This is How a Good Crowdfunding Campaign Starts

Tip of the Week

Oh, it’s been a while! Not that I haven’t been posting elsewhere; been busy working on the board of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (make sure to bookmark the page to keep up with news on our upcoming Summit at the end of the year, among other value props for your crowdfunding toolbox); and, of course, strategizing with clients on some really cool campaigns currently in the works.

But still. Yesterday, I got a great idea for a Tip for you all.

First, though I say it often, I don’t just write about campaigns unless there is a teachable moment for readers. One arrived in my in-box that I wanted to share because the writer basically did everything right when contacting me about his upcoming project. This is what he said:

Hi Rosa,

I just dived head-first into crowdfunding… and wow, what an intense adventure.

Reading your blog posts is helpful (back when studying Copywriting at the SVA, Ogilvy was basically a demigod). To prepare for Kickstarter, I even started a daily comic strip about it: KickstarterNews (so many fails and discoveries, it was too funny not to publish).

In any case, I have a question.

Quick backstory about how I got into crowdfunding: my startup, Your Comic Story, creates custom comic books for individuals and businesses.

Recently, we’ve taken on a mission of teaching kids entrepreneurship (we feel it’s important to learn about the startup mentality and possibility of creating your own business at a young age).

To achieve our mission, we’re publishing the My First Startup comic book in 2-3 weeks. We’ll launch it as a Kickstarter project in August, and then proceed to regular publishing and online/TV extensions.

The question: Is it ok to update you about the project when we launch, so you can share it with your readers?

Thanks!

David

David Kieve
Your Comic Story
www.yourcomicstory.com

This email has all the elements that a good email pitch should include:

  • It’s personal. This is evidenced by the specific comments he makes about my work
  • It’s light-hearted. A little casual joking goes a long way to maintain reader interest
  • It’s brief. Please be brief
  • Yet it’s informative. Nothing like writing that is coherent
  • It’s respectful. By closing with a request to keep in touch he gets big kudos
  • The campaign itself has a great giving back component. Always a plus
  • It utilizes content marketing for brand building.

I went to his Kickstarter News page and discovered he’s made a great start to building his online authority and brand. Click to enlarge

Can I talk to you about Kickstarter?

This is one crowdfunding campaign I look forward to following.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this. I received the same e-mail (though ours were each personalized, which is a great touch), but I think there’s one really important clause worth highlighting…and deleting.

    The clause is at the very end of the closing sentence: “…so you can share it with your readers?”

    Up until that point it was a great e-mail, but that line comes close to ruining it. I think the least effective way to get a member of the media to share your campaign is to directly request them to share it. This may seem counterintuitive, but look at it this way: This is the first contact you or I have ever had with this person, and he used that first message to ask for something?

    When contacting a member of the media (which in itself is fine, but it’s much better to actually build a relationship with them over time by commenting on their blog/podcast/videos/Facebook/Twitter/etc), instead of asking them to do something for you, offer something of value to them. It can be anything: A free sample, a guest post, an interview, etc. Not, “Hey stranger, share my thing with all the people you’ve spent your time and energy building up trust with!”

    I shared this with David, as I want him to succeed. I also recommended that he spend a little more time building up relationships and content before he launches his campaign, as if you look at his website, he just started creating content for it last week. That’s not nearly enough time to build up a fanbase. But he’s building a foundation, and hopefully he continues to build it for several months before launching the campaign.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective about this, but I wanted to weigh in, because I really believe that last line will be a turnoff if other people try to emulate it.

    • All great comments, Jamey. Thanks for that. As the recipient of the email, I’ll tell you what I focused on with the last line. It was the fact that he asked permission to stay in touch.

      I can’t tell you how many people manage to demand this, which never works well. The request felt to me like he was preparing me, if I agreed, for the fact that he’d like me to share, which I found thoughtful.

      As to starting by building a relationship, I totally agree. Pigs fly more frequently than I have had project creators attempting to do that, however, which is why David’s email stood out.

      There are different ways to build relationships with the media. To me the email itself read as a first step in relationship-building: He knew my content and made a smart comment specific to a blog post (also managing to throw in a bit of cred along the way without it sounding like a brag).

      And, again from my vantage point on the receiving end of these types of emails, offering to guest post is not always appropriate or welcome. First you have to be sure the blog takes those requests. I don’t and it puts me in a position of once again having to explain about how my blog works and does not work. So the caveat to that suggestion—or any offering—is: You better know the blog well first. Whether David did or did not know my policy I can’t say. Maybe he just got lucky 😉

      All your points are supremely valid, and I guess the takeaway is you can emulate but you still have to put your own stamp on your outreach.

      • Well said–I totally agree with all of that. Overall I think the e-mail is a great example at first contact. And I like that he asked permission to stay in touch (that’s much better than demanding it). It’s just that last clause that I think he should have left out, as I don’t think the time to ask you to do something for him is in that first contact.

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