Over the past 5+ years, ambitioning creatives and entrepreneurs have sought funding through a historically different platform. In 2008, Time Magazine titled the method ‘crowdfunding.’ Being that it’s not a new development, floods of campaigners have cast their nets widely and indiscriminately. Unfortunately this creates glut, distracting backers from finding serious projects worthy of contribution. So how does one grab attention quickly and effectively? It happens in the first 30 seconds. Kissmetrics presents an infographic detailing the importance of a well-crafted video. The first 30 seconds of any video set the tone and answer the question, “Why should I keep watching this? Why should I care?” I bring up video in conjunction with crowdsourcing because you cannot reach your full potential without it. Plain and Simple. A video is essential to your crowdfunding success. It’s kind of like online dating. The ones who haven’t posted a picture are quickly, if not instantly through search criteria, filtered out. It’s not important how I know this, only that I do. Let’s just say that I’ve done my research.
‘Net surfers lack the patience for long, drawn out introductions and pitch feeds. If a campaign doesn’t grab within the first 30 seconds, the audience will move on. This doesn’t mean a campaign isn’t any good, but that the package lacked attractive wrapping and alluring accouterments – not to be mistaken with frippery or ostentatious adornment. But the invitation for contribution must be palatable and savory, at best. It’s the first thing backers see. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and so it better be solid – it better be good. Here are some “goodness” rules of thumb:
1. Pick the Right Platform.
Some of the crowdfunding sites out there are: Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Kiva, Peerbackers, ChipIn, Sellaband, and Pledgemusic, to name a few. Each has its own unique niche. For example, Kickstarter leads the pack with over $100 million in contributions towards filmmaking alone. Peerbackers was created to help business owners garner funds for startup or expansion costs, and Kiva works intercontinentally with microloans to “help people create better lives for themselves and their families.” In theory, all three could be tapped for, say, a documentary on the effects of Kiva, empowered by a newly created small business venture. But Nicole Fende on a podcast called, “SmallBizFinance,” suggests narrowly focusing your campaign and driving it forward through strong marketing strategies. It’s important to research which option will be the right fit for right now. Start with one platform and diversify later, if need be.
2. Research Other Campaigns (competition).
There are 42 pages of campaigns on Peerbackers; 5 categories of film and video on Kickstarter; and Sellaband has helped over 80 artists or groups through more than $4 million from investors. Crowdfunding is a big deal – and a successful one at that. Know what you are up against. Listen, watch and research what already exists or has achieved success. The only way to stand out is to know where you stand – and what stands next to you.
3. Script. Plan. Practice. Polish.
The newness of the platform does not negate the need for quality and detail. Developing your presentation is no different than preparing a pitch. Gordon Firemark of Entertainment Law Update reiterates the importance of preparation and due-diligence, saying:
“I am often consulted by film and stage producers who tell me they are ready to start work on raising the financing for their films/ plays/ musicals, or what-have-you, but often as not, as we get to work, it becomes clear that they’re not as ready as they think.”
Package yourself for success. Assuming you take yourself and your project serious, treat the preparation of your campaign the same. Remember: first impressions will never happen again. Get it right the first time.
Additional Links of Interest
Sen. Brown Law Proposal:
Craig Newman: Crowdfunding fraud??
Nat.l Endowment for the Arts:
Film Crowdfunding Success:
Entrepreneur Magazine “How To”:
Five Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns:
Small Business Trends: