How Storytelling Can Boost Your Crowdfunding Campaign
Stories are everywhere – in books, movies, and video games – but did you know that stories are also a great way to creating memorable marketing?
Think about some of your favorite commercials.
Remember the 2015 Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial? They packed so much emotion into this simple commercial. It’s about a puppy and a horse who are best buds and always have each other’s backs (it’s adorable).
By building a story into your crowdfunding campaign’s video pitch or general marketing, you’ll stand out among a slew of other products in the marketplace.
Stories are also a great way to seduce the press into writing about your project. Remember, they have readers that they’re trying to please.
Instead of sticking with old-fashioned and boring marketing that puts dry facts and features at the forefront, check out some of these tips for building a story into your crowdfunding campaign that will get backers excited to be a part of your project. .
The Seven Basic Plot Types
You might not realize it, but most stories follow a repeatable format.
In fact, after studying Jungian psychology and the archetypes that have recurred throughout human history, Christopher Booker created a list of seven basic stories that can be found around the world. He published these in his 2006 book, The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories.
Why is this helpful for your crowdfunding campaign?
When you are creating your pitch video or overall campaign message, keep these basic plot types in mind and see if any of them fit well with your campaign.
By telling your backers a story, you will keep them interested in your project, by drawing them in with familiar themes.
1. Overcoming the Monster
In this type of story, the main character must defeat an evil force to save himself or his family.
That evil force could be tangible or intangible.
The beginning of their pitch video does a great job of introducing us to the “monster” that their product is trying to overcome – non-renewable energy.
When a protagonist must change his or her ways after a pivotal event, they are reborn into a better person.
The topic of rebirth can be used in a wide variety of ways for different types of crowdfunding campaigns.
For example, after leaving his job, Russell the creator of the SideBooks Comic Book was forced to move outside of his comfort zone in order to create his dream project.
Despite having to learn a lot and grow as a person, he was able to raise enough to produce the comic book.
When embarking on a quest, a main character or group of characters have one object of desire and must overcome obstacles in order to attain it.
Quests are very common in traditional storytelling and are easily adoptable from a marketing perspective. Your company might be on a quest to find the perfect product to solve a common consumer problem, or to better the world in some specific way (like Doppler Labs’ quest to change the way we hear the world).
I also think that the Greenbelly Kickstarter campaign is a great example of a quest. Chris Gage, the creator, was utterly determined to make a healthy meal that you could eat on the go and even went as far as seeking out a food scientist from NYC.
4. Journey and Return
Journey and return stories (like the lost puppy in the Budweiser commercial) are classics that many people can relate to.
Often times, throughout the journey, the main character must fight through a bunch of forces that threaten their return. When they do return, they come back with loads of experience and a great story.
I’ve seen several Kickstarter campaigns that include a journey element to their projects, where sharing the story of their journey is a part of the rewards.
Take for example the current project, I Live in a Clown Motel. This campaign is raising funds so the creator, Christopher Sebela, can live in Nevada’s Clown Motel for a month and then write a book about his experience.
5. Rags to Riches
Everyone loves rags to riches stories because they give us hope that our own circumstances can always change for the better.
In a typical rags to riches story, a protagonist acquires some form of wealth, only to experience new found issues, which must be corrected for him to grow as a person.
It’s harder to implement this type of story into a crowdfunding campaign, but if genuine, it could be used as a way to build a relationship with backers after running a successful crowdfunding campaign and dealing with the realities of fulfillment.
A tragedy follows a protagonist’s downfall. Think Breaking Bad or Scarface.
I don’t think there is much room for tragedy in a Kickstarter or Indiegogo project. In fact, many times begging or pleading turns off supporters.
However, you could use it to build empathy for a cause-related campaign. Many medical fundraisers or disaster relief funds employ this type of story, (like this case of a seriously injured puppy).
I’m sure you know this genre. But don’t forget, even the best comedies include conflict in their story.
There are many ways that comedy can be used to tell a story about a crowdfunding campaign.
One project that did this well was Con Man by Alan Tudyk on Indiegogo. In their pitch video, Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion reference and make jokes about the canceled show Firefly (that they co-starred in), along with some other randomness surrounding their new web series in a way that is memorable and entertaining.
Sometimes it seems like the stories around us (in movies, TV shows and books) were made for us. They touch us on a deep level and make us think even after they are over. Many individuals in the marketing industry have learned to harness that storytelling power and use it to their advantage.
When you are planning your crowdfunding campaign, think of ways that you can incorporate storytelling. It can help you communicate a complicated message in a way that potential backers might understand more.
Imaginative stories can also make an ordinary pitch funnier and more entertaining than others who are dull or average. You can also use these advertising shortcuts to build rapport with and capture the attention of your backers.
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