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By Lisa Davis
If you were fortunate to be part of the PRSA 2014 International Conference in Washington, D.C. this week – whether in person or by following along on Twitter – you were part of a global conversation about the latest topics, trends, challenges and opportunities in PR among some of the industry’s finest.
We were thrilled to host to a standing-room only gathering with some of those finest during our session, “Visual Storytelling Mastery,” during which Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich), Amber Nasland (@AmberCadabra), Michael Smart (@michaelsmartPR) and our own Raleigh Wilkins (@raleighwilkins) led a terrific discussion about how PR pros can think outside the text box and use visuals to tell great brand stories, engage new audiences, and – gasp! – get great media coverage.
A lot of great examples were shown and best practices shared — here are my 5 takeaways:
Yet another great re-cap by the super-cool Gini Dietrich here: PRSA International Conference (#PRSAICON) Takeaways.
If you were part of the conference, let us know what you thought… We’d love to know more about your #PRSAICON experiences.
Your organization is getting more social. You’ve linked your website and newsroom to your company social media profiles and you’re sharing important content through these new channels. At the same time your social media ambassadors are tweeting and posting on your behalf. But what about your company news announcements? Are you socializing your news releases so they’re more meaningful, interactive and contextual for your audiences – and more likely to be shared?
Turn on the social media functionality and suddenly you’re able to broaden your brand’s visibility as well as uncover new audiences and markets. You’re also able to deliver your perspective on a local community issue, or become a part of a larger breaking news story that’s making national or international headlines.
If you’re ready to socialize your releases, here are five simple steps to raise the bar on news release engagement and relevancy, and, ultimately, how your news is perceived in the market:
STEP 1: CREATE GREAT CONTENT WITH AN EXTENDED REACH
Start with a good, solid story. Here are some questions you can ask to make sure your story is newsworthy and relevant to all of your stakeholders:
STEP 2: UNDERSTAND THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS
Getting technical is an exercise in learning how greater interaction leads to more activity around your story. These technical functions break down into four easily identifiable areas — try to incorporate each of these elements in your news releases:
STEP 3. NOTE CHANNEL-SHARING DIFFERENCES
Look at every social channel through a different lens. Every community has a culture with norms, a language and an accepted way of sharing the community-critical news and information. Knowing the culture of sharing on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest allows you to capitalize on what the community wants you to share with them and to know who’s driving the conversations.
There are specific strategies for making your news releases appealing to your target audiences based on which social channels they frequent. The days of sending a ‘one-size-fits-all’ news release are gone. How you write your headlines, the tone of your messages and what types of images you include all play a big role in whether your news resonates with the right people or gets lost in the social noise.
STEP 4. RAISE REPORTING/MEASUREMENT STANDARDS
You can clearly see who is interested in your news and what kind of authority and influence they have in a community. Understanding why different analytics matter and how you can use them properly for your measurement program will help you to move forward strategically, further proving the value of your news release program.
Whatever definition of success you use, it all comes down to one question: How is what you do going to help your organization achieve its goals?
To ensure that you provide meaningful, actionable insights and not a series of bar and pie charts that don’t offer value, begin with defining objectives, then agreeing on which metrics will best measure your progress, and finally, ensuring clean, spam-free data that your organization can use to make strategic business decisions.
STEP 5. BOOKMARK YOUR BEST EXAMPLES
Find good examples of how other companies socialize their news releases and learn from them. KFC Canada is one example of a socialized news release at its best. Introducing KFC Canada’s new double burger “The Big BOSS,” the release prominently features the campaign hashtag #NewBOSSInTown to reinforce the marketing campaign promoting the burger and encourage sharing. The company also incorporates multiple sharing and viewing options, a link to the company’s website, and a high-res, mouth-watering photo of The Big BOSS.
Don’t stop at simply socializing your website and company newsroom and just sharing content through your social media channels. Take the extra steps to socialize your news releases by applying the tips offered here. Socializing your news releases not only makes your company more social, but also more socially accepted. Your news and storytelling improves visibility and pickup, and that leads to greater brand recognition, better customer/stakeholder/influencer allegiance, and easier sales.
By Karen Geier
There are times when the communications in every office feel like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange – pandemonium. Unfortunately, most offices are guilty of some kind of communication dysfunction. For all of your company’s efforts to streamline budgets and increase efficiency, when was the last time your company reviewed the framework by which your teams communicate? Every time something goes without an answer or needs to be repeated, that’s real company time being wasted, and time is money.
How can you effectively streamline internal communications in a way that leaves the fewest number of employees behind?
For Teams: Set the Stage for Communication
There are many different ways to communicate with teams and team members, but not all of them make sense for every office. If your teams are far-flung or used to telecommuting, you should look at the most effective avenues to get quick, effective communication between team members. This may involve eliminating ones that don’t fit or don’t have great uptake. This might mean your team needs to ditch voicemail.
Yes, it may seem harsh to eliminate one form of communication, but consider that millennial workers never check their voicemail, and that voicemail, with no real clock associated to responding, rewards team members for not replying in a timely fashion.
Another radical change you may want to make is to put a moratorium on certain times for in-person meetings if it means your team members don’t have enough time during work hours to tend to reams of correspondence.
Alternatively, you could put your teams on a scrum system: a rapid fire, rigorously timed period every morning where your team members update each other on the most pressing issues for a given project. This can help eliminate emails and eliminate larger meetings where the outcome will likely be the same as they would have been from a scrum.
For Team Members: Leverage Internal Messaging Products
Several products exist for instant messaging, but for maximum impact and uptake, you should consider having one or two preferred messaging systems.
Yammer – the paid, hierarchical option: Yammer is a messaging system that can automatically manage teams and allow you to assign who can message who centrally from an IT desk. It operates the same as any messaging system you may be familiar with, but allows for easier identification of team members you might not have met, or who are new to the company.
Yammer also lets you see lots of activity and conversations at a glance. You can post documents, and share feedback across groups. This allows you the speed and ease of a group chat with the paper trail of meeting minutes.
Google tools: If your team is small or your budget is smaller, Google has messaging and hangouts to help your team communicate. The Google solution involves three separate tools: GChat, Hangouts, and Google Docs collaboration. These tools work well together, but they aren’t as seamless as Yammer, and you don’t have the same ability to create teams easily or have a trail of updates in a timeline. Google has the advantage over Yammer in the real-time document collaboration solution, however. You can have multiple people view and edit any document stored in Google Docs easily.
For the Company: Getting Anonymous Feedback
Don’t neglect the one feedback loop you should be regularly monitoring: feedback. You should find a way to regularly solicit and compile anonymous, honest feedback from teams to get an understanding where as a company you could do better. You can do this simply with an anonymous form that allows employees to tell you their pain points, or if you’re trying to verify a strategy direction, you could create an anonymous quiz to encourage unencumbered feedback from employees. The people who live and breathe your company will know where the pain points are and will likely have good solutions you can build upon.
The most important part of the feedback loop is acting on the feedback. Even if you can’t change something big, change as many small things you notice that are feasible and you can engender respect from a staff that feels heard.
Communication is the most important thing to get right in an organization. If you don’t have the ability to get the right people to give the right message at the right time to stakeholders, you’re putting your company’s efficiency at risk. Insufficient or improper communication can also put your morale at risk and breed team cohesion problems that might fester and put projects off schedule or bring down the motivation of a team as a whole. Revisiting your team communication is essential. Don’t be afraid to take some methods off the table that don’t serve the team as a whole.
When asked about successful innovations implemented during 2013, nearly one-third of investor relations officers (IROs) listed technology-related innovations in Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s (CDR’s) sixth annual Investor Relations Survey, titled “Increasing Returns on IR Investment.” The London-based consulting firm finds that “2014 is the year of doing it all smarter.”
Although the 190 IRO respondents that participated in the CDR study from January to April, 2014 came from 18 European countries, the trends identified echo global themes.
Among the most frequently cited innovations were increased use of social media channels (especially IR apps), interactive webcasts, and a greater use of video. CDR cited market reports suggesting that videoconferencing now accounts for 15 percent of total roadshow activity.
When asked to look to initiatives for 2014, 29 percent of IROs surveyed planned to roll out technology-related initiatives. While improving the IR website proved most popular, other plans included use of video, IR apps, and technology-based investor targeting tools.
This emphasis on technology comes as no surprise given that IROs reported sweeping ambitions on a variety of fronts. Thirty-two percent of companies are increasing their disclosure in at least one area – with sustainability reporting a logical choice because of investor appetite for this information. In addition, 43 percent of companies anticipate more roadshow activity going forward.
Finally, the survey suggests that technology may be the answer for energetic IROs eager to accomplish more on the engagement front with the same (or even fewer) resources.
Social Media: A More Systematic Approach
The CDR survey found that companies are gradually taking a more systematic approach to social media – with improvements coming steadily if slowly. The number of European companies surveyed with no social media policy declined to 57 percent – a slight improvement over 62 percent in 2013. As might be expected, smaller companies tended to have less strict internal controls over how social media was used, but the survey found that many large caps could improve in this arena, too.
Finally, the likelihood of having any social media policy at all varies by country. “True to their reputation,” wrote Citigate Dewe Rogerson, “companies from Germany, Switzerland and Austria are the most organized with 54% stating they have a formal social media policy with Southern Europe the furthest behind with only 23%.”
The full survey is available at http://www.citigatedewerogerson.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Citigate-Dewe-Rogerson-IR-Survey-2014.pdf.
By Lisa Davis
If you’re in public relations, the PRSA International Conference in Washington, D.C is THE place to be October 12-14. Whether you’re a first-timer or conference veteran, there is tremendous opportunity to network with your peers, sharpen your skillset and learn from some of the industry’s best.
And speaking of the best…The Marketwired team is thrilled to be hosting Visual Storytelling Mastery: Creating Readable, Clickable, Sharable Content, a workshop led by Michael Brito, Gini Dietrich and Amber Naslund who will talk about how the content that PR pros and marketers create every day — like blog posts, infographics and news releases – can tell great brand stories.
If you’ll be at the PRSA Conference, consider this your invitation to join us:
WHAT: Visual Storytelling Mastery: Creating Readable, Clickable, Sharable Content
WHEN: Monday, October 13, 11:45 am – 1:00 pm
WHERE: Delaware A
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
SPECIAL GUESTS: Our friends from Ink Factory will be on site to storyboard the session in real time. [Sneak peek: the illustration embedded in this post is just a sample of their amazing work.]
If you’re not going to be at the Conference, you can still get in on the action and join the conversation by following us at #MWVisual.
Tweet us if you’re headed to D.C. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.
Custom illustration courtesy of Ink Factory (http://inkfactorystudio.com).
By Karen Geier
If your organization has just started blogging, or has been blogging for a while, you might be looking into a way of automating this workflow. The best tool for this kind of job is a content management system.
What is a content management system?
Content management systems take your blog posts and put them on the web in a categorized way, with automatic archiving, the ability to move around documents, make posts “sticky,” and build content galleries easily. It’s the “brain” behind the organization of your information.
Content management systems use a posting interface similar to the “ribbon” in Word, which allows you to blog without learning a new set of tools.
Why you need a content management system
If you have a cross-functional team in charge of content, a content flow that involves submitting posts for approval, or a team that produces a lot of content but most of its members aren’t programmers, you should use a content management system.
You can manage your content submissions and edits from one centralized location (including a trail of versions to keep everyone on the same page).
You can schedule posts to go live for times when your team might not be in the office, set up content suggestions to keep viewers reading your material, and even make your content sharable with one click using a content management system.
What content management systems can’t do
If you are looking for infinite customization at the post level or regularly use micro sites for campaigns, a content management system might not be for you. If you regularly make use of large graphics or interactive or flash-based content, then this content might not show up properly in a content management system, depending upon its programming.
Why you need to choose the right content management system
It’s not impossible to change content management systems if you have an adverse reaction to one, but it’s important to know that switching isn’t a straightforward, easy change to make and could cost you thousands of dollars, as you will need to hire an expert to help you migrate your information, and you will lose SEO standing for a week or two once you make the switch.
Most Popular Content Management Systems
WordPress is the industry leader due to its large community of users and developers who help improve it regularly. WordPress has millions of plugins that can do everything from add slideshows to your content management system all the way up to providing a complete commerce suite right on your website. WordPress is built with content creators in mind, and as such, has the simplest back end for content writers and editors. You can set up notifications to let editors know posts are waiting for them, and to content creators to let them know their content has been posted.
WordPress has some drawbacks, however. It can break if certain snippets of code are put into a post, or if widgets aren’t formatted correctly. Some previous versions of WordPress have also had security issues.
Joomla is a robust, light CMS that is used regularly by tech firms and organizations with in-house experts to assist with the back-end setup. Joomla is built with functionality in mind, but not necessarily ease-of-use for a writer or editor. Joomla has thousands of plugins to extend its base system.
Drupal is a very robust content management system that is not for beginners. Drupal is the choice of programmers, because it operates the way developers think. If your team isn’t terribly web savvy, this might not be the place to start, but Drupal is the content management system of choice for the White House and Warner Brothers.
A word of caution about “in-house” or “custom” systems
When dealing with advertising agencies or developers, you might be told they have their own, proprietary content management system. This seems like it could be a great idea, because they can train your team how to use it, and you can always call someone for help. Beware getting involved in this type of agreement, however. Resources for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal abound, including tutorials and videos. Locking into a purpose-built content management system locks you into that provider for as long as you have the blog or website. Other developers may not know how it was built right away, and might not be able to migrate your content easily or provide support. Make sure you don’t get locked in to an adverse deal.
If you’re looking to redesign web properties or you’re launching a company blog, you should definitely investigate using a content management system for its ease-of-use and extendability that doesn’t require full-time developer resources. You might find one that’s just right for you.
By Karen Geier
The battle cry of the brand manager is: “keep everything consistent across the board.” This applies to websites and email campaigns closely tied to your brand, but in social media you can afford to take more chances due to the somewhat-transient nature of the medium.
Traditional brand wisdom is to establish consistent, singular presence for your product in any channel, but there are times when you might want to consider campaign-specific social media accounts.
For example, if you’re rebranding, starting a diffusion line or sub-brand, or running a campaign (especially stealth ones) you can leverage the power of separate, totally differently branded social media accounts.
Consider Buzzfeed: a monolith web property that covers dozens of topics. They have their main accounts (on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, they are just Buzzfeed) but also spin off their various topics (food, music, even regional editions) to better serve their fans of each vertical market. The result? Some readers follow multiple accounts, which keeps consumers coming back for more within Buzzfeed’s system.
Advantages of differentiated social media accounts
It’s important to acknowledge the fractured nature of social media and consumers’ needs to customize their news feeds. A clothing store is a good example: Maybe you only shop the women’s department of a store, so promotions about baby clothes or men’s accessories have no importance in your life. The same can be said for any content your social media accounts publish: perhaps there are parts of your overall brand that are more relevant to a certain group than others. Empowering consumers to choose is a great way to build smaller, more dedicated fans.
On the other hand, you may find that there are certain consumers you may be able to court with a differentiated account: ones you didn’t have access to before because of incorrect brand assumptions. In this way, you have another chance to talk to customers who wrote you off. You may even find that that shift is responsible for more fans, which can help inform the original brand values, in turn benefiting the brand without the expense of a costly (and potentially disastrous) brand overhaul.
Disadvantages of differentiated social media accounts
There are some caveats to every tactic, and this is no exception. You have to plan for sun-setting your accounts if they are tied to a time-sensitive or transient campaign. What do you do with the followers? You can’t take them with you, so do you ask for them to join your main account? You have to make decisions on these items.
There’s also the matter of time and manpower: do you have enough people, such as content creators and community managers, to handle extra accounts? This will cost you time and money.
You also can’t necessarily count on a high percentage of your existing fans to come to the new account, although spending money on account suggestions specifically targeting both accounts will help you keep shrink to a minimum.
Planning for success
As with any social media endeavor, planning is the key to success. You can’t just launch a separate social media account, hoping it will catch on.
It’s important to chart out a clear editorial mandate and content calendar for the first few months of your new account. This is the best way to find a new audience and engage your current one. Coke and Diet Coke already do this with their ads.
Put together a work-back schedule to make sure your new accounts launch a month before the campaign, so you don’t start out with zero followers and have no content at launch.
If your campaign uses other media, make sure you only reference the new account tied to that campaign. Tease out the new account on your existing social media accounts, so your fans can begin following your other accounts.
Consider involving strategic partners in the vertical market you’d like to highlight with your campaign. This will help build your fans while bolstering your narrative.
You will need to invest in paid promotion for these accounts for them to properly scale. Budget for these expenses.
If you’re going to sunset your campaign after a given amount of time, plan the entire campaign’s content. You will need to stick to your plan so as to capture the imagination of your followers.
There are strategic advantages to creating campaign-specific social media accounts, and executing these campaigns is easily done. You might be surprised who you end up winning over to your brand. All it takes to get started is a little bit of planning and a dedication to an editorial position, and you could be on your way to winning new fans.
By Aaron Broverman
Podcasting is no longer the amateur radio it was five years ago.
Shows like Radio Lab, This American Life, The Joe Rogan Experience and WTF with Marc Maron pull in millions of subscribers on iTunes worldwide and now businesses want a cut of their audience.
“Probably 80% of our client base right now are business owners who are using podcasting as an amendment to their product, to add extra value to the brand and raise more awareness of what they’re doing,” says Corey Coates, co-owner of Podfly Productions, a company providing full-service pre and post production to any business that wants a podcast to enhance its brand.
For a fee, Podfly will assist you in coming up with show ideas, buying the right equipment, editing your podcast, posting it to iTunes and everything in between.
So what can podcasting do for your business that traditional marketing methods fall short of? Coates walked us through what makes podcasting the hot marketing mechanism of the moment.
In a way nothing has been before it, podcasting is alluring to business owners not just because major brands like HBO and ESPN are already involved, but because it creates an unprecedented connection with its audience, all of whom are potential customers.
“There is something special and magical about developing a connection with a customer that is audio-based,” insists Coates.
“When I think about all the podcasts that I personally listen to, I walk around every week or I’m at the gym and I really feel like I know the person who’s behind this. You develop a very personal understanding of the man or the woman behind the business, so it’s great for a lot of people who are running companies or have products and services to able to communicate with their market on a much more intimate level.”
A Call to Action
The reality of podcasting is that only a select few podcasts can generate a large-enough audience to monetize the podcast itself, so how can a podcast truly enhance your business if it doesn’t generate money on its own?
“Having a call to action is really the key,” says Coates. “If you have a product or service that you’re using or promoting on your podcast, that’s going to get people back to your website to look further into what it is that you do.”
For example, many of Podfly’s clients have lead pages on their websites that tie directly to their podcasts. If listeners go to a page on the website and enter their email address they receive additional content related to the podcast.
“The biggest problem with podcasters today is they’re really unable to know specifically who is listening to their show,” says Coates. “It’s one thing to have a demographic where you can guesstimate who they are, but if you get someone to hit a lead page, and put in a little of their information, now you have a person you can identify and market back to.”
So how does one structure a podcast to maximize its marketing impact? Coates suggests the one-on-one interview format is the simplest way.
“There are a couple of things that start to happen when you interview leaders in industries that are related to yours. It creates a sense of instant credibility and instant authority in your field.”
Plus, as an added bonus, people who appear on your podcast tend to promote you to their network in-person and on social media, which never hurts your brand.
Another way to demonstrate your authority and create a direct relationship with your customers is by answering questions related to your field on the air from listeners who call or e-mail the show. After all, no one wants to hear an endless monologue that makes you sound like a know-it-all who’s in love with his or her own voice, but solving problems for free is something anyone can get behind.
But be warned, all the relationship-building that you’re doing can be flushed down the toilet in an instant if you fail to do one crucial thing.
“You don’t want to be asynchronous in your releases. You want to have consistency in your release schedule,” says Coates. “If you do a weekly show, make sure a show comes out every single week.”
If it doesn’t, your listener base will lose interest immediately and aggregators like iTunes will simply forget about you and stop downloading your show for subscribers.
“Consistency is key,” says Coates. “Keep your podcasts relatively short. People don’t have time to listen to you ramble on for two hours, so keep it under 45 minutes. If you get it between that 30 to 45 minutes sweet spot, that’s a great length.”
By Karen Geier
Customer retention is a topic that isn’t talked about nearly as often as it should be. There is a misapprehension that if your company doesn’t sell using a subscription-based model, then you likely don’t need to apply retention tactics. In a world where consumers are spoilt for choice and increasingly able to interact with and complain to companies online, retention is incredibly important.
The Goal of Retention
Retention is meant to make sure that customers remain loyal clients to you, maintaining or increasing their patronage of your services over time. In a world where customer acquisition costs are on the rise, retention is a great, cost-effective way to maintain and build your business.
There are simple principles at work to retain customers, but they are like chess: minutes to learn, a lifetime to master.
1. Treat customers like humans and talk to them that way
It’s an old standby for a reason: people who are successful at face-to-face selling will tell you that one-on-one human interactions sell products faster than any broadcast medium could. There is still something to be said for feeling like you’re visiting the local store for comfort and security. So make sure that when you’re communicating with your customers, you do it in a way that conveys this feeling. Treat everyone with respect – like a human who needs help that it’s your job to provide – even if that include a customer who has his or her guns blazing at you with complaints. This applies to people answering the phones as well as those who post on your social media channels.
2. Understand cadence
Cadence is the frequency by which you reach out to a customer. It has two sides to it: the speed at which you reply to customers who proactively reached out to you, and the frequency of times you proactively reach out to them. This number is different for each customer, but there are some guidelines you should follow: once a week for email is usually plenty. Monitor your email open rates for patterns. Monitor your social media reactions to understand how often your customers want to hear from you. Remember that context affects cadence. If you’re trying to win back a customer who hasn’t purchased in a while, it’s important to make the approach softer. Think: phoning a family member you haven’t seen in a while.
3. Solicit feedback – but follow through
How many times have companies solicited your opinion only for it to fall on deaf ears? How many times have you tried unsuccessfully to reach out to a company with the idea of bringing something to their attention so it can be changed? Your customers want to talk to you, but if you don’t solicit their feedback with a goal to affect change and follow through on their concerns, you might as well not be reachable. The market has changed and only responsive companies will survive in the new market. You need to build culture internally to see these comments as a positive step toward better customer satisfaction, implement changes quickly, and when complete, tell your customers what action you took. You will be amazed at the loyalty this will inspire.
4. Follow up after major events
If you notice that a customer who used to shop often with you has tapered off, there’s an opportunity to find out why. Similarly, if you notice someone has increased his or her frequency or order value with you, you should reach out to them, offering assistance and finding out what has changed for them. You may just find opportunities to help customers who will then spread their positive stories to others. Retention of these types of customers can lead to lower-cost acquisitions through positive word-of-mouth.
5. Inspire loyalty
There’s something uniquely frustrating about being a long-term client of a company only to find out that every fair-weather new customer is getting a better deal. Remember: customers are actively sharing promotions online and if you show you only care to incentivize the new customers, and not thank the old ones, you’re missing a golden opportunity to retain loyal, vocal customers. Consider a plan that is uniquely tailored to the individual and his or her shopping habits. The gesture and not the value of the incentive will be remembered and shared by those customers.
Retention is a great way to keep your client base happy, loyal, and actively recommending your company. Don’t discount the necessity of retaining clients. With the right cadence and an open attitude, you can increase the purchase frequency and value of customers who already like your product. Don’t be quick to discount those who haven’t purchased in a while. They could hold the keys to improving your product for your entire customer base.
By Karen Geier
Crowdfunding has brought thousands of new products to the world and helped vault companies into household names from just an idea or a sketch, but more often today established companies are inviting fans and followers to help invest in new product lines and their company’s future.
Is crowdfunding right for your organization?
Successful crowdfunding requires you to follow a few steps, but it’s most important to work out in advance whether crowdfunding is a good fit for your company’s goals.
Do you have a brand that people love?
This seems like an obvious question, but it’s one that separates the companies trying to jump on the “viral” bandwagon from companies that legitimately want to build consumer-focused products.
You need to be honest about your brand. Pull data on sentiment from online sources and gauge the responses with a view to how these same people would react to your campaign.
Crowdfunding works because the public is more likely to support something when they have their own money on the line, and having a positive association with your brand is a cornerstone to that behaviour.
Do you have a brand you can actually innovate?
Crowdfunded projects that succeed are all coveted items that transform an industry. Crowdfunding a special edition of an existing product is a bad idea. Think way outside the box when you’re looking to crowdfund.
Do you have the internal staff to launch, maintain, and fulfill the campaign?
Crowdfunding is hard work. It requires a lot of planning upfront, the creation of a compelling video, and maintenance and fulfillment staff. One of the hallmarks of a well-executed crowdfunding campaign is the responsiveness of the campaign to its backers. Plan for key team members to oversee and pull in other staff as needed.
Do you have a manufacturer who can help you create your product on a tight timeline?
Before you put any effort into the creation of your campaign, make sure you have a lock-tight manufacturing plan and know what production gates and shipping concerns that manufacturer has. Often, items shipped from overseas take days to produce and months to ship.
Do you have a contingency plan if you can’t raise the money?
If your crowdfunding campaign fails to raise enough money, do you have a contingency plan for topping up the remaining funds? Or will you just abandon the project? What will your messaging look like in case this happens? Figure out these details so you’re not caught off guard.
Crowdfunding Best Practices
Prime your fans in advance
If you’re planning on mounting a crowdfunding effort, the first step is to ask your fans and followers what they might like to see next from your company. You may even consider turning this into a contest. What you’re looking for is enough response for you to be reasonably sure that if you build it, they will come.
In the run up to your campaign kickoff, make sure your email and social media efforts plant the seed of your campaign
Make an engaging video
There are many resources available on how to construct a crowdfunding video correctly, but the most important things to keep in mind are:
Get your social media in order and post regularly
Do not launch your crowdfunding campaign without a complete social media strategy and some tactical pieces thoroughly worked out. Try to tease out your product and make it irresistible. Make all of your messaging uniform and exciting.
Set achievable tiers for average consumers
Pricing is one of the hardest parts of business, and you only get one shot at it. Crowdfunding is no different. Make sure the funding tiers for your product take into account the average person’s spending power. Make the freebies in these tiers meaningful and worthwhile.
Make your premiums irresistible
On the other hand, in the upper echelons, when people are making a big bet on you, make sure there is a sufficient payoff. Call in favors. Put together one-of-a-kind experiences to make sure those tiers get snatched up first.
Crowdfunding can be a great way to bolster your relationship with fans and build your next big business idea. Take time and plan ahead for success.