Kickstarter Lesson #106: Don’t Copy and Paste

29 June 2014 | 8 Comments

copy pasteWhen you run a Kickstarter project, particularly one with active, curious, and engaging backers (which is awesome!), you’ll find yourself saying some of the same things over and over in the comments and over e-mail.

Please resist the urge to copy and paste the same responses. In fact, don’t copy and paste anything for purposes of convenience or repetition.

When you copy and paste, you’re eliminating the opportunity to connect with the backer. Instead of viewing that backer as an individual and opening a genuine line of communication with them, you’re treating them as an inconvenience.

It’s the equivalent of having a stranger ask you a question, and instead of replying, you play a pre-recorded message for them and then walk away. You wouldn’t treat someone like that in real life, so why would you do that on Kickstarter?

I briefly touched upon this topic in a Kickstarter Lesson about comments a few months ago. I had noticed a disturbing trend in a number of Kickstarter project forums where people were copying and pasting the same message over and over to “welcome” new backers. Perhaps they had good intentions, but is there anything less welcoming than a generic, stock message? We can do better than that, both as creators and as enthusiastic backers.

I’m writing this Kickstarter Lesson not to be preachy, but rather because in the midst of the influx of all Kickstarter advice you hear, sometimes it’s helpful to have a few simple rules to remember. It’s definitely helpful for me.

In fact, the simple act of almost pasting serves as a trigger to remind me that what I’m about to do isn’t cool. It isn’t the way I want to connect with the backer or potential backer who just took time out of their day to comment on their project or write to me.

Only YOU can prevent copying and pasting. Good luck!

Note: This rule doesn’t apply if you’re quoting someone. Then you probably should copy and paste their exact words so as to not misrepresent them.

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8 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #106: Don’t Copy and Paste

  1. Hmm…although in principle I agree with you, how do you avoid repeating yourself?

    For example, many KS projects send you a welcome e-mail. Something of the form “”dear [insert name here]. Thanks for backing up my KS project. blabla bla “. This type of mails must be copy and paste (since you have no information on most backers)…right? or would you rather simply avoid this type of mails?

    1. MK: Well, let me give you one indirect example, and then I’ll answer your question directly too. :)

      Yesterday I sent out an e-newsletter with some news about the Treasure Chest. The e-newsletter went out to all subscribers. Later that evening when I was writing an update just for the Treasure Chest, I was tempted to copy and paste what I had written earlier on the e-newsletter. It was the same information.

      But I decided not to (especially since I had just written this Kickstarter Lesson!), and I’m really glad I didn’t, because I found myself writing the update for that specific target audience (Treasure Chest backers), which was different than the context for all e-newsletter subscribers. Though the difference was minimal, I think it’s important. Plus, when a Treasure Chest backer got the update, they could tell right away that it wasn’t the same thing from the e-newsletter, which made them more likely to read it.

      I say all of that because the same thing applies to e-mails. When something looks like a generic copy-and-paste, they’re not going to read it or register it as something unique to them. I don’t think generic greeting e-mails have any impact–in fact, it might have a negative impact, because it says to the backer they this project creator views them as one of the masses instead of an individual. I would say that it’s far more effective to send a customized note–even a very short one, like, “Thanks for your pledge, MK!”–than sending a copy and paste message.

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