Crowdfunding 101: no potato salads

Kickstarter potato salad

My name is Corey Herscu and I am former tech journalist who’s now made the full-time shift to tech-focused public relations. For those of you who don’t know me, I run an agency that has carved a very specific niche in promoting successful technology-focused crowdfunding campaigns; we call ourselves Herscu & Goldsilver.

There is no secret sauce for guaranteed success in crowdfunding. I promise you.

Being someone who has played the game a few times, I am going to let you in on a little secret: there is no secret sauce for guaranteed success in crowdfunding. I promise you. Despite what many say, campaigns are more luck and timing than anything else, but that shouldn’t stop you from setting yourself up as best you can to see amazing results.

Below are a few tips to consider before going live with your campaign – Crowdfunding 101 if you will. While they won’t guarantee anything, they’ll definitely ensure you put your right foot forward.

1. Is it a good idea?

No seriously, is it? Don’t assume that because someone made $50,000 off potato salad that you will too. It doesn’t work like that. Anyone who made money without a good idea was trolling the world, or just got lucky.

While crowdfunding is a great medium for market validation, you should do some research and see if your idea has been done before; moreover, if it’s been done the way you want to do it. The crowdfunding community isn’t stupid and will call out plagiarism if it’s blatant. Also, luck rarely strikes twice, so flex your creative muscle to ensure your idea is unique and back-worthy.

2. Did I explain what I am selling, in 30-seconds, so that a five-year-old could understand?

I mentioned in the last paragraph that people aren’t stupid and that is 100% true. What I didn’t mention, though, is that people do not have an attention span. We live in a world of mobile and social media filtering our news; things change so rapidly and people need their content so quickly, anything that is too long will just get lost.

To this, I say work on your messaging, like a lot. Refine it over and over. You must be able to explain, succinctly, why people should care in 30-seconds or less (less being the operative word here), and it should be so simple that a five-year-old (or your technology-befuddled parents) would understand it.

Sounds tough? You have no idea; it’s possibly the hardest part of launching any product. The message of your crowdfunding campaign will need to be refined like a bajillion times.

Neptune Suite

3. Is the campaign page inviting and sexy?

Is the page clear and concise? Does it offer real-life use-case scenarios? Is there a great video? Is the creative eye-popping? This is the detail work that can make your campaign stand out and pop.

Also, hire a copywriter. Bad copy, regardless of the idea, will shoot you square in the temple. I promise.

4. Do I have a kick-ass publicist who can translate your campaign into a story that journalists want to read?

This may sound self-serving, but, to put it bluntly, don’t just assume that because you’ve pressed ‘live’ that people are going to gravitate to your page and back you. A good agency can get the eyes you need.

Further, don’t be fooled to think that PR is blasting a press release out and hoping something sticks. PR is relationships. If the agency you have hired has forged good ones, they’ll have no reason to not get your project covered. The agency that you choose can also help you refine your messaging to create a storyline that journalists will have interest in covering.

While the above will not guarantee success, it will help you explain to people why they should give you their money — and that’s the real key to a successful campaign. Everything else is just noise.

Corey Herscu

Corey Herscu is the President of Herscu & Goldsilver. His broad social media presence and deep relationships in the mobile sector have made him a powerful ally for his clients.