Tip of the Week
I’ve been thinking about pitch videos these days, mostly because I’m asked about them all the time. I’ve also given some advice on the topic on my Rose Recommends column on Crowdsourcing.org. Here’s one on how to avoid manipulation. And here’s another about making sure your message is crystal clear. If you haven’t seen the column, here’s the link to the archives.
But just the other day I read an interview conducted by Good Magazine with Yancey Strickler. The Q&A covers a lot of topics—from how Strickler cut his entrepreneurial teeth to Kickstarter’s new, relaxed rules to the infamous Potato Salad campaign, so I’d suggest giving it a read.
What I really appreciated most, however, was his response to blogger Arye Dworken’s question about pitch videos.
Question: Is it a concern of yours that some campaigns have a flashier presentation with high budget videos, which inadvertently may reintroduce that intimidation factor?
“I would love to put more of a light on things that are more amateur. We don’t have the resources for that yet, but we would love to eventually move in a direction in which, say, someone shot something on their iPhone and we could be involved in bringing it the attention it deserves.”
This is such a good point. I sure hope Kickstarter decides to dedicate the resources soon—because it’s tough to believe they’re just too flat broke to hire a couple of researchers to seek out the low-tech but fabulous videos—and because right now there are a lot of crowdfunders spending exorbitantly on hiring a professional production company to create their pitch videos and that’s too bad.
The problem is few of these production companies have crowdfunding expertise. Ironically, while these professionals are admittedly talented, if they are unfamiliar with the simple formula for a successful crowdfunding videos they will miss the mark—and you’re thousands of dollars in the hole, stuck with a pitch video that doesn’t work. Sometimes it mean you lose potential backers because the video doesn’t answer important questions, sometimes it’s because you appear too slick. It happens.
Fun fact #1: Did you know Ryan Grepper, the founder of Coolest Cooler, hired a 17-year-old to make his video?
Fun fact #2: Campaigns raise on average 114% more if they have a video.
Not so fun fact #3: I recently consulted with someone who suffered from many of the above problems—lots of money spent on a professional video, little to show for it because the video seemed more like a polished commercial than a pitch video. Worst of all, in trying to keep the budget numbers as low as possible, they shot in one day.
No problem there, except that a seasoned pitch video producer would have known to suggest shooting multiple endings for the video. One ending, which could be posted on your “hub” (probably website) well in advance of your launch date, would serve as a way to lure and entice folks to sign up for email notifications when the campaign went live.
The second ending would have been cut in when the campaign was up and running. That ending would have a call to action asking for viewers to contribute.
Conclusion: When shopping for a videographer make sure to ask candidates about their experience with shooting pitch videos. Ask to see samples. Give them examples of styles you like and then ask for a proposal, including a budget. This is common practice in the video production world.
And if all else fails, see if Grepper’s 17-year-old is available.