29 March 2013 | 15 Comments
On the first day of Viticulture’s Kickstarter campaign last fall, I started noticing backers arriving from a website called Reddit. I hadn’t posted anything on Reddit–heck, I had never even visited the website (despite it being one of the most visited sites on the internet).
I couldn’t see exactly where on Reddit the backers were coming from, so I clicked over to the site and searched for “Viticulture.” Immediately I found this.
One of my first few backers, a stranger to me named Brian, had kindly created a forum on Reddit for my game. Apparently this is very common for Kickstarter games and projects. Reddit is essentially one giant, malleable forum on a million different topics. If you like a topic or comment, you can “upvote” it so more people can see it (or downvote it for the converse).
So I discovered this conversation that was happening about Viticulture on Reddit, and I joined in. You can look at the Reddit page to see my comments–I’m not trying to sell anything. I’m just trying to add to the conversation and fill in some missing details about the game.
That’s really what Reddit is about for us Kickstarter creators. It’s not there for self promotion. It’s there for you to add value to a conversation about your project (or about other projects in the same wheelhouse). And as you can see from this example–and even moreso from Dungeon Roll, a project that attracted over 500 backers from Reddit–
I recently reached out to Brian (the person who created the Viticulture forum on Reddit) to get his perspective on how Kickstarter creators can make sure they get on Reddit. He outlined a few guidelines for doing so:
- Don’t ask anyone to create a post on Reddit for your project. In Brian’s words, “The biggest way for these kinds of social media interactions to fail or even backfire is a lack of credibility of the source, and if a post like that feels even a little bit like self-driven promotion, it’s often eaten alive.”
- Instead, hope that someone posts on your behalf. There’s a decent chance this might happen if you have a conversation-worthy project. If no one posts it, you can post your own project on Reddit, but do it for the purpose of conversation and insight, not sales.
- Be active on related threads on Reddit. If you’re a board game designer, drop in on Reddit from time to time to discuss games. Not your game, just games in general. Be a part of the conversation before you want to benefit from that conversation.
- Don’t game the system. Reddit looks down on users asking people to upvote. You can let people know your project is on Reddit, but leave it up to the people to decide if what you’ve posted is upvote-worthy.
- Midway through your project, do an IAmA. An IAmA (also called AMA, or Ask Me Anything) is a way for people to ask you any question and expect to get an honest answer. Your Kickstarter backers know you as the project creator, but they don’t know you as a person. Maybe only a small percentage of backers will want to dig deep into your personal life, but the connection you forge with that small percentage could go a long way. Just be ready to answer any question.
The final element I want to mention about Reddit–specifically for board game Kickstarter creators–are the informative parameters that often find their way onto the top of a board game forum. Your project is going to get more positive attention if you’ve fulfilled all of these categories, as indicated by the Xs in the boxes on the left:[X] Game reasonably priced [X] Development appears complete; finished product presented [X] Full rules provided [X] Examples of substantial gameplay [X] Basic pledge level gets you the full game [X] Production plans detailed or established producer involved [X] Evidence of thorough playtesting [X] Unbiased third-party reviews
This isn’t just a good metric for Reddit users; it’s a good metric for you as you prepare to launch your Kickstarter campaign. If you can’t check off all of these boxes (or if you haven’t clearly communicated that on your Kickstarter page), you might want to wait to launch your project.
Brian, thanks so much for your input. I’m definitely still a Reddit novice, so if readers have anything to add, feel free to comment.