I believe that crowdsourcing is one of the greatest things to happen to innovation. The ease in which a creative idea can be presented, supported, and financed on sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo is truly inspiring.

I am by no means an expert, but over the last several years, I have done a good bit of research in regards to what makes a successful crowdsourcing campaign, and have been personally involved in a few (some that were funded and some that tanked…hard). While there is certainly no magic bullet (pro tip: just because you have cool T-shirts doesn’t mean you’ll get funded), there’s no denying that having a pitch video is incredibly important; in fact, I believe it is absolutely essential.

Research shows that creating a video increases your chances of funding by nearly 85%. But please, before you simply whip out your camera phone and shoot a selfie style video begging potential supporters to give you money, pause for a sec. I know a thing or two about creating campaign videos, but the best tips that I have come from the perspective of a consumer. What do I expect to see when I watch a campaign video?

I Typically Don’t Give Money to Strangers

Call me old fashioned, but I really like to see the face and know the name of the person whose project I may be helping to finance. Go ahead and create that really cool hook of an intro, but within the first few seconds of the video, introduce yourself. Tell me a little bit about yourself. First impressions are just as important here as they are in real life, so ditch the whole “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” and tell me who you are.

I Don’t Have All the Time in the World

When I play a video online, I have developed the habit of checking the bottom right hand corner as soon as I hit the play button (surely I’m not the only one). If the end time of the video is more than, say, three minutes, the first 15 seconds of the video had better be really interesting for me to want to stay invested. I can get a lot of other things done in three minutes. The really great thing about places like Kickstarter and Indiegogo is that they give you an entire page that you can fill with info, descriptions, photos, even other videos, to showcase all the great elements of your idea, so there really is no reason to try and fit all of that into your pitch video. Be concise. Never take four minutes to say what you could have said in two.

I Like to be Entertained

While not absolutely essential,kickstarterblog2 this one goes a long way. Make your video creative, make it funny; package your message in a way that’s interesting, entertaining, and unique. It doesn’t have to be an instant viral video, but if I wanted to listen to a lecture, I would have gone for a Masters degree (and that is never going to happen). If you expect me to stick it out until your call to action, keep me engaged.

I Want to See the Product

If I’m 45 seconds into your video and you still haven’t shown me the brilliant idea that you’ve come up with, you’ve probably lost me. If you expect me to back you higher than the $1-gets-me-a-digital-highfive level, than show me what you’re selling. If you have created a prototype, show me some close up shots of the product, (check out this great example). If you’re still in early stages of development and don’t yet have a sample, show me designs, show me drawings, show me your team brainstorming ideas. You may have a winning smile and great oratory skills, but I need to actually see what it is that I’m backing, and I need to see it as close to the beginning of your video as possible.

I Need to Know What you Want…and Why

The climate of crowdsourcing is evolving. Gone are the days were these platforms are only being used by individuals that simply want to bypass corporate sponsors. Established companies are effectively securing funding for a huge variety of projects as well. Honestly, if a company needs the benefits of crowdsourcing to finance their projects, I say more power to them. But I need to know why you chose to use crowdsourcing as opposed to raising the capital in a more traditional way. This goes for both the individual and the corporation. Explain to me why you need my money. How will the funds be used? Wrap your video up with a very clear Call to Action. Invite me to donate, encourage me to share your video, and be sure to tell me why.

I Like Stuff

This one is commonly forgotten, especially if the campaign is for some kind of product. Just because I am essentially pre-ordering your product by donating a certain amount, I still love to receive exclusive goodies. There should be some benefit to being some of the first supporters of your great idea. You don’t have to list everything you’ll be giving away, but spend a little bit of time in your video to tell the backers about some of the cool stuff you’ll be giving them for supporting you.

If you’re gearing up to create a video for your crowdsourcing campaign, take a moment to consider some of these tips. The success of your campaign may rest on your video. And by all means, if you have some insight into creating a successful campaign video, share it with me @craigdehut.