Creators Corner: Running a Successful Kickstarter Part 3: Creating the Campaign Page and Video

Now that you’ve done your research and brainstormed rewards, you’re ready to create the campaign page, considering all of these attributes: clarity, concise writing, transparency, and an engaging video.

If you’re a potential backer, looking for a project to support, you have a lot of options to sift through, which is why clarity and being concise is so important. After all, why should you expect a backer to spend extra time trying to understand a project or read unnecessary details when they can easily click on one of the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other options? The only people who would spend time trying to understand a project that is unclear and overly lengthy in its description are friends and family. But they’re not the ones you want to design this page for, since they’ll probably support you anyway.

Next, to avoid seeming like you’re trying to con people out of their hard-earned money, strive to be as transparent as possible, both in the initial page and any subsequent updates. You need to be honest about costs, both financial and time (to produce content, ship it, etc..), so that backers know you’re not asking for more money than you need. Kickstarters aren’t designed to pocket the money after all; they’re supposed to funnel the money into a product and experience for passionate supporters.

This is also true of updates: if you’re running behind or if you got an unexpected discount/rebate, let your backers know and pass those savings onto them or give them the new timetable. Chances are, if you’re running a Kickstarter, you need audience support for later projects (on Kickstarter or just further issues/books/etc…), and an audience is more likely to return to a project that continually shines a light into all the corners instead of a project that pushes imperfect things into the corner shadows. Those shadows won’t cover them up for ever, so you might as well beat some investigative internet troller to the punch. And don’t just take it from me; look at this advice from a writer for Backer Kit:

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Image/Quote from Backer Kit

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to design an engaging video to sell your project to potential backers. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking: But I just described it in the campaign details, so why should I do that again? It’s a reasonable and understandable question, and the simple answer is that most people–because of time, possible entertainment value, and ease of effort–prefer to get their information from a video source rather than a text-based one (I know, the English teacher and writer in me rebels at this idea, but ideals sometimes have to be set aside to deal with reality).

With that in mind, I looked at what a lot of other Kickstarters had done, and then pretty much preceded to ignore most of what I found, simply because I didn’t want to learn how to use video editing software on more than the most basic level. I knew a little–because I had to create some really bare bones videos for my students, especially the ones who had been absent and missed a lesson. But creating a video that delivers information clearly and creating a video that does that and does so engagingly are two different things. (Yeah, I probably should’ve tried to make them engaging for my students too, but time was an issue). After a few takes and some minor editing, this is the video I created:

Yeah, really impressive right? With a video like this I’m surprised I still raised enough funds. If I hadn’t had so much support from family and friends, I probably wouldn’t have. And this isn’t just something I subjectively feel: my video was played 118 times, but only 11% of people completed watching the whole video. (I found this out from yet another handy graphic/report available on Kickstarter after a project’s completion–see it below):

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I have no other campaigns to compare this to, so I don’t know for sure, but that seems like a very low number. Even if it’s not that low (relatively speaking, compared to other campaigns), there’s clearly a lot of room to improve. So take it from me, don’t learn the lesson the hard way, and instead, devote more time to actually making a creative, engaging video. Because, ultimately, this is your audience’s first chance to see what products you’re capable of making, and if you get off on your worst foot, how will you expect others to finish that journey with you?

You can also take advantage of something I completely ignored–well…actually didn’t know about, so it looks like I ignored it. Kickstarter Live is a way to interact–wait for it–live in video chats with backers.

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Images from Kickstarter Live

But, since we’ve got quite the journey ahead of us, it’s time for another break. I’ll see you on the trail shortly, for our next stage in that journey: promoting the Kickstarter for maximum return.

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