Alright, you’ve hit the launch button on your Kickstarter project and all of your hard work has paid off—people are actually backing your project! But the work doesn’t end here. It’s time to start building a community. I have to admit this part of the series is aspirational—I did a terrible job of community building in my first project, but I’m determined to improve this time around.
When someone backs a Kickstarter project, you can reach them directly via project updates. Updates are similar to blog posts, and many backers are notified when you post a new one. Updates can also be a powerful way to convince new backers to back your project. If you put effort into creating exciting updates and make these visible to all, odds are you’ll push a few hesitant backers over the edge. Don’t go crazy with updates, though—daily updates might result in backers turning off your project notifications. Once a week is plenty. Here are a few ideas for your project updates:
Note: one big perk of backing a project is exclusive access to updates. I typically make all of my updates public prior to the end of the project then switch to backer-only updates after the project has ended.
The most common use for project updates are to tell backers about project milestones. I typically keep backers up to date on my book production timeline, included when I complete major tasks like submitting for edits and approving a final book cover design. This is also the place to update backers on delays in the project as well as funding milestones. It’s vital to be open and honest about your project process. If you experience delays, be sure to communicate the reasons for the delay and how you plan to address it. Transparency builds trust—sneakiness kills it.
Behind the Scenes Peeks
If someone wanted to simply buy a book, they’d log on to Amazon or visit a bookstore. Kickstarter backers aren’t simply transactional backers—they want to be part of the creation process. One way to make your backers feel like they’re a part of something special is to provide an inside look at the project creation process. This could be anything from images of cover mock ups to pictures of your writing setup or writing process. These don’t have to be stuffy either. There have been many an update where I posted a pic of my dog, hanging out with me in the office.
I try to keep my Kickstarter Story simple and concise, but updates are a great way to expand upon the world you’ve created. This time around, I plan to include world breadcrumbs, things like setting descriptions, artwork, and other goodies that can’t be found anywhere else.
Info on other similar Kickstarter projects
In a previous post, I mentioned the value of cross promotion among Kickstarter creators. Project updates are the place to let your backers know about other awesome projects that are similar to yours. Don’t go crazy with these—too many promotions can feel like spam. I plan on including one or two projects at the bottom of each update.
Project updates are a powerful way to keep backers engaged in your project. The ultimate goal is to convert one-time backers into lifelong fans. You do this not only by telling awesome stories but by making them feel like they’re a part of whatever world you’ve created for them. Giving backers a direct line into the creation process via Kickstarter updates is a powerful way to build relationships with existing fans and create new ones.
This brings us to the end of the Kickstarter campaign process. If you have questions on any of the articles in the series, please leave a comment below or hit up my contact page. Good luck with your project, and don’t forget to review the awesome creator handbook on the Kickstarter website! Although reaching the funding goal is a huge achievement, this is where the work really begins. Stay tuned for future posts on life after the campaign!