Developing Screen Machine’s online presence

Screen Machine in a Highland scene

Screen Machine in a Highland scene

Along with my work for Park Circus which I mentioned last week, I’m also working on a major multi-website project for the national leader for Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries, Creative Scotland. One strand of this sees me heavily involved in developing the online presence of Scotland’s only mobile cinema, Screen Machine.

Screen Machine is an 80-seat digital cinema which has been taking the latest films to remote and rural areas of Scotland since the 1990s. In my role of Web Producer, I’m tasked with managing the development of the main website and associated social media, including a fast growing Facebook page and a popular Twitter feed.

I’m also effectively looking after the press office for the cinema, with a series of press releases written and distributed to Scottish media over the last few weeks tying into the social media work.

The first major release centred on the arrival at the Screen Machine of a Grey African Parrot and its owner at a screening in Brodick on the Isle of Arran. I became aware of the story via a post on the Facebook page and followed it up with a press release, which was picked up by STV’s Entertainment website, in turn spawning a Twitter hashtag, #aparrotinacinema, which asked people to suggest bird-themed movie titles and which propagated the story around the web.

A hashtag frenzy on Twitter

A hashtag frenzy on Twitter

The last fortnight has seen the cinema pushed even further around the web thanks to a visit to Bettyhill, a village on the north coast of Scotland, which the cinema last visited almost a decade ago, just before a cinema opened in Thurso (which has now closed). News of the trip was picked up by BBC Online, The Northern Times and The John O’Groat Journal.

Screen Machine on BBC News Online

Screen Machine on BBC News Online

BBC Radio Scotland’s Movie Cafe also featured the story and I was interviewed by Inverness-based radio station, Moray Firth Radio, both of whom have loyal audiences around Scotland.

At a time when we’re constantly told how important online is for getting the message out to customers, it’s important to remember that old-fashioned print media still has a major place in the lives of readers, particularly in remote communities.

Getting this story into The Northern Times could mean that we’ve reached more people in Sutherland than a tweet or a Facebook update and, although I’ll be doing a lot of work to build our online presence, I’ll also be ensuring we keep Scotland’s print media and radio stations well informed of Screen Machine’s progress for the forseeable future.

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