If you're thinking about crowdfunding anything, it's worth a look for its detailed discussion of what to consider from start to finish. It includes a number of interviews with folks who ran successful campaigns but it's also quite useful for its discussion of campaigns that failed.
Steinberg's created a thorough introduction to crowdfunding that goes far beyond anything else I've seen to date. Given that we're now at the point where a musician like Amanda Palmer can raise a milli via Kickstarter, there's a lot of data available and The Crowdfunding Bible is a good first step towards considering what folks have learned to date.
Steinberg advocates researching campaigns that succeeded but also campaigns that failed. He includes a section of research questions (pp. 14-17) to ask about each element of a project that offers a thorough approach to dissecting a campaign. Honestly it's the kind of thing that would make most people's eyes glaze over and makes me think that forming a discussion or work group to analyze campaigns would be a smart place to start.
Steingberg identifies key attributes of successful campaigns (p. 20):
- A solid idea and sellable vision for the product or service
- Careful pre-planning and preparation
- A strong presentation, ideally coupled with high production values
- A reward structure that appeals to the project's audience
- Ongoing outreach to backers
- Effective social media, marketing and PR strategies
- The presence of a popular pre-existing brand or personality that's attached to the project, or an existing audience for the property
Whatever you think of Amanda Palmer, you should be able to see that her campaign had all these elements.
Steinberg also shares characteristics of campaigns that failed (p. 30-32):
- Lack of a trusted brand, brand identity, well-known personality, and/ or lack of a compelling vision.
- Failure to clearly explain and illustrate projects' core value proposition and/or benefits.
- Lack of differentiation and the inability to define and communicate unique sales points.
- Failure to generate awareness or engage potential backers.
- Setting campaign funding goals too high.
The Crowdfunding Bible includes a series of interviews with people who ran successful campaigns (pp. 60-78). This section will be especially useful for learning through storytelling. It's a great balance to the rigorous approach advocated by Steinberg and gives one a chance to see different forms of success.
If you're ready to move beyond a handful of tips and a hunch, then you should definitely check out The Crowdfunding Bible.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.