The ABCs of Crowdfunding: S is for Story

Developing and then articulating a clear vision for your campaign is essential. You may already have a specific project in mind, like the development of a book trailer, or travel to do research for your historical project. Perhaps your goal is more general, such as paying for production costs for your book.

No matter what is your goal, it will be unique, and it will have a story. Your job is to identify and tell that story.   There are four traits your story should have to help convince your communities of interest to support your campaign goals. Think of these four Cs when you’re writing your campaign story. I’ve used some examples from one of my favorite recent (and wildly successful) campaigns to which I contributed, Thin Ice and Physiclo.

Compelling. Great storytelling is dramatic. What are the components of good drama and story? Devices such as plot, character, setting and action. Who are the heroes in your story? What and where is their journey? Describe the conditions and environment surrounding your heroes. What obstacles do they face? What rewards are at stake if they overcome the challenges? Be sure to include these basic elements in your story to ensure that it captures, and keeps, attention.

Consistent. Your story is your story; it doesn’t change, and you need to use it as the core of your campaign marketing strategy. What are the key messages and can you identify an overarching theme that can help create consistency across all media? Can you brand your campaign–does your new product have a working name and tagline, for example?

Collaborative. Great campaigns involve others; and not just in contributing cash or buying

Thin Ice polls their contributors while doing product development research at the same time with participation offers in post-campaign updates.

Thin Ice polls their contributors while doing product development research at the same time with participation offers in post-campaign updates.

perks. Crowdfunding is about more than making cash in the short term (if you’re doing it right). It’s about establishing or building a brand; doing market or new product development research, and building a loyal customer or client base for the long term. How do you do that? You involve people in your project or business:  Maybe you’ll you run a poll to choose your new company’s name from a pre-approved short list. Or have a contest to decide the first three colors in which your new product will be manufactured. As Bernadette Jiwa suggests in her book difference, ask your customers what they want and then build it; don’t build it and then see if anyone actually wants it.

Also, consider collaborating with other compatible crowdfunding projects. You help their campaigns; they help yours—and it’s a great marketing strategy to increase your crowd.

The Physiclo campaign promotes a compatible campaign, bringing more value to their backers and ensuring that teddystratford.com promotes them as well.

The Physiclo campaign promotes a compatible campaign, bringing more value to their backers and ensuring that teddystratford.com promotes them as well.

 

Conscientious. Part of the story has to be a description of the goal, and not just a dollar amount. The more transparent you can be about where and how contributors’ money is going to be spent, the more credibility (and support) you’ll accumulate for your campaign.

Daryl Hatton of Fundrazr.com says that though there’s no data to support this because it’s so hard to measure, he knows it to be true. “What we do know is that the psychology of it is very important,” he says. “People contribute because they are purchasing a result that gives them a feeling. They want their contribution to make a difference and not just get lumped into the general funds. So when a campaign is very transparent on how the money will be used and on some of the granular aspects of it, the donor can make a connection between how much they gave and how much it helped solve the problem.”

If there are , make it clear what the process for that will be to encourage increased buy-in and multiple contributions from the same crowd.

If there is a charitable or non-profit aspect to any part of your story, be sure to include that. If 20%

Thin Ice gives contributors an extra incentive: by supporting this campaign, they also contribute to others' health; not just their own.

Thin Ice gives contributors an extra incentive: by supporting this campaign, they also contribute to others’ health; not just their own.

of all your campaign income is going to be spent on support of a related cause or charity, say that, and explain why. If your business or project has a socially-conscious foundation, describe this relationship, and again, the why of this story is very important: How does it integrate with the rest of your plot, characters, setting and action?

If you pay attention to these elements, you will not only create a solid campaign story, but go a long way toward providing content and direction for your campaign marketing strategy and making the many other critical decisions you will face in the planning and execution of your successful campaign.

Subscribe to the  FreshVoice Files to get our exclusive Story-Planning Worksheet for FREE to use on your own, or with your team. (See  link below!)

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