Tag: Rhonda Byrne

Conclusion of Guest Post: The Secrets of The Secret

Today concludes Julie Eckersley’s wonderful 5 part series on the methods used by The Secret to create such a success – big kudos to Julie for being so generous with her information. I love that she emphasizes audience engagement at the earliest stages and being generous to your partners and fans!: Here’s Julie:

In early 2006, Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne launched her feature length documentary online. It was called The Secret. The film spread like wildfire around the globe as viewers took up the viral campaign Byrne had begun.

This blog post is part 5 of the lessons we can learn from her success.

So far:
Lesson 1: Start strong
Lesson 2: Tap into people’s passion
Lesson 3: Understand the power of your title
Lesson 4: Plan your marketing campaign from day 1.
Lesson 5: Align yourself with the key influencers in the area.
Lesson 6: Alternative release and some very good news.
Lesson 7: Shoot a promo first

Lesson 8: Cultivate your audience

One of the places that many people go wrong online and in social media circles is that they don’t understand the etiquette of the medium.

Here is a summary of online manners from a fabulous internet marketing company called Thinktank Media.

1. Build a relationship first, sell second.
2. Thank people that mention you online in their blog or site. To keep track of this start using Google analytics and Google Alerts. You may also want to sign up for Social Mention.
3. Share great content. It doesn’t always have to be yours.
4. Be open and honest
5. Stick to your brand or style
6. Don’t spam or constantly broadcast one way
7. Engage in and encourage 2 way conversations.

The internet is actually a very intimate medium. If you get earmarked as a spammer there is no going back. It is the same as if you try to sell every time you communicate. It is a medium much more aligned with building relationships.

Byrne did this by communicating with her audience long before there was anything she was selling. In the lead up to her release had a clear brand and message – I am going to tell you a secret? and she traded on the exclusivity of her information.

Once the film was launched she continued to communicate directly with her extensive mailing list through the intimacy of her “secret scrolls”. Again, these are not about selling they simply offer a communication with the film maker and are full or advice about things that the niche group are interested in.

Lesson 9: GIVE GIVE GIVE

Once you have established a rapport with the key influencers think of what you can give to them. Ask yourself – what’s in this for them? The same applies to people that opt in to your publicity though an email or newsletter sign up.
Continue reading →

Part 4: The Secrets of the Secret

Today is Part 4 of Julie Eckersley’s 5 Part amazing Guest Post Series on the distribution and marketing of “The Secret”. Here’s Julie:

In early 2006, Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne launched her feature length documentary online. It was called The Secret. The film spread like wildfire around the globe as viewers took up the viral campaign Byrne had begun.

This blog post is part 4 of the lessons we can learn from her success.

So far:
Lesson 1: Start strong
Lesson 2: Tap into people’s passion
Lesson 3: Understand the power of your title
Lesson 4: Plan your marketing campaign from day 1.
Lesson 5: Align yourself with the key influencers in the area.
Lesson 6: Alternative release and some very good news.

Lesson 7: Shoot a Promo First

Now this is interesting.
Before Byrne even started shooting her film – she shot a promo for it and began garnering online support.

Initially, three short promos were released via the Internet in 2005, in the form of
‘clues’ as to what ‘The Secret’ was. They were posted intermittently one at a time
on the the secret website and
assured that viewer that ‘a secret was about to be delivered’. Byrne’s viral campaign was in keeping with her title. It played in the on the idea of a ‘secret’. And people wanted to know what ‘the secret’ was.

The promos were intended to drive people to the website where they could then be in direct contact with the filmmakers and receive a new level of inside information and updates. Her campaign centered on making people feel special, followers were given intimate access to parts of the film and those in it that was not available to others. This sense of belonging was key to the projects success and also the ownership that the public took of the project through engaging in the viral campaign. Then, the producers created a trailer and posted it online.
Continue reading →

Part 3: The secrets of the Secret

Today is Part 3 of Julie Eckersley’s 5 Part excellent Guest Post Series on the distribution and marketing of “The Secret”. As anyone who has read this blog or my book, knows that I am always talking about the subject of today’s post: Start your campaign as early as possible and engage your audience, natural allies in the process. Here’s Julie:

In early 2006, Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne launched her feature length documentary online. It was called The Secret. The film spread like wildfire around the globe as viewers took up the viral campaign Byrne had begun.

This blog post is part 3 of the lessons we can learn from her success.

So far:
Lesson 1: Start strong
Lesson 2: Tap into people’s passion
Lesson 3: Understand the power of your title

Lesson 4: Plan your marketing campaign from day 1.

If you have done Jon’s workshop you would also have been in discussion about the role of PMD or Producer of Marketing and Distribution. I think this is a vital new role in the film industry and whether she knew it or not, The Secret was a great example of this in action. The online campaign was foundational to the project from its inception.

Before she had even shot the film, or planned the schedule Byrne built a website, began building followers online, bought url’s that would support her campaign (to release the project as if it were a real secret) and very early on she even released a promo DVD of stock footage and released it online, directing it into the hands of key influencers.

Which brings us to the all-important point 5.

Lesson 5: Align yourself with the key influencers in the area.

From very early on in the project Byrne identified the key influencers in this area and aligned herself with them. As it was a documentary she could do this by actually using them in the film, but it could also be done by having interviews linked on a website, articles, blog posts etc. She got these people (some of which already had their own community of hundreds of thousands of followers) and she involved them from the beginning.
Continue reading →

Part 2: The secrets of the $300 million independent film.

Today – Part 2 of Julie Eckersley’s 5 Part series Guest Post on the distribution and marketing strategy and execution for The Secret:

Lesson 3: Understand the power of your title

In early 2006, Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne launched her feature length documentary online. It was called The Secret. The film spread like wildfire around the globe as viewers took up the viral campaign Byrne had begun.

So far we have learned the following lessons from her success:
Lesson 1: Start strong
Lesson 2: Tap into people’s passion

While Byrne’s viral campaign was clever and well organised (more on that in my next 3 posts) it was also the passion that she tapped into which propelled her film around the globe. Not only did this idea have followers, she also tapped into universal themes that resonated with a wider group of people.

She brought the passion of a subculture to the mainstream in a way that appealed to the masses.

As a film and communications critic this point is one of my bugbears with The Secret. She watered down her ideas so much that she was not communicating with any depth. But I do acknowledge that the way she generalised in her film (and left people to do their own research if they wanted to know more) was also part of why her audience base was so wide.

She gave words, voice and a medium to something, which had been seen as a subculture until then.

Ultimately the real marketing is going to be driven by your fans, not by producers. While this is always a point of contention for artists, finding stories that will evoke a strong and enthusiastic response should be high on your list if you want to make a successful film. Continue reading →

The Secrets of the $300 Million Independent Film

During the Melbourne Think Outside the Box Office Workshop last year, I had the pleasure to meet Julie Eckersley who told me that she had written her master’s thesis on the runaway success of the independent film “The Secret”. She generously offered to share her findings with my readers. While much of the success of The Secret is unique, in these posts Julie has focused on the aspects of the distribution and marketing campaign for the film that are most relevant for other filmmakers to apply to their own work. I will be featuring Julie’s series of guest posts this week and next. Here is part 1:

The secrets of the $300 million independent film.
by Julie Eckersley

A few years ago a small independent film made over $300 million dollars in profit. To my astonishment this film, and the lessons we can learn from it have been widely ignored by the film industry. Personally, I was so in awe of what the filmmaker achieved I changed my Masters thesis to a study of her process and outcomes. This 5-part blog series is a summary of what I found.

The Secret

In early 2006, Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne launched her feature length documentary online. It was called The Secret. The film spread like wildfire around the globe as viewers took up the viral campaign Byrne had begun, making an estimated profit of $300 million.

For those of you who know the project you no doubt have strong opinions one way or another about the content of The Secret, and maybe even on the artistic merit of it. Valid as these may be, if we can look past them for a moment there are some incredible insights to be gleaned from Byrne particularly on how she ran her viral campaign and the process she used to launch her film.

Over 5 posts I am going to look at 10 things Byrne did which gave her film the best chance of global success and how you can use them to aid your own projects.
Continue reading →