TuneCore Artist Ariel Rubin has been busy.  She ran two successful crowdfunding campaigns in the past two years, and her new group Ariel + The Undertow just released a debut, self-titled record.  Ariel took the time to share some great tips with us on how to approach and get the most from a crowdfunding campaign.  Whether you’re just thinking about starting one yourself, or are already in the middle of one, we think these tips are worth checking out…

1. Find a Clear Story
Ask yourself how does my project relate to others’? What is the human angle? What was the challenge that arose in my own life that created the drive to make this? People relate to the moments of struggle we all face, however great or small, and they like to hear how they push us to create something new.

2. Be Inclusive
Phrase your write-up inclusively using “together we can do this” language as opposed to “I need your help.” Just like building any relationship, your fans want to see the effect they will have, and directly see themselves as linked to you and your project.

3. Edit
Once you have your story and pitch constructed, edit it as concisely as possible. We are bombarded with so many email and Facebook cries for help that if you can’t get people engaged in the first few sentences, you may lose them forever.

4. Emulate Success
Research other projects similar to yours and make note of what they said and how they laid out their information.  I looked at a lot of “how to make a successful video” tutorials as well as projects by people like Amanda Palmer who have had amazing results inspiring fans to take part.

5. Make Your Video Count
Make an impactful video. Keep it under 4 minutes. Be as clear, honest and emotive as you can, drawing on the aspects of your story that will engage your audience. Use your personal strong points. If you’re good at being goofy, witty, sincere, creative, etc., use that to engage your audience. Don’t be afraid to show how excited you are to make your album/tour/EP, etc.

6. Strategize Your Campaign
Plan out the arch of days and assume that there will be a lull of activity and interest at the midway point. Come up with inventive ways to engage people on these days, whether it be posting short update videos that are humorous, releasing tidbits of new music, or offering additional rewards to anyone who posts your campaign. Be creative, but also keep the rewards reasonable so you don’t overload yourself with giveaways.

7. Plan Your Rewards
Take into account the time, money and postage that will be needed to send out rewards, as well as the percentage taken from your funding site (Kickstarter, PledgeMusic, etc.). It’s easy to forget the cost and time of prepping rewards. Make as many digital low level rewards as possible by offering music, videos, a streamed show, etc., instead of a physical item. This will greatly decrease the amount of time and money you have to spend stuffing envelopes and dropping hundreds of packages off at the post office (USPS loves it when you do this…).

8. Find Others to Promote You
There’s only so much your own network wants to hear about your project. Therefore, to get it out to a broader audience you need active campaigners on your behalf. Ask friends with wide Facebook or Twitter networks, bloggers who have reviewed or posted about you in the past, and anyone else that you think would be a great petitioner to take on promoting the project with you.

9. Commit to Success
My second campaign was much harder to get people energized about than my first. I had another successful crowd funder convince me not to give up when my second campaign wasn’t taking off, and that fueled me to keep trying until the last minutes of the campaign when it finally reached its goal. The idea of crowd sourcing has gone in the past two years from a fringe idea to a very popular funding method. So, in order to get people engaged and invested in the success of your project, you have to commit to doing everything possible to getting your message out. Don’t be shy or bashful about asking for help, and start off by committing to yourself no matter what. Whatever you do, don’t be apologetic when asking for funding. If you’re going to ask people to believe in you and your work, own it!

[Editor’s note:  If you’re planning a crowdfunding campaign, now’s the time to get your music ready. Distribution is now more affordable with TuneCore’s lower fees.]

Ariel + the Undertow (AATU) is the collaborative rock project of indie rock crooner Ariel Rubin. Ariel ran two successful crowd funding campaigns in the past two years, raising a total of $26,197. AATU released their first S/T record on January 22nd under Rubin’s independent label Tangled Mane Productions. They will be debuting the record in NYC on Jan 24th and in Boston on Feb 8th and 28th with further touring TBA. To hear the new record go to arielandtheundertow.com. Follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.

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