Grades to date
- Zines — I’m missing Accompanying Statements from Hannah T & Shay.
- Book reviews — I’m missing from Shay, Kiera, Monica, Hannah T, and Hannah W. Please email me your link when yours is up.
- Web presence reflection. Due Friday. Thanks to those who have already submitted theirs.
Goals + rewards drafts
Activity: On Tuesday we used this Google Doc to compile analyses of the goals + reward structures from several crowdfunding campaigns. Before we talk about outreach, let’s see how you did drafting your own pitches. How did this go? Do we want to workshop these as a large or small group?
Bonus content: “Need some reward ideas? Here are 96 of them.”
Outreach: the list
You already have a website and social media handles. You hopefully also have some family members and/or friends you can count on for supporting your creativity. As many experts note, if you can get your project 20% funded on day one on Kickstarter, your project has an 80% chance of getting successfully funded by the end of the campaign. In fact, the most successful campaigns raise over half of their ask within the first few days of launching.
Starting with those you already know is essential. As a recent Kickstarter creator guide notes:
Begin by making a list of everyone you plan to reach out to about your project. For example, think of the last 50 people you’ve emailed or texted—these are likely the people who’ll support your project on day one. Collect email addresses, social media handles, and phone numbers in a single place.
Next, segment your contacts into a few groups—think friends, family, fans, coworkers, and industry contacts—and draft specific messaging for each group. For example, frame your message to friends around specific reward tiers that you think might appeal to them and why.Kickstarter’s Creator Handbook on Promotion.
Indeed, Kickstarter swears by this list method. Here’s another post that discusses its centrality in pre-launch planning. In short, the list allows you to think about how you’ll tailor your campaign messages to different groups of potential backers, divided by either your relationship to them (i.e. fam, friends, etc.), the reward level that are most likely to donate to, or something else.
Reaching these folks individually can also be important since Kickstarter allows you to share the draft of your project page with other people before you actually publish it. This helps generate buzz prior to the actual launch. In short, you’ll want to depend on these folks when you launch so that your campaign is significantly supported on its first day.
Outreach: wider networks
Crowdfunding success often depends on your ability to develop a plan for leveraging your current social network with your web presence to reach a wider circle of potential backers, including like-minded writers, publishers, and fans, who can additionally help you get more supporters by spreading your campaign around the web.
In order to do that, though, you have to strategize for the long term. Keep in mind that users are weary of strangers and newcomers online, especially if they are only out to sell something. You need to enter into these social spaces as early as possible (if you’re not there already) and try to build relationships in order to gain a sense of trust from those whom you will ask for support later.
So how do you do that? Although the following video talk about films, I think the same logics and strategies apply to publishing.
Get social. You might be off Facebook or Twitter for good reasons, but the truth is that you might need these sites (and many others) to spread the word about your idea. Use your real name to join these sites — not your project title — since you’ll want people to associate your inspiring story with your identity when they read your pitch, and then share it via social media. Once there, join relevant groups, follow influencers and other relevant users, follow hashtags, use them to ask questions, and contribute when calls for listiciles and quizzes are posted. The click-through rates are not encouraging for some of these sites, but joining specific groups might help as long as you promote strategically and considerately.
Participate in forums on your topic. Search [forum: your topic] in Google for places where you might be able to discuss the things you are publishing (an example). Later — once you establish a presence in these spaces — you’ll be able to promote your campaign to folks who know you. Plan to schedule 20-30 minutes per week for this task.
Reach out to related campaigns. This entails contacting some of the previous or current campaigns that are similar to yours, asking them about their experience, including successes and failures; particular social media platforms, forums, or sites worth exploring; bloggers, journalists, or websites that might help you publicize. Once you launch you can then reach out again and ask them to help promote your campaign.
Blog about your project. We’ll talk more about this in the next class, but blogs give you an excuse to write and build momentum toward your project.
Homework for next class
Generate lists for your outreach strategy that include: your immediate network (i.e. friends and fam); Facebook groups, Twitter and/or Instagram handles, important hashtags; potential forums; and related campaigns.