With the increasing viability of crowdfunding as a tool for self-publishing authors, we’ve seen more interest than ever in learning how to run successful campaigns.
No matter if you are using an established platform like Kickstarter or a more specialized platform like Unbound or Publishizer – we tell authors the same thing:
The pitch video is the MOST IMPORTANT ASSET for your campaign.
Not only is the pitch video the first thing that a potential backer will see, but it is how people will determine if they like you.
Creating the perfect pitch video can feel like a daunting task, but the good news is that it doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming to pull it off. Instead, creating the perfect crowdfunding pitch video is just a matter of being yourself and connecting with your audience.
So how do you do it? Here are the three principles you need to create the perfect pitch video for your book.
Principle 1: Your Crowdfunding Pitch Video is NOT About your Book, it’s About Creating an Emotional Appeal
The first things authors need to understand is that their pitch video isn’t actually about the book. It’s about forming a connection.
Many authors operate under the assumption that the plot/subject matter of their book will lure people in. Unfortunately, this is not correct. There is an endless number of books that your potential backers could decide to buy, and you only have 120 seconds (or less) to convince someone that your book is the one they should choose.
You cannot possibly hope to achieve this through explaining the plot and “hooking” someone. More importantly, such an approach leaves out the essential ingredient – you.
Your pitch video is where you share WHY you wrote the book. This is what separates your story from the rest of the pack.
Ask yourself what is the reason behind your book. Is your story something that has been burning within you for 5 years? Did you write this book to help others who were struggling with an issue, just like you were? Did you write the book to memorialize a certain period in time? Whatever the reason, tell your audience why you care so much, and they will follow. This allows you to connect with your audience on an emotional level and is what will compel them to consider supporting your campaign over the competition.
Principle 2: Articulate the (Real) Benefit of your Campaign
Creating an emotional appeal opens your viewer up to the possibility of supporting your campaign. The next step is to give them a good reason to actually do it.
The key to turning a viewer into a backer is your ability to articulate the benefit of your campaign. What precisely your benefit is will depend on the book, but here’s a hint. It’s NOT that your reader will have fun reading your book.
Rather, it is the transformation you will provide to your readers.
We cannot stress this enough. You must understand the real benefit that you are providing to your backers. When someone contributes money to your campaign, they aren’t buying your book. They are purchasing the benefit that your book will provide. Said differently, someone doesn’t want to contribute to your campaign to read your book. They are contributing because they want to “become a better leader,” “lose 30 pounds,” or “live an anxiety free life.”
As you might imagine, this comes more naturally to non-fiction books, especially in the self-help or business genre. However, fiction authors have a lot to say here too. Fiction authors aren’t selling their book; they are selling the enjoyment of making a dream come true. Yes, the backer will receive your book, but they will also get the gratitude that comes with helping your book exist in the world. Moreover, backers get the opportunity to own an original first-edition copy and to be identified as a supporter of your dream.
Find the true benefit that comes along with supporting your campaign and make it the focal point of your pitch video.
Principle 3: Create a Sense of Urgency
Now that you’ve opened people up to the idea of supporting your campaign and you’ve given them a powerful reason to do so, you need to get them to act now.
That’s because time is the enemy of all sales.
For the same reason that retailers hold flash sales, infomercials tell you to call within the next 60 minutes, and car dealerships have ‘limited time offers’ – you need to convince your audience that they will miss out if they wait.
Your biggest goal is to communicate why donating to your campaign is better than just buying the book later – after it is available in stores.
Luckily for you, crowdfunding is built for this. Every crowdfunding campaign has a built-in time limit (usually 30 days), and good pitch videos will make this fact clear to the audience. However, great pitch videos take it a step further.
Great pitch videos leverage the inherent exclusivity of crowdfunding. Clever authors will find a way to build incentives for their backers that they can only obtain through the crowdfunding campaign. For instance, some authors will provide personalized signed copies to their backers, while others will sell dinner with the author or an exclusive coaching seminar that is only available after a certain level of donations. Other authors will even sell the opportunity to name a character in their book. Whatever path you choose, you must provide something valuable that your backers can ONLY get by donating to your campaign.
Crowdfunding is an exciting time, and people want your campaign to succeed. But it is your job to get your audience in on the excitement. Unique benefits, exclusive offers, and a limited timeline all build into the excitement that your audience wants to be a part of. People would love to see your campaign succeed, and these elements culminate into a sense of urgency that motivates your audience to get off the sidelines and contribute to your campaign.
The truth is that you do not need to spend large amounts of time or money to create the perfect pitch video for your book’s crowdfunding campaign. In fact, some of the best pitch videos are produced with no more than a smartphone and some basic editing.
The success of your pitch video does not lie in production value. Rather, it is a function of forming a connection with your audience and clearly articulating the benefits of backing your campaign. Once you have these three principles down you are off to races. But, if you want more help, then be sure to check out our ebook Funded that spells out the exact steps you need to run your campaign and even provides a script that you can copy to create your own pitch video.
He is also the author of the eBook Funded: The Exact, Steps, Strategies, and Tools to Crowdfund Your Book, which outlines exactly what an author needs to do get their book funded.