Crowdfunding is a numbers game. So when it comes to seeking a spotlight for your campaign, or those you host via your platform, a national one can cover a lot of sought-after ground. It makes sense: the bigger the coverage, the greater the number of eyeballs.
Achieving national attention, however, isn’t easy.
When you are in the initial stage of planning a campaign, consider sticking close to home. A local approach, my crowdfunding friends, is not just for trend-seizing restaurants. It’s a legitimate strategy for campaigns that are community-focused, and for crowdfunders who want to test the waters with modest raises (i.e., under $5,000).
Below I’ve listed three good reasons for why you should consider starting locally, and how to go about it.
- Your community network is a goldmine
But wait—we’re not talking about gold as in money…as in go to your family and friends and beg and plead for their hard-earned cash (that is so not the point of crowdfunding).
Your family and friends are a goldmine of contacts. In other words, they know people who know people. Do a little digging and mine your network for contacts who have links to local media sources, and connectors who would be willing to do some grassroots marketing on your behalf—if you ask nicely and plan on returning the favor when called upon to do so.
Another point to think about: national media sources usually need validation in a way that regional ones do not. The former are more likely to weigh the chances of your campaign failing, while local media use a different risk profile because they’re more interested in reporting community-based stories, not whether or not you will leave a permanent legacy as a disruptor/innovator in your field (although that would be cool). Bill yourself as local, and local media will respond.
And guess what? Journalists, bloggers, and public relations experts in your community tend to have colleagues and contacts at—you guessed it, the national level. And if they think you’ve got a good story to tell, they are more likely to advocate on your behalf. So have a good story. And in the meantime, remember: the local media is your friend.
- Harness the power of digital followers without getting (overly) intimidated
Print publications will be more exclusive about what they include in their daily or weekly publishing schedule because producing the written word is (obviously) more costly than typing up copy for an online-only magazine or blog.
There’s another reason why local digital publishers are ideal folks to target: their content gets devoured quickly, which means they are constantly on the lookout for fresh news. And who doesn’t like scooping a great story?
So here’s what you do: create a list of local digital publishers who write about topics that cover your product or service. Now, it’s true that anyone who has ever posted a Tweet or Instagram image (for example) is technically considered a publisher, so do the necessary research to determine which ones already have the audiences that would be interested in your story and your offering. Categorize them in the following way: bloggers, businesses, and online newspapers and magazines. Start by following them, sharing their content—and don’t be shy about reaching out to them. Engagement builds momentum, and that is what you must build to get the numbers you need.
- Assert greater control over your PR
The local level is where you have a greater say on how your campaign is framed. Remember: local media are interested in reporting about stories in the community—they aren’t necessarily going to have an angle in mind in advance.
And as I mentioned earlier, you should be prepared to tell a coherent and compelling story because this is what will encourage your immediate network of friends and family to talk about it with their inner ring of friends and family…and the more they talk, the faster word spreads.
And be sure to follow the Boy Scouts’ slogan, “Be Prepared.” You may not be dealing with CNN or The New York Times, but you should still have the professional arsenal to present your campaign in the best light possible when local media respond with interest. In other words, you need a press kit that is ready to go. So what exactly do you need in it?
- 2-5 good quality photos of your offering
- Link to a video that is 1 minute or less
- Logo, in a variety of formats
- Team bios with headshots
Be good about returning inquiries right away—including the ones you get on social media. And then there’s this golden rule: make sure your website is not only up, but is also clean and up-to-date. But you knew that already, right?
When you’ve got a successful crowdfunding campaign under your belt—even one at the local level—you’ve got a track record of success, and that can set you up for launching (or hosting, for all you platform owners) a campaign that’s bigger and better. So consider cutting your teeth locally, and if you do, bank all the lessons you learn for future launches, whether you choose to aim locally once again, or not.
Do you have questions about how to launch an effective equity crowdfunding campaign or platform? We can help. Contact us for a free consultation today.
More from the Crack the Crowd blog:
4 Critical Elements For Marketing Your Crowdfunding Campaign
Building Platforms and Successful Campaigns with Expert Dan Baird
Richard Swart Gives His Insights on the Global Dynamics Currently Impacting Crowdfunding