Crowdfunding video tips
What to think of when planning a crowdfunding video? This post explains the key focus areas for anyone thinking of producing a video to support their crowdfunding campaign.
Towards the end of last year we saw a flurry of activity with regards to crowdfunding video enquiries. Startups, entrepreneurs and even established companies increasingly rely on crowdfunding as their preferred way of raising money.
Understandably, video may not be their top priority when they think of a campaign, as there are many other priorities jostling for attention. But video *is* one of the key elements of a successful campaign and - when properly created - can help a company way beyond their crowdfunding campaign.
If you don't know where to begin, it may be worth spending an or or two looking at past campaigns - particularly the ones that were successfully funded - and trying to work out what you like about the videos, which formats and approaches might be useful for your campaign and how the other entrepreneurs 'sold' their stories, how they asked for investment and how they approached their audience.
1. Key focus and audience
As always, you need to start with the basics: who is the key audience (is it just new investors? are they institutional investors or private individuals? are you repurposing the video on other platforms, if so, is the audience similar or will you need to tweak the video/create a new one?), why do you need the video (presumably to raise some cash, maybe awareness, and maybe both) and what is the key message you are going to present.
They key message may focus on the funds: why you need them, why now, how they'll be used and what the investors can expect in return. But focusing just on the cash may put some people off as they won't know much about the company itself and its founders.
So finding the right balance between selling yourself and your idea, and creating a human bond with the viewer is key. How you create that bond may depend on the next factor.
Two formats seem to dominate crowdfunding videos: live action (i.e. interviews, to-camera pieces etc.) and animation videos, often - sadly - created using overused templates (anonymous hands writing text, bland human silhouettes talking to each other - you know the kind).
But to stand out and look professional you don't need a huge budget and production capabilities. Creating great looking videos these days is easy. Creating a compelling message is more challenging.
So when creating your script, why not consider a different approach? Perhaps a fusion of two different styles work better for your product? How about a case study? Perhaps some lifestyle shots? How about telling a story and appealing to the heart?
Talking heads can work. In fact, if an investor can see the person asking for their money, they tend to trust them a bit more. But that doesn't mean you can't move away from to-camera pieces and spend some time in the same video telling - and showing - a human story to support your message.
3. The script
Don't worry, you don't need filmmaking experience to write your crowdfunding video script.
You can create an outline of the film and highlight the key focus areas to include. Then speak to your filmmaker to see how these can be turned into an engaging film. We tend to write the scripts for our clients as it's also easier for us to then create a shot list. And besides, if you're a businessman, it's one less thing to worry about when you're working on your campaign.
If you feel confident about your scriptwriting skills - by all means, do go ahead and write the script or at least its outline. But do involve the filmmaker early if only to validate whether what you've written is likely to translate into a good crowdfunding video.
4. Timescales and budget
Some crowdfunding platforms have strict requirements regarding the delivery of the crowdfunding video. Sometimes it is 'vetted' by the platform to see if it complies, so make sure what the policy is first before you commit.
But in general, while it's possible to create a video in a matter of days, you do need to plan ahead and ensure you have enough time to:
write and amend the script (or have it written)create shotlists and complete all pre-production activities ensure key people are available for filming scout/book/confirm the locations film and edit review and amend if necessary generate the final files submit for approval and final amendments, if required
Not all productions are that complex, but you need to ensure you have enough budget to cover all the key activities. This is very important in order to ensure you can see the project through to its completion and - more importantly - have a high quality crowdfunding video at the end.
There's one more thing you may want to consider while planning a crowdfunding video.
5. Your video's lifespan
Let me explain. Most crowdfunding videos are created with just one purpose in mind: to raise funds and help launch a successful campaign. Then they either disappear or languish forever on the company's website, YouTube channel etc.
There's a smarter way of thinking about your crowdfunding video. Why not consider a modular approach at the pre-production stage?
What does it mean? You simply write your script in a way that includes modules that you can take out or slot in, giving you the freedom to remove the segments aimed at investors and insert for example a marketing message instead. You can reuse your video as a marketing film or a case study, for example. Then you can post it on your website or social channels without it looking irrelevant or dated.
This way you maximise your budget and easily create multiple videos that you can repurpose and reuse once your campaign is over.