20 January 2013 | 51 Comments
Despite the fact that I’ve written a daily blog 5 days a week every week for the last 6 years, I almost made a huge mistake regarding bloggers during the Viticulture Kickstarter campaign.
The key word there is “during.” I waited until my Kickstarter campaign had begun to reach out to bloggers about our game. I’m really lucky that the vast majority of bloggers I contacted were very kind and accommodating, and many of them rearranged their schedules to write about Viticulture during the campaign. I really appreciate what they did, but it wasn’t fair of me to ask them to write about Viticulture with such short notice.
Why are bloggers important to your campaign? Our research indicated that people rarely discovered the Viticulture project through a blog–rather, they had found it on Kickstarter or through Board Game Geek. But not everyone backed it right away. Many waited until they read more about the game through the blogs before making a decision to support the game.
Here was my strategy for reaching out to bloggers, intermixed in bold for the other steps I should have done:
- I made a goal of having something–a review, a preview, a guest entry, an interview (podcast or written), a mention–on at least one blog every day during the campaign.
- I made a spreadsheet of every board game blog and local media outlet I could find that were still active and was applicable to Viticulture. Should Have Done: I should have tried to be much more active in the comments section of all of those blogs months before I started the campaign. Also, I focused mostly on written blogs instead of exploring video blogs or podcast. Cast a wide net during your research so you can focus on contacting the bloggers/content creators who you like the most and might be interested in your campaign.
- I contacted all of those bloggers one by one with individualized e-mails demonstrating what I liked about their blogs and suggesting a few ways that I could add value to their content. (This is key–don’t contact people asking them to promote you. It’s your job to promote you. If you reach out to people, think about what you can offer them.) You can prioritize the bloggers based on their Alexa rank, their Facebook Likes, or their RSS subscribers (Google Reader will show you that), but sometimes your biggest supporters are those with smaller, more intimate audiences. Should Have Done: I should have contacted these bloggers about a month before the campaign began, not during the campaign.
- As the interview questions and guest entry requests came in during the campaign, I typed them individually one by one even though many of the questions were the same. I tried to answer every question differently–this goes beyond not cutting and pasting answers. Rather, I catered my content based on what I thought each blogger’s readers would find the most interesting. Should Have Done: I really should have written the majority of this content before the campaign. You’re already going to be working a second job if you’re running a Kickstarter campaign, so you want to do as much work in advance as possible. You can ask the bloggers to wait until the campaign to post the content–if possible, stagger the content throughout the campaign.
- Send the bloggers a few images of your project (in my case, most of them included pictures of the game and a few of me with the game). Try to include at least one image that is exclusive content for that blogger.
- Post links to the content on your Kickstarter page and blog. You can see the media attention that Viticulture received here.
Overall, this is about much more than a Kickstarter campaign. It’s about forging relationships and connections with bloggers who share some of your passions. Perhaps you’ll get a few backers from that connection, and in addition to the temporary value you’ll offer their readers, perhaps in the future you’ll be able to reciprocate for that blogger. At the very least, you can promote their blog during the campaign–that’s another way you can offer them value.
Bloggers and blog readers, what do you think? If you have any suggestions or recommendations, feel free to comment below.
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