By far the hardest task you have with your Kickstarter project is how to promote it. Understanding why it is so difficult will hopefully give you the upper hand in dealing with it.
Who are you? Do you have a following on Twitter or Facebook? That’s great if you do. This would be the first place to start. Your friends and family are your biggest and most loyal followers of your work. Put your project out there, ask for support, ask to share. They guys and girls are your biggest advocates. Utilise them!
For my Kickstarter experiment, I chose not to tell my family and friends and decided to let people find the project themselves based on the project.
I was hoping the project alone would attract the backers needed. This wasn’t the case.
In retrospect, this would be the first place I’d start, especially as I didn’t have a profile to begin with.
By not letting family and friends know of the project, it was good way to gauge the traffic to my site without my uncle logging time on the site to laugh at my profile pic or pick up an insignificant gramma error.
The bad news for our project is that organic growth in terms of traffic to our Kickstarter page was minimal at best. Without that burst of momentum from your family and friends, there was no launch buzz, no support.
We had hoped that visits may have come from people browsing Kickstarter, it didn’t. There was around 500 other film projects running a campaign at the same time as ours.
The other thing we had hoped for was that our project was so good that it may have been a “featured”, recommended project. It wasn’t.
Some articles allude to an algorithm for determining this, such as traffic, pledges and the percentage of the overall project already received.
For us, we would have failed all three of these requirements, which likely sealed our fate in terms of getting featured by Kickstarter.
Already, we are on the back foot.
With no profile, no family and friends, we need to get some promotion for our project.
We chose not to do any paid advertising seeing as though our goal was small and our we didn’t want paid promotion to skew the experiment.
We started social media accounts a few months before, but again, it was very difficult and time consuming to build a following without much content.
If you do have some really nice behind-the-scenes footage, this would be the time to post it. Get people interested in the process.
A blog and website is another way of explaining the process and the decisions behind your project, as you are reading now.
I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but as I mentioned earlier there were over 500, yes 500, film projects on Kickstarter at the time of ours. So what on earth makes your project any different from the others?
That’s the questions you need to ask and answer yourself. What will make your film stand out and appeal to journalists.
Firstly, you need a story, a hook for your project. Not just simply, ‘we want money’. For Travel Warning, we are promoting it as ‘the most ambitious film ever made’.
If it sounds like clickbait, it probably is. You need attention. You need a headline. You also need to back it up. Why is your film ‘the most ambitious film ever made’?
One you’ve worked out your story, write a press release. Templates can be found online to help you write it in industry standards.
Then send it out and hope for the best. A follow up email wouldn’t go astray if no reply. No harm in that.
If you get replies, awesome! Your story is obviously grabbing people’s attention. No replies? Maybe another angle might be wise. Or perhaps target more relevant press sites. Let’s be honest, if your targeting sites such as BBC or CNN, it might probably be a little too broad for your Kickstarter film.
Even before all this though, I would recommend compiling a database of email addresses and websites to send your press release. You will need to add your Kickstarter URL which is generated at launch. So when day 1 comes and you press that launch button, you can swiftly move into action and send those press releases out fast.
Want inspiration? You can read our press release for Travel Warning here.