Marketing a Webcomic 2.0

by Justin Jordan 18 replies
This August, a comic that I wrote was featured in the monthly competition at Zuda Comics. Zuda is DC Comic's web operation, and DC is the publisher of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the like. So it was a semi big deal.

At Zuda, each month ten comics are voted on by the readers and the most popular one wins a contract for a year. We were in the contest.

We lost.

Specifically, we came in fifth out of ten, which I was fairly pleased with. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to win (for one thing, that contract is worth about eleven grand) but our comic was a nasty piece of work with a grim tone and idiosyncratic art. That it made in the competition and did as well as it did was a surprise to me.

The winner, though, clearly knew something I don't. They had somewhere in the neighborhood of ten times as many views as my comic, and where two or three times more viewed than the number two, and I'm reasonably sure a lot of that was down to a good marketing plan.

Actually, the marketing aspect is interesting, because you can actually see the evolution. The contest generally comes down to who the best marketer is, and you can see the evolution of techniques from month to month.

So I'm curious as to what you folks would do to get eyes and votes? This pretty much the best place for marketing on the internet, so I think you'd be the folks to ask.

What I did:

Advertised on Project Wonderful - Effective. PW is an ad system that targets this sort of thing specifically.

Press Releases - Seemed to help. I'm sure I didn't utilize them as effectively as might have.

Myspace, Facebook etc - created groups, added friends. Helpful, but again, I don't think I made the most of it.

So, if you had 500.00 to promote something like this, what would you do?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #marketing #webcomic
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Hunter
    Justin,

    I'm a HUGE comic book fan and have been writing in the industry for a long time. As a matter of fact, I helped start the Newsarama blog, Blog@Newsarama and was a cofounder of its original incarnation, The Great Curve.

    I normally don't keep up with all of the Zuda competitions and I'm sorry to hear that you didn't win, but to be honest with you, I never even knew you were in it.

    What would have helped me to vote for you is to simply have known about you in the first place.

    I'm a regular subscriber to many of the top comic book sites and I never saw your name mentioned there. Did you try to get any interviews?

    Do you have your own website for the comic? I don't mean a social networking site (though those can be effective), but your very own site for either your or your comic?

    Did you distribute the webcomic in anyway, like through a blgo with RSS, or like what Warren Ellis is doing with Freakangels?

    You and I should talk. Feel free to send me a message by PM here and we can discuss all kinds of things that woudl help.

    Later!
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    Ok, sure. You can follow me on Twitter - http://twitter.com/Chris_Hunter ;)

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    • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
      Hi Justin,

      Well congrats on you being one of the final 10 kid! You may not have won, but you were in the running right? That should say something about your work and your marketing skills to a degree.

      Ithink Chris said it best ... make yourself known. Get a website, run some traffic to it by placing ads in the newspaper and some mags if you can afford to. You might be better off hitting the bricks or offline market.

      Also let us know in here what you are up to by placing something in your sig file that shows off your work, and how people can rate your work.

      Press releases work great too, so you might want to think about that.

      There may even be some marketers that have big lists in this area you can contact and strike a deal with.

      Just some thoughts ...

      Congrats again, and I look forward to seeing some of your work.

      All the best ...


      Mary
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      • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
        Originally Posted by mmurtha View Post

        Hi Justin,

        Well congrats on you being one of the final 10 kid! You may not have won, but you were in the running right? That should say something about your work and your marketing skills to a degree.

        Ithink Chris said it best ... make yourself known. Get a website, run some traffic to it by placing ads in the newspaper and some mags if you can afford to. You might be better off hitting the bricks or offline market.

        Also let us know in here what you are up to by placing something in your sig file that shows off your work, and how people can rate your work.

        Press releases work great too, so you might want to think about that.

        There may even be some marketers that have big lists in this area you can contact and strike a deal with.

        Just some thoughts ...

        Congrats again, and I look forward to seeing some of your work.

        All the best ...


        Mary
        Thanks, Mary!

        I'm going to post some stuff here in this thread, so people can see what I'm talking about.

        What I should have done, and am trying to do for next thing, is do a heavy dose or pre promotion and build a base of interested people that I could contact when we got in. Which seems obvious, but that's the whole hindsight thing at work.
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        • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
          This is the comics that was in the Zuda competition. Should be work safe, if grim.

          Junk, with art by Sami Makkonen

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                        • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
                          As I said, it's pretty weird and dark, so I'm pretty happy we went as far as we did with something I'd consider a pretty hard sell.

                          And even now, I'm still not sure about the narration. The response was really positive for that aspect, but I'm still not sure. Ah well.
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                          • Profile picture of the author Jarod Lam
                            Holy Batman! I'm a lifelong comic book fan and I never thought there were any fans here in WF!

                            The art is cool, very reminiscent of Jae Lee. Anyway 8 pages is probably insufficient to determine how good the story is.

                            For instance, it took Bone six issues to build up a buzz and loyal fanbase.

                            So, keep it up...
                            Jarod
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                            • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
                              Comics fans unite!

                              "Anyway 8 pages is probably insufficient to determine how good the story is. "

                              Oh, probably, but eight is what Zuda gives you, so eight's what we have. There are actual a number of limitations you have to work around when you're a competitor - Limited pages, no real metrics to gauge your marketing, no off site images.
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                              • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
                                Thread Necromancy.

                                So, against all reason and sense, I've actually managed to get another comic in Zuda.

                                We're doing substantially better this time - we're currently ranked second. That's down mostly to the stuff I learned here and what I figured out from doing it before. And, you know, hopefully having a good comic.

                                The comic could be boiled down to Saving Private Ryan if it were written by H.P Lovecraft and directed by David Cronenberg.

                                The number three comic is almost certainly going to take the number one spot at the next update, so I need to find more ways to get the word out.

                                What I've done:

                                - Emailed almost everyone I know.

                                - Used Twitter (which works quite well)

                                - Used Myspace (inefficient, but working)

                                - Used Facebook (ditto)

                                - Advertised on Project Wonderful

                                - Posted in the forums I frequent (as has my collaborator)

                                - Gotten people to spread the word

                                I'm looking at Squidoo and press releases, and they have a related problem. I'm not really interested in ranking well in Google, but getting direct traffic. Similarly, I'm considering using GoogleAds, but I'm not sure how effective they'd be.

                                Beyond that, I know social bookmarking might help, but I'm not sure how to use it.

                                So, suggestions?
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    • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
      Originally Posted by Chris Hunter View Post

      Justin,

      I'm a HUGE comic book fan and have been writing in the industry for a long time. As a matter of fact, I helped start the Newsarama blog, Blog@Newsarama and was a cofounder of its original incarnation, The Great Curve.

      I normally don't keep up with all of the Zuda competitions and I'm sorry to hear that you didn't win, but to be honest with you, I never even knew you were in it.

      What would have helped me to vote for you is to simply have known about you in the first place.

      I'm a regular subscriber to many of the top comic book sites and I never saw your name mentioned there. Did you try to get any interviews?

      Do you have your own website for the comic? I don't mean a social networking site (though those can be effective), but your very own site for either your or your comic?

      Did you distribute the webcomic in anyway, like through a blgo with RSS, or like what Warren Ellis is doing with Freakangels?

      You and I should talk. Feel free to send me a message by PM here and we can discuss all kinds of things that woudl help.

      Later!
      Hey Chris!

      I did indeed try to get interviews. I even have friends within the comics journalism area, and I've written dozens of articles for Comic Book Resources.

      No dice. The relevant sites and blogs seem reluctant to talk about Zuda competitors. I suspect this is because they'd get inundated, or they think their readers won't be interested, or both.

      While you're live in the competition, you can't use the comic elsewhere, so RSS stuff is out, at least so I think.
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  • Profile picture of the author SpotOn
    Theres a site called project wonderful where you can purchase ads from other comic sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author dholowiski
    If you're allowed to, post the URL here. If you're not allowed, it's not that hard to find yours on the site. You got my vote.
    Have you used amazon mechanical turk? For a few bucks you could have a hundred people bookmark/review your comic on stumbleupon or delicious to generate some traffic (I imagine having them vote on it would be against the rules).
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