is probably why people think it’s so effective). It’s a passive channel.

Isn’t that good?

It’s great for generating awareness. It’s great for connecting with people. It’s great for growing your audience and getting in front of new eyes. But because it’s passive, there’s the principle of inertia at play. People aren’t likely to click away. And the social media platforms don’t want people to click away. They want to keep them on their platforms.

So any audience you build on social isn’t really yours. It’s Facebook’s, Instagram’s, TikTok’s…

That being said, for actors, social is probably more important than for most other industries. Generally, I don’t recommend focusing on social media while you’re building your content marketing. It’s a complementary tactic that is useful to support your other initiatives.

But for actors, is there more of an actor’s medium than TikTok? The way that people are using it has moved social media into the performative. So I do think it’s incredibly useful for actors.

How does that affect your strategy?

Normally, I recommend starting with your blog then repurposing your blog posts for email and social. The strategy is to use social media to promote your other channels with the ultimate goal of growing your email list.

For actors, the strategy is still the same. The difference is, because of the sheer volume of valuable social media content you’re able to create, you could easily start with the social media content, then repurpose that on your blog and email.

Step 5: Building an income model

This is what it’s all about, isn’t it? After all, actors often struggle enough as it is to generate income from their art. If on top of it, someone suggests to them they should do more work for free that doesn’t end up helping them financially, at the very least that seems irresponsible.

I’m proponent of doing content marketing to grow your business.

Hence why I’m not a big fan of blogging about your feelings or focusing your efforts on social media.

Generating income: that’s what it should be about. If I’m a freelance marketing professional, the goal of the content I create is to land more marketing clients. If you’re in the construction industry, the point it to get more contracts. If you’re an actor, it’s to get paid to act.

The blueprint I’ve laid out above lays out a series of concentric circles going from your social media platforms to your blog to your email. At its core is income. New clients. New work. When you’re building your momentum in that direction, every channel gets leveraged to that end. And that’s why I’m telling you, point everything towards email.

channels funnel copy.png

But there’s another way to build an income model for actors.

Courses.

Remember how the purpose of content is to educate, inspire, entertain or connect? Well as you build your audience and understand what drives them to consume your content, you can then take that to the next level by creating courses that teach them how to reach their goals.

Par exemple

If people like your TikToks, blog post and emails because you’re funny, you could create a course on how to create funny content. Do you know how big your audience would be for that?

Or if you’re using your existing channels to give tips to the next generation of actors, providing insights on how to conduct proper scene analysis, get into character, connect with your scene partner…Do you know how easy it would be for you to turn all that into a course that you can sell?

What courses allow you to do is scale your services by repurposing your content. As an actor, your ability to be hired is limited to where you can physically be. As an online course creator, those limitations disappear.

And it’s all because you’ve built a foundation on creating evergreen content and growing your email list.

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