Road to Kickstarter Part 3: Defining a Kickstarter’s Online Presence

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Road to Kickstarter
Copyright 2017 Claire Jennings

Alrighty now, it is time to get down to business, as it were. Specifically, I need to be getting my pre-marketing bits, aka my online presence, into place. A Kickstarter is all about what you do online, so the offline matters far less to me.

My online presence can be broken down into four key areas: the Kickstarter campaign page, a dedicated website, and social networks. These three components will make up my online presence. They do not include direct outreach, including media pitches and an email list, which I will cover at a later date. Alright, let’s get started then, shall we?

Kickstarter Campaign Page, Where My Project will Live or Die

A good Kickstarter page will bring a project from dream to reality. It requires several elements to be a good page. These elements are required show your appreciation and respect for backers.

Solid rewards that show the heart of your project.

First and for most, you need a good reward at a price that will be reasonable to people while also being something you can actually afford to ship. This means you have to have your finances worked out well enough to know at least your main reward level reward and price before talking to anyone, even media people. I have a good enough idea of this to meet this.

What makes this project so special?

Second, you have to be able to tell your story, why your passion project, your dream, is worthy of backer support. To do this piece, you need to have a good video, which can be homemade or professionally made, but it needs to be quality. This requires some basic equipment and a YouTube account. I have told our story before and can wrap it up nicely on the page, but I need to get a good YouTube video together. I know what I need here, just need to pull it together.

What if you can’t do it?

Third, you need to talk about the risks with your project. No matter how small or big your project gets, you need to be able to cover the basic “what can make you fail?” questions. Basically, do you have your stuff together? It is important to think about the two edge cases, barely funded and over funded beyond your wildest dreams. will you be able to deliver on that which you promised? If not, move those edges (funding goal and reward level limits where needed along with realistic delivery dates using a method you know will work). Basically, do you have your logistics in order? Can you speak to them on here? No, go back to pre-planning. I have Plan B fully in place, so if Plan A doesn’t work out, I know I am still in good shape. Plan A should come in better than Plan B. We will see.

Are you communicating well?

Finally, you need to make sure you pull it together as professionally as you can. This means making the images as nice as you can, writing at your top level, and such. If you have some extra money to spend on your project or you have a short coming in one of these areas, this is a good area to spend a bit of extra money. You don’t need to look like you are a professional at this, but you do want to pull the bar up as high as you can here. Assuming you have your stuff together, you want that to come through. I will be spending some money on Adobe Software to make this happen, and given my strange background of art, technology, writing, and business, will try to pull this together myself. Hopefully, it will be enough.

Your website is your forever home.

A solid Kickstarter will come and go, making your dream a reality f you are lucky. When it has passed, do you want the dream to continue to live, or is it a short term thing? For me, the happily ever after is critical to my dream. I want as many kids to learn binary from 15 Robots Launch a Rocket Ship, 1111 Robots as possible. This means I need a forever home, a website to tell people about the book.

When it comes to the website, take the easy route out.

Unless your project’s end goal is your website, the best bet for a website is to get a good hosting package (I use Skookum Monkey), and then put WordPress on top of it. That way, you are spending the most time you can on your project, without having to do work that is already done for you. This was hard for me, as I cut my teeth on web development back in the day, and now I know it is not the most important part for me to do, but I am so used to doing it. But I must not reinvent the wheel.

Think about what will best meet the needs of your project type.

This forever home will depend on your project type, or your segment if you want. I know that after the Kickstarter, I will be looking at both online and offline options for my dream, so I need to make sure my forever home covers this spread. I am making a book, so it is with indy books, I look for my guidance. I am modeling the website I am creating after this infographic I found in my initial research.

Don’t forget to collect names!

The point of your passion project is to connect with as many people who will share in it as you can. You can’t do that if you don’t collect names, or in this case, email addresses. It is easy and, to begin with, free, to use MailChimp to start your email list. The more you can build a list before your Kickstarter starts, the more people you can line up to support it on the first day. So don’t be shy, start taking names.

One note is you may want to get a P.O. box at this point so that you can put down an address other than your home address when you send email, including the mailing address required by law in your sent emails.

Social Media, where would be without you?

Many people can spend hours a day on social media and never get very far. Others can touch it a little and have a huge reach. People have tried to make heads and tails of it, but there is no denying that Social Media cannot be ignored. The problem is, what social media should you use, and why? From what I can tell, this answer ranges based who you are trying to reach. So the best I can do is tell you what I will be doing, and why.

I am limiting myself to three social media outlets that feel very different to me, and I can try to leverage in different ways. I am looking at Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. I am not looking at many popular options, and I will briefly cover why not.

Facebook, where the moms meet.

I am a mom, and rather they like it or hate it, Facebook is now the domain of moms. It might not be cool anymore, but it is where my generation tends to be. We connect there and we share there. That said, I will spend some time on Facebook, but not too much time. Facebook makes it hard to reach users without paying money, and their reach is not sure enough to justify me spending money on that. I am specifically interested in their “LiveNow” feature, which may help people feel like they are connected with me. So, I will simply do the best I can here.

YouTube, where video comes alive.

The king of video, YouTube helps bridge the impersonal distance that technology can create in communications. I know I need one solid video. Once I have that, then I really should keep an eye out for good ways to use YouTube. Even a simple capture of Facebook Live Now videos would be interesting. Additionally, I can use YouTube to make my posts more inviting and rich. So I plan on doing something with YouTube, I just don’t know what yet. So I should set up a channel for that.

Twitter, where anyone who is anyone is.

Twitter seems like the lightweight here. So much stuff goes on through Twitter that is not worth people’s times. Yet, it has a place in any online presence I do. You see, Twitter tends to have the “influencers,” the people who can jump start your conversations with other people, and help expand your reach, help you connect with as many people as possible on your topic. The computer science education community is on Twitter, and talk to each other through it, so that is where I need to be as well.

The ones I am missing out on.

There are several social media outlets that could do me some good, but that I am not going to do. Below is a quick list, and why I am not doing them.

SnapChat – I am after moms, as the age group I am going after is (and REALLY should not be five is too young for SnapChat, it just is) on SnapChat yet.

Instagram, Pinterest, and Flicker – While I have art heavy stuff, I don’t really have photographs to show, and so I will leave these ones alone for now.

Google+ or any other Facebook competitor – They don’t have enough of the foothold of my least reliable social media choice, and would take the same amount of time.

LinkedIn – This one is hard for me because I could reach people here, and I have a bit about my passion projects on LinkedIn, but I also use LinkedIn for my pay the bills career, which I love just as much as my passion projects and is in an industry that uses LinkedIn. I can’t take away from that, so I will be limiting my use of LinkedIn.

Reddit, Tumblr, any other valid option – These may have hidden audiences for me to connect with, but I don’t know how to reach them, and besides, I have limited time in a day, and cannot do everything.

Where I am at and next steps.

I gave you many things that need to be set up without showing you one of them. That is because I am in the middle of setting them up right now. I will finish this set-up this week and share with you the links next week (well, maybe not YouTube, that might slide in a bit later, after I have the set-up I want for video).

Additionally, if I don’t start pitching to media folks within the next week, I cannot expect them to give me much coverage, so I will be doing my best to get there as well. As always, if you have any questions for me, please leave me a comment. Otherwise, check out my first two posts in this series:

Until next week,
Claire