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