Guest post from Justine Schofield of Pubslush
In the age of the Internet and social media, crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular means of mitigating financial risk for creative projects. Crowdfunding platforms offer an opportunity for artists to raise funds and awareness for their creative projects. In the publishing industry, writers are using crowdfunding to mitigate the financial risk associated with self-publishing.
Since crowdfunding is still a relatively new concept it can be difficult to run a successful campaign. So, here are a few tips that will help you run a more effective and successful crowdfunding campaign.
- Pre-campaign research: The biggest DON’T of crowdfunding is starting your campaign before you’re ready. Time is a big factor in crowdfunding campaigns (most campaigns run for 30-60 days), so don’t put your project up and then try to figure out your strategy. Also, it’s very important you research your costs up front so you can create appropriate reward levels. The goal is to make money, so obviously your reward levels will be disproportionate to the amount donated. To be successful, you will need to determine how much money you’ll need to raise to complete your project AND fulfill the incentive levels. Tip: don’t forget about shipping costs!
- Know your audience: If you are writing a book, knowing your audience is key and is also the first step to successfully publishing. The same goes for crowdfunding. No matter what your crowdfunding project is, there is a specific audience that will be more inclined to be interested in and support your campaign. Knowing who your audience is—age, gender, occupation, etc.—will help you maximize your time and efforts.
- Target: Once you know your audience, your focus should be to reach out to that particular group of people. Learn where these people are, both on the Internet and in your community, and reach out through the appropriate platforms. For example, finding blogs your audience would read and reaching out through that platform would be much more effective than yourself blindly blogging to the vast Internet as a whole.
- Don’t be timid: Here’s the most important tip when it comes to crowdfunding: it’s a lot of work. Your success is directly connected to the time and effort you put into your campaign. The funds aren’t going to raise themselves (wouldn’t that be nice, though?), so put yourself out there and ask people to support your campaign. The worst they can say is no.
- Be personal and make it easy: While asking for support, it’s always more effective to do so on a personal level. Sending out a generic tweet or Facebook message won’t feel as genuine to your audience. Reach out to your close network via a personal e-mail or message with the link to your campaign. Also, provide them with an e-mail they can send out to their own network as well. Make it as easy for them as possible to support you.
- Keep your supporters updated: Once you get someone to support your campaign, don’t just let them fall by the wayside. Keep them in the loop by sending out a newsletter or e-mail updates throughout your campaign and post-campaign. Make sure they know their support is appreciated.
- Have enticing rewards: Although people generally don’t support crowdfunding campaigns for the rewards it’s still important to put a lot of thought behind the reward levels you create for your campaign. Again, the effort you put in will determine the success of your campaign. It’s important to remember that some of the most enticing rewards are the fun and creative ones that don’t necessarily cost the author very much money. For example, if an author is crowdfunding for their book, they can promise to name a character after the person who donates $500+. This costs the author nothing, but is a fun incentive.
Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform only for books.Authors can raise funds and gauge initial market viability for their book projects. Justine graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and is currently enrolled at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, earning her MFA in Creative Writing. She specializes in social media and public relations and in the past she has worked with growing companies to develop their online presence. Justine has become a prominent industry voice for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding and her work has been featured on many online publications.