Crowdfunding your film or entrepreneurial project is tricky business in a world with information overload. With over half of crowdfunding projects ending up unsuccessful, how do you position your project to succeed in a soon to be oversaturated market? From many successful crowdfunding campaigns, we have been able to develop a clearer idea of what works and why…
With a recent #kickstarter advice search on Twitter, it has become apparent that there is a demand for advice on developing a successful campaign to fund people’s passions. With that, you certainly will stumble upon a few posts regarding advice for your upcoming projects; however, what they lack is strategy. Strategy, preparation and the overall theme message of the campaign you will implement is key. Such advice that is readily available is elementary at best. Such examples include:
:: Tell your story (from the heart)
:: Decide on a number
:: Shoot a stunning video
:: Constructing a reward structure
Sure, these are great tips but none of this matter if you do not have an audience or a crowd that is aware of your project. An audience that is not your family, friends, colleague, etc and niche within in your area of passion. The beauty of crowdfunding, which rarely comes out is that it stands as a test of sorts to determine if your project should be made. It is ultimately a vote. If you have connected with the key demographics of those who are passionate about your cause and engaged them where they are located online, they should be the deciding factor if your project is worthy. They vote to support with their time, money & skills.
The goal is to position your project to the target audience who is identified as those being most passionate with your cause. Essentially, we want to raise awareness about your project and allow those who will be the end consumers vote if it is worthy. A successful vote is the funding of your project. An unsuccessful vote, you sit with the 65+% of the projects out there. It’s unfortunate in this environment, that many high quality projects are unsuccessful. They are unsuccessful not because of the quality or message behind it, but because of the efforts to mobilize a successful campaign to your advocates who care.
From these unsuccessful campaigns, the filmmakers or creative are not to blame but more so the structure of the funding concept. Filmmakers have enough to worry about from the pre-production creative process, organizing camera crew and actors, to script writing, to overall creative concept. On top of that, they are now supposed to develop, implement and manage a marketing and fundraising campaign (which they know little about) that is the very viability of the overall project? This is a large task on top of the creative workload but hopefully we are here to help with some overall strategy advice and much, much more…
The approach that we have successfully implemented time and time again is built on the basis of advocacy, with the vehicle for deploying the advocacy campaign relying almost completely on digital media.
As each project requires a bespoke strategy and campaign, below is an overview which will hopefully help you and your team to get a clearer understanding of implementing an advocacy campaign via strangers who are passionate about the same subject and not bugging your friends, family and colleagues each day.Rarely, have these disciplines been implemented outside of the political realm but when they are combined successfully, the possibilities are nearly endless for your creative or entrepreneurial endeavors.
The single most important thing is identifying your crowd. Who are they?
Your target audience is the individuals, groups, communities and bodies of decision makers who can influence your target. Your target is the individual or individuals who have direct decision-making power over the issue your organization is working to address. In simple terms, who are the people that care? Why would they care? How do we encourage them to care about us and then become an advocate to broadcast to others that they should care as well?
Individuals | support groups | organizations raising awareness | and many, many more…
The internet is a tricky place these days. People’s digital existence is all over the digital realm… Most sit in the mainstream areas, read the mainstream news and re-tweet the mainstream published articles. Then with many of those individuals partaking in the mainstream affairs on the web, there are those individuals that exist in the nooks and crannies of the web. These nooks and crannies are where the passion side of the web resides. This is where crowds of people convene to talk about issues, ideas and causes that the mainstream web leaves out. These are the highly niche groups that are the individuals, groups, communities and bodies of decision makers who can influence your targets. These are those people that care about your issues, your causes and hopefully your project. Where are yours? Depends on your project…
Blogs | forums | websites | social media | newsletters | podcast | groups | hashtags
Once you have a better understanding of who your audience is and where they are, now what? Start today. The thought of putting together a campaign is very daunting. It takes months of preparation to develop, organize and implement a campaign that works for your organization. With any crowdfunding campaign, time is of the essence and every day matters.
What is the goal? The goal is different for every project. Are you dealing with large organizations with large barriers to entry and vast reach or are you dealing with a small organization with little barriers of entry and limited reach? Either way, the goal is simple. Develop a compelling message about your project that is complimentary to their mission/ vision and develop a long term mutually beneficial relationship of outreach over the medium of choice to like-minded individuals, groups, communities and bodies of decision makers.
Media is a weird term these days… Typically, you think about CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC and the likes… Sure they definitely count but they focus on a large portion of the population taking in a relatively large amount of information from a very small amount of sources with the individuals consuming it having a vast array of personal interest, taste, causes they support and so forth. Let’s focus on the long tails…
The long tails have an equal amount of the population filling the area, yet there are many, many, many more sources providing an outlet to the equal amount of people. These are the niches. These are the nooks and crannies that you want to be in. They are highly specific and very influential within their niche groups. Who are these long tails? It all depends on your project but one thing is certain, they are out there.
I have not once spoken of the crowdfunding aspect of your project that most advice on the web gives you. That is a detail of the overall campaign. A detail which is very, very important but the last part of a successful crowdfunding campaign.
The concept of crowdfunding (crowdsourcing) has been around forever but with the explosion of the internet of the past decade, your dreams are at the tips of your fingers (literally) like never before…
Crowdfunding is the term du jour when it comes to fundraising. However more than 2/3 of all crowdfunding campaigns fail, which can be a blessing and a disappointment at the same time. Just thing the last time Hollywood called and asked you what movie you wanted to watch or see at the cinema? I am sure a quick Google search could come up with more than a handful that some of the studios wished they would have asked your opinion on in advance of production…
These are the end questions that play a small part in the overall strategy of your campaign. Rather than elaborate on the specifics of crowdfunding and what makes a good trailer, a good pitch, a good reward structure, let your crowd tell you. You will get a better idea of the message you want to portray to your crowd through the development of one. The message, voice and tone of your campaign through the process above will leave no doubt in your mind what to do when it comes to this step… Let the crowd that you amassed tell you what to do. After all, they are the end consumer and the people that will make your project a success. Give them a listen and the rest is history. #EmpowerYourCrowd & turn your dreams into a reality.
Hope this helps…
“The web attacks traditional ways of doing things and elites, and this is very uncomfortable for traditional businesses to deal with.”– Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP Group
“We have technology, finally, that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger numbers of people.” – Pierre Omidyar, founder, eBay
“The Internet has been the most fundamental change during my lifetime and for hundreds of years.” – Rupert Murdoch, media mogul