Today I would like to share my approach to midcampaign updates and talk about how I plan my updates and the frequency I like to send them.
Over the years I’ve found the frequency of updates to be very important, if you send too many people will stop reading them, they’ll get frustrated with the spam, and it can be a negative. Yet, if you don’t send enough, it can cause your project to dry up and lead to concern from your backers.
While some creators choose to use project updates to share the countless unlocked stretch goals and build buzz driving you to feel like you’re getting more and more of a bargain, I prefer a more personal approach.
I choose to use my updates to build a community among my backers, to get to know them and provide a welcoming place during the duration of the project.
I always send an update on the first day before I go to bed and it contains 4 important sections:
- I welcome everyone who has joined on the first day and thank them for being here.
- I introduce myself and share a little about who I am.
- I ask my backers to introduce themselves and share something.
- I let backers know I’ll outline what to come in the next update.
I want to build a connection and if I meet someone in real life then I introduce myself and ask them about themselves, so my day 1 update is no different.
Where it makes sense, I always like to link back to previous updates letting new backers know what they’ve missed and giving them a way to catch up.
On the second day I like to share something about my backers, typically the things that were shared with me after my day 1 update. It can take time to put together and can only be done on the day, but it immediately brings everyone together.
Afterwards, I let people know what to expect in the days to come such as my live stream schedules, special events, and I’ll define my update schedule.
“Tomorrow will be the last daily update and then I’ll move to one every 2 or 3 days depending on what is happening. In the meantime, to find out what’s happening you’re always welcome in the comments!”
Starting from day 3, I go into my midcampaign update loop where I send an update every Thursday, Sunday, and Tuesday up until the end of the campaign.
These updates are themed, so the same type of update is sent on the same day each week, as this helps make each update feel unique, while also making it easier for me to plan their content.
Thursdays are the day when many crowdfunding campaigns finish and are also just before the weekend. This means there aren’t lots of new projects to be focussing on and the next few days are relatively quiet.
With this in mind I like to set weekly challenges so Thursday’s are my challenge days as it’s when active backers have the least to do, and many people have the weekends coming up giving them spare time.
I design the challenges to be as accessible as possible to all my backers and their families, but equally target different groups of people each week. One week targeting creatives, enough targeting intellectuals and so on. Not to say these people don’t overlap, but it means there will be something for everyone by the end.
Here are some examples of previous challenges:
- Challenge 1: The creative cat
- Challenge 2: The clever cat
- Challenge 3: The crafty cat
- Challenge 4: The cat…in a box!
Giving backers a week to take part and making sure enough people need to participate in order to succeed makes this a great weekly event.
For many, Sunday’s can be a day of relaxing, focussing on hobbies, and just chilling out. As such, my Sunday updates are called Sunday sitdowns, I talk about a design element of the current project and ask people to share their ideas in the comments.
This can be things like what would you like to see on a card or do you have any good ideas for an expansion. This is not about getting ideas to add to the current game, you don’t want to be designing things at this point. Instead, it is about letting people have fun and be game designers for a few minutes while sharing some behind the scenes information from the games development.
Tuesday is the biggest day on Kickstarter as it is when most people choose to launch, this means there is an increase in traffic and a lot of people checking out other projects and seeing what is going on.
For this reason, I leave Tuesday as my general update day where there is no set topic, and I can talk about anything. Ideally there will always be something exciting to talk about which will attract new visitors, but it is also a chance to give updates on things.
The middle Tuesday
When I first started out I would regularly ask people to share my projects and mentioned this frequently in updates and across social media. I felt a need to keep pushing to spread the word and would see people doing so every so often.
In my past 2 campaigns, I have changed this mentality and instead focus on making the middle Tuesday of my Kickstarters a big event. I only ask people to share on this day and I use the idea of this being the only time I’ll ask you to share, to encourage more people to join in. Rather than having lots of little blips throughout a campaign, it changes the dynamic to one big push and I’ve found it works very well.
24-hours before the end
As the Kickstarter draws to an end I like to send out an update 24 hours before the campaign ends to look back over everything that has happened. A way to look at all the things the community has achieved and to invite backers to a final countdown stream which happens just before the end of the campaign.
It’s a celebration update and contains many of my fondest moments from the Kickstarter.
Shortly after the campaign finishes I send out a thank you update which contains all the next steps, it clearly explains what will happen in the months to come and I move on to after campaign updates.