How to Shop for a Pitch Video Creator

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 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.Video_Camera_Glossy_Icon_clip_art_medium

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.




Crowdfunding4All, The Turbo-Charged Search Engine with Benefits

Crowdfunding relies on support from the crowd, and social media is the tool to get the job done. This is currently one the biggest obstacles to crowdfunding success, which is why creative minds have been hard at work developing workarounds to level the playing field.

One of them is CF4All. I’ve been circling them since The Crowdfundamentals wrote about the search engine when they debuted last fall, curious about the status of their “find it, fund it, smarter & faster” tag, and anxious to point users their way.

They’ve been in no hurry for press, however; instead they’ve been busy building a database they call a “crowd-powered search and analytics network,” a melding of cross-platform project search with crowd wisdom. (Whether by design or not, currently searching for failed campaigns can be a futile task on major crowdfunding platforms, which makes it difficult for backers to make informed decisions and project creators hard-pressed to do detailed research before launching. Finding niche platforms that might be a perfect match for you is equally challenging.)

These vital missing pieces of marketing intelligence — funding and user data, and real-time insights — is what CF4All believe will be the game changer in the increasingly competitive environment crowdfunding has become.

To continue reading, please go to the latest installment of my Tip of the Week column on

Do You Know About These Twitter Functions?

Tip of the Week

One reason I like Twitter is because it’s so simple to use. But it turns I’ve only been taking advantage of its basic functionality. If you have been, too, you could be limiting who sees your campaign updates.

Leading Characters
If you want all of your followers to see your tweet in their timeline, you must to start your tweet with a “leading character” — anything such as a simple period (.) will do — and not an @.

By starting your tweet with an @ mention only you, the person you mention, and anyone who follows both of you will see your tweet in their timelines. It will also be visible to anyone who happens to view your profile. In other words, you will see the post in your timeline, but your followers won’t see it in theirs.

I learned that Twitter came up with the leading character for people who want to boost the exposure of an account that has few followers. On the other hand, those in the know intentionally start with @ to keep an exchange private.

To read more go to my Tip of the Week column at

Written by Rose Spinelli

Google’s New Hub for the Media

Tip of the Week

Google has a new hub for journalists and reporters. Journalists have used Google News for years, creating custom searches for topics they follow. But this new website is a dedicated place where the media can learn, and have access to, a suite of digital tools that improve their news-gathering power and audience engagement across platforms.

What does this mean for crowdfunders? Well, if you didn’t know it already, Google+ can be one of the most powerful social platform for you and your project, business, and brand. If you’re not using it, start now so that the writers searching for information relative to your brand can find your latest posts, photos, and videos. This makes their work breezier, and the chances of your content appearing in their search increase dramatically.

From the looks of the site, Google has done a great job of guiding journalists through all the resources on offer. Reading up on their best practices will help you help the members of the press find you.

To continue reading, please go to this installment of my Tip of the Week column on

How to Become a Crowdfunding Thought Leader:!

Tip of the Week

The importance of getting press for your campaign is a hot topic in crowdfunding circles. By now you’ve read the blog posts and listened to the webinars. The message is always the same: you must get media attention if you expect your crowdfunding campaign to have success. So how to do that?!

Read the rest of this post here.


Getting Your Campaign Idea to Stick

Tip of the Week

You want to run a crowdfunding campaign. Your friends agree that you have a great idea, plus you have an arsenal of social media tools, and you know how to use them. Yet your campaign hits the skids and dies an unhappy death.

What the heck happened?

To read the rest of this story go to this week’s installment in Tips of the Week column on