7 Steps to Grow Your Kickstarter Following

Home / Development / 7 Steps to Grow Your Kickstarter Following

I recently sat down with filmmaker and author James Cooper, author of the book Kickstarter for Filmmakers. In our discussion, James and I talked about  his two successful kickstarter campaigns as well as why so many film-based campaigns fail. Although there are many strategies to pull off a successful campaign, the one biggest factor is a loyal fan base.

I decided to take some of the things we discussed and break them down into a few actionable items so that you can follow step by step and begin the process of building an audience not only for your kickstarter campaign, but your final film.


1. Create Your Basecamp

Before you do anything, you need to have your little piece of real estate online. Your URL is where you really need to start. Hopefully you can register your film’s name, but if the name is already taken you can try adding “film” or “movie” at the end. Once you have your url, you don’t need to build a website immediately. But you do need an email account.

From this moment on, all of your social media accounts related to the film will go through this email. Your mailing list will also use this email when sending out messages. And when the time comes, you can use your url to link directly to your kickstarter campaign. Then, after your kickstarter campaign is over, you can use this url for your film’s website.


2. Define Your Audience.

If your goal is to create a film that people will pay to see, your first step is to identify your target audience. This is why it is so important to define what genre you are making. Its true that some films can be considered multiple genres, but you will want to try and narrow it down to one. Defining your genre is also very important for many stages along the way. Although you may already have a producer, most production companies will not pick up a projec unless it is clear what the genre is. Later, with Netflix and other VOD outlets, your movie will be put into genre categories so…as you can see…its something you may as well figure out now.

Within your genre you can go even further. For example, if you are writing a horror movie you have a pretty wide range of subcategories as well. If you are making a film about the paranomral, then maybe fans of slasher films won’t be as interested. The more specific you can make your audience, the more you will be able to concentrate your time on people who will actively support your campaign.


3. Connect With Your Audience.

It can be complicated to attract people to your project, especially if this is your first film. Without a built up fan base, putting up a website is very similar to throwing a bottle into the ocean and hoping someone finds it. Building your audience is going to require a little bit of work and may even mean getting a little out of your comfort zone.

There are literally hundreds of ways to connect with your audience. The most obvious is with social media. By simply finding the followers of similar movies, you can find thousands of fans with the click of a button. Your job is not only to make them aware of your movie, but to “hook” them into liking your page and hopefully joining your mailing list. We will go into more detail about this further down, but there are a few ways to use some of the most popular social media platforms immediately.

Facebook is probably the most popular of social media. One of the greatest services Facebook offers is targeted advertising. This means you can send out tageted ads not just to people who like hooror, but to people who like specific types of horror movies. This is a very powerful way to not only build your audience, but make people aware of your project. Just make sure you put up images for your header and profile picture that get people interested.

Joining groups with specific interests is also a great way to meet potential fans. Although be careful about over hyping yourself. Groups are primarily for answering questions and you will see very few likes if all you do is post your project. In fact there are many groups that forbid self promotion.

Twitter is a bit more immediate, but quite less effective than Facebook. With Twitter, you can instantly start following the followers of movies that are similar to yours. This will often result in them following you back. However, in order to be successful in twitter you need to focus on posting things that are of interest to you fans. Not just posting over and over about your project.

Pinterest is also a very good, though lesser used social media platform. But it is very easy to find people who would be interested in your film.

Other ways to connect are youtube, conventions, meet-up groups, forums, or even getting some exposure in a popular blog.


4. Know what your Audience Wants.

Before you can get an audience to give you something, you must to give them something first. One of the quickest ways to get people to support you is to make them part of your project. Even if your fans are all over the world, you can include them in the process of making the film and feel connected. Sending out exclusive content, like videos and pictures, can make your followers feel like part of the tribe.

If you are creating a story about something people care about, like a historical event, then put up content that relates to that. For example, if you’re filming a Civil War era drama, fill your facebook feed with interesting facts about the Civil War and the people in your film. If your movie is about the supernatural, fill your feed with stories of the supernatural.


5. Who does your audience follow?

If you are making a film that sits comfortably in a specific genre, chances are there are already tons of sites online where fans of that genre go to get their news and updates. One of the fastest ways to get to your audience is by finding a way to be featured on these outlets. It’s not easy. Especially if you haven’t even started your film. So when you start putting together your film, especially your actors, you will want to keep in mind things that may create interest for these blogs. One of the key ways to get an article about your project is by having a known name attached.

Another great way to get featured on blogs or news outlets is by already having a press kit. That means having a few key things. 1. You need pictures. Maybe you can come up with a conceptual poster with just the title and some elements that will work. 2. You need a logline of the movie (1 or 2 sentences). 3. You will need some sort of hook that makes your film special and worth reporting on.


6. Build a Mailing List.

When facebook first started, if you created a group and put up a post, every fan of that group would see it. Now, if you put a post with 5,000 fans, you are lucky if 100 people see it. What does this mean? It means that as long as you are on facebook or twitter or any other social media platform, your ability to communicate with your audience is controlled by someone else. A mailing list, on the other hand, is under your control and to this day the best way to communicate with your audience.

Building a mailing list is easier than ever. Mailchimp even offers its services for free up to 2,000 subscribers. Most people are reluctant about giving you their email, creating an email list can be a little tricky. One of the best ways to get an email is by trading it for something exclusive. For example, a free behind the scenes video. Or some sort of ebook. It needs to be something immediate that they will get the moment they sign up.


7. Develope Your Hook.

A hook is really the key for getting people to notice you in the neverending sea of spam. Lets imagine you are bombarded every day with 10 kickstarter campaigns. Chances are you will just keep on scrolling or click of of them. Its much easier to take no action than to take action. So how do we get people to join our campaigns? You have to make the hook so sweet that they can’t pass it up. This is what so many filmmakers miss. You could be making the greatest film ever made, but if nobody notices it, nobody will ever see it.

This is where you need to put on your showman hat. Finding creative ways to hook people into learning more about your movie is one of the most underappreciated parts of the process. Back when the Blair Witch Project came out, instead of putting up posters to promote their film, they posted Lost Person signs for the 3 lead characters. They created a mystery around the film and buzz grew.

Just look at the great showmen of the early 20th century. P.T. Barnum was a master of generating buzz and getting people to see his attractions. Alfred Hitchcock filmed promos where he got people on the edge of their seat wanting to know what was going to happen in his films. A hook grabs people and makes your film irresisable. And even with this, there is no guarantee.


Extra Credit: Create a Sense of Urgency

Even before you start your campaing you need to create a feeling that the clock is ticking down. You need to let those who are following you that, without them, there is no way that you can reach your goal. You need to empower your audience by letting them feel that they alone are rescuing you. You need to get people to help you spread the word and share your posts.

 

Now, when you feel you have developed your audience enough to raise what you need…you can start thinking of creating your campaign.

 

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts
Stay In Touch

Pinterest Master