Not many communications professionals or public relations pros can say that they’ve tried their hand at pitching or marketing for the crowdfunding industry. At Command Partners, our PR team has put a lot of research into both industries and have observed some PR trends that are unique to crowdfunding. We have quickly learned that the public relations tactics and trends in this industry can be just as unique as the projects themselves:
- When it rains, it pours
The phrase is overused – I know – but it is honestly the best way to describe when and how a campaign gains press exposure. The hits seem to come in waves, usually all at once rather than a nice, steady trickle. This is what I’ve noticed when attempting to receive coverage for our crowdfunding campaigns. Usually when your press attention comes in all at once, it means the campaign is of interest, you’ve built a killer media list or did such a great job in your pitch, they couldn’t say no. This is what we strive for as PR specialists. When pitching, make sure there are no obvious obstacles that may affect your coverage (i.e. a similar product that launched just a few days prior). Here at Command Partners, we conduct extensive market research to ensure there is nothing going on that could prohibit journalists from covering our story over another. The “when it rains it pours” expression may not relate to every PR person in the crowdfunding industry, but it was certainly held true to my experience. If interested in learning more about how you can get press attention, clickhere.
- Being relatable is key
It is important to be able to relate to journalists as a PR specialist and equally as essential for crowdfunders to relate to his or her target audience. For example, I was working on this campaign for a children’s sleep trainer- essentially, a “smart” baby monitor – that can be used to improve sleep patterns for kids of all ages. On their campaign page, the creators stated they were parents too, relating to their potential backers. They were able to further relate to their target consumer by sharing the same sleep struggles most parents have with their children. It is key to find some common ground with whomever you’re pitching, whether it be in an attempt to get journalists to write about you or enticing consumers to back your campaign.
- Shorter, more personalized pitches work better
In a world where time is money and money is time, no one wants to spend a long time reading your pitch. Journalists receive so many pitches per day; some with thousands of emails in their inbox at any point in time (my personal worst nightmare). The shorter, more straightforward approaches have proven to work best for me when pitching. In addition, personalizing the pitch will attract a journalist to write about your campaign, more so than sending out the standard “Hi there,” email. Additionally, if you take the time to just write their name in the greeting or include a link to an article they wrote in your message, it can make a world of a difference.
- Use social media to your advantage – and a journalist’s
Take Twitter for example. With a limit of 140 characters, you can get what’s important and relevant to a journalist in there and in turn save both parties a lot of time. Sometimes a long, pitchy email isn’t the answer. I have noticed that tweeting to a journalist, retweeting one of their posts or direct messaging will result in a response much faster than an email would. Whether I’m trying to pitch a story or build a relationship with a journalist, Twitter can be less formal and more personable. I’m sure journalists get tired of the same type of emails day in and day out, but Twitter allows you to get creative in just 140 characters, allowing you to get your message across more quickly and make it stand out from the rest. If you can’t fit everything you need to say, bitly links are a great tool to add to your tweets, directing journalists to a webpage or media kit with more information
- You can’t force people to write about you
Unfortunately, you can’t force a journalist to write about you. This is a trend I’ve seen in various industries I’ve worked in, but holds especially true to journalists who write about startups. With technology evolving at the fast rate that it is, there is always a new tech product or geek gadget to come out that promises to be better, faster and cooler than the next. It’s impossible to force a journalist to write about your client or bite on your pitch. Letting it happen organically will get you a much better article, build a stronger relationship with the journalist and ultimately keep your client happy. It is better to have a genuine article printed than to have a story out that the journalist didn’t really want to write about or doesn’t feel passionate about- it always comes out in the writing.
- Make room for nonprofit campaigns
Since I’ve been working in the crowdfunding industry, I’ve noticed platforms, such as Indiegogo, are not only being used for products and services but are being utilized for nonprofit fundraising. This is a great idea if you’re someone who’s working hard to change something in the community but can’t do it alone and are looking for people who can support your cause. I’ve noticed more nonprofits are realizing that they can be very successful by asking for help on a crowdfunding platform. It is a cool idea and a nice switch-up from that of what you would typically find on the sites.
- More household items being funded for an easier and simpler lifestyle
In addition to the spike in nonprofit crowdfunders, I’ve noticed there are more household items being funded than ever before. I’ve seen items as simple as a device that removes hair from your bathtub drain and as complex as a household 3D printer. Both are being marketed as household items- things you would use every day. A possibility that could attribute to the success of these types of campaigns may be due to consumers becoming accustomed to everything being simplified and easy. Not only is it possible for these many products and services to be used in their easiest, simplest form, but it is possible, readily available and for the most part, affordable; So why not?
- The projects that do well create not only a want, but create a need
I’ve been researching a lot of successful crowdfunding campaigns to see what made their project such a success and how I can implement some of those tactics into my own client campaigns. The best campaigns I have seen not only create a want, but a need. Of course we all watch the crowdfunding videos and think of how cool it would be to own one of _________, strongly desiring the product or service. However, those that created a NEED seemed to have the most success. When a campaign is so strong and convincing that the consumer doesn’t just want, but needs what the crowdfunder is selling is when the campaign really catches fire.
The crowdfunding industry is growing at an enormous rate, constantly evolving. The trends I wrote about above might not be the same PR trends we see in the industry tomorrow. The industries that crowdfunding has affected and the things that have been brought to life because of the platforms are truly amazing.