Crowdfunding is becoming more competitive by the day. And for good reason. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding platforms provide a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators. That said, running a successful crowdfunding project is no small feat.
Although we hear of wildly successful campaigns, in fact, only about two percent of those aiming to raise $100,000 or more reach their goal. So what can you do to be one of the two percent? Here are five key PR strategies that can help you launch a successful crowdfund:
1. Start PR Early!
You need to be working on PR at least four to six weeks ahead of the launch—eight weeks is even better. Three months is better yet. Can it be done in less time? Sure, but if you want the best results, give yourself the time.
PR needs to get going early because it’s crucial to reach out before the campaign begins. The more time you can spend uncovering the right people to speak with, and the more interaction you can have with press, bloggers, and other audiences in advance, the better. A roadshow, and in particular, pre-launch demos done under embargo, can be a powerful centerpiece of any PR effort on behalf of a crowdfunded venture. It’s also worth trying to get commitments for an article day-of launch and this requires contact with editors well in advance.
2. Tell a Strong Story
You need to tell a strong—and differentiated—story in your crowdfunding materials. Share facts and highlights about your startup, product and vision—and what makes you different from everyone else. Describe the problem (and severity of the problem) your product will solve, and discuss the vision for your startup. Showcasing your team's previous successes/experiences, or other strong third-party supporters, is very important too. And if you have a personal story—some kind of obstacle you’ve overcome on your path to entrepreneurship or a major life event that influenced your business decisions, talk about it.
3. Have Review Units Available
Crowdfunding today has a credibility problem. The reason? So many companies who launch a campaign never deliver their product in the end. Thus building credibility with press that your product is “real” can go a long way. One way to do this is to have samples/units that you can send out for review. Identifying key editors and bloggers and offering them a review unit of your product can be a great way to generate buzz about your crowdfunding campaign. But be sure these products are flawless.
4. Put Together a Superb Press Kit
Before launching make sure that you have all the collateral in one place that’s easy to share with someone that wants to write a story about your campaign. At a minimum, this press kit should include a campaign launch press release, company fact sheet, biographies of the team, high resolution images of your project AND a video.
Don’t even think about launching a crowdfunding campaign without a campaign video. Your pitch video is what people can click on when they first land on your campaign page. It should be short and sweet – with three-four minutes being the industry standard. It’s a crucial piece of the press kit too and a good one will usually get picked up and run in publications.
5. And Don't Forget Influencers
One of the audiences often overlooked is “influencers.” Ideally, three months prior to your crowdfunding launch, build a list of 15 to 25 influencers who are dominant with your target audience. These influencers can be high-profile personalities, thought leaders and experts in your niche industry, well-known spokespeople, relevant authors, etc. Then engage them through customized pitches. Make sure you offer a benefit to these influencers. Providing free products to try is a nice way to reciprocate the marketing ask, such as for testimonials, social media shares or other creative partnerships.
Good PR can do great things for a crowdfunding campaign. And it can tip the balance between failure and success.