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Crowdfunding disasters: 3 big sins of Kickstarter videos

By: Jennifer Perez

If only there were a real, accurate math formula that could calculate how important a good video is for a Kickstarter project. While 90 percent seems a bit extreme, it's no secret that a great Kickstarter video can mean all the difference between going big and going home. While some videos have all the precision and quality of a professionally-filmed commercial, you can strike gold with Kickstarter using a cheap video camera - even the one on your cell phone. Regardless of your budget, here are some Kickstarter video mistakes that can kill a project faster than you can hit the “stop” button: 1. Losing perspective while explaining a project Let's face it: No one is going to spend a dime on a project that can't be explained in a short video - unless the project is so bizarre that funding is irresistible. If you're shilling something simple that can be explained in a few sentences, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you're promoting something complex, that's a different story. Take a step back and put yourself in your audience's shoes. Would they understand what you're promoting? Are you going down a rabbit hole of unnecessary details? If you're not sure, find someone unfamiliar with your project and rehearse your pitch before you film your video. Remember: you've probably worked on your project from the very beginning. The little details that you find fascinating might confuse donors or put them to sleep. 2. Omitting third-party excitement Whether you're going solo or have a group of partners, promoting your crowdfunding project might feel like you're a one-person (or one big) cheerleading squad. And it's a delicate balance, getting people pumped about your product without sounding like an obnoxious carnival barker. To spread out the enthusiasm and give your project more legitimacy, film an outside person talking about why they're also excited about your project. Get a soundbite that sums up why other people should donate. If you can get someone of high stature in your industry to give you a nice quote, make them your first choice for the video. If you can't get a big (or medium-sized name), use friends or family members. Just make sure that whoever you use can a) deliver a clean, juicy soundbite, b) show personal enthusiasm without giving the hard sell, and c) show some sort of neutrality that focuses on the project, not your personal characteristics. In other words, having a parent say that they love the project because you were always a nice kid who cleaned up their room on demand is only going to hurt your Kickstarter campaign (and your mom's reputation). 3. Failing to show other victories If you were the chairman of a major company and someone who never worked a day in their life sent you a resume for the CEO job, would you call them in for an interview? No. In fact, you'd probably crumple that CV and skyhook it right into the trash can. In some ways, Kickstarter videos are similar. You have to show that you've accomplished other things if you want people to give up their hard-earned cash. What are your professional highlights? Have you created a popular project before, run a successful company, learned the ins-and-outs of running a business? Can you balance numbers like a pro, have you made significant industry partnerships, or have you won awards? Stating in your video that you dreamed up your product when you were still in Spider-Man PJs isn't enough. If you're going to be the custodian of funds from good people of all walks of life, showing that you're capable, responsible and forward-thinking is essential. Creating an average Kickstarter video is easy. Creating one that pulls donors into your vision and makes them believers, not so much. Let the mistakes and solutions above guide you when you record your video and make your pitch. Your donors (and your mom) will thank you for it.

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    Jennifer Perez