"Your Google results directly impact your career."
That is the tagline for BrandYourself, a service used by hundreds of thousands of professionals trying to bury Facebook pages and other social media accounts and embarrassing stories that pop up when they google their names. Actors usually do it because said pages have absolutely nothing to do with their profession. BrandYourself is a great service, don't get me wrong, but rather than trying to do damage control, you should start off on the right foot instead.
Why are IADB - Actor Websites so awesome?
Are we showcasing your work for free, yes, sure. Are we giving you a nicely designed website at no charge so you can point your visitors to your professional work? Uh-huh. But how about SEO value? This is what I'm talking about - when someone googles "Your Name", YourName.com or ActorYourName.com SHOULD be the first thing that pops up, followed by the things that your website links to!
When a casting director Googles you, what will they find?
It's simple as this: just having an actor website isn't enough. Your website is often your introduction to people in the industry. It's the same as a business card at a networking event, same as your headshot at a casting call, same as your resume at an interview. It serves as a first impression. And you know what they say about first impressions, right? They do matter! So the point is... you shouldn't spend hundreds or thousands of dollars trying to bury the bad online presence, but instead, you should start creating a positive one.
Why do people try to bury those Facebook accounts? Because social media is not something you have control over. Facebook changes all the time, and it's not intended as a tool to showcase your work or improve your presence as an actor, and while your IMDb profile is something that you SHOULD have, it is not intended to feature you, nor is it to give people a feeling of who you are.
IADB does a lot on our end to make sure your visitors get the five star experience, but here are some other things you can do to stand out:
1. Let Your Personality Shine
Own your actor website! It is yours! DO make sure you write your bio in the first person. People visit your actor website to learn more about you... from you. Don't dilute it with a third person bio that has no sense of personality! You can use a conversational tone. Ya know, sort of like some blog posts you might read on this site (wink wink). Check out my article with additional tips on how to write a bio for your actor website.
2. Showcase Your Castability
I always dread talking about type casting, because I get a ton of grudge about it, but hey, it's out there, and unless it ceases to exist in the next few months, you should take advantage of it. So think of the types of roles in which you're usually cast. Are you the slightly nerdy best friend or a sharp tongued, fast talking attorney? Are you the nerdy LARPer or a slick-haired mobster? Whatever it is, make sure your photos, colors, and fonts make sense with how you're perceived in the industry right now. So... no floral designs for the mobster-types or you'll be sleeping with the fishes, if you know whattamean.
3. Never Stop Improving
That goes for everything in your life including your acting, professional skills and of course your credits and reels. Just as on your resume, and your reel, you wanna keep your credits on your website in the order of most impressive, to least impressive, so that when you pile those things on, the things you did while in college will either fall to the bottom of the list, or get pushed right off of the page. That's fine. When you improve, all the new stuff you do gets better and better, and that's just the way of life. So keep acting, keep updating your credits, and keep updating your reel with better stuff so you can sell yourself easier.
4. Promote Yourself as an Actor
There are so many things you can do nowadays on social media. Show people the amazing things you are up to on Twitter. Invite people to your screenings or tell them when your show is aired. If you have behind the scenes photos share them in a special category on your website... and share it to your Instagram. The more you share, the more people will start following you, and you can use that as a bargaining chip with potential agents and managers.
There are many ways to tell people that you're an actor, but if your goal is to communicate your personality, show off your professionalism, showcase your reels, credits, resumes and headshots, then owning an actor website is indeed for you.
I feel like dropping the mic. I guess this keyboard will do instead.
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