Kickstarter Lesson #90: What You Should Do for 30 Minutes After Posting a Project Update

6 April 2014 | 20 Comments

There is one Kickstarter Lesson regarding project updates during a campaign that I fail to heed about 50% of the time. It’s about what you should do after you post a project update. Here are some examples of what not to do:

  • Post a project update and then immediately run off to eat tacos at a local restaurant.
  • Post project update and then immediately go to bed.
  • Post a project update and then immediately call a friend to chat for 45 minutes.

What do these things have in common? They all involve me being unavailable while backers are receiving and commenting.

Here’s a list of the things you should do for the 30 minutes after posting a project update:

  • Sit at your computer.

That’s it. It’s not that hard. But it’s harder than it looks.

Being available and responsive aren’t hard things to do. The hard part is allocating enough time not only to write a project update, but also to sit at your computer for the 30 minutes after you post the update. Overestimate when calculating this amount of time. Even after posting hundreds of updates, I still have it in my mind that it takes about 15 minutes to write an update, while realistically it takes over 30 minutes to write and polish it, sometimes more.

Another part of this is my blogger’s mindset. I can post a blog entry and no one will comment for hours, if at all. Blog comments aren’t urgent–I typically like to reply to each comment soon after its posted, but if it takes me a day or two, the world doesn’t come crashing down.

The same can’t be said about project updates. You never know when something you say in an update will result in a swarm of questions or even accusations. You need to be available when that happens.

Last, Kickstarter now allows project creators to edit project updates within 30 minutes of posting them. There have been several times during the Tuscany campaign when a backer pointed out a typo or asked a clarifying question right after I posted the update, so I was able to change the text before it was permanently etched into the internet.

I think that’s it. I’m going to go eat tacos, call a friend, and take a nap.

Collectors Edition final

20 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #90: What You Should Do for 30 Minutes After Posting a Project Update

  1. As always – appreciate this solid advice based on your experiences! I’m launching a project in 2 days, so this is an important one for me to keep in mind in the coming weeks!

  2. Another good point up to your sleeve Jamey, but I have one question (one you can answer in even more than a couple of days :) : is this happening now that you have a large following or was this true also at the beginning when you (I guess) had far less people looking & asking?

    1. Fabio: That’s a good question. Only backers can comment on an update, so it’s not really about the following, but it is about the number of backers. A project with a lot of backers is more likely to have a lot of comments. Although a big part of it is encouraging conversation, which I try to do, but it doesn’t always succeed. It helps if you put the conversation in backer hands by asking them a specific question to talk about in the comments of an update.

  3. I hadn’t really thought of this much. My blog posts are on delayed notification so sometimes it’s days later that I get comments. I assume that the Kickstarter updates generate emails instantly? Glad I caught this, I’m only 2 weeks out! :-)

    1. Chevee: Yep, when you post a Kickstarter update, within about 30 seconds you and all backers will get the e-mail version of the update. Comments vary based on the update, but the key are the updates where backers have immediate questions or concerns.

      I’ll try to write a few more posts before you launch. :)

  4. One thing we have tried to do with our updates are write them out at least a couple days in advance. Have at least a couple others on the team give them a look and then set a day when we plan to post it. This works really well with what you are saying about being available after the update goes up since you no longer have to spend that time writing the update right before you post it.

    Really solid advice!

    1. I definitely like the idea of getting people to look at them before you post. Writing them that far in advance can be tough, though. I try to only post when I really need to say something, so I often don’t know that I need to say it until the time comes that I really need to say it. :)

      1. Haha very true! We try (emphasis on try) to plan out the next week with any bigs news items we want to announce. Of course, it is also dependant on how quickly the campaign is advancing. If you have something that is blowing up their is definitely not time to go into this planning, but a slower paced campaign or definitely around the very common slump times are good opportunities to try and plan a little in advance.

    1. Lee: Click on the update (not just the general updates link, but that actual update), and in the upper right (near the title), you’ll see a little “edit” hyperlink with a countdown clock for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, that link goes away.

  5. Man there is so much information on this site my head feels like it going to explode, would you recommend doing the same before the Kickstarter? While you are still building a crowd? I do daily updated to two forums dedicated to the product we are creating were collectors and enthusiasts hang out.

  6. In general, if you’re interacting online, I think it’s good to be present to people who respond immediately. Like, if I’m going to post something on Facebook, I try to be around for a while after the post goes live.

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