While sitting on a friend’s couch as we contemplated the continuation our weekend debauchery I spotted something curious in my newsfeed — a post by my college friend Rachel Farrell. We weren’t so close that we spoke on a regular basis, but I remembered her vaguely mentioning a project she was working on some months back. When this post popped up I was instantly curious.
I tapped to view the video and was instantly immersed in her story.
For me, execution is like art and this was a masterpiece. Rachel had done a fantastic job communicating her story, the project, and the benefits to the backer in a beautifully produced video that kept the viewer engaged throughout. What truly astonished me was her use of animations as transitions. While these were nothing revolutionary, they were rarely used in the world of crowd funding for a very silly reason — the idea that when money is scarce you should invest less.
People who are prepping to launch a crowd funding campaign on a platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo are, by nature, in need of money. As a result, they are all too often operating from a lack mindset thinking that resources are scarce — even when they aren’t. This inhibits them from communicating with their prospective backers as, with thing like animations that enhance the message and prompt engagement, they assume that they’re “too expensive” and never bother to investigate further.
When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. Tweet This
The reality is that many of these little enhancements, like the animations in Rachel’s video, are extremely affordable and well worth the investment. In the case of Freckled, the animations were done by Steve Franklin, another college friend of ours. While these video enhancements are commonly used to explain the offerings of businesses it is rare that they’re used in the crowd funding world and made her project stand out as a result.
All it takes to stand out is doing something common in an uncommon place. Tweet This
I got on the phone with Rachel immediately to offer my support. I loved her cheeky illustrations and wanted to know if she had ever considered selling them online as t-shirts, posters, mugs, etc. She told me that she had considered the possibility, but had no clue where to start. Coincidently, I was in the middle of an e-commerce experiment doing just that and offered to help build her a store through Shopify. Since the all of her art originated as a digital design it was as simple as super-imposing them onto a physical product and offer it for sale in the store. All manufacturing and shipping could easily managed by Printful’s service which integrates directly with any Shopify store. We knew this would augment her marketing by giving her something else to talk about and additional content to share while also providing an additional avenue of funding that ensured the project surpassed its goal.
In a discussion a few days later she told me that once she identifies the idea, each design takes just fifteen to thirty minutes. This gave me an idea. A constant flow of content is good, but a constant flow of content that’s tied to something people are talking about is much better. I pitched the idea that she should pull a popular headline from the news each day and create an illustration to accompany the story. “As long as you do it consistently” I told her “it will be a powerful story to share.” This type of creative dedication is something that could be shared on reddit with the title ‘my friend is an illustrator and decided to make the news a bit more interesting’. Knowing the power of reddit and their obsession with stories, this was the perfect content to share.
I knew that as people came to the site to see the illustrated news stories a percentage of people would be curious to learn more about the artist behind them. This intrigue would fuel shares of the designs, sales of the products, and backing of the project. Some of the best marketing comes when you stop trying to push people to act and find ways to lead them instead. Rachel took this idea to the next level and created her daily news series dubbed ‘The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly’.
She launched the series with these three stories:
With the image of her designs she shared:
I loved her initiative and enthusiasm, but I saw something in her language that might hurt her in the long run. She was so excited about the project that she couldn’t see past what was right in front of her. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what I call the ‘creator’s buzz’ but it’s important to remember that at the end of the day you need to create for your benefit and talk about it as if it’s for their benefit. By doing this you ensure that you’re creating something from pure passion and then sharing it through an emotional experience — not an analytical presentation of what prompted it.
We connected the next day to chat.
In an effort to remove a between her and those she was speaking with:
While I have talked to many people about the importance of language in the past, it was the conversation with Rachel that helped me truly grasp the emotional root behind the psychological analysis. In order to lead a crowd effectively you need to be enthusiastically genuinely. In this instance, her language didn’t match the enthusiasm behind the content. It’s far too easy to get lost in the excitement of having just finished something you’re extremely proud of only to slip away from ‘sharing’ and into ‘broadcasting’.
Before sharing your latest blog post, reconnect with the excitement that inspired it — not the content that followed. Tweet This
Excitement is like alcohol. A few drinks gives you a bit of a buzz and makes it easy for you to talk to all the pretty girls, but too much and you lose all capacity to engage (or stand) without acting a fool. Sober up before you post what you’ve created and you’ll dramatically increase your audience’s engagement of the content.
When was the last time you got a little too excited and drunkenly shared your content? What happened?