Tips from Creators and Beyond
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We get a lot of questions about how to put together and run a great Kickstarter project, and we’re always happy to share whatever insights we have, either from personal experience running a project or from simply seeing what works well on the site day after day. But we’re hardly the only people worth asking. There are more and more great write-ups from project creators and media outlets alike popping up all the time. We’ve blogged about some of these articles in the past, like Craig Mod’s wonderful piece about his experience — a must-read! Here are a few more good ones.
Jason Brubaker blogged some seriously relevant tips about his successful campaign for his graphic novel reMIND. It touches on everything from making a sweet video to spreading the word to keeping organized. Check out his nifty graph for tracking his project:
I especially liked his insights on rewards:
Don’t make too many pledge options. I strongly believe that the more options you have the harder it is to make up your mind and a person will likely leave before deciding what to do.
Your pledge rewards should be better than what you normally offer your product for. I think this is really important. Many people make their rewards so lame for the amount pledged and nobody pledges. The pledgers are doing us a favor by giving money so they need to be rewarded with better prices and offers than someone just buying our product after it’s finished.
He also touched on something we wish every project creator would do: Look at other projects for inspiration and get a sense of what works well.
Study the successful and the unsuccessful. Look closely at the campaigns that are ending soon. Here’s a link. What’s interesting is they’re either fully funded or have next to no funding; there’s very few in between. If you can’t make a splash when you jump in then nobody will notice, so study which ones work and which ones don’t.
Much more in the post itself; check it out here.
James VanOsdol tried his hand at a Kickstarter project to fund his book and got an impressive 139 backers on board. While he didn’t quite reach his goal, he now has a slew of lessons learned under his belt (great bait for a future project, perhaps?). He writes about his friend’s successful (and still live) project for the Rogues Gallery in particular and gets right to the point:
The simple reason for the project’s success is that it’s a great idea which appeals to a talented and passionate community of artists and fans. Beyond that, Patrick asked for a relatively modest amount, making the funding all but guaranteed.
James then outlines the careful budget he prepared for his project and his strategies, followed by what went wrong.
I had asked for too much money to fund a fairly niche book…in a recession. My book strategy of ‘doing it right’ led me to not doing it at all.
We often remind people that funding is all or nothing, so while of course one should choose a goal that will cover costs and allow for reward fulfillment, it’s probably a good idea to be conservative as well. You can always raise more, but never less. At the end of the day, each project is different and has its own needs and its own audience.
We were excited to find this article from the Nieman Journalism Lab. It’s not about Kickstarter specifically, but it provides tips on applying for a tech grant called the Knights News Challenge that can be useful when thinking about how to approach a Kickstarter project as well. The article profiles one of our more successful tech projects, LocalWiki, and I found this point to be especially telling:
A working prototype is great. When the creators of Davis Wiki … applied for grant funding to expand their project, they weren’t just pitching a concept. They could point judges to a thriving local website which collects community insight and serves as an open forum for residents to deal with everything from scam artists to lost kittens.
Kickstarter audiences respond to this kind of work-in-progress evidence too. People are much more keen to support a project that has something exciting clearly brewing.
Any personal experience of your own you’d like to share, or something you know you’re looking for as a backer? Drop it in the comments!
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