Crowdfunding can be an excellent way to pre-sell new tech products. In fact, quite a number of them were created specifically because they were successfully crowdfunded.
If you are hoping to have a successful campaign, simply setting up an account on Kickstarter or Indiegogo isn’t enough. People need to know about your project, and public relations (PR) is a vital part of getting the information out there.
Spreading the Word
PR coverage is important because it drives sales both directly and indirectly. This is why it’s necessary to talk up your project. Do not make the mistake of grabbing the metaphorical megaphone to shout out to anyone and everyone who will listen. Instead, target your message to outlets that will be the best fit for you. Before you send out any kind of pitch or press release, have a plan. Do some research on how to pitch your project and how to be relevant to organizations so they will want to share your information.
Don’t limit your PR outreach to just major outlets. The power of smaller outlets shouldn’t be underestimated and, sometimes, when larger organizations see what the smaller ones are doing, they join in so they aren’t missing out on the possible “next big thing.”
Also, keep in mind that organizations like visuals. Having a sample or showing how something will work is a big plus when you promote your project.
Not Everyone Will Care
Even when you do find relevant organizations and craft the perfect message, not every outlet is going to pick up your story. Remember, journalists get thousands of pitches a day. Depending on what’s going on in the tech world, your project may or may not fit in with the mix.
Be persistent but not a nuisance. Sometimes decision makers just don’t know about your project. It’s always best to get a contact’s name and directly follow up. It can be a fine line to tread, but be cordial in your attempts because while you want to remain on their radar, the more you badger a journalist, the greater your risk of losing their interest.
Also keep in mind that tech products and crowdfunding have been around for a while; this is not a new news story to tap. Therefore, just because you have a tech product – even a really great product – this doesn’t mean it belongs in every top tech outlet. Some outlets are not even allowed to cover Kickstarter campaigns anymore.
Agency or Not?
Too busy? Don’t have the skill set? That’s okay. There are professionals out there to assist you in the effort. So if you can work with a PR agency, especially one with crowdfunding experience, do it. These pros have connections, and they know which outlets will be the best fit for you and where you’ll likely have the biggest impact.
Keep in mind that if you do hire professionals, they’ll do a better job than you could, but even they can’t guarantee or predict coverage. They can provide the information to outlets, but they don’t have control over what a journalist chooses to focus on or write about. And they don’t have control over turnaround time, even if a major outlet agrees to the pitch.
Every inventor and entrepreneur needs to keep an open mind and a hopeful outlook. It’s great to strive to be the next big thing that every major outlet will want to cover, but try to make sure you have realistic expectations. Recognize that if you hire a very talented agency and they succeed in getting you into a major tech outlet, even this doesn’t necessarily guarantee a boatload of money. Any kind of exposure can be good exposure. Getting people to your campaign and increasing the number of page views keeps you on top of Kickstarter. And that may lead to more money in the end.