Whether it’s a film or tech product, coming up with a great idea is the easiest part of starting a campaign. The hard part is being successful, which requires a lot of hard work to build buzz around your project, and a loyal following of supporters and contributors who are just as excited as you are. But how do you get the word out beyond your core network of friends, family, and acquaintances?? Never underestimate the power of the media.
A well-planned public relations strategy can not only spread the word about your campaign quickly and effectively to a new audience, it also builds trust with your potential backers. By following these best practices, the media will be covering your campaign in no time.
Get familiar with the publications that are most likely to cover you
You’re probably eager to start spreading the word about your campaign, but it’s important to do a little homework first. It’s time to figure out what your target users read. Reporters are paid to write about what their readers find interesting, not necessarily what’s interesting to you, so get familiar with the outlets and reporters who cover news that’s relevant to your industry.
Have you developed the next innovation in home storage? Try to pitch a home décor publication on how your product will benefit the growing trend of minimalism. Have you developed an innovative Bluetooth headset for athletes? Reach out to the hottest tech publications to let them know how runners and cross trainers can finally benefit from Bluetooth technology.
Build Relationships with Influential Journalists
Journalists receive hundreds of pitches a day. To avoid getting buried in the inbox blackhole, work towards building relationships with a few key influential reporters before you pitch. Follow and engage with them on social media, share other content they have written, and make it a point to meet them at events, conferences, and expos. When you start telling your story, you’ll have built a solid rapport, which will make coverage a lot more likely.
An All in One: Produce a Media Kit
Before you start reaching out to reporters, make sure that you’ve got all of your media assets in one place. Make the investment in a “Media Kit,” which should include information that introduces your product, an explanation of your mission and vision, user testimonials, frequently asked questions, pricing information, contact information, and high-resolution images. When reporters respond asking for more information about your product, you’ll have everything ready to send to them. It’s also a great thing to leave on your website in case journalists hear about you and are interested in writing.
Invest in Quality Photography
You are an innovator – show the world your product so that they can envision how it will improve their lives. Invest in quality photos that you can share with interested news outlets. Photos of your project will make your story more engaging and will help to gain the attention of prospective supporters.
Tailor your pitch
Now that you’ve spent time learning about and building relationships with specific journalists and all of your media assets are ready, make sure that your pitches are tailored to what they’ve written about in the past. This can help you choose an aspect of your campaign or project to focus on. Maybe your angle is that you reached 250 percent of your crowdfunding goal in a week, or that the first mass shipment of products will take place next month, or that a large national retailer will be stocking its shelves with your product.
Another great way to create context for your story is by following industry trends. How does your product fit into the latest innovations? Is it filling a previously empty niche? Are you targeting publications that focus on these trends?
Don’t forget that your team’s story is equally, if not more, important than the campaign itself. Sharing what makes your project stand out will help a reporter build a story around that will compel readers to get involved, which is exactly what you want. Crowdfunding is so powerful because it brings people together to make ideas a reality, and the more people you reach, the more people you can get to stand behind your idea.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Make it short, sweet and catchy. Journalists won’t read a three-page project proposal, so keep your pitch direct, concise and relevant to their publication. Make sure your subject line grabs their attention, and don’t be afraid to use bullet points if it helps you keep things tight.
Write and Distribute Press Releases at Key Milestones
Save press releases for major announcements, like the premiere of your film, the first day you will be taking orders for your second product iteration, or a partnership with a retail distributor. Make sure to send your release to a list of all relevant publications to help amplify your message.
Bottom line: Be realistic, and prepared
There is so much going on in the world that there are simply not enough journalists to cover it. You’ll contact a lot of reporters, and it’s impossible for all of them to write about your project, or even respond to your emails at all. Don’t be discouraged. If a journalist tells you they won’t cover your story, ask them for feedback to help you refine your strategy.
Obtaining quality press coverage can be time-consuming. Getting the attention of a reporter requires preparation and determination. If you target the right publications, keep your pitch compelling and your imagery engaging, you’ll spread your message and show your customers that people outside of your team are excited about your project too. That coverage can serve as a stamp of approval from experts on your campaign page and before you know it, your campaign is gaining momentum before your very eyes!
For a step-by-step resource to launching your crowdfunding campaign, take a look at Indiegogo’s Essential Guide to Crowdfunding.