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How to Become a Kickstarter Staff Pick

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

As you’ve been browsing around Kickstarter, you might have noticed the “Kickstarter Staff Pick” badge on several videos or the “Staff Pick” search parameter in the Kickstarter discover tab.

Advanced Discovery

kickstarter staff pick search

Staff Pick Video Logo

(Download the logo here).

Make!Sense kickstarter pick

How do you become a staff pick? Listen up!

Ultimately, the individuals making decisions about who gets to become a Kickstarter Staff Pick are people, just like you and me. They work for Kickstarter and are tasked with finding cool or interesting projects. Check out what the company has to say below about the criteria for getting picked.

“At Kickstarter HQ, we spend a big part of our day keeping up with projects. Every morning our editorial team opens hundreds of tabs in their browsers and watches all of the project videos that launched in the last 24 hours. When something sticks out as particularly compelling, whether it’s a really fun video, creative and well-priced rewards, a great story, or an exciting idea (ideally all of the above!), we make the project a Staff Pick.

We add to Staff Picks throughout the day and throughout the life of a project. We want this page to be ever-evolving and just one way of many for people to find great projects.

The best way to get on our editorial radar is to keep running an awesome project. We’re always on the lookout, reading about projects through interesting project updates, social media, and articles that pop up in our trusty Kickstarter Google alert. We look forward to reading about yours!”

What are the benefits of being a Staff Pick?

One major benefit is that you will show up in the ‘magic’ algorithm which functions as the Kickstarter advanced discovery default. “The default sort of our Advanced Discover tool, “magic,” displays a rotating cross section of compelling projects on Kickstarter by surfacing a mixture of Staff Picked and Popular projects from each of our 15 categories.”

Another is the potential to be included in the Kickstarter newsletter that highlights projects the team has backed or supported: “Our weekly newsletter featuring projects we think are creative, inspiring, and fun.” There is also the chance that you will be included in the less-well-known Happening Kickstarter Newsletter: “Our twice weekly newsletter featuring arts and culture from the Kickstarter universe and beyond.”

Finally, being a staff pick makes it easier to break down that initial skeptical barrier everyone faces when trying to pitch a project, idea, or product to strangers online. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd and convince potential backers that, not only are you serious about the project, but that you also have the capability to pull it off. The badge helps back up your efforts, as well as making your project more compelling when you are reaching out to journalists or online communities.

How do you become a Staff Pick?

1. You can email stories@kickstarter.com and share your story. Kickstarter itself recommends this course of action.

“If there’s a project you think is exceptional, and think we should highlight for the rest of the Kickstarter community, just let us know in the comments, or email stories@kickstarter.com.” – Source.

It also promotes the email in the Happening Newsletter: “Have a story, a photo, or a video about a project you want to share with us? We’d love to see it! Share them with us here: stories@kickstarter.com”

Finally, it recommends this course of action via their twitter account. “Recently featured in your local press? We want to see! Email us at stories@kickstarter.com” – Source

This forum thread on Faeria explains how one user sent an email to Kickstarter and then received the ‘staff pick’ badge. When asked, “How does Kickstarter choose its staff-picks,” username Oli explained, “Well, Jen made a very nice email to get their attention and it works.”

Recommendation: DO NOT just email them sharing the link to your page or pitching your project in a long 1,000 word email or a short 10 word email. I’d recommend sharing a blog or news article that has been written about your campaign, or if you’ve had a reddit post go viral, share that! You can also encourage your backers to share your story with them and have your backers explain why they love your campaign. For more general pitching tips, click here.

2. You can tweet to @kickstarter or share your story on their Facebook page.

Kickstarter has community and social media managers for the facebook and twitter pages. While not confirmed, if they see a particular story or project blowing up, they are likely to make a note of it for a possible Staff Pick mention. Remember, Kickstarter is in the business of highlighting remarkable projects that are gaining traction. This is literally how they generate revenue (5% commission). You can bet if a project is getting lots of shares or seems cool, they are more likely to highlight it.

3. Get on their Google Alerts

Google Alerts are a simple way to monitor the web for new content. I use them to stay up to date on the crowdfunding industry. Companies use google alerts to collect news, articles, and popular content regarding keywords like “kickstarter” or “kickstarter campaign” that pops up over a particular duration (day, week, etc).

For you, they are just one other avenue to get on Kickstarter’s radar. The best way to get into google alerts is to find a website that is consistently being included in google alerts and google news. You should then do journalist outreach and pitch them your story using these principles. Some press release sites will also get you into google news/alerts.

4. Project Dynamics.

Kickstarter will naturally pay attention to projects that are taking off, becoming more popular, and have lots of engagement from backers with their updates. Simply having a good project that quickly attracts funding dollars, social media shares, and comments in the first few days will increase the chance of being considered as a Staff Pick.

5. Play to the Company’s Values

All companies are founded on a certain set of values. These are the values that they use when making business decisions and they are usually highly related to the organization’s overall mission or the impact they want to have in the world.

Kickstarter is very unique in that they’ve vowed they never want to “sell out.” They want to remain a private company forever. In an interview with FastCompany, cofounder Perry Chen says, “This is a founder-controlled company… Our investors understand that we want to stay independent forever. We have no intention of selling this company or doing an IPO.”

I believe that you will have a much better chance of standing out to the staff and becoming a staff pick if you keep their values in mind when you are making your pitch. Check out the Kickstarter about page. Read through interviews of the founding team. Watch a few videos on their youtube channel. How does your project embody the values the company was founded on? How does it push the envelop and why is it unique?

Conclusion

For more tips on how to succeed on kickstarter, check out my ebook! Let me know if you have any questions about this article via a comment below, and whether or not it was helpful.

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  • Frank Catalano

    Our project got choose as a staff pick on day 1 but there’s no badge, they said – ” We’re featuring you amongst the other Staff Picks and New & Noteworthy projects, so there’s no need to add any badges or banners”, yet I see a bunch with the badges? Should I go ahead and add my own? http://bit.ly/MicroGreenz

    I’d appreciate any advise, thanks Frank

    • FBK

      Hi Franki….Franki here.

      I don’t know how you get a badge, but I did check out your campaign and it looked so darn Yummy and Healthy,that I donated a big fat green dollar. BTW, how did you get your campaign to look so yummy?

      The green is rockin!

    • CrowdCrux

      Yea, i don’t see why you wouldn’t. Maybe they don’t want to encourage people to take advantage and claim they are staff pick with the badge when they aren’t?

    • I’ve wondered about that too. I’m looking for an indication from Kickstarter on this.

  • FBK

    Pick me! Pick me!

    I would have loved to be picked in the newsletter when I ran my campaign on Kickstarter – it didn’t happen – oh well maybe next time. .

    Another strategy I used was contacting the Kickstarter staff since they offer to help you with your project in anyway that they can. I wrote them emails and they responded each time with helpful tips.

  • Constant Simplicity

    love the article!
    I will defiantly try to email them, we just launched a few days ago and sure would need to have traffic from kickstarter itself rather than us bringing all the traffic into the campaign. thanks for the info, most places don’t hold such detailed information about it. I will let you guys know if this worked.

    • CrowdCrux

      Glad the info was helpful. Let me know how it goes.

  • I just found this, after the Square Nudes Art Photo Book was picked by Kickstarter staff. I’ve been looking through it to figure out what I did right. I did connect with them on Twitter and pre-publicize the project on my site (http://www.aknicholas.com/square-nudes-art-photo-book/) I also did the best to make my project non-commerical by placing limits on how many books would be produced. Another new thing I did was to offer a free autograph to 10% of people, without charging them extra for it (even though it costs be a bit more to mail.) Looks like the project should meet the goal too!

    • CrowdCrux

      Glad you did some pre-publicity. Congrats on your staff pick mention!

  • jaybe

    I recently got picked as a staff pick for my project http://kck.st/1BJm4yY I tweeted kickstarter and I think it worked. I’ve not seen any extra traffic though, fingers crossed that will change as it’s very slow as the moment.
    Thanks for the badge, very helpful – just added it now. It’ll be interesting to see if it helps at all.

    • Super slow for me too. I’m off to look at your project now. 🙂

    • LOVE your project.! My daughter would love it. Good luck getting funded. 🙂

    • Even if it doesn’t bring you additional backers, being chosen as a staff pick, will help you approach other campaign creators for cross-promotion. My client recently ran a campaign for a kids product like yours, and we got more than 15 backers through cross-promo.

      • CrowdCrux

        Good point. 🙂

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks for sharing!

  • My project was chosen in the beginning as a Kickstarter Staff Pick. I’m delighted! Please check out my yummy project, thanks!! – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1019762443/that-nutty-redhead-praline-gourmet-nuts?ref=nav_search

    • Oh yay! I’m off to check you out now!! Congrats on the staff pick!

    • Just looked at your project. YUM. I’m really hungry right now too. I put a little pledge for you. It’s only small, I’m sorry it wasn’t more. Good luck. I really hope you make it!

      • Thank you so much for your kind words and for your sweet support Truelove & Co. Your jewelry designs are lovely! Best to you as well!!

    • CrowdCrux

      Awesome!

  • Thank you! I really want to change the way people feel about eating nuts as a snack. Mine are unique as they’re kettle steamed, not roasted (which is a form of deep frying). That produces a softer, fresher nut product that’s chemical free, easier on dental work. An added bonus, the 4 flavors are scrumptious!! So, it’s okay to go nutty!! 🙂

  • Mike Sitler

    I’ll be launching in a few days and these are all great tips… Thanks and be looking for my campaign in a few days!… keyword: HOTBOTTOMS

    • CrowdCrux

      Cool! Happy the tips are useful.

  • Drunk Stoned Stupid

    Great article – thank you! Just went live with our project ‘Drunk Stoned or Stupid [A Party Game]’ – check it out! kck.st/1tldmGK

    • CrowdCrux

      Welcome :). Congrats on your launch!

  • Hi Sal, Lots of useful stuff in this, thanks, but I have a question. On the Kickstarter Facebook page it looks like it’s easy to just post your own project details. It looks like some do but not loads. Is there a downside to doing this? Thanks!

    • CrowdCrux

      Is there a downside to promoting your project on their Facebook? If you do it in a spammy way, it could upset them or make them ignore you?

  • Lee Hunter

    Great article, I’m definitely going to try this to try and get Kickstarter’s attention.

    • CrowdCrux

      Awesome, let me know how it goes.

  • Mike Sitler

    Time to put all these great tips to work! Just went live… https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1950605484/hotbottoms

  • Shane Walsh-Smith

    This is a great article – thank you for posting it. I’ll definitely be referring to it many times in the next few days. I’ve had one failed project already, but really want to get this particular comic made. http://kck.st/1muwosR

  • Gruesome Gax Ellis

    I just made my project live and got notified I was a Staff Pick right off the bat 🙂 http://kck.st/1wMrtVN

    • CrowdCrux

      Congrats!

  • Drew Falkman

    if you don’t get picked right away, is there reason to be concerned…? Our project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/manvsbaby/freedom-pants-a-first-for-mankind/

    • CrowdCrux

      Not all projects will be picked and some might be picked sooner or later than others.

  • John A’than Chong

    Hopefully ours gets picked!

    http://kck.st/1uWhteU

  • Foad Manghouly

    I was able to get staff picked after 8 days. Thanks your article was very helpful
    http://kck.st/1Ed3eTW

    • CrowdCrux

      Awesome!

  • Thank you – common sense is not very common. This article is steeped in it!

    My current effort: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iphacts/inpatient-help-acuity-and-communication-tablet-sys or http://imgur.com/a/OkDMd#18

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks! Glad it was helpful 🙂

  • The Light Bandit

    Very helpful! Check out the newest on kickstarter “The Light Bandit” Sunlight for your home https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1658782339/the-light-bandit-controlled-sunlight-for-your-home

    • CrowdCrux

      Awesome! Happy it’s helpful.

  • Great resource! We have an actual campaign with a good story. http://kck.st/1tyDsln
    Do you recommend to send the email just one? or to make sure it does not get lost in their inbox to send it like once every 3 or 4 days?

  • J-HoN

    Salvador I read most of your article and I want to say thank you. It’s really helpful for a newbie Kickstarter project creator like me. I might try to email them and hope they can pick my Kickstarter project for the kickstarter staff pick ><
    Our Kickstarter Campaign just start Dec 1st last week. Please check it out http://bit.ly/kickstartkavii
    Thank you.

    • CrowdCrux

      Welcome! :D. Let me know if they reply.

  • Adam Kale

    Thank you Salvador, this article is very well written and very helpful. We have only eleven days left on our campaign and are working very hard to get it funded; your tips are amazing. Cheers to everyone on this forum and good luck!
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/273326864/designer-mystery-box

    • CrowdCrux

      Glad the tips are helpful! 🙂

  • Pinblock™

    Thanks to Salvador I got my project Staff Picked, this is
    how it worked for me:

    This is my project for your reference: http://bit.ly/pinblock

    Constructive criticism from fellow Kickstarter warriors would be well
    appreciated!

    “When something sticks out as particularly compelling,
    whether it’s a really fun video, creative and well-priced rewards, a great
    story, or an exciting idea (ideally all of the above!), we make the project a Staff
    Pick” –from Kickstarter website

    What I included on my Kickstarter campaign,

    1) 1) Humor and creativity

    2)
    2) A large variety of rewards (from 1$ to $300)

    3)
    3) A STORY! This is so important for Kickstarter.
    As you see in Pinblock the story is the very first thing, not the product.

    4)
    4) Fun idea.

    Now, the man of the hour – Sal. He said to email your
    project to stories@kickstarter.com.

    I think it was unnecessary to for Sal to advise us to not simply send a link
    there. Come on guys, they already saw your project when they approved it, they
    probably need something extra to grease the bearings and get you chosen as the
    Staff Pick. Also, STORIES@kickstarter is a big hint. They want to know the
    story behind your project because at the end of the day Kickstarter is a
    peoples’ platform, not a product platform.

    My email was all about myself, my best friend, our friends
    and family. Funny inside jokes how my best friend’s dad always slipped and fell
    when stepping on a Lego, etc. Any story to generate a strong emotion will do
    the job; sad, cute, inspirational, maybe even all of those together, it all depends
    on you.

    I tried tweeting @kickstarer but I don’t think it
    particularly worked for me. I believe what made me successful is my story of
    childhood best friends growing up to launch a business together which was based on their childhood obsession.

    Here’s a response from Nina, project specialist at
    Kickstarter who replied to my email.

    “Hi Vladislav and ShiJun,

    Thanks for reaching out! This is a wonderful story
    — sometimes ideas have their origins way back in our history. And your
    project is definitely worth a staff pick.

    Best of luck,

    niina”

    Hope I helped!

    Cheers,

    Vlad and Jun

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks so much for including your experience! Glad you were able to get the staff pick!

  • SteterL

    Thanks Salvador for the helpful article, I bet most people do question the same things on how to get the Staff Pick badge or the Staff Pick search parameter in the Kickstarter discover tab. This has actually answered me everything and would want to have a go with my project: http://kck.st/1wnP0ZU

    Your advice has gave me a plentiful insight, and it is my turn to work it out. Thanks again.

    • CrowdCrux

      Welcome! Hope it helps for your project!

  • Kevin Shiflett

    I’m 15 and developed a web browser that will innovate the way we browse the web, but I need your help on my Kickstarter! http://kck.st/1zrUAz8 Please I would really appreciate it!

    • CrowdCrux

      Kudos for being so young and doing a project! I remember seeing another 15 or 16 year old’s project on our forum last week. Inspiring to see young people launching new things! Backed you at a supporter tier.

      • Kevin Shiflett

        Thanks for your support! Unfortunately my campaign is not attracting enough views from outside resources. Do you have any tips on getting more attention through media!

  • Liyang Liu

    Thank you Sal, the article is really helpful.

    I sent an e-mail to stories@kickstarter a few days back. I am still waiting for them to reply however I am confident that I do have a truly inspiring product and an engaging video. http://goo.gl/vFDOjj
    Fingers crossed they will approve it.

    • CrowdCrux

      Happy to hear it’s helpful :).

  • Tim Wei

    another great one Sal!

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks!

  • Amelia Le Brun
  • John Shatney

    Excellent article. I’ve had one campaign that was selected as a Staff Pick and it performed incredibly well compared to my current campaign which has not (yet) been selected. I am curious if traffic to the campaign page and number of shares has any influence in the decision to make something a staff pick. My current campaign can be found here: http://kck.st/1OKO2Ge

    Any comments/suggestions would be helpful of course.

    • CrowdCrux

      It really depends on the member of the Kickstarter team viewing the project. I think it moreso depends on whether or not the team thinks it’s cool, though those factors will also likely contribute.

  • T K Kinney

    I am in day three of my first and really hoping that someone there at Kickstarter takes notice. The thing about funder/backer seeking is finding the right people to listen. When you do,… magic happens!

    • CrowdCrux

      Hope you are successful :). Wouldn’t count on the staff pick badge or to be featured in the Kickstarter newsletter. I would think of it more as icing on the cake of a campaign. Would focus on the marketing/actions you can control.

  • Thank you for this! We actually just got some press on a blog so I will be sharing that with them 🙂 a few other bloggers have mentioned that they want to write about us.
    Our project can be found here: bit.ly/magnetreebooks
    And the blog post here: http://glimpsereviews.com/2015/05/09/magnetree-books-changing-family-storytelling/

  • Thanks for this! Will definitely keep it in mind when we launch our campaign. I think it is important for people to have good copywriting when blogging or pitching their product or service. Recently I went to an amazing marketing seminar and learned the key steps needed to prepare incredible copywrite material. A must for any entrepreneur!

    • CrowdCrux

      Very much agree! Writing doesn’t just describe a product or convey thoughts. Great writing also makes people feel a certain way about the product or the cause.

  • My friend started Kickstarter project. I adviced her to do step 1,2,3.

    If you can comment, share or support her project with women bags.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/245084260/handmade-snake-skin-bag-made-form-eco-leather?ref=nav_search

    • CrowdCrux

      Glad the article was helpful!

  • Richard Mayer

    Great article!
    My friends launched a kickstarter campaign of Smart Sleep Mask with Sunrise Wake-up light alarm, NAP sleep, Lucid Dreams Inducer feature and 0.9 ” OLED display.
    I suggested them to read your article.

    Check out their campaign :https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2129383335/luna-luxury-sleep-mask-with-nap-and-lucid-dream-fe

    Peace

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks for recommending it to them! I hope it helps them and their campaign :).

  • Lisa Lavie

    Thanks for all of the info! 🙂 I appreciate it… This is my 2nd day of my funding, 28 days left to go.. exciting & scary LOL

    Here is my campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1410142060/lisa-lavie-sophomore-album?ref=video

    • CrowdCrux

      Of course, hope it will be helpful info for your campaign!

  • Padkix Design Lab

    Will definitely follow your advice on this 🙂 Just launched our campaign today: http://kck.st/1KKYD00

  • Isa

    Thank you for these great advice!! I will email them right away! This is for our Libre campaign: http://bit.ly/librecollection

    • CrowdCrux

      Glad the advice was helpful!

  • Shkumbin Berisha

    Great article! Thanks so much for all the info .
    This is the :100% Carbon Fiber Zoe Dice
    http://kck.st/1KWluBx

  • Josef T-D

    Thanks a lot for the helpful tips. I have a trailer for my film which is also my project video. Should I email it to them? If I have images of us filming should I send that too?
    Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kptx137iN6M
    Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2140527373/intrusion-an-action-feature-film

  • Ashley Brooks

    Thank you for all of the suggestions! There’s 24 days left in my campaign and I’m both excited and terrified hahaha. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1447884799/pounce-cat-cafe-wine-bar-the-souths-first-cat-cafe

    • Chris Smela

      Same here!

  • Chris Smela

    Thanks for the info! My campaign is lagging just a bit but it’s early. I have a great idea that the whole world can benefit from in the form of a children’s book idea teaching kids about diversity and problem solving. Here’s the link: https://t.co/Bhqfq4feyl

  • Minde

    Great read! Our team attempted to reach out to Kickstarter on Twitter, Facebook and by email but no response. 16 days left for our campaign…https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mindeapp/the-minde-app-meeting-new-people-made-simple/

  • Product

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ce113ad099eb6e061cf71b99bc73454d6753279798287077f50966f5c30d8ba.png Nice article Kickstarter. We also have been working hard to realize our project on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/389140893/notebook-modular

    NoteBook |Modular| – Never walk around with unwanted notes and never be out of pages
    The NoteBook |Modular| is designed as a convenient magnetic folder for any A4/US Letter paper. Its magnetic borders allow you to easily store, replace and fill it with any kind of paper.Its a new way to write, sketch and soar.

  • Yara & Jude

    I’m 3 days now in my project and starting to get worried/ anxious/ working hard, but feel like I could’ve done some things in my pre-launch different. Anyone knows if there is still hope to be picked as Project We Love or Staff pick mid campaign, or is it usually just from the first week’s actions!

    This is my project: bit.ly/scoriakickstarter

    Love,
    Yara

  • Jeremy Reich

    I’ve tried to reach out the them and had others try as well, but no luck. I wonder if they favor certain types of projects over others. I think my product is a fun and unique offering. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/463280629/woodburn-watches-custom-made-laser-engraved-wooden

  • Shuprio Shourov