One of mankind’s greatest legacies is the art of storytelling. From the earliest cave paintings to the greatest films and books to even technology, everything has a story behind it. And today, any marketer, brand manager or successful entrepreneur worth his salt will tell you that for any endeavor to not only succeed, but also have a lasting impact, it needs to have a great story. Your crowdfunding campaign is no different. You could spend months getting the best strategies in place, using the most sophisticated analytics and monitoring tools. Hell, you could even make some of the most gorgeous content, but if it doesn’t have a story behind it all, your fundraising efforts are pretty much a waste. A story doesn’t exactly mean portraying a walk through the woods, attacking dragons and travelling through fantastical wonderlands. A story is something that weaves a fabric, a mesh that connects you and your audience to the same thing.
So, what is the essence of a good story? “The greatest commandment of a storytelling”, Andrew Stanton explains in his awesome TED Talk on storytelling, “is ‘Make me care’”. And truer words have never been spoken. You have to make people care about your story, whether it’s emotionally, intellectually or aesthetically, you need to have a hook that will make people stop and pay attention to your campaign.
Okay, but how do I build a story around my crowdfunding campaign? Well, luckily, it’s not rocket science! It’s fairly easy, time-consuming, but easy. In a few simple steps like the ones below, you can craft your own crowdfunding story.
First, identify hooks This is extremely important and will set the tone for your story. Identify some of the most unique yet relatable characteristics of your project – what would make people stop and want to learn more about this project? Note all these hooks down and remember them as you proceed further.
Next, pour out everything you have to say Yep, let it flow. When you’re writing your first draft, let it all out – your life’s story, what got you started on this path, your struggles – you get it. Leave no detail out. Once you’ve written/said everything you could’ve, move to the next step.
Set a structure Here you combine the hooks we spoke about in Step 1 with what you want to tell your audience. So take some time here. Setting an outline to the story can take some time, but it’s extremely helpful! Once you know your outline i.e. where to present the hooks and how to connect these with your personal story, the rest is all about moving the pieces around until the puzzle finally makes some sense. Cut out what you think is redundant. Constantly ask yourself objectively, “Do I care about this detail?” and “Will this move me to open my wallet and contribute?” or “does this make my story better in anyway?”, such questions will give you clarity.
Remember who you’re talking to Always keep one eye trained to the audience. Your project might be the best thing to happen to this generation, but when you’re asking for people’s money, you need to give the audience some more juice. This includes important details like, who are you? What have you done in your life so far? Why do you want to do this? Why are you the best person for this project? Additionally, having absolute clarity on your audience will help you understand how you should approach them too, in terms of language, look and feel.
Next, identify conflict The journey to making your dream project come true is not an easy one. In fact, there’s a new challenge waiting at every turn. That’s why you’re even crowdfunding in the first place! At the core of every good story lies a conflict. And this conflict is what drives the story forward. Ponder upon what challenges you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today. More importantly, spend some time elaborating on what obstacles lie ahead of you and how you plan to overcome them. It could be money, the need for creative control, breaking some stereotypes or just wanting to stick it to the system. Use your conflict to help your audience empathize with you.
Be creative Once you have all these things, your next big task is the “HOW?” of it all. How are you going to convey this story? Too emotional, and you might just be passed over as another sob story, too excited or passionate and you might put people off, too simplistic is too boring, and too over-the-top will send people running for the hills. You need to stick out in the digital clutter. So put on your creative cap! You have the hooks, you know what you want to talk about and to whom, now you can set the theme and execute accordingly. Whether you want to create a whole vintage theme around your campaign or want to douse it with some cheeky humour, or turn it into an adventure – go for it! But remember to maintain gorgeous aesthetics throughout.
And finally, maintain balance As a finishing touch, take a step back and look at your story. Is it too heavy on creativity and less on the important details? Or is it all details, with nothing interesting? Strike the right kind of balance, in the sense that your story is interesting enough to lure people in, and informative enough to tell them what they need to know.
You don’t need to be an award-winning writer to be able to craft a good story. All you need to do is find that fine line between what you want to say and what your audience wants to hear, and then somersault through it! Good luck!