By pure serendipity, I stumbled upon our first ever draft of Hacker Noon's crowdfunding campaign today, and I thought it would be interesting to share a few excerpts with you.
If Hacker Noon were a TV show, our Crowdfunding would be like season 3 after the main character got into a car crash and somehow survived and built a new life for herself. And these excerpts I'm about to share would be like the deleted scenes that might be interesting to some of our hardcore fans. Or at least to me, one of the show's co-creators. So, shall we?
I'm glad we didn't keep these two initial questions because they are so rhetorical. And at this point, what have we proved, honestly?
Lesson 1: Show, don't tell, guys.
This is not very bad, it is a direct CTA. But it puts Medium too front and center at our CTA and we didn't like the tone of it (a little sarcastic). I like our eventual CTA a lot better which highlights the importance of our community's involvement: "
Hacker Noon can become a much better destination for tech publishing with your help today
Lesson 2: Know your audience.
This is a hard one, because tags and content curation are at the core of our business, then & now. I debated many times whether or not to keep this section and eventually decided against it. The reason? Precious real estate should be used to convince people how our business could use help, not what the business is!
Lesson 3: cut what's good to be left with what's best.
This list is obviously less than optimal as there is no rhyme or reason for why each of the thing is mentioned and how they are even connected. I'm glad that we eventually went with a bunch of logos with relevant links, as well as sprinkled screenshots through out the whole page where each press mention is most effective.
Lesson 4: Whenever possible, use visual.
Oh wow - this is really bad. This is what I call "fluffy logic." It reads like someone forgot to do their homework and procrastinates the most important question the night before she has to turn in her paper. I'm glad we eventually went with 9 reasons why that are all backed up by data. MUCH MORE convincing.
Lesson 5: hey, please always back your shit with data.
At the core of it, a good fundraising pitch uses the same technique as any good piece of writing. Tell a story. Know your audience. Present evidence. I would argue that this is a good skill to have whether you work in sales, product, or marketing as well. Everybody always pitches something to someone at some point, you know.
It's fun to look back, though. We did come a long way since that first draft.
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