There is no such thing as a crowdfunding expert.
First things first, let me clear something up: I have been living the double-life as a tech journalist & publicist for about two years now. To some/many, I am seen as being extremely self-serving and bending the “rules”. Others’ think it’s a “sticky situation” what I am doing, and that I need to ‘make a choice of sides’. To all reading this, agreeable or not, I think you need to worry less about what I am doing and more about what’s in front of you. If you know me (really know me), you know that I take pride in keeping my nose (and integrity) clean by never writing about anyone who has compensated me for my time as a publicist. If I ever happen to talk about a client publicly (on/off air), I ensure to use #client in the phrasing as to not give off a bias.
Anyway, sorry for the ramble, but it gives some insight into who I am and why I am writing this post.
As I mentioned previously, in the last two years wearing the publicist hat, I have learned a lot about how the industry works. Aside from quietly building a business, I have also closely watched the meteoric rise that is the crowdfunding bubble. What was once a slightly taboo subject in the tech community (a subject that many-a-tech writer simply wouldn’t write about because many campaigns lacked validity), this notion of crowdfunding is now an un-ignorable force.
Pebble — yes, ‘that’ Pebble — has proven this by raising staggering amounts of money on Kickstarter (popular crowdfunding platform), simply because they could. I assure you, they did not need your money (16 million+ to be exact) to release their forthcoming Time watch. As a team of 20+, they’re just fine money-wise.
Pebble did it because it was cheaper, margins-wise, to sell via this channel than say BestBuy. They also did it because they could.
Again, I am getting off topic, I realize it, chill the fuck out. I am leading into something.
With the rise in popularity of, well, anything; come groups of people who consider themselves said subject matter experts. In reality (and in several) these ‘experts’ are simply perseverating what you already know in your head (because you’re a smart and talented person) and just packaging it differently so it sounds new. Moreover (and sadly), in most cases, many of these “experts” have never actually worked hands-on with a crowdfunding project at all, really. Why does this bother me? how can someone offer tips on something that they’ve never actually done personally?
The reason I am bringing topic of “subject matter expert” up is because in the last two years of working as a publicist, I have worked very candidly on several crowdfunding campaigns. While some were very, very successful, others’ were disasters; complete, messy, train wreck disasters. Having seen both sides, one would think I could easily begin calling myself a “subject matter expert” on crowdfunding, right? Leveraging my skills to promise that everyone I help and every campaign I work on will be 100% successful.
Rather than calling myself anything, I offer tips from someone who has done it a few times. I ensure my clients have a good fucking product/idea, know the market of who they’re selling to and their competition, and, most importantly, are comfortable selling it.
Digging a bit deeper, I make sure the following commandments are followed:
- Is it a good idea? (anyone who made money without this was trolling the world, or just got lucky)
- Did I explain what I am selling, in 30-seconds, in such a way that a five year old can understand?
- Is the page clear and non-convoluted? Does it offer real-life use-case scenerios? Is there a great video? Is the creative eye-popping? (Also… hire a copywriter. Bad copy, regardless of the idea, will shoot you square in the temple… I promise.)
- Do I have a kick-ass publicist who gets it (and you) can translate it into a story that the journalists you want to hit want to read.
- 2, 3 and 4
While the above will not guarantee anything, it will cognitively explain to people why they should give you their money. — and that’s the real key to a successful campaign. Everything else is just noise.
Until next time.
PS. I am not pointing fingers at anyone directly. Just venting observations.