Your handcrafted wall calendar featuring gorgeous watercolor paintings of your pet cat is sure to sell like catnip during the holiday season… if only you could find cash to fund your dream. Fortunately, you don’t have to beg your family for couch cushion change or convince big wig investors to write you a hefty check. You can now broadcast your funding appeal to the world through crowd funding sites like Kickstarter. One of your best assets will be a compelling and authentic introduction video about your project that includes great stock music.
Not sure how exactly to create a video all about your watercolor cat calendar? Don’t worry. We’ll break down all the traits of a great crowdfunding video, but first, let’s learn a little more about the crowdfunding landscape.
Great ideas are a dime a dozen without the cash to back them up. Until recently, a person in need of a cash infusion to finish a creative endeavor had to wheedle money from their family and friends, beg the bank for a loan, or try to put together a slick presentation to impress angel investors. Then, in 2002, a group of guys had a novel idea. What if creative people could present their project to the world and solicit small investments from the public? In 2009, Kickstarter officially launched.
Today, there are dozens of different crowdfunding sites, including GoFundMe and IndieGoGo. Kickstarter sets itself apart as, “a funding platform for creative projects, everything films, games, and music to art, design, and technology.”
Kickstarter is also unique in that it operates on an “all or nothing” funding structure.That means if your project doesn’t inspire enough people to cough up the funds you need, you don’t get a dime. There are a lot of other rules in the fine print, including a requirement to reward your funders at different levels, but the point is this: you’ve got to find a way to impress potential funders with your idea and your passion, or you’re going home with empty pockets.
The concept behind Kickstarter is beguilingly simple, and the rewards for a successful campaign can be great. Since the inception of Kickstarter, its projects have raked in over $3.5 billion in funds. While most projects raise less than $10,000, Kickstarter notes that a growing number of projects are earning, “six, seven, or even eight figures.” (While projects must receive enough pledges to meet their financial request in order to get funded, there is no limit to what they can earn over that amount.) To date, the most successful campaign ever is the Pebble Time smartwatch, which collected over $20 million from over 78,000 backers.
Are you drooling at the prospect of raising $20 million for your cat calendar? Grab a napkin, sop up that drool, and get real. Pebble Time’s story is impressive, but it’s also an outlier. While the concept of Kickstarter is simple, the reality of creating a successful campaign is anything but that. Over 425,000projects have launched on Kickstarter, and only 153,905 projects have been funded. That’s a measly success rate of 36.53%.
Translation: More than half of all Kickstarter projects fail!
That begs the question – how can you beat the odds and convince complete strangers to believe in your dream?
It all starts with having a great idea and finding a way to tell your story in a manner that inspires, entertains, and connects with other people. How are you going to do that? The folks over at Kickstarter have a suggestion: “A video is by far the best way to get a feel for the emotions, motivations, and character of a project,” they write on their blog, adding, “It’s a demonstration of effort and a good predictor of success.”
The Kickstarter people aren’t kidding around. Projects that include videos meet their funding goal at a rate of 50%, while those without videos only succeed at a rate of 30%. One of the best ways to increase your chances of a kick-buttKickstarter success is to make a video.
Here’s how to do that.
Today’s attention spans are about as long as… what were we talking about? That means you’ve got to get your message out quickly and concisely. Many of the best Kickstarter videos are under four minutes long, and few are longer than five minutes. As you begin to plan your video, try to keep it within the one- to three-minute range. With a focused message, you’ll be amazed at how much information you can convey in a short amount of time.
One of Kickstarter’s most successful campaigns was for a complex board game called “Monumental.” This “generation civilization game” comes with 70 miniature figurines, 170 cards, and 100additional game pieces. “Monumental” makes the game “Risk,” seem as simple as checkers, and yet its makers managed to craft an exciting and enticing video that lasts around two and a half minutes. The video worked. “Monumental’s” creators set a funding goal of $56,670 and ultimately raked in $449,121.
At any given time, Kickstarter is hosting thousands of projects. Funders have limited cash to give out, so you need to catch their attention and catch it fast. When it comes time to storyboard your video, think about how you can start off with a bang. Do something interesting, fun, and/or memorable, but also be authentic. Nobody likes a shtick.
This video by Pivo does a great job of grabbing the viewer’s attention right off the bat using a powerful soundtrack and a funny joke that recognizes its product is just basically a swivel device. Unsurprisingly, this great video has helped Pivo’s creators nab far more money than their funding goal.
While it’s important for your video to be interesting and entertaining, don’t forget to include the basics. You’ll want to introduce viewers to your project and tell them all the reasons it’s the greatest thing ever. Think about the problems or pain points your invention solves or how much funders will love reading your comic book or watching your movie. Show them why your project is worthy of their investment.
The COOLEST COOLER does a stupendous job of showcasing both all the awesome features of its product and how it solves problems you didn’t even know you had. Maybe you’ve never needed to blend up a margarita at your kid’s softball game before, but now you can’t believe what a margarita-less sap you’ve been all these years. With a mix of humor and a whole lot of utility, the COOLEST COOLER’s video helped its creator drum up over $13 million from 62,642 funders.
One of your most powerful tools in creating a successful Kickstarter campaign is something you may not fully appreciate – yourself! Kickstarter funders aren’t just looking for a cool project to fund; they also love supporting someone they believe in. Introducing yourself in your video gives potential funders the opportunity to connect to you and to fund “someone” instead of just“something.”
Don’t be camera shy. If you really believe in your project, step in front of the lens. Tell your story. Explain why you want to create your watercolor cat calendar and what this project means to you.
The creators of the Kosan Go Travel Dress decided to make a travel dress for women because they themselves love traveling. They also take time in their video to highlight their personal mission of directly managing their relationship with their Chinese supplier. No wonder this video helped them raise over half a million dollars.
What do all the super successful videos we’ve featured in this article so far have in common? They each include an excellent soundtrack. Background music for your video is a great way to set the mood in your video, whether you want it to be inspiring like the Kosan Go Travel Dress, fun and quirky like the COOLEST COOLER, or unapologetically funky like the Pivo.
Music adds an extra layer of context to your video, grabbing ears along with eyes. It also helps your video sound more professional, which can improve a viewer’s trust in your project and in you.
Kickstarter warns its project creators to avoid copyright infringement when choosing background music for their videos.That means you can’t just use music from your favorite artist without permission or without paying a royalty. Instead, it’s best to search for royalty-free stock music.Specifically, many Kickstarter videos use stock music in the “corporate music” genre.
Take a listen to how this video presenting an art book called, A Compendium of Witches brilliantly uses music to create a mystical feel that perfectly matches the theme of the project. This unique and powerful video has helped its creator, Natasa Ilincic, raise far more than her initial funding request.
In this article, we’ve showcased some of Kickstarter’s best videos, but don’t let these examples intimidate you. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a professional videographer to create your Kickstarter video. (Plus, you probably don’t have that money anyway.) Instead, focus on telling a great story. If your project is as awesome as you believe it is, and if your passion shows through, then funders will “get” it.
This isn’t permission to throw together an unplanned video or just to record yourself talking for five minutes. Take your time to storyboard your video and then spend a weekend recording it with the help of your understanding friends and family. Use your smartphone to record(perhaps a Pivot could be of use?) and then buy low-cost video editing software to clean it up. Finally, you can find royalty-free stock music online, including atSoundstripe.com.
Offering creative people excellent background music for their videos is our special project. We work directly with talented artists to bring you tons of great music in a wide variety of genres, including a growing selection of corporate music. For a low monthly or yearly subscription, you can access our entire music library. That means unlimited stock music for all your Kickstarter projects.
We give you the music to fund your dreams! (Unless that dream is to create a watercolor cat calendar. That’s been done!)