Why Chasing PR and “Exposure” is a Mistake

Why Chasing PR and “Exposure” is a Mistake


So am I saying that PR or exposure are bad?

Yes, mostly. Your chances of converting this traffic into backers is so dismally low that:

At best, you’ll get a few backers but probably no more than 5% of your overall total.

At worst, chasing after these “opportunities” (press, PR, blog coverage, etc.) will be a complete waste of your time and could put your campaign in substantial jeopardy by preventing you from reaching out to those who are most likely to pledge to your campaign. (I have observed this directly with the campaigns I’ve worked with.)

Many people have a mistaken analysis of what might happen:

If you are from a big city like New York or Los Angeles, well, if you could get media placement, you’d be in front of a lot of people, so wouldn’t you get a lot of backers?

Or if you are from a small town, the people who would see your media coverage would be rooting for the hometown hero and would back your campaign, right?

Or if you could just get coverage in that popular blog, wouldn’t those readers be likely to back your campaign?

Or if you could simply get featured by Kickstarter, then you’d be in front of people who are already proven campaign backers and who are just waiting to find the next cool thing to pledge to, right?

Unfortunately for the vast majority of campaigns, the answer is NO.

So the lesson here is that spending all of your precious time focusing on PR and exposure is a big mistake that will cost your campaign.

How To Create Momentum for Your Campaign

A common question I receive is how to be a featured project on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or whichever crowdfunding platform you use.


Hi Jeff. I have a question for you. After you’ve made your crowdfunding video, how do you get seen on these platforms because there are so many videos. How does it get to the front page? -Luke V.

The nuts and bolts: platforms have algorithms that place projects/campaigns based on performance, similar to how Google and Facebook have algorithms for placement. Thus, in order to gain placement, you must generate momentum on your own by pulling in backers in a short amount of time.

Demonstrate Momentum

So, how do you create momentum?

Answer: the pre-load strategy!

Hopefully, you have seen me talk about the importance of a  pre-load strategy. The pre-load strategy leverages connections you already have to make quick, early progress.

When the people whom you know respond in an enthusiastic way, then you increase your chances of being noticed by the algorithm and being a featured project on the platform’s prime space.

Warning: when you launch your campaign, you will be contacted with several offers to promote your campaign. These offers sound tantalizing but will do nothing for your campaign. Don’t waste your money.

This has everything to do with the type of traffic and conversion rates. Bottom line is that traffic (if any) will be random, cold, dead traffic that will convert at a dismal rate: closer to 0% than to anything else. And 0% of anything is zero.

Project Exposure and What It Gets You

How much does being a featured project and getting good website placement help?

Unfortunately, not as much as you’d think.

I have had dozens of campaigns who I’ve worked with chosen as a Kickstarter Staff Pick or New and Noteworthy campaign. These campaigns raised amounts ranging from $6,000 up to $300,000. And NONE of them received a funding bump upon being designated as a Staff Pick or New and Noteworthy.

And it wasn’t just something we did or didn’t do. The campaigns got the placement but while campaigns for gadgets, tech, and gaming have some ability to turn cold traffic (people who have never seen you before) into backers, the task is darn-near impossible for music and other creative genres.

Consumers do not make decisions about music the same way in which they make choices about other consumables. As an Economist, I would characterize the music marketplace as pert-near perfect competition. This means that there are lots of sellers (musicians) whose product is easily accessible. In music, not only are there literally millions of buying alternatives, the alternatives are relatively cheap, if not free.

I could continue at length but, suffice it to say, people can acquire music so easily and cheaply that they can afford to be very choosy and protective of their money and time. Asking someone who does not know you or your music to invest in a project that they cannot even hear until some indefinite point in the future is not a winning strategy.

Oh, and I no longer even bother noting when a campaign is a featured project because it does not translate into results. And results are what we are looking for!

A Winning Strategy for Campaign Promo

Okay, so being a featured project will not likely get you what you want.

What is a winning strategy? I have talked about this extensively on my podcast, Successfully Funded. Basically, you need to ask the people who DO know you or your project and you need to do so in a way that is genuine and authentic, not annoying and self-serving.

Most people who hear this the first time are not real thrilled with my answer. It sounds overly-simple, like duh-gee common sense.

However, the magic lies in the way you do it and that is where most people take a wrong turn. Understanding the assumptions, thinking, and numbers behind my advice is where people can increase their campaign funding by two, three, or even four times as much.

In the meantime, if you are curious, our Crowdfunding Success Roadmap will guide you through each step of this process from message to momentum for your campaign and everything else before and after!

Create This Simple 2 Step Facebook Ad Funnel

The Facebook Ad Carpet Bomb Strategy

It’s as awesome as the name makes it sound.

Woodshed Agency Blog

If you’re a locally based business, there’s one Facebook strategy that’s really standing out compared to the usual “pick your target, add a picture, and tell people to come visit” advice that some marketers give.

It’s called the carpet-bomb, and it’s pretty easy to set up, and normally only requires you to make 2 ads.

Ad #1: The Video (The Carpet Bomb)

Upload a video to Facebook, explaining your products or services. Keep it to around a minute long. Set your targeting to everyone within your service area, and be as broad as possible. The only thing you really should touch here is age or gender if your product is only marketed to one group.

We call it the carpet bomb, because it’s a wide target that hits pretty much everyone in an area.

Ad #2: The Offer (Missiles, or Something)

Create a second ad, targeted to people who’ve watched 25% of your first videousing the offer ad-type. Give them some incentive to visit your store, and make it time-sensitive.

Then, you’re done.

But why does it work so well?

In an effort to keep people on their platform, Facebook has the pricing for video ads set to dirt cheap. Facebook charges more if an advertiser makes someone leave Facebook, it’s common sense.

Most video views are only going to cost a few cents a piece for a relatively un-targeted audience like we’re using. The people we’re retargeting with the second ad stuck around long enough to watch some of our first video, which means they’re at least somewhat interested — and because of that, your ad costs is EVEN CHEAPER due to Facebook’s relevancy score.

People are essentially self-selecting whether they’re interested in your business or not. Plus, it barely costs you anything.

Six Tugs of War

Six Tugs-of-War:

1. Intellect vs. Emotion

Intellect and emotion are not connected! Consequently, ad writers must choose whether to speak to the customer's intellect or to her emotions.

2. Time vs. Money

Today's shoppers are going directly to the store they feel is most likely to have what they want, and they are walking in the front door with every intention of buying. Category killers don't just give the competition a run for its money, they eliminate it by design. Which category do you kill?

3. Opportunity vs. Security

I'm sitting at the conference table when a prospective client lays a large check in front of me. He covers the check with his hand and says, "If I give you this money, what will you guarantee me?" It's a question I'm asked routinely, so I lay my hand on top of his, look into his eyes, and give him my standard answer: "I guarantee that you'll never see this money again." The only fool greater than the one who expects big results from small changes is the fool who believes big changes can be accomplished without risk. Opportunity and security are inversely proportionate: as one goes up, the other goes down. It's a fundamental law of the universe.

Do you have the courage to be a pioneer, or will you live your life as a settler?

4. Style vs. Substance

Shoes, fragrances, clothing, and soft drinks are often sold with ads that are "artsy" and "fluffy," and every time one of these campaigns becomes a big hit, some car manufacturer will begin an equally fluffy campaign to sell automobiles. Those campaigns invariably fail. Products that are mostly style can be sold with ads that are mostly style. Products of substance, however, require ads of equal substance. Is your product mostly style or mostly substance?

5. Pain vs. Gain

Which would you rather have:

1. a sure gain of $ 3,000, or

2. an 80 percent chance of winning $ 4,000 and a 20 percent chance of winning nothing?

Now choose between 1. a sure loss of $ 3,000 and

2. an 80 percent chance of losing $ 4,000 and a 20 percent chance of losing nothing.

In their research on the process of human decision making, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky clearly established that when the identical question is posed in slightly different ways, the resulting answers can be radically different. Of particular note was their observation that "losses loom larger than gains" -- specifically, that our willingness to accept risk is higher when we are facing possible loss than when the identical risk is presented in terms of potential gain. In the first example, most people are unwilling to accept the risk. They opt for the "sure" $ 3,000, though pure mathematical probabilities make the second choice slightly more attractive (0.8 x $ 4,000 = $ 3,200). In the second example, however, more than 90 percent of those surveyed choose to accept the risk of losing an additional $ 1,000 to gain the 20 percent chance of losing nothing. Professors Kahneman and Tversky, at the University of Chicago, proved it again and again: the average person avoids risk when seeking gains, but is willing to embrace risk to avoid losses. Sales trainers have long known this and often teach their students to phrase things in terms of potential loss. "You'd hate to return tomorrow and find that someone else had purchased this item, now, wouldn't you?" The pain-versus-gain theory is not so easily applied to advertising, however, because it presupposes that the subjects have been successfully reached with your message of potential loss --a very dangerous assumption in advertising. In reality, ads that speak to the fear of loss must necessarily conjure a negative first mental image, and in so doing, they will often alienate the listener. When confronted with an uncomfortable mental image, a percentage of the public instinctively opt not to "participate" with the ad; they direct their attention elsewhere. Moreover, those who casually participate with such ads often associate the negative mental image with the advertiser who presented it, and the campaign becomes counterproductive. Although the fear of loss may be more powerful than the hope of gain, it's usually a mistake to use fear as a motivator in your ads. The first objective of every ad is to successfully engage the imagination of the listener with a thought more attractive than the one that currently occupies the listener's mind. How attractive are the mental images in your ads?

6. Sight vs. Sound

The greatest liar who ever lived was the one who first said, "One picture is worth a thousand words." Don't you believe it.

Rule of 7

It’s been proven over and over that the more positive contact you have with customers and prospects, the easier it is to develop and sustain relationships and ultimately, close more sales. Unfortunately, you’re one of the thousands who is vying for your customers’ attention.

If you’ve been in the world of marketing for a while, you’ve probably heard of the Rule of 7.

The Marketing Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service. It’s a marketing maxim developed by the movie industry in the 1930s. Studio bosses discovered that a certain amount of advertising and promotion was required to compel someone to see one of their movies.

Today, unless you have a clearly-defined marketing strategy that maps out how you’ll touch that prospect at least 7 times, you significantly reduce your odds of sales success. In fact, today you might need more than those 7 times just to be heard through all the clutter that’s in people’s Newsfeeds or fields of vision.

What’s said in these messages matters. Will it be meaningful? ….or a spammy sales pitch? Not all touches are created equal.

Rule of 7 in the Digital Age

Social media crushes old school marketing by expertly leveraging a medium that touches customers regularly.

Social media affords sellers the opportunity to converse with the customer often 7 times every day! It’s accomplished by sharing content and interacting with customers and prospects. You earn the right to convert some fans into customers.

A strategy is Key.

Social media (and all digital marketing) takes thoughtful content strategy to engage customers at every level of the buying process, including both those not in-market yet and those who have already bought.

Old school marketing messages won’t cut it. Without meaning, they are lost in the cacophony of content in your customers’ lives.

Socially-savvy companies publish marketing messages that come in the form of useful content that delights their intended audience. These messages tell stories that create an emotional connection.

Buying decisions are shaped by two things: stories told and the memories they leave behind.

Storytellers make emotional connections. You can’t create an emotional connection with interruptive advertising.

If you can tell stories about what it’s like to do business with you – by enlisting your happy, loyal employees and customers in the process  – you’ll be well on your way to creating meaningful connections and “touching” that prospect 7 times. 

How do you tell your story?

All digital content must convey a unique value to the customers you want to reach. There are many forms of content and many mediums with which to publish it.


“There can be no words without pictures.” -Aristotle

Images as examples of customer experience that include employees, tell a great story. Customers think of employees as “people like me” and witnessing delight allows the viewer to see themselves in that way.

There are some platforms (Instagram, Pinterest) where no words are necessary. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that all your images are compelling, especially if you have no content strategy backing them up.

Authentic images where words are not necessary to win Pulitzers. In a business marketing case, if you’re not savvy in the use of images for content marketing, please seek assistance.


“Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Youtube, the content you need to be thinking about creating and marketing on social for your business is video. Period.” -Gary Vaynerchuk

  • Facebook video is good at everything: smart, shareable & personal. It is the best way to reach customers at scale.
  • Video on Twitter is for engagement: direct, social and real.
  • Video on Snapchat is for attention. (Note: I don’t recommend Snapchat unless your target customers spend time there…and you have the infrastructure to devote to it).

Remember, the foundation of all content is to attract, engage and ultimately convert target customers. Interviews and “How To” videos provide a lot of visibility and can establish your authority and online reputation. But, just like images without a story, videos fall flat unless you’ve got game.

Blog Posts

“What factors help you rank with Google? I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.” –Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google.

I just spoke at two regional auto dealer conferences and asked the audience to raise their hands if they had a blog. In both cases, 10% of the room raised their hand. Unless companies embrace the new world of website content marketing, they will rarely become meaningful to new customers.

Let’s hope those who didn’t raise their hands do a good job of retaining their current customers…although that’s not good a strategy for long-term survival.

If your company has adopted social media and content marketing, use your blog to answer your customers’ most frequently asked questions, especially those questions that cause them to hesitate in their purchase decision.

Incorporate and illustrate employee expertise. It’s a value-add that can only be accessed by engaging with you.

Keep in mind that while great stories attract new customers, your engaging content keeps happy current and repeat customers coming back for more.

We talk more passionately about things we care about than things toward which were ambivalent. We listen more closely to people we care about than to people we don’t know. We’re talking and listening to unprecedented numbers, and our opinions and purchasing decisions are being affected and influenced even as we shop online or stand in the store aisle and weigh our options.

One of the most powerful outcomes of social media marketing is that customers who’ve purchased from you before telling their stories and ultimately tell your story too. Make sure it’s a positive one.

Tap into the power of the social media Rule of 7

Engage customers during every stage of the buying cycle. 7 could be your magic number and thousands of happy, loyal customers can become the new rule!

Ask Yourself This Question About Your Product


When you’re building a new product, you’re often thinking about all the new things people are going to be able to do with it. Now they can do this, now they can do that. Exciting!

But there’s a better question to ask: What are people going to stop doing once they start using your product?

What does your product replace?

What are they switching from?

How did they do the job before your product came along?

Habit, momentum, familiarity, anxiety of the unknown — these are incredibly hard bonds to break. When you try to sell someone something, you have to overcome those bonds. You have to break the grip of that gravity.

So, when you’re thinking about your product, think about what it replaces, not just what it offers. What are you asking people to leave behind when they move forward with you? How hard will that be for them? How can you help them overcome everything that’s tugging them in the opposite direction?

How to Extract All the Emails from Your Facebook Friends

Wish you could stay in front of your Facebook friends all the time?

Now you can by remarketing to them.

It only takes a minute to set up.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Create a Yahoo Account

Why Yahoo?

Isn’t that so 2012?

This old platform works in our favor because they had a deal to sync your Yahoo connections with your Facebook profile. It only takes a second to create your profile, then another to click on the address book in the top right-hand corner.



Step 2: Import Facebook contacts

Once you click on the address book, you’ll have the option to import your contacts.

Click on the button.

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Now you have the option to import your contacts from Facebook.

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Once your Facebook friends’ emails are imported, it’s almost impossible to scrape them.

Yahoo knows what you’re doing and makes it a huge pain to access this data.

That’s why we created a Chrome extension to extract all these people.

Step 3: Growth hack it

To get the Chrome extension, click here to access the Zip file. Then download it and open the folder in your extensions area by going to “More Tools,” then click on Extensions.

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When you’re here, turn on Developer mode.

Next, click Load unpacked extension.

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Now when you login to your Yahoo account, you’ll have a Download Contacts CSV button on the bottom-left corner.

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Click the blue “Download Contacts CSV.”

You’ll now have almost your entire list of your Facebook friends’ emails.

Plug this list into Facebook as a custom audience to start running ads to them.

How easy was that?

How to Make Press and Hold Facebook Posts (Interactive Photos!) Using Custom Live Photos


I don’t think I’ve been this excited about something related to Facebook in a LONG time.

First off, if you aren’t sure what a “Press and Hold Facebook Post” is, click here to view one in action on my page. It’s basically an interactive photo post. You HAVE to be on the Facebook app on mobile for it to work (sorry!). And if you are as amazed by it as I am, please share it with others while you’re there because I think this is going to be HUGE in the photography industry!

Here’s what it looks like (but you’ll need to click through and actually visit the post for it to work, since this is just a screenshot):

Pretty rad, huh?

But not only are they cool, they get amazing reach on Facebook because people have to engage with them to see what’s hidden inside, so you should reach far more people than you would with just a regular image, video or slideshow.

So let’s dive in to how to make one!


How to Make a Press and Hold Facebook Video Post

What you need:

1. iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with iOS 9.0 or higher (Sorry Android people!)
2. Video OR Photos for inside
3. Cover image to tell people to press & hold to see what you have inside
4. intoLive app

We’ll be making these on your phone, so all photos and videos need to be uploaded to your phone.

Step 1: Open intoLive app and select hidden video or photos

You can either reveal a video up to 30 seconds in length OR you can select up to 30 photos to create a slideshow inside instead.

This is what people will see after they click and hold down on your post. They won’t see it unless they do that.

The app will automatically create a slideshow for you from the photos you pick, which is really neat. Just make sure they are all the same aspect ratio and orientation or they get cropped all strange.

Click the arrow in the top right corner to go to the next step.

Step 2: Select Your Post Photo (This Will be Your Interactive Photo)

This is what everyone will see before they press and hold down on your post.

I recommend using an image that has directions on it telling people exactly what to do. This will probably be new for them, so without directions, they’ll never know there’s something hiding inside.

The image should be the same aspect ratio and orientation as the revealed contents inside or it’ll crop everything inside to whatever size this image is.

This is also what they will see if they are viewing the post on a computer, but nothing will happen if they click it. This only works in the Facebook app on Mobile.

Step 3: Save Live Photo

Save this to your camera roll.

Step 4: Upload to Facebook using the Facebook App

This will only work if you upload it using the Facebook app. You CAN post it to your business page, but you CANNOT use the Pages app for that – it has to be the regular Facebook App. Here’s exactly how to do it.

Upload it as a photo. You’ll notice the “live photos” white circle icon on the photo (See below). Then once you’ve got the live photo uploaded, make sure the “Live” button is toggled on (see the third photo below). If you don’t do this, it won’t work.

Just post it and you’re done!

Ideas For Engaging Press and Hold Facebook Posts

These posts get INCREDIBLE engagement, since people have to click on them to see what is inside and it makes them super curious.

So here’s a few ideas on how you could use them in your business and watch your reach grow:

  • Create mini slideshows for clients, with one image on the front and up to 30 inside
  • Ask questions and reveal the answer inside
  • Show before & after images
  • Show behind the scenes videos or images
  • Download & share your Instagram Stories in these on Facebook
  • Show quick testimonials on images inside
  • Do a series of fun facts about yourself
  • Share quick tips for looking your best in photos
  • Make one for maternity clients for their gender reveal
  • Share news inside that they have to click to see

What did these 4 Crowdfunding Experts Say?


Khierstyn Ross, Crowdfunding Product Launch Strategist

The best way to get the word out about your Kickstarter campaign is to have an audience to launch to. Generally, Kickstarter creators need to spend six months or more building up an audience online prior to their launch.

You do this by building an email list and by “getting on the radar” of key influencers in your area. It’s not only about having an audience to launch to, but you also need to treat the crowdfunding campaign like an event. Get people excited about your project and launch.

When you first launch, you will be spreading the word through your current audience (email list, social media, network, and any press you’ve lined up in advance). Once your campaign is live, you can turn to other strategies to keep momentum going (podcasts, influencer marketing, retargeting, etc).

You also need to understand how the platform works. Just because Indiegogo and Kickstarter have their own audiences, doesn’t mean you don’t need your own. In fact, this is the worst assumption you can make.

You need your own audience and here’s why: Indiegogo and Kickstarter take a 5% commission from every dollar raised on their platform. They are in the business of making money. So, would it not make sense for them to help the campaigns that are proving to be winners? 

If you don’t start strong, Indiegogo or Kickstarter’s algorithm will never pick you up and your campaign will die.

But if you have an audience to launch to, and you use them to get a lot of backers and transactions on your campaign page, the site will notice your campaign is *hot* and boost you on site. If your campaign is easier to see on site, it will be easy for other people in the crowdfunding community to find you and support you.

So, you create an audience prior to launch to make sure you can get the boost from them you need to become discoverable on these platforms. That audience creates a snowball effect, which in turns creates a funded campaign.

Andrew Beltran, Co-Founder of Original Grain

To start getting the word out about our Kickstarter campaign we used our internal network and base.

That meant reaching out to every person I knew on Facebook with a personal message asking for them to support our campaign, and if they couldn’t we asked them to share our link. This helped a ton with our first few days to get our project trending.

We also teed up 20 influencers to post reviews of our product, directing their audiences to our page. This helped get our product out and it was up to us to continue to incentive people to share the campaign.

With our initial campaign, we wanted to make everyone happy, almost to a flaw. If people would ask for upgrades or different options, we tried our best to make them happy. At the end, when it was all said and done we had over 20 variations and upgrades people ended up getting. It became a nightmare for shipping when there were over 2,000 backers. It’s an awesome trait to have as a company, but at some point, you have to stay focused on the core product and what you’re trying to bring to market. 

The number one thing I’d say to anyone looking to do a Kickstarter campaign is: Do your homework.

See what others have done to be successful in your space. See where they promoted heavily, look at analytics on Kicktraq and compare stats. And always have patience, this is a start up. Take the time now—you will thank yourself later when you’re five years down the road and still humming.

Salvador Briggman, Crowdfunding Expert

The absolute best way to get the word out is through an email list of interested subscribers. There’s no question about it. These are potential backers who have SUBSCRIBED for more information about YOUR product and story. Just make sure to tease the product as you’re gearing up for the launch. Show them prototypes. Celebrate victories leading up to the launch of the campaign!

I’ve uncovered a lot of the tricks that get the media buzzing about you. You must understand their agenda and what their goal is with their blog, publication, or story.

You must understand what gets people to take action online and a firm understanding of where backers come from with Kickstarter campaigns.

Of course, you should start with a great product that has demand in the marketplace, but you also need to market it effectively. You need to craft a story that will get backers jazzed up about your campaign. You need to incite the emotions that will make a visitor say, “I need this!!!”

All too often, Kickstarter campaigners focus on the logic side of the equation, but they don’t think about the emotions that are going to make someone want to check out the campaign, learn more, and become a backer.

That emotional trigger could be:

  • Surprise
  • Awe
  • A feeling of similarity towards the creator
  • Happiness

There are many more. You should think carefully about how the creator and the product will be emotionally perceived by the campaign’s visitors.

Paul Farago, Founder of Ace Marks

Since it was our first Kickstarter campaign, we tried a lot of different marketing approaches and then went heavier with what was working. For us, it was working emails together with social media. Even within these strategies, a highly targeted approach was much more successful than casting a wide net. 

Even post campaign, handling communications from thousands of backers is very time consuming, especially when you are trying to work out logistics and production at the same time. We try to address FAQs in our updates to reduce the message volume, which is somewhat helpful. Understandably, backers prefer personal attention and we try to accommodate that as best we can.

Something we did fantastically was conveying the quality of our product. I think that our video and images did a good job of showing backers that they were going to receive an exceptional product and at the same time back a company motivated to change the luxury footwear business.

Start from scratch as many times as needed, because you will only get one shot at it. It took us a year to create our campaign. We completely reshot the video at least three times and rewrote the script many times until I was happy with the results. There is a lot of hard work and long hours behind a successful campaign.