3 ways to make a successful Kickstarter project (from people who did it)


I wrote another article on creative-project-incubator Kickstarter — for New York magazine this time. (Here’s the older one I did for Wired.) It’s more of the same, but you can never get enough advice on how to make great ideas actually happen, right?

I interviewed a pair of sex-anthology editors, a theatre troupe performing Shakespeare on trapeze, and a sustainability geek who teaches people how to build vegetable gardens in their apartment windows. Here are their main tips on how to get people jazzed about a project:

1. Zero in on what’s unique about your idea and put it front and center. The folks performing Richard II on trapeze had a lot of fascinating creative and intellectual reasons for choosing to do the show that way, but they didn’t get into them in their pitch. They made a fun video focusing on two key words: Shakespeare and trapeze. Gimmicky? Maybe, but only on the surface: after all, you’ve gotta get the asses in the seats before you can show them how subtle and sophisticated your work is.

2. Don’t ask for tips with an empty jar. Sad but true: people are much more likely to donate to your cause if they can clearly see that other people are already doing it. Ideally you can get the ball rolling by securing one really big wad of dough and displaying it prominently. That’s what the Windowfarms folks did: after lucking out with one large donation, they found that an avalanche of smaller ones quickly picked up the slack. People like to get on board with something that looks like it’s going to succeed.

3. Be young and hot. OK, I’m kidding. ….sort of. Technically the founders of the sex-story anthology “Coming and Crying” chalk their success up to “creating intimacy with their audience,” but let’s be honest: it’s a lot easier to solicit, create and maintain said intimacy when you are someone that most people would want to, er, get intimate with. But looks only light the match — you’ve still got to fan the flame with your fans by engaging and conversing with them like real human beings, not just by sending out linkblasts on Twitter.

So, there you go. Go forth and Kickstart.


4 Responses to “3 ways to make a successful Kickstarter project (from people who did it)”

  1. You should become a Kickstarter consultant. Seriously.

  2. 2 Me

    As long as editors want stories about it, I’m happy to write ’em (and help out the project creators with some visibility)…

  3. I’ve already given this information to two different future kickstarter project launchers in one day. Still can’t believe your’e just giving it away. Thanks, sucker!!!

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