Rooftop Comedy is a broadcast network dedicated to spreading the gospel of funny. Based out of San Francisco, they release comedy albums, produce local and national comedy festivals/tours, and have a downright robust web presence. But the biggest part of their production is the live video they record through their vast network of comedy clubs all over the country.
"We film shows every night of the week," Editor and Community Manager Jono Simrin says. "That model has given us a wealth of amazing comedy content, showcasing big headliners as well as rising stars. Our Clip of the Week newsletter showcases three pieces of video. Rooftop wants people to discover comedy at their convenience."
Free Funny for Busy People
Rooftop’s COTW email is completely free. It doesn’t cost money to receive it, but it also doesn’t push readers to buy anything, and the videos themselves aren’t direct revenue sources. The email just shows up, once a week, and injects your inbox with laughter. Rooftop has several other lists which they use for various projects, but the COTW email is intended to make people happy, plain and simple. Jono understands it’s not easy to keep people’s attention these days, which is another asset of the weekly mailing: it plucks three clips (Clip of the Week, Funny Film of the Week, and Classic Clip of the Week) from Rooftop’s vast—and potentially overwhelming, for a newbie—archives.
"The real value behind the newsletter is to serve our fans who might not have loads of time to browse the Rooftop site," Jono explains. "People are extremely busy, so one of my responsibilities is the task of putting together this newsletter that features three must-see pieces of comedy. It goes out Friday afternoon, and I like to think of it as a little treat for our subscribers to look forward to. I think keeping the newsletter format and time delivery consistent is the best way to engage our fans."
Hugging the Internet by Linking Away
Moreover, much like the way they link to outside stories on their blog, Rooftop hopes to promote stand-up comedy as an art form in a more general fashion. Their thinking is that even if it doesn’t directly relate to Rooftop-branded comedy products, by giving online love like so many giggly hugs to places that appreciate comedy, they’re helping everyone out in a rising tide sort of way. During this process, maybe Showtime retweets some Rooftop content that has to do with one of their specials, or Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco, another crew committed to discovering and promoting young talent, takes notice of Rooftop’s work and sends it out to their various internet channels. Everybody wins.
"I use the COTW emails to support comics and their various pursuits, whether those endeavors are directly tied to Rooftop Comedy or not," Jono says. "For instance, if a comic is releasing a CD through our record label, I will feature a fresh video clip of their stand up as the Clip of the Week. Alternately, a comedian in our network may have a TV special coming out, like a half-hour special on Comedy Central, and I’ll feature one of his clips as the Classic one. My goal is to better promote these comics, with the hope that watching one video clip of him or her will drive the viewer to follow them on Twitter, buy their new album, tune in to Comedy Central, etc."
The Sneaky Part
It’s an effective, non-pushy marketing technique that shines a positive light on Rooftop in people’s minds. Readers feeling happy when they think of your brand is an asset for your company, and will help them feel favorably when there’s an opportunity to spend money on you in the future. Delighting the reader and getting audiences for funny people is more of a priority for Rooftop’s COTW emails than turning clicks into dollars at the end of the day, but in a sneaky way, it still ends up doing the latter. If only all marketing was as enjoyable as these emails.
"As long as one person is discovering a comedian or a sketch group that they didn’t know before, I think the newsletter is successful and doing our viewers and fans a good service," Jono says.