Editor emeritus Joel and I have been writing a movie for awhile, as regular YMM readers (bless your patient, patient hearts) should know. Recently, we decided to jump on the Kickstarter bandwagon with our own project.
This post is about ubiquity though, and whether or not Kickstarter’s ubiquity is hurting the projects it supports. The Kickstarter premise (for those few not in the know) is that it offers a crowd-sourced funding platform where random folks can donate to your project in exchange for rewards (that you set). And there’s a layer of safety: you only get their donations (pledges) if the project reaches its threshold: a set goal that you specify.
As anyone in creative fields can tell you, Kickstarter has exploded, and the number of projects with it. It seems like every day you see a new Kickstarter project appear in your Facebook or Twitter stream. How do you stand out against the crowd with your project? How do you set yourself apart? How do you make sure that you’re the one getting pledges when you’re up against a sea of (often equally spirited) competitors?
It’s a problem that has been nagging me since even before I posted our project. I chose to tackle it initially with rewards for all donors, and not just “thank yous” on our blog or Twitter stream. The other reward levels stack (a common theme in Kickstarter projects, though not a prerequisite) and I think are equitable to the money put in. The temptation to keep rewards simple can be dangerous, and requires you to put more stock in your donor’s belief in your effort.
But that alone isn’t enough: I’m looking for more ideas so I (and others after me) can successfully set their projects apart and get funded. This recent post on 2amtheatre made some suggestions:
Identifying your audience requires thinking beyond your immediate circle and understanding what will motivate the target group of donors. The answer to what makes a YouTube or other Internet video go viral is identical: finding a point of resonance with something the audience already values, and providing something that taps into those values. This doesnâ€™t mean â€œspinningâ€ your pitch or changing anything you do artistically, but it does require some awareness and thoughtfulness at the outset.
It ultimately concedes:
Audience awareness is the single biggest answer to any successful effort that an artist undertakes and converting those efforts into the bottom line that makes it possible to dedicate oneself to the project. The more we know ourselves, the art at hand, and the target audience, the more effectively we can communicate and produce results.
So how do we build awareness and build conversions? How do we set our project apart from the dozens of others we may be competing with, just within our own social circles? I’d love to hear from those of you out there who have tried Kickstarter, or pledged to someone else’s Kickstarter campaign before. What worked for you? Why did you donate to one campaign over another? Leave your thoughts in the comments!