At first glance it may seem like anyone could run a successful crowdfunding project; come up with a cool idea, post your project, share it with a few friends and the rest is history.
Unfortunately although we hear about a lot of successful projects in the media, the reality of the matter is that more crowdfunding projects fail than succeed. It is also not nearly as easy as it looks.
Many of the campaigns that are launched on different platforms are mediocre and largely go unnoticed, even if the ideas behind them have potential. Below are three secrets to help you unlock the power of PR and what it can do to help rev up your crowdfunding endeavor:
Start Early, and Dedicate Yourself
Starting early is a good way to engage people before your campaign launches and save some time and headaches once it has. This Entrepreneur article talks about 3 key groups to consider when coming up with a marketing plan for your crowdfunding campaign, beginning with your existing contacts:
“As you look through your email contacts, Facebook friends and LinkedIn communities for those who may help support your campaign, put them into separate lists of friends, family, acquaintances and business associates. Each of these groups will require different messaging.
You wouldn’t send the same note about supporting your project to a business associate as you would to a family member or good friend. Those with whom you haven’t recently communicated will need a more extensive introduction to your crowdfunding initiative vs. closer friends who may have heard every detail of your business and impending campaign.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that a crowdfunding campaign is not something that you can simply post, forget about, and expect to do great. Crowdfunding is a large commitment, one that often takes many hours each day reaching out to people who might be interested, getting feedback, and making changes (among other things).
The more aspects of your campaign that you can plan ahead of time, the more smoothly things should run – but you should always try to remain flexible in case changes are necessary. I have seen several project creators talk about aspects of their projects that they really loved and were attached to that had to be modified to improve their campaign’s success.
Connect With Social Media, Bloggers and Influencers
This step is crucial to getting your project out there for the world to see and (as mentioned) should start well before your crowdfunding campaign does. It can be very helpful to make connections with people who could benefit from using or supporting your product. This CrowdCrux article shares why it is so important to develop rapport with those you are reaching out to:
“Develop rapport with a journalist or blogger before pitching them. Retweet their tweets, mention them, reply to a question, email them regarding their article, or comment on their post. After taking these actions, they are more likely to notice you or recognize you when you do make the pitch.”
Showing your interest in their work is a good way to make yourself stand out in comparison to the barrage of other messages that many bloggers receive from crowdfunding campaigns that seem scripted and lack a personal touch. Always try to keep in mind the social part of social media. While tools to help automate social media releases can be extremely helpful and save a ton of time, they cannot replace actively commenting and engaging people on social media.
It is also good to switch it up a little by adding any quirky, interesting, or surprise updates that you can think of to maintain people’s attention on your project and encourage them to keep sharing throughout your campaign.
For a list of resources to help you promote your crowdfunding campaign see this CrowdfundingPR Press List.
Tailor Your Campaign to the Local Media
Targeting local news outlets in some cases can be a great way to spread the word about your crowdfunding campaign to a large audience that may have a vested interest in seeing your project succeed. It is pretty well-known that people like to support things that benefit themselves personally, or the community that they consider themselves a part of.
“Send press releases to traditional media. Smart and different sounding ideas are often used as news items on both local and national media outlets. Local media exists to serve the local community, so talk to local journalists. Make your PR a good local news story – local job creation, local investment – the sort of story local papers love to print.” – Source.
The focus of your press release should not be the fact that your project is a crowdfunding campaign. It is good, however, to be sure that potential backers are aware of the way that crowdfunding works and the difference between equity and rewards based platforms.
It is generally important to show that your project is well underway or has a good chance of being completed successfully; with the amount of crowdfunding projects that attempt to gain media attention many journalists might be less likely to cover a campaign that is likely to fail, unrealistic, or obscure.
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About the author
Krystine Therriault is the community manager for CrowdCrux and has helped creators with their crowdfunding projects on KickstarterForum.org. She loves learning about new trending projects and dissecting them to bring new tips and information to creators. You can find her on LinkedIn here or Twitter here.