If you work in the startup world, or pay attention to the tech media with any regularity, you’ve probably seen news about a cool new gadget that’s being crowdfunded on a platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Thousands of new campaigns launch every month, and clearly the press can’t cover them all. On top of the volume, there is the skepticism. Crowdfunding campaigns, especially those with hardware products, are notorious for missing their shipping deadlines and at times never delivering the promised product.
Because of this, some publications are now refusing to cover Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, in an effort to protect their readers and not promote products that may never come to market. But PR for crowdfunding campaigns is so important – clients often report that much of their backend traffic ends up coming from a really great post in a publication or blog with high readership.
1. Find your hook. Successful crowdfunding campaigns tell a great story and give people compelling reasons to back the project. Taking this story and figuring out the hook, or the one cool thing you can tout to the press, is going to help you get noticed faster. What makes this product unique – or what makes the project’s creator unique? Is it the first something? Is it the best something? The smallest? And why does that matter? Honing in on the shiny, cool parts of the campaign will grab the media’s attention.
2. Know your audience. If you’re creating a gadget for the kitchen, you don’t want to target sites and blogs that have never written about the kitchen or anything even related to food. They’re going to be annoyed if you email them and you’re wasting resources on a place you’ll never get coverage. Do the research.
3. Find out who covers crowdfunding. There are some tech sites that will absolutely cover Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns – if they’re interesting enough. Your best bet is to do a news search of the past few months of coverage and see who is covering Kickstarter campaigns and what their beat / topics are. As mentioned before, some media are wary of crowdfunding and won’t cover it at all. If a publication has never written about a crowdfunded product before, the chances are they aren’t going to start now. Don’t waste time on these, but find places that do and give them your best pitch.
4. Use Twitter to promote and engage. A lot of journalists are on Twitter and many will allow you to pitch them through direct messages. Some will respond to a clever @ mention or message – others might retweet you, passing your message & link to their audience. Either way, social interaction can lead to some great attention. Doing this through either the crowdfunding campaign social feeds themselves or your own personal ones as the PR or social media person can be effective as long as you tailor the message accordingly. Use interesting facts or campaign milestones to draw attention.
5. Make outreach consistent. You want press coverage and social mentions throughout the campaign. How do you accomplish that? Don’t spend all of your resources and energy on day 1 of the launch. It’s important to have a big launch day, but if you had to choose between getting 30 stories on day 1 OR 1 story a day over 30 days, you’d choose the latter. Consistent traffic over the course of the campaign will help you cross the finish line.
Overall, the key to getting media coverage is to have an interesting story to tell, be relevant and talk to the right people to get your campaign noticed. Press coverage can drive huge amounts of interest and interested buyers, so putting the time and resources into finding the right press, crafting the right pitch, using social media and reaching out throughout the campaign will yield consistent, effective results.
Ashley Daigneault is a professional storyteller and account director at Caster Communications, a boutique tech PR and social media firm. She is a writer and editor, proud mom, podcaster and fierce LGBTQ advocate. Find her on Twitter: @ashleydano.
Photo: Kickstarter via Shutterstock