Crowdsourcing has become a popular way to generate interest in a new product, bringing in more than $16 billion as of 2014. When a blade-less razor can raise more than $2 million on a site like Kickstarter, other brands start to notice. Perhaps even more than revenue, companies have noticed that crowdsourcing efforts tend to get major media attention.
The high-profile success of so many Kickstarter campaigns has many businesses wondering how they can use crowdfunding to get noticed too. Sometimes the publicity surrounding these efforts can ultimately bring in more money than the campaigns themselves. But it’s important that businesses know how to make the most of the opportunity.
To help you do this for your business, here are five tips for getting media attention around your next crowdfunding campaign.
1. Create a Newsworthy Product
When Pebble launched its smartwatch campaign in 2012, the wearable market was in its infancy. Within two hours of going live, the watch met its $100,000 goal and ignited the interest of millions of people who hadn’t really been exposed to a viable smartwatch before. While not every product can be completely cutting edge, brands can benefit from thinking about the marketability of a product while it’s still in development.
Regardless of a product’s consumer appeal, businesses must find something newsworthy about it in order to get media coverage. “Company Releases Innovative New Product” is a headline that most likely will never be good enough. If you can connect your product to a new market study or an issue of concern, you’ll have better results. “Automobile Fatalities Increase in 2015” might be a good headline to connect to a car safety product, for instance.
Write a Compelling Press Release
Your next step will be to create a professional press release that doesn’t sound like a promotion. Templates are available online to get the necessary look, but most important will be the content of the release.
Like a news story, your news release should start out with the most interesting information first. Your first sentence should answer the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of the event. “More than 80% of consumers are dissatisfied with their jobs, a new study reveals,” is an example of a potentially compelling opening sentence.
The best coverage could come from your own community. Before you blast the news release across a global platform, start by sending it to your community’s TV and radio stations, as well as all nearby community newspapers and websites. Play up the local angle in your news release and use any existing professional connections you have.
In addition to nearby media outlets, take advantage of any personal connections you have. You may be able to get coverage in your college alumni magazine, for instance. Some alumni communities have their own dedicated social media pages. Join those pages and mention your new product when you can, but try to do so without being spammy.
Use Distribution Services
Once your news release is ready and you’ve tried the local angle, broaden your news release distribution. PR distribution sites can get your news release into online publications, as well as helping to ensure it ranks well in news searches for relevant keywords. There are even many services that will distribute your press release for free.
Before submitting your news release, be aware that some of the sites require the information be news oriented. As mentioned above, you won’t simply be able to promote your new product using the release. You’ll need to include information that would be seen as newsworthy by most readers. Consider spending time conducting market research or customer surveys to fortify the quality of your press release before its publication.
Expand Your Efforts
Once you’ve covered the media, look for new ways to call attention to your crowdfunding campaign. Join a site like HARO and watch for opportunities to be quoted in major publications. Write content for major sites that allow you to mention your product in your byline. When published, link to each piece of content so that your own followers can check it out.
Most importantly, produce interesting content of your own and link it through your social channels. These could be in the form of blog posts or videos. Ideally, your own followers will share the content, which in turn gets you an even wider audience over time.
Crowdfunding is a great way to gauge interest and log orders before your product is for sale. But to increase your chances of success, it’s best to find ways to promote your campaign. In addition to the funds you’ll raise, you’ll also be able to turn attention to your new product, boosting its success.