Why Every Kickstarter Project Needs (Good) Video

5 Tips for Creating Successful Crowdfunding Videos

Kickstarter has been very vocal about pushing the importance of video in successful crowdfunding campaigns—and for good reason: their profits are drawn from a percentage of successful pledge funds.

While launching a campaign without the aid of video isn’t against Kickstarter’s rules (yet), they do state rather explicitly in their handbook that video is a must have for effective campaigns; in fact, they list the medium first on their list of essential elements, above both rewards and updates.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that their Film & Video category is second only to Music in the number of successfully funded projects—with 14,440 to Music’s 16,292. (Art, the next highest of their fifteen categories, trots behind at just 5,743.)

Still, the gesture of adding video to a campaign page is by no means a guarantee—but it does give campaigns a clear edge if executed correctly. To aid in this execution, we’ve put together the following guide to effective crowdfunding videos . . .

The VideoBlocks Guide to Effective Kickstarter Videos

Kick Starter

1. Make Video Your Benchmark for Quality

Potential crowdfunding backers are unfortunately limited by what they can see on your project page. Because they won’t be able to shake your hand in person, tour your shop space, or examine your work in the flesh, you have to make sure the quality of what you do show them reflects your highest potential.

Does this mean you have to shoot video in ultra-high-definition 4K and include cameos from A-list celebrities? Absolutely not. But it does mean you should plan on more than one take—even if you’re filming with just a smartphone or your laptop’s built-in camera.

Avoid making first impressions that leave backers thinking you have a tendency to rush and overlook small details—otherwise, they’re likely to associate the same lack of vision with your final product.

Instead, take the time and effort to make the most out of your videos by cleaning up your backgrounds (and your subjects), putting some thought into lighting, and leaving time for reshoots. It’s easy to say “good enough” if a motorcycle rides by and drowns out a few seconds of your speech, for example, but with competing projects numbering in the tens of thousands, you want to aim higher than just “good enough.”

2. Maximize Resources Without Breaking Your Bank

People like to know that creators have spent some fraction of their own money before turning to the crowd for help (and, thereby, that these creators believe in their project enough to have taken some initial risk themselves).

Once again, this doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands (or even hundreds) or hire a professional crew—but it does justify spending a little on some finishing touches.

A $20 light from Home Depot, an inexpensive white backdrop for your background, or some royalty-free motion graphics can all help set you apart from the competition while demonstrating that you’re not afraid to spend your own money first (even if you don’t have much of it).

Kick Starter

3. Keep Everything Legal (Video, Audio, Graphics, etc.)

Securing funding only to then pay legal fees is an outcome best avoided, so take care to ensure every piece of media you include in your crowdfunding video is 100 percent yours to use commercially.

Legal implications aside, disregarded copyrights can be a black flag for potential backers. Showing a respect for rights will project an impression of diligence and honesty—which will then carry over to the project at hand (and keep others from worrying you might steal from them too).

Copyright laws get trickier when moving from personal use to motives involving profit, so do your research—or aim for royalty-free media through and through.

4. Show, Don’t Tell

Video offers a host of advantages over static text, and you want to take advantage of all of them. Merely describing your product, workspace, or work ethic isn’t as strong as showing them.

In fact, Entrepreneur recently published a profile on a crowdfunding creator whose pledges rocketed from roughly $3,500 to more than $21,000 after resubmitting her video to include a more visual product demonstration.

And Kickstarter itself urges creators to include the following in their project videos:

• Introductions of key team members involved
• Storylines of progress so far, including early prototypes
• Timelines of completion for projects and rewards
• Evidence of a budget that illustrates long-term planning

5. Don’t Limit Your Videos to Kickstarter—or to Launch Dates

Crowdfunding relies on the power of social media, and social media relies—increasingly so—upon the power of visuals.

Share a few words about your project on Twitter or Facebook, and you’ll have to rely on click-throughs to get your videos noticed. If you opt instead to embed videos directly on your network, however, you’ll make a much more compelling case to visit your Kickstarter page—two to three times more compelling, according to these video click-through rates.

“Backers,” writes Kickstarter, “love seeing photos and videos of their rewards being packaged.” So look for every opportunity to leverage video beyond the requisite introduction clip.