Before Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding sites took flight, a decent video, a small bit of background and an interesting concept were enough to fund a project. Unfortunately, today’s crowdfunding sites are exactly that - crowded - and it has gotten tougher to get media attention for projects.
Having a dedicated “team publicist” is the bare minimum if you want to get good press for your crowdfunding project. To get journalists and bloggers to reach out to you instead of the other way around, the following three things must be done:
Develop a strong, deeply interesting backstory
Before you launch your project, flesh out the details that make you, your project or your team interesting. Is launching the Kickstarter project a dream from when you were a little kid? Did something historically significant (a famous person’s death, a global crisis) inspire the birth of the project? Did your team quit their jobs, work day and night, or risk something big to forward your project?
Write down a list of what makes you different, and then ask yourself this key question: Is the project or team’s history so fascinating that it would make an interesting documentary or feature story? If not, drill down into the details and rework your bio until it does.
A tiny bit of embellishment is okay, but lies are not. For instance, if you claim that you came up with your project idea while tracking rare reptiles in the Amazon and the closest you’ve been to any jungle is over burgers at Rainforest Cafe, you’re setting yourself up for collosal embarrassment when your story falls apart.
Designate a “face” for your project
When journalists skim crowdfunding projects and they stumble upon something revolutionary and gripping, the first thing they look at is a bio. Why? Because they need to know who can speak knowledgably about the project, but also capture its spirit and tell a story, from the project’s birth to the blood sweat and tears shed to make it a reality.
Choosing the spokesperson for your dream project or team might be a tough choice because the person who created the project might not be the best individual to interface with the media. If you have a big team, many people may feel like they’re the best choice.
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to narrow it down to one or two articulate, charismatic, readily-available people if you want serious press. This may mean hurting some egos on the way.
Build a robust local angle
Time and again, crowdfunding teams refuse to exploit the local angle to their projects. It makes sense: Having a story about your project featured in a local newspaper, local blog, or local television station seems almost quaint when you look at the big, wide world of social media and blogs. However, having a local angle to your project delivers two things that cannot be overlooked: Local pride and easy donations.
With tiny towns and big cities alike, residents watch the news, read the their local news blog, and listen to local radio to find stories (and people) they identify with. When residents hear that someone in their neighborhood is developing something amazing, they often share this news with their friends both in and outside the area.
Beyond the extra exposure that local press delivers, you’ll find that people from your home town are often extremely eager to donate to “on of their own”. Numerous crowdfunding campaigns have hit their goal thanks to regional press and fundraisers, so don’t wave off the benefits of exploiting your local angle.
With real-time deadlines and a pressing need for interesting, on-the-fly content, many bloggers and journalists see crowdfunding sites as a goldmine for story ideas. Make your crowdfunding project as appealing and fleshed-out as possible and the storytellers will come to you.
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