Do you ever wonder “is my Kickstarter good enough, does it communicate what it needs to”?
Sometimes I get the feeling that artists/bands who do not adequately address this question can get a little ahead of themselves. I get that feeling with Josh Tarp & The Still (JTS) whose Kickstarter project in October was unsuccessful.
This project is not a classic Don’t-Do-This project.
It is an example of a starting point.
But it needs work…
FULLY COOK YOUR BAND KICKSTARTER
You have the music….
You have the plan….
You know you want to use Kickstarter to fund it….
Let’s do this!
YOU NEED TO BE CERTAIN THAT YOUR PROJECT IS READY TO GO! (YES I AM YELLING!)
Covering the basics does not a project make. Let’s lay out the important steps.
Overall Concept and Carefully Choosing Your Words
What is your project trying to do or say? You must have a fundamental understanding of this.
And it should be more than “we have some tunes that we want to share”.
Everybody has that. What is your personal connection point to fans? What is your purpose worth backing?
The fan doesn’t care what you want. They care about what they get. Not the physical CD. They care about art that speaks to their soul, that moves them, that makes them a part of something.
You have this. Just carefully figure out how to craft your project so that the fan understands this.
When you have this figured out, it will flow into all parts of your Kickstarter.
Create Project Content That Reflects Your Purpose
If you haven’t already, go check out the JTS project. I am not picking on them, but you can see that by not adequately addressing the questions above, their content falls short.
Each portion of their project is there: Video, Project Description, and Packages. And each portion communicates by implication how they feel about their project.
What is your sense of the project?
Mine is that it lacks enthusiasm and vision.
I bet this band has both. I bet they have some seriously fun live shows and some seriously supportive fans that propelled them forward with this idea. But you can’t tell any of that from the project itself.
Don’t Apologize For Being Here
Look at the opening line of their project description, the one between the video and body of the description.
Josh Tarp and the Still, a Minneapolis based 4 piece pop/rock band, is ready for their debut EP! We’d love for you to be part of it!
You say things like “I’d love for you to be part of it” when you are trying to hedge your bets and not be too pushy. It sounds apologetic.
Here’s the thing. I am not the world’s leading expert on how to sell. Nor do I have a brilliant link to a page that says Being Apologetic Hurts Your Business. I just know this is the case. You do too. It just makes sense.
When you are asking somebody to part with their dollars, you cannot have any doubt creeping in that this may not be worth their money.
I also happen to have some insider information.
Josh is a very kind fellow and had the generosity to answer some questions that I had posed via email. One thing, in particular, really jived with my overall impression of the project.
Josh Tarp: As an artist, it is hard to ask for money. Especially when you’re playing a show, and the people who are there have already paid to get in, maybe bought a t-shirt, and are just enjoying the music. I feel bad asking for more money.
These feeling are not specific to Josh, no doubt.
But you need to put such doubts behind you before launching your Kickstarter. And you do this by knowing and believing in your purpose and knowing how you will communicate this to your audience.
Your Project Needs More Than The Minimum
Once you are certain of your purpose and how you will communicate it, this next part is no problem. Your purpose will bleed over into all aspects of your Kickstarter including your approach to it.
JTS is an example of what happens if you create your project too soon, before truly understanding how you are going to do what you want to do.
As I said, each element of the project is done and none of them are awful. Specifically:
The video is of good quality and there is nothing wrong with a heartfelt appeal, but this appeal is pretty dry and standard. It lacks inspiration and connection points for the fan.
The project description doesn’t look too bad either, but it also lacks the same. This isn’t just a factual presentation here, it needs to be designed with the idea of sales copy in mind. Not saying you have to be a salesman, but you do have to communicate strategically.
The rewards packages contain the big 5… and pretty much stop dead in their tracks. This lack of creativity seems a little lazy AND it will hurt you when potential backers come and just can’t quite find the right combination of rewards to scratch their itch.
Be Ready To Work and Don’t Get Discouraged
Even with everything I’ve said so far, I still think this project could have been funded.
If you look at the Kicktraq stats, you will see that they made it halfway with about 10 days to spare.
This is not atypical and it should be encouraging, not discouraging!
I got the sense from Josh, however, that they were sort of resigned at that point.
Many artists I have looked at on Kicktraq don’t hit their funding until the 11th hour. You need to plan for this and make an appropriate push near the end of your campaign.
Relating to the rest of the post, if you know your purpose and how you are communicating with fans, this will not be difficult to do.
Circle up the wagons, reach out to your circle of influence and give your best, most passionate call to action.
In the end, you need a clear purpose and vision and you need to share this with fans.
Your purpose will likely shine through if you have thought through things and have conviction.
If you don’t answer a solid and boisterous YES to the question of whether or not you know your purpose, you should probably hold off on your project until you can give a solid yes.
Even if you know that you know your purpose and how you want to reach out to fans, be sure to review your project and double check.
Don’t leave your fans guessing. Don’t leave gaps.
Let your project SCREAM OUT who you are, what your are saying, what you want to accomplish, and how people can team up with you.