Backers are invested in your project, both figuratively and where it hurts, they are the peels of the onion around your project core and they help you reach out further. Treat them well. But before you can treat them well you have to reach them and you have to have a plan on how to do that and how to SUSTAIN the outreach. Especially on a documentary which can take years to complete.
My guestimate is that for every one in 1,000 social media online backer you get an action; unless you’re a superstar (which if we were we would most likely not be dabbling in crowd sourcing to begin with, or at least hire someone to do it for us – but what would be the fun in that?
A nice episodic anecdote about the film I am I is on Peter Broderick’s blog, the maverick independent distribution consultant. Kickstarter has a hall of fame. The most successful film funded was Blue Like Jazz. Click on the link and see how they set up their project. It’s succinct and funny and it had of course a great head start because it was based on a bestselling book with the same title by Donald Miller who had a big and loyal on line following.
Roughly what you need to get your outreach going is:
- Think about your pitch: 20 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minute versions
- USP – why YOU - what is your unique selling point?
- Think about financing beyond crowd funding
- Prepare several budgets (calculate for different scenarios)
- Time line
Pre-campaign things that you need to have lined up:
- Basic website
- Graphic element you can use for on-line presence, mass emails, postcards, announcements, etc.
- Teaser video (not a trailer) – talk to your audience directly and get them to donate with urgency
- Align yourself with non-profits and interested groups that can lend you their support to give you credibility and their network of fans, friends, followers and members to help you reach out
- Bolster your twitter following (remember the 1 per mille rule) as well as your FB friends and fans (and if you have good business contacts on LinkedIn and have built your Google+ circles – it won’t hurt either)
- Email outreach list with a distribution channel like Constant Contact with a layout/design that mirrors your website
- Relevant blog
- Having a follow up video for a final push might help too
- Letters and contacts lined up to hit big sponsors the moment you are ready to launch your project on line
- outline of what you will be giving backers in return for their investment (set realistic goals and be original without embarrassment)
- Lots of coffee and RedBull
- And: give your kids up for adoption and find a loving home for your dog
Before you set a deadline and upload your project:
- You need a firm grasp on what your goals are financially and time wise
- How much are you asking for?
- How much can you expect?
- Do you have a matching/gap donor in the wings should you be close but not at your goal an hour before the deadline?
- How are you sustaining a respectful follow up and communication with your backers after deadline and until you can deliver on Your promised goods?
What did I forget?
Enjoy and let me know how it went….