8 October 2015 | 14 Comments
A few things have happened this season on Survivor that immediately made me think of crowdfunding, so I thought I’d share them here. These will make sense even if you don’t watch the show, and if you do watch the show, there are no spoilers for this week’s episode that weren’t already shown in last week’s preview.
- Fans Create Longevity: This is Survivor’s 31st season, yet it’s still in the top 20 shows on television. It’s been incredibly consistent in the ratings over the years in large part due to the loyalty of their fans and their eagerness to get other people to watch the show too. The key, as Filip Wiltgren writes in a must-read article, is that the way to create and maintain fans is to “consistently give them what they need.” Figure out what your fans need and then give it to them time and time again. That’s how you successfully fund your first campaign and your last campaign.
- Make Your Backers Feel Safe: There is a moment in last week’s episode where someone hears members of her alliance talking about her behind her back. She’s distraught, and she goes off by herself for a while. A member of the opposing alliance goes to sit with her (out of compassion, not strategy). He makes her feel safe. Afterwards, there is no question in her mind as to whom she’s loyal. I see this vulnerability in backers all the time. Every backer who has supported at 20+ projects has been burned at least once. They bring those doubts to your project, and it’s your job to make them feel safe by communicating well, inspiring confidence through the way you present yourself and your project, and putting unbiased third-party reviews on your project page.
- Your First Contact with Bloggers Should Not Be You Asking Them to Do Something for You: On last week’s episode, two people are scrambling to find a new alliance at the last minute, and they approach a member of the majority alliance. They ask him to switch sides. Bewildered, he says that this is the first time they’ve ever talked to him at all–why would he even consider their offer? “Absolutely not,” he says. This is a crucial lesson, as I see it all the time from other creators (and I hear about it from bloggers). The first time you approach a member of the media should not be you asking them to share your project. Instead, nurture relationships with the media for a long time and then offer them something of value (a review copy, interview, guest post, etc) without ever asking them to share your project. If they want to share it, they will.
- Be True to Your Vision but Go with the Flow: At the beginning of this week’s episode, the two tribes were randomly mixed up and divided into 3 tribes, throwing off the best-laid plans of all contestants. Those who survive are those who are nimble and can pivot in their strategy, which is crucial on Kickstarter. When you launch a project, you’re going to be inundated with new ideas from backers. Some of those ideas might make or break your project. So while it’s really important to have a plan in place and a clear vision, your project’s success may hinge on your willingness to implement the best of those backer ideas.
- Be Human: Last week, one of the contestants on Survivor realized that he had spent the first few days of the new season scrambling for alliances and honing strategies…but he didn’t connect with anyone on a personal level. He forgot the importance of genuine connections. On Kickstarter, people aren’t just backing a product–they’re backing YOU. So show your face on your profile image. Be a real person in the comments. For a great example of this, read a few of the Gloomhaven updates. Isaac writes them like he’s talking to you in person over a beer. It’s awesome, and it makes a huge difference to all the people (they’re individual people, not credit cards with Kickstarter profiles) who connect to your project.
What’s something from your favorite TV show that applies to crowdfunders?
Also read: This recent interview with EQ about crowdfunding, including an important lesson I learned from my grandmother.