It’s no surprise that most Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns fail. For plenty of entrepreneurs, crowdfunding offers more promise than actual rewards. But, using the recent success of Revols’ campaign, a strong public relations strategy can tip the balance.
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1. Crowdfunding has a credibility issue you can’t ignore
Consumer-facing crowdfunding projects have a terrible record of unmet promises. Recent history is littered with examples of campaigns that shipped late, delivered shoddy products, and made unrealistic claims. That’s made the media—including the major tech outlets—deeply (and rightly) skeptical about crowdfunding itself.
2. A small number of outlets lead the conversation
While there’s no doubt about the proliferation of sources, our experience with crowdfunding for tech products is that a small coterie of 10 to 15 U.S.-based outlets tend to drive the conversation.
If you’re conducting PR for crowdfunded tech before a global audience, spend most of your time and budget on American tech media. You are likelier to reach the bulk of visitors to platforms like Kickstarter, and see significant additional coverage at international outlets that look to the elite U.S. publishers to see what’s hot.
3. Crowdfunding success is more likely to occur if you start early
Success or failure on crowdfunding platforms is usually determined in the first 24 to 72 hours. This means you need to be working on PR at least four to eight weeks ahead of the launch.
4. PR is never enough
Media coverage can do great things for a crowdfunding campaign. I believe this holds true across many verticals.
Still, PR is no panacea. You need to spend resources in other places. A great video is an absolute must, and there’s no substitute for founder hustling for pre-sales during the month before launching. Likewise, a well-designed digital ad campaign to bolster sales in the middle and final third of a project is crucial.
My 2 cents:
For something so cool and for a concept so simple, it is a bit sobering (but not surprising) to delve deep into the reality of crowdfunding success rates. To the non-tech world, the need for PR might make more sense, but to the developer world, riding the mandates of start-up culture, relying on people relations and marketing acumen (of all things!) to compliment the awesome ideas being developed can be a bit counter intuitive. In the end, awesome features still need comprehensive messaging for users to perceive benefits.