Whether you’re attempting to crowdfund an eBook, a documentary, an album release, or some other venture, the goal is the same: You want as many people to learn about your project as possible, and then feel inspired to open up their wallets (er, I mean hearts) to help you fund it. One of the best ways to get the word out about your venture is to blog about it. Using your blog to drive startup crowdfunding efforts could be the difference in making or breaking your fundraising goal.
Start with your current audience, or build one fast
Hopefully, you’ve already been blogging steadily, but if you haven’t, create a blog as soon as possible so you’ll have a place to direct people to learn more about your project. This internet home will be a diary if you will, with behind-the-scenes information and news people want to know.
You should be blogging at least three to six months prior to your crowdfunding launch. The idea is to whet the appetite of your audience ahead of time so that when you eventually ask for their dollars they will be more likely to give.
It’s like dating in that it starts with a little flirting. Ask for their email address, and message them a bit. People want to get to know you before they financially commit. Then, you have to maintain the relationship by continuing to wow them with your ongoing story. (You don’t just ask them out and never call them again!)
Choose your platform and commence editorial planning
You probably already know this, but not all crowdfunding platforms are created equally. Check out our post on the most popular ones and pick the one that speaks to you. Then, come back here to continue learning about how to blog your way to full funding. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Welcome back! Now that you have decided which crowdfunding platform to use, it’s time to plan your editorial calendar. You’ll want to determine how often you’ll blog, what you’ll write about, and how you’ll promote the posts. (Launching the fundraiser without a blogging plan is asking for trouble.)
Some things to consider adding to your editorial calendar include:
A post about who you are. People connect to people, and they want to feel like they have a relationship with you instead of giving haphazardly to a stranger.
What you’re raising the money for. Duh! You’ve got to explain what this amazing thing that people just have to fund is.
Why you want to make this brilliant thing a reality. As Simon Sinek so brilliantly said in his Ted Talk:
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
(P.S. I strongly recommend watching that video before you start blogging about what you’re fundraising for because it gets to the heart of what will compel people to give to you.)
A detailed breakdown of costs. Here’s the thing: If you tell me a clothing line is going to cost $100,000 to launch, I’ll assume you are just money hungry. But, if you tell me that each piece is lovingly handcrafted by a team of seamstresses who spend hours perfecting each element of these outfits, how much the sewing machines cost, and what the money is really being used for, now you’ve made me feel like I’m contributing to a cause, not just your bank account.
When the fundraising period will be. People like to know a start and end date. Indiegogo reported that “42% of funds are raised in the first and last 3 days of a campaign.” It’s a good idea, therefore to blog about the beginning, and the end of the fundraising period. But, don’t leave them hanging in the middle either, or your audience could forget about you, too.
Include video in some of your blog posts
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, people want to get to know you. It’s much easier to feel like they know you when they can see and hear you talk to them. The videos you include can be emotional thank yous, shoutouts to the biggest donors, behind-the-scenes production of what your project is, etc. And you can get creative with them or just keep them simple.
Let them know how much you appreciate them, and that by assisting with your startup crowdfunding efforts they are helping to create something that would not have been possible without them.
Promote, produce, rinse, repeat
Once you’ve created your editorial plan, it’s time to start cranking out the content. Post leading up to launch, and then really fire up the promotion efforts once your startup crowdfunding takes off. Keep an eye on your analytics to see which social media platforms are driving the most traffic, and continue promoting blog posts related to your startup crowdfunding drive.
Schedule as many posts ahead of time as you can, but prepare yourself for the fact that during the entire fundraising period you’ll likely be working harder than you ever have.
Many people who have crowdfunded projects in the past have told me that fundraising becomes their second full-time job as they nurture and continue these online relationships with their supporters.
Blogging is a great marketing tool, and Clay Hebert, founder of New York City-based Crowdfunding Hacks, told Entrepreneur Magazine, “successful crowdfunding is successful marketing.” He’s absolutely right. If people don’t know, or forget about your project, it probably won’t get funded. You’ve got to keep promoting until it’s funded or until time runs out, depending on the platform you chose.
Ask people to help with your startup crowdfunding
At the end of every blog post you write, ask people to share it. Your blog should include social share buttons for each of the major sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Linkedin, Google Plus, etc.
People like to be told what is expected of them. Besides, if someone can’t throw a couple dollars at your campaign, guilting them into sharing your posts could yield donations from someone else. You never know!