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Tech Startups: How To Be Your Own Publicist For Your Campaign by Samantha DelCanto

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If you have never written or promoted a press release, it can be an intimidating task. How do you write a good press release? Who should you send it to? How do you follow up to get the best results?

PressFriendly has made it easier by offering PR software to simplify media outreach. Small businesses and start-ups often don’t have the resources to hire a full-time PR firm. They also don’t always have the skills, resources, or time to do it in-house.

Not sure how to craft your press release? The pitch wizard feature will guide you through the process. Don’t know who to send the press release to? Use the built-in database of reporters and their contact info to search for people who are likely to cover your story. The database currently focuses on journalists in the tech space, so this tool is ideal for start-ups in the tech world. However, many reporters cover multiple topics, so if you’re on the fence give it a try.

PressFriendly isn’t free, but it’s more affordable than hiring a PR firm to do the same job. Plans start at $99/month, which is well worth it when you consider the potential results.

Remember, press releases are not the only way to get media attention for your FundAnything campaign. Blogger outreach and social media networking are essential components of a successful crowdfunding campaign.

How much time and money do you think you could save with a resource like PressFriendly?

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How to Boost Your Campaign with Blogger Outreach by Samantha DelCanto

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One of the best ways to get your FundAnything campaign in front of more people on the Internet is through guest blogging. In addition to reaching out to your inner circle for contributions, taking the time to spread your reach even further will give you a better chance of success.

Writing content for relevant blogs will put your campaign in front of a wider audience, and getting bloggers on your side will generate more links to your FundAnything page.

So how do you become a guest blogger? It’s easier than you might think!

  1. Build a list – Determine which blogs you plan to target by doing a little research. We have compiled a list of 5 Resources for Blogger Outreach to get you started.
  2. Join blogger communities – Make it easy for bloggers to find you by joining their communities. MyBlogGuest is a good example of a free resource that can connect you with bloggers looking for guest posters.
  3. Offer relevant posts – Bloggers are generally only interested in posting content that is relevant to their audience, so don’t waste your time or theirs by offering content that is not interesting to the target reader.
  4. Create valuable content – A post that only promotes your campaign to build your jewelry business won’t go far in the blogosphere, but a comprehensive post with tips on how to make your own jewelry can get good traction. A mention of your campaign with a link to it at the end of the post is appropriate and most bloggers would be happy to promote your campaign when they introduce your guest post.
  5. Promote your guest posts – Bloggers invite guest posts for a number of reasons, one of which is to expand their own audiences. They are doing you a favor by posting your content; do the same for them by promoting it within your own networks to help drive more traffic to their site.

 

The more people you can reach through guest posts and other channels, the more likely you are to reach your goal. If you are launching a business or promoting a band, taking the time to build relationships with the blogger community will also provide valuable long-term benefits.

Have you ever written a guest post to promote a FundAnything campaign? Tell us about it in the comments section.

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4 Resources for Blogger Outreach by Samantha DelCanto

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If you have decided to include Blogger Outreach as part of your FundAnything campaign strategy, you’ll need to make a list of blogger contacts who might be willing to post your content. There are several ways to do this, including free directories, paid services, and good ol’ hard work.

Some of the resources you might want to try if you want to save time include:

  1. Journalisted – This free resource can be used to find bloggers and journalists who might be interested in your FundAnything campaign. Search writer names to see their profiles and contact info.
  2. Buzzstream – After you have identified some relevant blogs, use Buzzstream’s blogroll tool to find even more links to bloggers that might be interested in your content. They also have a handy e-mail search tool that can help you find more contacts.
  3. Citation Labs – Although it’s not free, the contact finder tool from Citation Labs can save you a ton of time.
  4. SEO Gadget – Use SEO Gadget to find whois data, e-mail addresses from LinkedIn and Twitter profile pages.

 

Although it may be tempting to send a mass e-mail, it’s always worth taking the time to write personalized e-mails to bloggers because they are more likely to respond. Remember, you are trying to build relationships, not just links, to help promote your FundAnything campaign.

What resources do you use to find bloggers for guest posts?

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Share, Share, Share Your Campaign - by Samantha DelCanto

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If a tree falls in the woods but if nobody sees it…You know the rest. The same is true with fundraising. You could create the most amazing FundAnything Campaign that ever existed, but if nobody sees it…. You know the rest.

After all the effort you just spent creating an awesome FundAnything Campaign, don’t let it go to waste. “If you build it, they will come” does not work for fundraising—you have to ask people for contributions. Luckily for you, the FundAnything Share Center makes this easy!

Keep the following factors in mind as you promote your Campaign:

QUANTITY—The more people you ask, the more contributions you are likely to get. Gather your email addresses, build up your list of Facebook friends, and boost your Twitter following to increase your audience.

QUALITY—In your appeals to friends and family, don’t just send a link, take a little time to explain what you’re doing and why. Even Twitter gives you a little space to make a compelling appeal. Send individual emails to the people most likely to make a donation. Make it personal. Make it compelling.

VARIETY—The more places you can push your FundAnything Campaign, the more people you will reach. You may not have the same contacts in your email address book as you do in Facebook or Twitter accounts. Use all the outlets available to you to promote your Campaign. Add a link on your personal blog, put a fundraising video on YouTube, use relevant forums, etc. Don’t have a Twitter account? Get a free one, or better yet, ask a friend with a big following to promote the link for you!

FREQUENCY—Statistics show it often takes at least 6 shares for people to take action. If you don’t get a great response to your first share, don’t fret. Simply wait a few days and try again. Just don’t get too pushy—nobody likes to be spammed, even by friends or family promoting a good cause.

Other tips to follow when promoting your Campaign are:

  • Ask your closest friends and family first, before you cast a wider net, so you can build momentum before you branch out
  • Personalize the emails you send to friends and family
  • Update your Campaign often
  • Ask everyone to share, even if they can’t contribute
  • Your Contributors are like your team members, treat them that way

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Secrets To Campaign Success: Create a Detailed Description by Samantha DelCanto

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This is one of the most important parts of creating your Campaign. After your catchy title and compelling photo or video have convinced a potential Contributor to click on your Campaign, this is your chance to convince them to make a contribution.

This is your pitch!

You can be as creative as you want to be, but if you need a place to start, this is the template we recommend:

  1. Make a good first impression.
    • Describe who you are and what your background is.
    • Briefly explain your Campaign and why it’s so important to you. Be passionate!
    • Explain the wonderful outcome you’ll get from people funding your Campaign.
    • Think about who is most likely to contribute and use language that they will respond to. Who is your target audience?
    • Use bullets and short sentences so it is easy to read.
  2. Tell exactly how much money you need and how it will be spent
    • Use a heading so Contributors can skip directly to this section while they skim.
    • People contribute to Campaigns they trust that have realistic goals to achieve very specific results.
    • Put your brief pitch in a bold header with color.
    • Itemize how you will use the money; ensure that each step of the way is believable.
  3. Remind people that they can help in other ways
    • Ask people to share your Campaign with their Facebook and Twitter followers.
    • Ask people to email your Campaign URL to their friends to help support your cause.

More detail is better than less, but don’t let people get lost in the details as soon as they start to read. Make sure your opening paragraph gives a concise summary that gets to the point fast; if a Contributor wants to learn more they can continue to read.

Written by Samantha DelCanto

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Secrets To Campaign Success: Give ‘Em Great Rewards by Samantha DelCanto

Some people make a contribution out of the goodness of their hearts, but others need a little more motivation to open their wallets. Setting up levels for different contribution amounts is a good way to encourage higher contributions. For example, use Bronze, Silver, and Gold Rewards. Having good Rewards can also mean the difference between a Contributor selecting your Campaign or another FundAnything Campaign, so think about what you have to offer.

Rewards can be almost anything—this is a great place to get creative. Some Rewards ideas you can use:

  • Hand-written thank you notes
  • Mentions on Facebook or Twitter
  • Links to a personal or business website
  • Thank you phone calls
  • CDs or videos of Campaign when complete
  • Pictures from the destination you reached
  • Participation in your Campaign

Follow these tips when deciding what types of Rewards you want to offer:

  • When possible, make the Rewards relevant to the Campaign
  • Make sure the lowest Rewards are easy to fulfill if you have a lot of contributions
  • Keep the pricing reasonable
  • Make several different Rewards for contributions under $100
  • Make a few exclusive Rewards for high-value contributions
  • Offer limited-time Rewards to reach mini-goals throughout your Campaign
  • Include several different payment tiers with few large gaps between each
  • Set Reward limits to manage fulfillment and encourage people to contribute early in the Campaign
  • Add something personal to the Reward—sign the CD, hand-write the thank-you note, or add Contributors’ names to the product
  • Rewards can be physical or virtual—be creative!
  • Add new Rewards in the middle of your Campaign to promote repeat contributions or draw in new Contributors

- See more at: http://fundanything.com/en/how#handbook

 
By Samantha DelCantoimage

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What’s Trending This Week - January 17, 2014

Monica Spear Scholarship Fund

Former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her husband were recently murdered in a horrific incident that left their five-year-old daughter Maya alive but badly injured. Former Miss USA Chelsea Cooley, a close friend of the family, has turned to the FundAnything community for help starting a scholarship fund for little Maya. Contribute today to help ensure that she gets an education.

 Go Grizzlies!

The Chelsea Grizzlies have earned a spot at the National American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance softball tournament in Tampa, Florida, and they need your help to get there! They were division and league champions last year and they’re ready to do it again. They are more than halfway to their fundraising goal; they just need a little push. Contribute today to get the Grizzlies to the game!

Dog-tastic Campaign

This week’s must-see video comes from DCAWS, a no-kill animal shelter in rural Missouri. Their inspirational commitment to unwanted cats and dogs has saved more than 16,000 pets. They need contributions from the FundAnything community to help them open a new and larger facility so they can continue their good work. You’ll get sweet Rewards (like puppy kisses) for your contribution, no matter how large or small.

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Secrets to Campaign Success: Catchy Visuals - by Samantha DelCanto

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. And when it comes to making your FundAnything campaign stand out, this definitely rings true. Not only will your page appear more visually appealing, but an image or YouTube video will also give your campaign more credibility.

Here are some easy tips to help you pick the right visuals for your campaign:

First, picture it. The video or image you choose will be displayed just below your campaign title, so you’ll need to select a quality image that won’t appear grainy or hard to see.

Does it make sense? If you choose to use an image, make sure it actually reflects your fundraiser. Here are some popular options:

  • Business logo
  • Album or book cover
  • Photo of yourself or a loved one you’re supporting
  • Photo of pet who needs help
  • Artwork or photography
  • Action shots of community projects

Explain your cause on video. There’s no better way to communicate your fundraising message than through a video. Here are some scenarios to consider filming:

  • A video of yourself explaining why you’re asking for funds
  • A trailer for the film you want to create
  • Performances

Tell the whole story and attract even more donors with the help of quality visuals!image

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Creating Your Campaign Calendar by Samantha DelCanto

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Most successful FundAnything campaigns have several components in common; one of these is an organized campaign calendar.

 The first step is creating your calendar. Use this checklist to help you get started: 

  • Add action items that will support your campaign - Schedule EVERYTHING in the calendar, and if you are working with a team, denote who is responsible for each action item.
  • Schedule time for a regular routine to keep your campaign moving – Perhaps you commit to 30 minutes every morning and 30 minutes every evening to reply to contributors, update your Twitter feed, answer emails, etc.

Tips for Calendar Action Items

 A successful campaign requires continuous engagement with potential contributors. Campaigns with frequent updates (once a week at least) do much better than campaigns with no or few updates. Follow these tips for creating action items on your calendar: 

  • Start with a launch day on a Tuesday or Wednesday and avoid launching on major holidays
  • Action items should include daily or thrice weekly Facebook posts, tweets, and blog posts about your campaign. 
  • Include at least one weekly update and a weekly email blast
  • Posting new rewards throughout your campaign
  • Reach out to bloggers and influencers to support your campaign
  • Refresh your campaign with new videos, photos, and press

 Sample Campaign Calendar

 If you need some ideas to get started with your campaign calendar, use the following sample calendar as a template: 

  1. Launch Day
  • Send personalized emails to the people most likely to be your core contributors
  • Send a press release to relevant bloggers and local news media
  • Post your campaign on all your social media accounts
  • Write about your campaign in relevant forums
  • If your campaign lends itself to a real-world event, consider a launch party to get your friends engaged
  • Send thank you notes to early contributors to help keep them engaged
  • Post FAQs on your site to address any new questions that arise
  1. Launch Follow-up
  1. Post Your First Update
  • Add an update to your campaign page and ask friends to post it on their pages
  • Follow up with any press contacts who expressed interest in your campaign
  • Add the update to your social media pages

 

  1. Mid-Campaign Actions
  • Send regular updates to your contributors
  • Add new Rewards to get potential contributors more excited
  • Host an event to engage friends and family in the real world
  • Post a new video with updates and new information
  1. Post-Campaign Actions
  • Send a final update to contributors
  • Send thank you messages to contributors and people who supported your campaign
  • Thank any media contacts who covered your campaign

 

Check out the FundAnything Handbook for more tips on running a successful campaign.

What other ideas do you have creating a great campaign calendar?

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How to Annotate a YouTube Video - By Samantha DelCanto

One thing all successful FundAnything campaigns have in common is a great video. After you have taken the time to create one, make the effort to promote it on YouTube to help increase traffic to your campaign page.

What are video annotations?

You have probably seen them before on YouTube. Any time a box with text appears on the screen during the video, it is an annotation. You can add them anywhere in the video and, most importantly, link them to a web page.

Why should you use video annotations?

Adding your campaign url in a graphic in the video is a great idea, but making your campaign just one click away is the best way to help drive traffic to your page. A video annotation allows you to link directly to your FundAnything campaign page from anywhere in the video.

You don’t even have to wait until the end. If there is a particularly compelling part of your video, add a notation that prompts the viewer to go to your page to make a contribution.

How do you add video annotation?

Add a link to your FundAnything campaign in a few simple steps:

  1. Login to YouTube and go to your video
  2. Select Annotations in the menu above your video
  3. Click the Add Annotation button
  4. Type your text into the field provided
  5. Check the Link checkbox and choose Fundraising Project from the drop-down menu on the right
  6. Add your FundAnything campaign page URL
  7. Click the Save and Publish and you’re done!

Check out this annotated YouTube video about annotations to learn more! 

Link for image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxnopxbOdic&feature=iv

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