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How to Make Your Kickstarter Project Stand out with the Short Project Description

Your short project description on your Kickstarter campaign page needs to convey your project's unique selling point. This description appears just below your main project image on your campaign home page and on any search pages. You only get 135 characters (this includes spaces) in these areas of the Kickstarter site to make your project stand out.

Tens of thousands of books, movies, comic books, games, and products are marketed every year. Your Kickstarter project is no different. A strong unique selling point helps you

  • Create a concise project description.

  • Describe your project quickly to potential backers.

  • Differentiate your project from the thousands of others on the market.

The following steps can help you pinpoint what makes your project unique in your short product description:

  1. Describe your project in one word: film, book, show, design, product, painting, and so on.

    This single-word description helps you get at the very core of the project and gets you thinking about how to differentiate from other ideas.

  2. Build a powerful phrase or sentence around your one word.

    For example: A film about families struggling to overcome poverty in rural America.

    This expanded phrase explains the core of the project.

  3. Expand your sentence so it explains why your project is different or better than others on the market:

    Unlike previous documentaries that only show the nuts-and-bolts basics of the fiscal impact of poverty in rural America, this film will go deeper, examining the specific psychological effects long-term poverty has on rural families.

  4. Check the character count of your sentence. In Microsoft Word, you can do this by selecting the text and clicking the word count in the lower-left corner of the screen.

    When you click the word count, a Word Count dialog box appears with additional details including the character count without spaces and the character count with spaces. Most other word processing programs offer a similar tool.

  5. If you're not within the 135-character limit, start by deleting any unnecessary words and looking for phrases that you can make more concise by replacing them with single words.

    In the example just given, the description is beyond 135 characters (spaces count for characters), if the differentiating quality of the film is psychological effects versus fiscal impact, you might narrow down the description as follows:

    Documentaries about poor rural American families usually focus on money. This film examines poverty's deep psychological effects.

    This new description is only 130 characters, including spaces.

You may find yourself struggling a bit here, determining how to phrase your expanded sentence and short unique selling proposition. Practice describing your project in a succinct way a few different times. After you edit down the description as needed, read and re-read the description. Create multiple versions with different lead-ins until you find the right mix.

If you find you cannot describe your project quickly and accurately, perhaps you have too vague of a concept. Think about what you want to focus on, and then ask the following questions:

  • Is there a way I can limit the time duration of my project? Instead of following an athlete for an entire year on his or her journey, should I only focus on a three-month window?

  • Should I focus on a specific geographic area? Is it too ambitious to document all the taco shops in California? Should I only focus on one region, such as Southern California?

  • Is my finished product too long? Would this film about a symphony be better as a short documentary instead of a full-length one?

  • Would this concept be building on (or redoing) something already in the market? If so, how? Where will my project take the concept? How is this iPhone accessory different from the hundreds of others already on Kickstarter?

  • Can I eliminate an element of my project? Do I need to make three versions of my comic book? Should I only produce one?

  • Should I collaborate with someone else to make the project more complete or understandable? If I partner with a videographer, can we make a combination web series and documentary at the same time to make a more compelling finished product?

Start with whatever notes you have for your unique selling proposition. Then go through and answer each of these questions individually. Expand or contract your unique selling proposition based on your responses. Then try rewording it.

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