Interested in starting your own TV channel? How to get people to watch…
There is no better platform than Roku. The industry leader in the OTT field, Roku boasts a viewership of more than 55 million. In this day and age, the question is not ‘should you start a TV channel?’ but rather ‘how to effectively do so?’. A huge part of this comes down to marketing. The problem is, you love all things media. And nothing about marketing. Hence, this article is being written just for you.
I will lay out some foundational elements that everyone needs to keep in mind. Next, I will explain a couple of paths you can follow based on your budget. There is going to be something in here for everyone, so keep reading.
By choosing to launch on Roku, you are positioning yourself with the top OTT platform in the world. The ad revenue here is boosted as well due to the ad agencies following this colossal audience. If that does not sound awesome, mostly because you do not plan on having commercials, no worries. This platform still has the largest user base out there!
So you have decided to launch a Roku channel.
You still have some work ahead of you though. Long gone are the days where you could start a channel, add catchy content, then watch an audience flock to you. Supply and demand, my friend. No one has time to scroll through 5,000 channels. You will need a marketing plan.
But before you are ready to start promoting, you should have something to promote. So let’s get our ducks in a row, shall we? First, when using TvStartup, all of the storage, programing, and uploading abilities required to operate a TV channel are taken care of for you. That said, you still need to put real thought into your niche, logo, splash, colors, thumbnails, ‘voice’ or style, etc.
All of these not only affect your channel but also how you will promote it. Here is a basic example of how this applies: how a punk-rock channel promotes itself is vastly different from the manner that a classic movie channel would. What could work for one would fall flat or worse with the other.
As an aside…
Please recall all of the articles we have that reference: Niche. If you have dreams of a general content channel, it is all but guaranteed that you will be playing second fiddle to Netflix. And that’s a best-case scenario. It could easily be worse. But hey… it is your dream. I just want you to be successful. And success points to being niche.
I will be frank with you. You have done the work of supplying the content, whether by producing it yourself or contracting it. You are uploading content, creating custom thumbnails, and maintaining your channel. Do not sell yourself short by skimping out on the other half of work. And that work is promotion. It will likely be the deciding factor in your success. Granted, all channels will experience some growth organically. My concern is that you are growing quickly enough to meet your business needs.
Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, I want to share an astonishing fact. Only 30% of a successful launch depends on the quality of the product. The other 70% depends on the quality of its promotion!
So you have the next big channel…
Your logo is spot on, you have a strong sense of your ‘voice’, and you have the perfect niche. What is the next step? Well, allow me to lay out the three main objectives of all marketing plans. Yes, only three. This might be easier than you thought…
Here are your 3 basic objectives of marketing:
1.) Build Awareness– Let people know there’s a new channel out there!
2.) Get them interested-be as clever or straightforward as you like as long as it resonates with your channel brand.
3.) Create desire that results in action– in this case, your mission is to get them to watch your channel.
So now you are armed with your three main objectives. Time to get promoting. We have already decided that it would be a poor choice to just wait for your audience to show up. Instead, we are going to start at the top of our objectives and work our way down. How you do this is far less rigid than a bullet list. A lot of it is going to depend on your brand and budget. Here are a few ways you could start with building awareness:
Money-wise marketing strategies.
If you are well funded, you will probably choose to go with the first couple of options on this list. The time you will save and just how effective they are, well, really have no comparison. That said, you will still want to be conscious of how you spend. Experience has taught us that you can reach a point of diminishing returns at no fault of your own. The point here is, there is generally a sweet spot. Furthermore, you will need to be proactive in looking for it.
Facebook and other platforms with an ad program can be quite valuable. The ads you can create on these platforms could fulfill all three of your objectives sometimes. They will definitely fulfill the first one. And set you up for the second one.
Here is how: Create an ad with a simple call to action. Something like “Launching our new channel, subscribe for a FREE month”. The point is to acquire an email by trading something of value. People will become aware of your brand through these ads, plus, you can start to target those individuals most likely to become loyal viewers. Those are the ones who were interested enough to give you their email.
Roku is there for you!
And with a native ad platform available to all of its channel owners. Roku takes its platform seriously, believing deeply in its responsibility to channel owners and end-users. Roku aims to make the channel-owning process as streamlined as possible, so you can focus on delivering content. One way they do this is through tools like ‘Publisher Solutions’. This tool is for channel owners to promote their brands. Working with Roku has its inherent bonuses.
A channel marketing platform.
If you have a budget that would allow it, outsourcing this portion of channel labor could pay in dividends. Sometimes, it’s just best to leave it to the professionals. There are numerous services out there that will get your name out there. A few will even really tailor your message according to your brand. Quite Important in my book. Do you remember the old Sprite commercials? “Image is Everything!”
Street-wise marketing strategies.
If you’re missing a decent budget, don’t fret. Going guerrilla to promote your Roku app could be your ticket. Just be prepared to trade time for your lack of funds.
If you have a following on social media, it makes sense to start here. If you don’t but know someone who does, that is still second best. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, or ‘fill in social media blank’, are perfect for posting channel updates, teasers, and trailers. Even YouTube can fill this role. Consistently promoting your Roku content can help keep you established and significant if done right.
One great technique you should network into your plan is a channel fusion opportunity. Do you remember the social part of social media? Well, you are going to have to incorporate this part now. Your goal here is to find current channels or media with a similar audience as the one you’re targeting. Then let that channel owner or producer know about your channel and offer them something of value.
It could be a fiscal or a social benefit you might offer them, for instance. In exchange, they could offer you a channel a shout-out, host some of your channel trailers or play your splash screen in between some videos in their playlist. Some might even be willing to have you on one of their shows to talk about your channel.
Go Hang Out-
Or you can get real social for outstanding results. You will have to visit, sign up, and chat it up with these communities, but networking is an integral part of the business. You might even find a friend. By building real relationships on forums and within online communities of similar interests to your brand, you will be building a customer of the highest valued type. A loyal one. Direct communication has unparalleled effectiveness. One of the reasons door-to-door sales are so effective.
And The Oh-So-Obvious-
You should have a website. For anyone doing business, a website is a staple. For anyone streaming media through the net, a website is all but required. The ability to interact and respond through a website is critical in the modern age. If someone is looking for information, the first stop will be that company or organization’s website. Now with that out of the way, you can also leverage this location to promote your shows and upcoming events. You can even set up a place for your fans to connect and chat if you wanted to.
You will need to figure out how to get your channel out there. I, for one, have never watched a channel I did not know existed. Kind of obvious, I know. But you need viewers, and they need to know you exist. It is going to cost a bit of time and/or money. Just remember, this is an investment. But then again, isn’t all business.Garrett Cunningham