public relations

#33 - Crowdfunding for small business: The what, the why and the how

This week's podcast guest is Eden Spodek. Eden owns her own company that provides digital communications services including content development and execution, coaching and assistance with crowdfunding campaigns.

What is crowdfunding?

According to Google, crowdfunding is: “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”

Together Tales – A Crowdfunding Success Story

Eden Spodek crowdfunding

Eden has worked with quite a few companies to help them raise funds with crowdfunding bit Together Tales was the first one and it was a resounding success.

The founder of a new product approached Eden about six months before the product’s launch looking for someone who was interested in working with him to get the word out about his product: a personalized interactive print book that incorporates real world activities and gaming.

Eden helped him with every aspect of the product promotion. He had done research on crowdfunding and knew exactly what he needed in terms of building the right team and sought out different people whose skill sets would work well together. So, they had a web developer, graphic designer, etc.  and everyone had a stake in the success of this product.

By crowdfunding and setting up a campaign that was well planned out, he was able to get the funds to produce his product: Together Tales!

Ways to use crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding does not only have to be for the production of a physical product. If you are a small business owner, you may need crowdfunding for cause marketing or to bring a community together to raise funds for a family going through a difficult time and may need financial assistance. 

You can also use crowdfunding for “backers” so filmmakers and artists can find financial support to create a film or to sustain them while they finish a novel. The Veronica Mars movie is a great example of this.

If you are a writer or podcaster look at a platform like Patreon, which helps artists find funds so they can keep working on a project. You can commit certain funds to a specific project i.e., if I continue to create a podcast you will give me $10 each time I do so, etc. You can subscribe to these services, so for example I used to subscribe to Walk on the Earth so every time they released a new song I would donate one dollar to them.

Crowdfunding is not all about raising funds to see your passion product become a reality, but sometimes it’s about raising awareness about a product or service. Either a business needs the funds or they need the public relations – and sometimes they need both.

You may even see a crowdfunding project on a product that is already on store shelves, if so it is definitely a part of a public relations campaign.

How to get started crowdfunding

As the founder and heart and soul of the project, you need to be completely dedicated, for the funding and follow through of the project. It takes a lot of planning and time – you should start building your community about six months before launching your crowdfunding campaign.

Your ideal target is to raise 30% of your funding target within the first 48 hours of the campaign launch. You have to make an effort to be present and engaged during the campaign. You need to make those relationships happen and nourish them in order for your campaign to be successful.

You will also need an email list that complies with CASL or the anti-spam laws in your country because in the first 72 hours these contacts will be the bread and butter of your campaign.

How important is video?

You have 10-15 seconds in your video to engage the viewer in a video and this video is what can capture people’s attention, so make it great! The video should be polished to build people’s confidence in you. Show as much as your product or service as much as possible in order to make it more tangible for viewers. And again, this needs to be planned and created well before the launch.

Crowdfunding Basics

Have a plan, a realistic goal, and have 1/3 of your funding accounted for before you launch your campaign – meaning you have engaged with these people in some way and got as close to a guarantee as possible prior to launching. The quicker you can raise those funds the more people you will reach organically through the platform you are using. The campaigns most likely to succeed typically have raised a lot of money in the 48-72 hours.

You can also use perks or rewards to encourage funding; incentives that will encourage people to contribute and build momentum. A print of artwork, t-shirts, etc. that speak to the cause, service or product that money is being raised for.

It doesn’t have to be a tangible item, but it could be the promise of keeping them informed throughout the campaign, etc. Sometimes this will give people the chance to increase their contribution, which is important for campaigns like Kickstarter where you have to raise your entire goal or you get nothing. You can also offer rewards based on contribution levels, including offering only one of something special for a large contribution you set before you launch i.e., a signed something or tickets to something, etc.

Crowdfunding, with proper planning and execution, can be a great way to raise money in or for your business. Would you consider it?

#32 Getting visible with media, traditional and new

Christy Laverty joined me last fall on one of my first podcasts and I invited her back to discuss how to get in front of traditional media using new media. Christy has worked in the media and knows how it works. She offers some great media insights and tips to help business owners make the right moves to get media attention. So, how can you get the attention of traditional media?

Be visible

Christy Laverty Media Attention for Your Biz

Getting in front of the media ups your visibility, but in order for the media to find you, you must be visible. How can you be visible? Get online. For example, a social space like Twitter is a great place to build your know, like and trust factor – especially with reporters and journalists who are also on spaces like Twitter. Journalists and editors are online and they are reading and following. So, the more online you are, the more visible you are, and the more likely you are to be featured in traditional media.

Engage and ask

Have you ever wondered why one person always gets featured in the media? That person is always on TV or the radio talking about something you could easily talk about too? That person is probably more visible online and they probably asked to be there. You have to build relationships with traditional media through new media by engaging with them and making your message clear. Producers and editors are constantly looking for ideas and want people to purpose ideas, so get out there and don’t hesitate to present your ideas to traditional media. Newsrooms are doing more with less and appreciate help creating content - just ask!

Branch out

Don’t stick with just one online space – guest blog or be a guest on podcasts. Know the content, know the audience and see where you can branch out. The more out there you are, the more you prove yourself as an expert in what it is you do. Then, build your list of traditional media using social networks. Twitter is a great place to build your list. Create a spreadsheet or list of media you would like to be featured on then listen and watch their content and find the right fit for you.

Can it be done alone?

If you are a solopreneur or small business a PR agency can cost a lot of money, which can be hard on your budget. Yes, a PR company can do the work for you, but you also have to take the time to teach them about your business and what it is you want to say through the media. Also, the contacts belong to the PR company, not you… so, by doing it yourself you are building valuable relationships you can call your own. It will take time and work, but the key is to use social media and focus on media relations. Make contacts, add journalists, editors, etc. and focus on them – listen, retweet and share their content. This is making effective use of your time online. If you don’t have time, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help build your media contacts and relationships. These relationships will be yours and yours alone to do with as you will.

You know what message you want to put out there, so start by taking the time to build your media relationships online and work your way into their content. That way when you are ready to pitch them they will know who you are and are more likely to feature you and your business.


If you struggle with finding the right media contacts or can’t seem to focus on the right media strategy or plan, Christy has a great Facebook Group that helps entrepreneurs approach the media. She discusses how to contact them (remember, they are people too!) and what to say to convince them that your message should be in front of their audience.