A Kickstarter project does more than raise money. It brings your creative idea to life and builds community around your work. Together we’ll walk through our Creator Handbook; sharing the five most important steps for launching your Kickstarter project, including tips on crafting your story, building rewards that backers will be excited to pledge for, and spreading the word about your campaign.

1. Draft your story and campaign messaging.

Before you launch a Kickstarter campaign, you need to be able to answer this question: What’s your story?  
 
Your story is what captures people’s attention and sets you apart. Whether you want to produce a film, write a book, or launch a storefront; backers want to know how it all began. Begin by explaining why your story is unlike anyone else’s:
 
  • What is your project for?
  • Why does this project matter?
  • Who is part of your creative team?
  • What inspired the initial idea?
  • What motivates you?
  • What stage is your project in? 
 
Write your story in a way makes people want to be involved. Creator Adam J. Kurtz offers this advice, “Be human, and be direct. Kickstarter is all about real people helping other real people create something special. Let backers get a sense of who you are and why you’re the right person to do this.”
Your project description should define the scope and purpose of your project using a clear and concise layout. It is important to spend some time thinking about your project’s overarching themes—What are the goals of your project? Why is your project important? Who will be excited by your project? You can use this worksheet to help you think through your themes. Remember, the more specific you can be, the more likely you are to successfully build and engage a community around your campaign. 
 
Check out these resources for some more insights into how other project creators crafted a memorable and engaging story.
 
●      Get pointers on where to begin with your story in this video featuring successful project creators.
●      Creator Pavan Bapu talks about the importance of sharing the story behind his product Gramovox.
●      Visit our blog for top tips from six creators on what makes a compelling project page.

2. Create a compelling video and images.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Most projects on Kickstarter include a video and images or other media that support and enhance a project’s story. A compelling video and project image can have the power to be shared widely, and invite potential backers to take a deeper look at your project. 
 
The media you use in your campaign should bring people inside your creative process. You can share prototypes, sketches, or other samples of your work in progress. For example, designers can share a look into their prototyping process using the prototype gallery, like Petcube Camera did. Or if you’re a filmmaker, you can include high-quality, compelling photos from your production, similar to documentarian Gary Hustwit. You can also include GIFs, audio, and screenshots on your project page—choose whatever media best represents you and your project.
Here are some more useful tips to makes a standout project page: 
 
  • Choose a clear, compelling project image. Remember: it’s the first part of your project people will see — you’ll want to make a good first impression. Here are some tips on choosing an image that will capture people’s attention.

  • A good project video is usually three minutes or less, and pretty easy to make. All you need is a webcam or smartphone, good lighting, whatever you're making, and of course, you! The best videos are personal, and feature a project creator sharing their idea and inviting their community to be a part of it. Before you turn on your camera, consider your audience and review this checklist:

    𝤿 Tell the story behind your project.
    𝤿 Explain why you need the funding to bring your Kickstarter project to life. 
    𝤿 Highlight exciting rewards tiers (and share the images on your project page!) 
    𝤿 Try using the captions feature to help make your video more accessible.

    Comics creator Ironspike encourages creators to “make a video. DO IT. Don’t worry about it looking unprofessional, because unpolished, sincere videos are incredibly charming. And personally speaking, I'm pretty turned off by overproduced stuff. Joe Murray (creator of Rocko's Modern Life ) just pointed a webcam at himself. So can you.”

    For further inspiration, browse successful projects that are similar to yours and see what other creators have done.
  • Here are the 7 things you need to make a project video.
  • Learn how to make your project stand out.
  • Get advice on making a video from our creator community on Campus
 

3. Consider all of your costs and calculate your funding goal.

Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model. If your project doesn’t reach its goal, then funds don’t get collected, and no money changes hands. All-or-nothing funding makes it easier for backers to pledge to your project with confidence that you’ll be able to get the job done. The first step to setting that goal is figuring out a budget. When calculating your budget, take into account the following: 
 
  • Understand the manufacturing costs. Research the different price points related to the items you are trying to produce, and get quotes from more than one manufacturer. For more complicated manufacturing projects, make sure to do your research by asking other people with manufacturing experience and reading posts like this one.
  • Research shipping and packaging costs. How will you package your rewards and what services will you use to create shipping labels and mail your packages to backers? If you plan to ship rewards to backers anywhere in the world, make sure to double check international shipping rates. Your shipping costs should be factored into your overall goal. For in-depth advice on shipping and Kickstarter, go here.
  • Plan for additional fees or services. If your project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee; there are also additional fees for our payment processors. Every project’s tax situation is different, but that may affect your needs as well — learn more here. More than anything, you’ll want a little padding in case of unexpected costs or emergencies.
 
Write down every possible expense — even less obvious ones, like shipping tape and bubble wrap. For larger expenses, research the best price. Total everything up. It’s okay if the number is bigger than expected: even if your project feels simple, it’s best to make sure every step is accounted for. For example, when creator Tatyana Fazlalizadeh launched a Kickstarter campaign to help take her public art series on tour, she set her goal at $15,000 to cover costs of travel, materials, and film documentation.

4. Pick unique rewards that you'll want to make and that backers will want to receive.

Rewards are what make Kickstarter projects unique. Develop-well-thought out and creative rewards that allow people to participate directly in your campaign. The process of backing projects and receiving rewards makes your story compelling and interactive. Think of things that would get you to back a project. 
 
Musician Anna Vogelzang offered her backers everything from digital downloads to house shows. Webcomic creator IronSpike has experimented with commissions and limited edition bookplates. Artist Emily Grenader invited supporters to have their portraits painted. Consider custom work and exclusive chances to be a part of the process.
 
  • Offer rewards that make your backers feel special and part of the process.
  • Consider experiential experiences. Like this memorable reward for a pizza seance.
  • Provide limited quantities of your reward tiers to create excitement aroundspecial-edition rewards or other exclusive opportunities.
  • The most popular pledge level on Kickstarter is $25 — offer something meaningful around that amount. 
As you plan your reward tiers, make sure to offer your community a range of rewards. Some backers can spare $100, some $20, some $5. Every one of those backers counts. Make sure there’s something worthwhile at every level — even $1 rewards can be meaningful. Remember, you’ll need to produce and deliver every reward you offer, so think through each tier and make sure you are budgeting the time, money and other resources you will need to realize and deliver each reward.
 

5. Before you launch, build your community!

Your community is your greatest resource. Before you launch, it is important to spend time finding and engaging the right audience for your project, and plan a communications strategy for inviting those people to be a part of your campaign. Carefully think through how you’ll approach promoting your project: 
 
While an exceptional project can find outpourings of support from all over the web, much of your support may still come from people who already know your work: your fans, friends, and community. 
 
You should also spend time before launch drafting specific messaging for friends and family that are active online and have large followings. Provide them with sample Facebook or Twitter posts that they can easily use to spread the word once you launch. Keep your messages personal, showcasing your project’s unique features and rewards — a personal note tends to get a better response than a form letter. 
 
“Our goal was to do 90% of the work in advance. For example, crafting emails 2–3 days early so we just needed to click ‘send’ when we launched.” says creator Mike Del Ponte.
 
Outside of your nearest and dearest, research media outlets and bloggers who may be interested in what you’re doing. Gather lists of relevant blogs, media outlets, and online communities — like forums, message boards, or Facebook groups you know will care about your work. Google topics and projects related to yours and see who writes about them, and find venues and publications that cover similar work. It’s important to explore where your project fits in the broader context of your field.
 
We hope these tips have you feeling more confident about thinking through your project! If you have more questions, familiarize yourself with the Creator Handbook and follow Kickstarter Tips on Twitter.
 
Start drafting your Kickstarter project now!
 This article was provided by Kickstarter.
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