17 November 2016 | 15 Comments
When you run a crowdfunding campaign, you’re running a business. When you’re running a business, everything you post online is an extension of your company’s brand. This makes the keyboard a precariously powerful tool.
Every Facebook post about your family may endear you to your customers. Every tweet about the election may anger half of your followers and delight the other half. Every blog entry, video, podcast, Kickstarter update, and forum comment has a direct impact on the way people perceive and feel about your company.
I’ve found over time that I shouldn’t worry too much about this, lest I never post anything. Instead, I try to be aware of how people will perceive specific topics, and I write about them or comment on them in a judicious manner. I’ve failed miserably at this a number of times, of course.
Recently I wrote a controversial blog post. I knew it was controversial because I had previously participated in discussions online about it.
Before publishing it, I sent it to one of our advisers. I asked him if he thought I should post it. Instead of saying yes or no, he replied with the following 3 questions:
- What is your biggest reservation about posting this? In other words, why am I even hesitating to post this in the first place? For me, I was worried about bringing up a situation that had already calmed down on its own.
- What is the worst that could happen? In many cases, including mine, this will be some variation of, “This could piss off a lot of people and do permanent damage to our brand.”
- What is the best that could happen? Sometimes this might reveal an answer that far outweighs the concerns. For me, the positive effect seemed minimal, as I knew I wasn’t going to win over people who were already unhappy with the situation.
As the result of asking those questions, I decided not to publish the post, despite having spent several hours writing it. That was tough, but it was the right call for me and Stonemaier Games.
These questions are my new guidepost for any controversial post or statement. I wish I had this guidepost years ago, as I’ve been asking the wrong question. I was asking, “Should I post this?” That question wants an immediate destination, but what I really needed was a path.
Perhaps these questions will be helpful for you, or perhaps you use a different system to filter yourself. If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.