Looking around Kickstarter, it’s easy to be wowed by the amounts of money being raised. Everywhere you look projects are steadily — and sometimes rapidly — marching to their goal. It’s an inspiring sight.
But what you don’t see is the work that’s gone into raising those funds. Every successfully funded project — whether it’s raising $700 or $70,000 — was promoted by its creator to their network (friends, family, coworkers, Twitter, Facebook, etc) and audience to build support. Even we had to hustle to get our own Kickstarter project funded.
The lion’s share of every project’s funding comes from the creator’s existing network and their outreach. Kickstarter isn’t a giving tree, it’s a way to turn your audience and network into patrons. And to do that, creators must spread the word. Every project starts in those first couple degrees of separation. Those are the people whose support we can rely on, and they’ll be happy to spread the word through their own networks too. Fans operate the same way.
In some cases your own network can only get you so far (why setting a realistic funding goal is so important), and those are opportunities to get creative. Launch an event, craft a campaign, talk to the local press, both online and off. Spread the word through your peers — talk to your fellow photographers, artists, painters, game designers, journalists, etc. If you feel passionately about your project, what’s better than having an excuse to talk about it?
Getting the message out also builds an audience. You’re raising funds and awareness simultaneously, with Kickstarter being not just a funding platform, but a social lubricant. It’s much easier to promote your work when there’s something concrete and easily actionable for people to do.
Some creators launch hoping that just having their project on Kickstarter will be enough. It’s not. Of the projects that have failed to reach their funding goal, 23% of them never even got a single backer. Creators don’t repay what they raise of course, but you better believe they earn it.
So it’s not easy work, but it is rewarding. And because of the ticking clock and our all-or nothing model, you’ll likely get some help from your backers. They only get their rewards if funding succeeds, so if you’ve got something that people are really looking forward to, they’re going to be extra-motivated to make sure they get it.
Finally, I’d love to hear from creators on this topic. Whether you’re already funded or currently funding, drop some tips on getting the word out in the comments. Your advice will be a huge help to the community. Thanks!