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Kickstarter Tips for Success

26 Jul

(Disclaimer: I originally wrote this blog post for Olive PR Solutions, Inc.)

Need money fast? Turn to the crowd! Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter again takes center stage in the press with a creative and impressively successful campaign by Penny Arcade. With the promise of an ad-free site, Penny Arcade raised $200,000 in two days and hopes to reach $1 million by mid-August.

While this type of wild success is rare, plenty have played the odds. Out of more than 64,000 Kickstarter projects to date, approximately 44 percent were funded, according to a recent CNN article.

SOLO Eyewear, a San Diego sunglasses startup that donates a pair of prescription glasses or sight-saving eye surgery for every pair of shades sold, is part of the lucky minority that has had a successful campaign with Kickstarter. Exceeding its original goal, SOLO Eyewear ended up raising more than $30,000 in one month.

So, how do you up your chances for a successful campaign like SOLO Eyewear or Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter campaign?

The first thing you need is enticing rewards. The key to offering awesome rewards is knowing your audience and matching their wants with what you can realistically give for their contribution. Penny Arcade is offering rewards that surely have the web comic’s readers digging in their couches for loose change. The list of rewards for Kickstarter backers includes being immortalized in a new video game, to hanging out with the Penny Arcade crew for a night.

SOLO Eyewear cleverly used their Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell their summer collection of sunglasses. By offering sunglasses and swag at different levels, SOLO effectively mobilized their fan base and gave them the motivation to give money, get shades and change lives.

The second factor that plays into a successful Kickstarter campaign is timing. Penny Arcade launched right before Comic Con. They even campaigned a bit at the conference, according to CNN Money. Before you launch, think about the timeline of the campaign. Are there any big conferences that pertain to your company that you can plan around? Are there any holidays or special events that you can hook into to advertise your campaign? Strategy is key in any crowdfunding campaign.

And on the topic of strategy, one of the most valuable components to a Kickstarter campaign is publicity. Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter campaign has no doubt been helped by the fact that CNN, Mashable, Geekwire, and many other national and industry-specific publications have covered it.

For lesser known companies like SOLO Eyewear, social media plays a huge role in building that awareness aspect for a successful crowdfunding campaign. SOLO Eyewear used Facebook to reach out beyond its immediate circle by appealing to existing fans and followers to spread the word about their Kickstarter campaign. By providing frequent campaign progress updates and enticing followers to help reach the next level of funding with promises of style and color reveals, SOLO Eyewear drew significant traffic to its Kickstarter page from Facebook.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Be strategic, be creative and plan ahead, and your Kickstarter campaign could be just as successful as that of Penny Arcade and SOLO Eyewear.


Want a job? Get on Social Media

12 Jul

Social media recruiting is becoming common practice for human resource departments across the U.S., according to a recent study by Jobvite.

With 92 percent of respondents indicating that they plan to use or are using social media to find and hire job candidates this year, its safe to say that if you want a job its time to get social. But where are these employers looking, you may ask?

  • 93 percent turn to LinkedIn (89 percent have made a hire)
  • 66 percent are using Facebook (26 percent have made a hire)
  • 54 percent are using Twitter (15 percent have made a hire)

Before you rush to their Facebook pages and tear down the photos from Saturday nights pub crawl, you may be interested in what recruiters are really peeved about. While 47 percent of respondents indicated a negative reaction to alcohol consumption on an applicants social media profile, 54 percent of respondents indicated that bad grammar and spelling mistakes were even larger hiring deterrents.

But that’s not to say that if you use proper grammar in your Facebook statuses and then post a picture of yourself in a bikini that you’re in the clear. In fact, you may want to think twice before posting those Vegas photos.

  • 78 percent of recruiters had a negative reaction to illegal drug references
  • 67 percent were turned off by posts of a sexual nature

Moral of the story? If you’re looking for a job, you need to clean up your social footprint right now. There is a 92 percent chance that your future employer is looking for you right now on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

For more results from Jobvite study fill out a quick request form on the company website.

Social Media Mistakes Your Company Is Making

1 Jul

Companies know that in order to do marketing right, it has to be social. Huge companies like Coca Cola and tiny companies like your local mom and pop are all on social. But are they all doing it right? Not really. Better question: Is your company doing it right? If your company isn’t doing the following, it may be time for a social media strategy overhaul:

1. It’s Called Social for a Reason. Many brands are “active” on social, but few of them are really using it correctly. Social media is not a broadcast station. If your company is just posting without communication, it’s doing social all wrong. Social media is an open door between brand and stakeholder, a two-way communication tool. The true value of the medium is having the ability to speak directly to the customer, taking them from casual buyer to brand advocate. Engage with people, assign a community manager to your profiles to monitor conversations.

Caution: If your company isn’t ready to hear what stakeholders have to say about it, your not ready for social. Don’t believe me? Just ask Chapstick.

2. New + Traditional = Perfect. Simply creating a social media profile does not bring the likes/followers to you. I often have to explain to people that if they want their Facebook followers to jump from 10 to 1,000 in a month, they need to take the marketing offline (or invest in advertising). Use traditional forms of marketing to draw traffic to your social media profiles. Advertising should include a hashtag and Twitter handle or a Facebook page URL. Use those marketing dollars offline to get customers to engage online. Take for instance’s campaign that encourages customers to go to Facebook and share photos of their pets. The company uses its packaging to create awareness about their social media presence, and then follow up with a call to action to entice customers to act. From the looks of it, it has been a pretty successful campaign.

3. Combine with PR.  Think of social media as the gateway to all of the world’s influencers. Whether your company’s focus is in consumer goods or B2B, there are journalists, bloggers and business owners/ industry leaders who are actively influencing people on social media. Engage with the influencers of the world for an RT, mention, Facebook post shout out, re-pin, etc. to boost your company’s rapport and reputation.

Likewise, thought leadership is a great way to position your company as an expert in your space. Publish blog articles about thought provoking topics and new ideas. Ask influencers engaging questions to get people really talking about topics in your respective industry. These things combined with the #4 below are extremely effective in social.

4. Everything with a message.  While some brands are just broadcasting their marketing message, others are engaging quite a lot, but are not including a message in their conversations at all. A company must find a happy medium with these. Every single post, tweet, video or pin that your company publishes on its social media profiles should be informed by branding and messaging. Brand messaging combined with lifestyle and related topics creates a genuine yet targeted marketing approach in social media. Create a set of key messages for your brand and ensure that they are subtly weaved through every piece of content that is published. Emphasis on the subtle. (Reread #1 if you don’t understand).

If your company keeps these four things in mind it will be a lot more effective in marketing on social media. It may even see an ROI.

Samantha Afetian is a senior at San Diego State University graduating this December with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations. She can be contacted at @SamAfetian or SamAfetian at Find out more at

5 tips for Building an Online Portfolio

20 Nov

If you are thinking about building yourself an online portfolio, you should! Many professionals and professors have recommended that university students and young pros should build an online presence for themselves. Having an online portfolio is the perfect way to do that. Having your own URL also sets you apart from the hundreds of other resumes floating out there.

Here are five tips for building an online portfolio:

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Why PR students should study abroad

13 Nov

As students, we often find ourselves making all kinds of excuses to not study abroad: “It’s too expensive” and “It won’t fit into my degree plan” are just a few of those myths circulating the university world. (Rest assured, money can be found, and you will find a way to make it fit.)

The past six months, I have been studying journalism at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Like many others, I had never thought about going abroad as a practical venture–until, that is, I spoke to several PR professionals about doing it. Those who hadn’t gone wish that they had; those who had gone told me it would be the most amazing experience of my life. Well, they were definitely right, but now having been abroad as a PR student, I think EVERY PR student should do it.

See things like a giant clam in the Great Barrier Reef

Top 5 reasons why PR students should study abroad:

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Blame the publicist, not the press release

8 Sep

There has been some talk recently that public relations professionals are single-handedly killing PR. It’s not the press release itself that is getting on journalists’ nerves, it’s how publicists are writing it.

click to see full comic

How to resurrect the press release and earn the credibility all publicists need:

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Google Analytics: Tracking SEO Success

27 Jun

After conducting your SEO research for the best search keywords and implementing them in your site, track the success of your keywords by using Google Analytics.

How to measure your SEO success with Google Analytics:

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