Kickstarter White Paper Part 2

Part 2 of our Kickstarter White Papers. We hope you find them helpful! Additionally check out the intro and Part 1.

Media

PR and Promotion

You should have at least a basic PR kit set up (and much of this can come from your Kickstarter description itself) to use to promote yourself online. Create a basic 140-character line for Twitter for people to retweet. Create a longer paragraph for Facebook and prepare interesting updates for both the Kickstarter and your Facebook. Don’t make others come up with brilliant lines about your Kickstarter, do the work for them. That way if anyone wants to promote you, they can easily reuse your lines and description.

Depending on how big your Kickstarter is (if you are aiming for over 100k and major industry exposure) you may want to put out an official press release on a known site about your project.

You need to build momentum for your Kickstarter BEFORE it starts. Tell industry publications about your Kickstarter before it launches so that they have time to plan the announcement. They will need a head start to get your story. Otherwise, even if you get a tremendously useful media endorsement, you run the risk of it coming at an awkward time or even well after your Kickstarter has ended.

Media Sites and Cool People

You will want good media contacts to promote your Kickstarter throughout its entirety. If you know cool people who want to promote your Kickstarter personally, that’s great. There are people whose Twitter followers exceed a million and if any of the really big names in your field promotes you, you are golden. But these really cool people do not need your project. You need them. If they mention you, they are spending their personal capital at their own risk, in the hopes that you really are as cool as you say you are.

The media on the other hand, does need you. They need stories and if you give them a good one, they’ll give you some love in return. For Doom we got a lot of attention from Coilhouse, io9, and Wired, as well as mentions from personal friends who have large online presences but none of the really big names in our field tweeted about us at all.

So in setting up your PR image, make sure you have a good story that you can easily give to the media. And try to, politely, promote yourself to the big movers and shakers in hopes that they will find your project interesting and want to mention it to their followers.

Family and Friends

Get everyone you know, friends and family, to share your Kickstarter on their social media sites. It doesn’t matter if the person you are telling about your Kickstarter is actually in your target audience, they don’t have to back your project to share it. Make sure you have an active presence on all the major social media platforms: Facebook, twitter, google+ etc. While Amanda Palmer raised almost 1.2 million total with her Kickstarter, she actually met her goal of 100k within the first 6 hours or so from the start of her Kickstarter due to her mailing lists which she has been cultivating for the past 10+ years. There are many great projects out there that people would love to support; the trick is getting to your audience. So share it with everyone in your personal range.

Promotional Updates

You will need to constantly keep sharing your Kickstarter. It is a full time job to promote it for the length of the Kickstarter. You need to keep sending out updates (they should be full of real, important information not just filler to spam people’s inbox) and continuously promote it on your social networking sites. It may seem repetitious to you, but after the end of the Kickstarter we kept encountering friends who never even heard about Doom despite our many emails and even though we were mentioning it almost every other day our Facebook sites.

Branding

Know your audience. You are selling and marketing a product through Kickstarter and you need to think about what your brand is. What is the main image that starts your video? If you made t-shirts or other branding items (bags, posters, magnets, stickers, cards etc), what images are not only cool enough for your backers to want to wear but will also show off you and your product? The Portland Kickstarter Cheese and Crack is a great example, because who doesn’t want a shirt that says “Cheese and Crack” on his or her chest?

Supporting Other Kickstarters

Make your Kickstarter profile ahead of your actual Kickstarter campaign and start backing cool/relevant projects. People will look at and consider what you have backed and you may get viral spread through the campaigns you have backed. It makes you look like you are a real part of the Kickstarter community – one of them. Because you are.

You don’t have to back projects for a lot of money, even a low dollar donation shows that you have backed that project and can garner good will in the community.

Additional Tips

Loving Your Backers

Understand that your backers are your friends. They are special, smart, clever people who figured out how interesting and cool your Kickstarter project is and therefore they deserve your respect and attention.

You can show your appreciation of your backers by being attentive to what they have to say. Pay attention to the comments section of Kickstarter and answer questions promptly and respectfully. Your backers are also your evangelists, if they are invested in your Kickstarter and want it to succeed, they will be out proselytizing to their friends and social networks on your behalf. So give them your love wherever possible.

This Will EAT YOUR LIFE

Running a Kickstarter is full time job. You will NOT have time for much else during this time period. You will be monitoring the site, working on PR, handling questions asked by your backers, honing your tiers and stretch goals. There is an immediacy to Kickstarter that cannot be underestimated.

Kicktraq

Kicktraq is brilliant. Kicktraq is a site that basically tracks your Kickstarter from start to finish and shows you the whole overall scope of your project. While this is enormously fun for tracking your project’s funding history, it is also incredibly useful to display the trending goals that your project is heading for. We found it very helpful for visualizing the overall scope of our Kickstarter. It helped us understand the patterns of funding for our particular project and we were able to figure out from it where we needed to make new initiatives to continue getting support.

Alpha Tests

Show your Kickstarter to smart people. Send them a spreadsheet of your tiers and ask for feedback. USE THAT FEEDBACK. This is the time to make the changes, and don’t ask for advice if you are not going to take it. You can also share your Kickstarter page with said smart people before it launches. Set up the entire Kickstarter page with video, tiers, main text, and send it to your smartest friends. Make sure you have plenty of time to implement their comments before your launch date.

Other Great Writings On Kickstarter

We hope you have found some useful tools in these white pages to consider with your own Kickstarter. We would also advise you to check out other sources as well. Research other successful and failed Kickstarters similar to your own and think about how you can model or improve what they did.

Additionally we used these resources in planning for this Kickstarter:

http://craigmod.com/journal/kickstartup/

This is a fun and useful analysis of Kickstarter data and pledge amounts. He does a step-by-step analysis of his own Kickstarter (the fun data starts about a third of the way down.) It is definitely a good article to read thoroughly.

http://www.demimonde.com/2012/05/14/what-is-running-a-kickstarter-really-like/

M. K. Hobson recently successfully funded the publication of her third book and wrote down some of her important reflections.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dmeconis/the-dylan-meconis-library-2012?ref=card

Dylan Meconis is currently (as of June 20th 2012) running a successful Kickstarter to fund the republication of her books. Her Kickstarter follows all of the ideals of interesting and elegant and she includes a useful breakdown of exactly how she going to use the funds from the Kickstarter.

We hope you find this white paper useful. We will be offering it as a PDF download soon.

2 thoughts on “Kickstarter White Paper Part 2

    • Keith Baker is more eloquent by far than I.

      I hope that those who supported this game know that we (and the brilliant Paul Komoda) truly appreciate you and did our utmost to get you a wonderful game.
      ________________________________________________________________

      Yesterday, Erik Chevalier of the Forking Path announced that he has cancelled the Kickstarter to produce The Doom That Came To Atlantic City, a board game designed by Lee Moyer and Keith Baker, which is to say, me. When Lee and I first heard this news from Erik, it came as a shock. We’ve been working on this game for over a decade. In 2011 we had it ready to go to the printer with Z-Man Games, until a change in ownership dropped it from production. Based on the information we’d been receiving from the Forking Path we believed that the game was in production. It’s a personal and financial blow to both of us, but what concerns Lee and I is that people who believed in our work and put their faith in this Kickstarter have been let down.

      First of all, I would like to make one thing crystal clear. Lee Moyer and Keith Baker are not part of the Forking Path. Neither one of us received any of the funds raised by the Kickstarter or presales. I haven’t received any form of payment for this game. Lee and I were not involved in the decisions that brought about the end of this project, and we were misinformed about its progress and the state of the game.

      As a designer, I want the ideas I come up with to bring people joy—not frustration, disappointment and anger. Once I sign a contract granting a company the rights to produce one of my games, I am putting my faith in that company and trusting that it will carry out production and delivery in a professional and ethical manner. I’ve worked with Atlas Games, Wizards of the Coast, Steve Jackson Games, Goodman Games, Green Ronin, Pelgrane Press, and many more, and I’ve never been let down until now. Lee and I don’t know exactly how the money was spent, why the backers were misled, what challenges were faced or what drove the decisions that led to the cancellation of the game. Not only did we not make any money from the game, we have actually lost money; as soon as we learned the true state of affairs, we engaged a lawyer to compel The Forking Path to come forward to the backers and to honor its pledge to issue refunds.

      With that said, all that really matters to Lee and I is that our idea has led to frustration and anger instead of bringing happiness. We can’t change the past. We can’t produce the game as presented in the Kickstarter on our own. But under the terms of the contract the rights to the art and design are back in our hands, and we can at least share those. Lee and I will be producing a print-and-play version of the game as quickly as possible, and getting that to backers at no cost. You’ll have to use your own cardstock and paper, and we can’t produce the amazing miniatures sculpted by Paul Komoda. But we can share our ideas and our work, and we hope that you will enjoy it.

      There is one snag: neither Lee or I have access to the list of backers and their email addresses. We don’t even know who you are, and we have no way to thank you directly. If you backed Doom, please contact me through my website Keith-Baker.com. If you know anyone who backed it, please direct them here.

      This is not the end of the road we thought we were on. Neither Lee nor I know how things reached this point, and when I look at the images from the manufacturer that show so clearly that the game could have been made, it breaks my heart. Lee and I will do our best to get you the game in print-and-play form as soon as possible. It’s not what we expected or planned on, but we at least hope that you will finally be able to get some enjoyment from the game we’ve worked on for all these years.

      Sincerely,

      Keith Baker

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