I’d like to start this post by pointing out that I’m not a web series creator. I’m a blogger. That said, I am a huge fan of web series. I’m a huge geek, so some of my favorites include The Guild, My Drunk Kitchen, pretty much any series on That Guy With the Glasses. I also thought BBC’s The Pond Life leading up to the Doctor Who series 7 premier was brilliant.
That’s just scratching the surface of the web series I enjoy. Like most of you out there, however, my time is limited. You have to keep me interested with every episode or I’m probably going to forget about your series, instead moving on to find new series to enjoy. So how can you keep me (and other fans) interested? Here are my best tips:
1. Make some “special” episodes.
I absolutely love when web series producers includes some videos that are beyond the scope of the series itself. Behind-the-scenes footage, funny music videos, bloopers, and interviews with the cast are just a few examples of videos you can make that add a ton of value to your series. It’s like the special features disk when you buy a DVD. Fans who aren’t interested can just watch the series, but I think you’ll be surprised to know just how many viewers really do want extra footage.
2. Know your viewers – and make videos for them.
Without fail, the very best series always seem to be made for me. In other words, there’s a common theme, a thread that connects all of the videos so they’re made with a specific viewer in mind. Before you start filming the first episode or even getting too far along with the writing, think about the demographic you’re trying to target. Not everyone is going to like your web series, but that’s okay. You want to make rabid fans of the people who do like your series, not have a bunch of people who say “meh, it was okay” and never watch past the second or third episode.
3. Take your show on the road.
I never watched The Guild until I met some of the actors at a video game convention. At that point, the series was certainly popular, but it has only grown in popularity since then. Getting your actors out there, visible and promoting the show, is going to not only help you find new fans, but it is also going to feed your current hungry fans, keeping them interested in your series. Even if you can’t get a booth or speak on a panel at the show, just attending and networking with other attendees can help your fan base grow.
4. Don’t allow huge gaps between episodes or between seasons.
Just like bloggers need to be consistent with their posting schedule, it’s important for your web series episode to come out on a consistent basis. For most, this means every week during a season, with possible longer gaps between seasons. Once you have the millions of fans some series have, you can easily come back after six months or even a year of being off the air. If you’re new, though, or not yet super popular, this kind of gap can kill any momentum you have.
5. Get viewers involved.
Lastly, consider getting your viewers involved in some way. Hannah Harto from My Drunk Kitchen, Jenna Marbles, and lots of other web series creators take viewer questions and answer them on air. The Guild was initially funded by viewer donations, and today, you can start a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign. You can even consider getting a viewer to be part of an upcoming episode, and I’ve seen some series that allow viewers to vote in a poll regarding what should happen to characters. If I’m part of your web series in some way, I’m definitely going to be more interested to see what happens.