Squatch Kick - Tips & Articles for Crowdfunding

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I browse a LOT of Kickstarter projects over on the Kickstarter website. In the process, I encounter a LOT of different takes on how a project page is apparently supposed to work. Treating your Kickstarter project as a fire and forget missile is NOT the best way to go about running a crowdfunding campaign.

What I mean by this is that many project creators on Kickstarter have a dreadful tendency to create a project page, hit the launch button, and then go about their business without even seeming to check up on things, again. They let the clock tick away, doing no updates and no revisions to their main project page.

Their comments sections are typically bone dry. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. None. Not even a tumbleweed blowing by.

Crowdfunding is an exercise in storytelling. There is the project, and there is the story. The project is what you want to raise money for. The story that you tell (or fail to tell) is your primary mechanism for accomplishing the raising of the money in question. In a nutshell, the better that you are at telling your project's story, the bigger your crowdfunding crowd of supporters will likely grow to be.

Storytelling, within the context of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, can be comprised of a multitude of different individual components. Things like text, impacting techniques (bold, italics, underline, etc.), photographs, artwork, and videos quickly come to mind as examples of these individual components that, both individually and collectively, work for or against your attempt at storytelling.

What is YOUR project's story?

If you fire (launch) and forget your project, then it is very likely that you won't hit your target (funding goal). The Internet is a big place. It's chock full of all kinds of wonderful and exciting things. If all that you have to offer up is a plain, boring project page, then you make it hard on yourself to grab and retain people's attention.

If you want their support, then grabbing and retaining their attention are crucial.

Because the clock is ticking on your project, after you hit the launch button, what that means is that you don't have the luxury of just sitting around twiddling your thumbs forever and a day - if you want to meet your crowdfunding goal.

Crowdfunding is work. It requires effort. It's not magic, although a good crowdfunding project can seem to work magic upon people, as complete strangers that you've never met suddenly begin tossing money your way.

Many Kickstarters launch their projects, and then the only way that they seem to focus upon for getting their project's story out is by doing updates. Yet, if you start out with your project's main page looking like crap, but never revise it, then the page that most of your project's visitors encounter will still look like crap, no matter when they bother to visit your project page.

Keep an open mind, and be willing to revise your project's main page, even and especially AFTER you hit the launch button. That's not to say that you need to change it every day, but try to remain receptive to updating it directly through revision. If your project's main page is all text, and somewhere along the way you realize that this might not be a good idea, then don't hesitate to change what's on that main page. Your project page can become better through the realizations that you arrive at all through the process of your crowdfunding campaign.

Don't wait until it's too late! Make the changes NOW. Sooner is better than later, when it comes to correcting problem areas of your project page. After all, the sooner you improve the primary vehicle of your crowdfunding campaign, the better your chances become of gaining broader and better support.

As I browse project after project on the Kickstarter website, I am struck by how dead many of the projects look, even when they are still active and ongoing campaigns. No updates. No comments. Those are indicators of lifelessness in a crowdfunding campaign. A lot of updates and a lot of comments tend to scream that a given project has a lot of life in it.

Part of your project's story emanates from the updates and comments sections of your project page, whether you realize it or not.

So, what makes a Kickstarter project's story a good story? Well, by making it visually attractive and interesting is a good starting point.

Project creators may know what their project is, what it's about, like the back of their hand, before they even hit the launch button. But, no project creator knows what their project's story will be, before they launch, because the story is something that evolves over an extended period of time.

It is also something that other people participate in. When people take an interest in your project, the story grows. When they share it, or comment on it, or talk about it to someone else that they know, the story grows. It spreads. It reaches new ears.

What about if your project has no backers, at all? What if nobody is pledging to it?

Well, your project still has a story. It just may not be the story that you wanted it to be, though.

Treating your Kickstarter project as a fire and forget missile will, in all likelihood, mean that your project will go off course - and fail!

You want to succeed, right? You want your project to be a glowing success, don't you? And do you think that you will accomplish that, by launching your project and then going off and forgetting about it? If it's that easy to forget your own project, then how do you suppose that others will find it to be memorable enough to warrant their backing with pledge dollars?

How many people do you know that enjoy being bored? I can't think of a single person that I know that likes or prefers a boring Kickstarter project page.

Why, then, give the world a boring project page to look at? Just exactly how many backers do you expect that such will attract to your project? How many pledges will people be likely to make to something that bores them?

Running a successful Kickstarter campaign is not so much about obsessing over your project every second of the day. Rather, it's about taking an active interest in your own project, and it's about making it interest - and KEEPING it interesting.

You want to be active. You need to keep the story growing and evolving. You need to demonstrate to people that it's not dead, but alive!

It's funny, at times, encountering people who fret endlessly over why people aren't backing their projects on Kickstarter. If they spent even a fraction of the time that they allocate to fretting and stressing, instead, to making their project page even more interesting, then they would probably end up getting much better results.

Investing the finite, limited amount of time that a Kickstarter campaign is allotted by the Kickstarteer clock in stressing and fretting won't make your project page more interesting, nor better in any other way.

A successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter isn't about achieving perfection. Rather, it's about getting people interested and motivated. It's about interaction and inspiring. It's about sharing your story, but in a meaningful way. It's also about interacting and encouraging others to become part of your project's story.

And that is about more - far more - than just wanting them to back your project, so that you can have their money.

If your project's story is robust, and meaningful, and has depth to it, then it will be hard for your project to fail. Some might even say impossible!

You don't need to worry so much about attracting a big crowd, in order for your project to be successful on Kickstarter. Rather, you just need it to be big enough, and many times, even a small crowd of backers can be more than enough.

If you want your project to appeal to millions of people, then don't plan on that just happening, all by itself. It's not a question of whether the Kickstarter website has legs or not. Rather, it's about whether your project's story has legs to stand on of its very own.

Tens of thousands of projects of all kinds have been successfully funded on Kickstarter, to date. It seems as if virtually anything and everything gets embraced there. It seems that way, because it is that way.

So, if your Kickstarter project isn't doing so well, there's probably a reason. In my first-hand experience of looking at many, many different Kickstarter projects, what I have concluded is that there is usually not just a reason, but multiple reasons, as to why a given project isn't faring so well.

If you want your Kickstarter project to fail, then just ignore it, after you launch it. Just fire and forget. Do nothing. Let your project's story wither on the vine, before it ever produces any fruit, at all.

But, if you want your project to succeed, then be active, Active, ACTIVE!!

Pour your heart into it. Share bits and pieces from your soul about it. Those are things that will attract people's attention. Those are what people are after. Why? Because, those are the very things that people tend to find the most interesting.

Passion sweeps people up in it, like a fast flowing river. It's a river that other people often want to drown themselves in. Why? Because, passion means that you're full of life about something.

To speak with passion about something means that you are afire with interest. Your eyes light up - and so do the eyes of other people. You become more animated, more full of life, physically, and it can be a contagious thing.

To be passionate about your project is to find yourself at the very apex of persuasiveness on the subject at hand. When you are passionate, you become a better salesman.

Indeed, you become a lighthouse that many can see. In a storm of boring Kickstarter projects tossed to and fro in Internet searches, your project becomes transformed into a safe harbor for those seeking that which is interesting.

Ultimately, it boils down to this - if you can't speak with passion about your own crowdfunding project, then in all fairness, who can?

It's your project. Thus, it's up to you.

Rather than treating your crowdfunding project as a fire and forget missile, why not become the warhead for your project, and explode your interest in your own project all over the place?

Do that, and you won't have time to stress and fret, because you'll be way too busy unleashing the very essence of what makes your project so great upon an unsuspecting world.

Know what else? Your project's progress will reward you for it!


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