Let's Talk About Kickstarter Updates!
Updated: May 3, 2021
Kickstarter updates are interesting to map out. If you post too many you're spamming folks, but if you post too few it'll be as if you're not invested in your own Kickstarter. Of course, we see plenty of larger organizations using Kickstarter make a single update 5 seconds following their launch saying "Wow we funded! Thanks!" This is likely not applicable to most projects. Additionally, there's a TON of down time in a Kickstarter toward the center of any project! Generally the most active parts of a Kickstarter are at the beginning and end, with the middle being comparatively quiet and inactive. So how often should we post updates? I think it's good to first consider what updates are good for:
Let's dive into each of these!
Probably the most obvious part, updates on Kickstarter inform your audience of, well, updates. You want and need to relay information to backers and beyond about your various happenings, especially things that might pique interest or drive excitement! You don't need to get into nitty gritty details. Your updates and Kickstarter in general should offer information that creates an experience. That means flavorful information, or information that excites potential backers, leads current backers to upgrade their pledge, or create opportunities for sharing and word-of-mouth.
Updates should be engaging! That means creating incentives and a platform for your backers to comment and respond. The mad scientists at Kickstarter have all sorts of fancy algorithms that I can't begin to comprehend, but engagement is a big driver for getting you seen! It also can be a piece of the puzzle in getting onto "Projects We Love" which can give you even more visibility. Your updates should give opportunities for backers to:
share an experience
answer a question
respond to a call to action
For those not sure what a call to action is, essentially it's you telling your backers to do a thing. For example: "Tell us about your favorite moment of this game!" Usually this is a rewording of a question into something actionable.
Updates are sent out to your backers' emails. Let's be real, no one but you and the most passionate of backers are gonna be refreshing your page continuously without reason to do so. Your updates might not even be read in general! So they need to be good at reminding backers in their day-to-day that, hey, you exist! The email inbox is key in accomplishing this goal. Ultimately the folks that have already backed your game have displayed that they're invested in your success. That means, in the context of upgrading a pledge or supporting, they're your front line to achieving your goal! You don't want these awesome folks to forget about you, and regular updates can remind them you exist and to check in. It's also an opportunity to spark interest or intrigue thanks to your headlines, so keep that in mind!
So how often should you post updates?
There's no perfect answer, but you want to evaluate the three things above and see if you're offering those things through your update. For example, if you're posting updates constantly, you're probably not giving folks time to engage in a dialogue, as you're already moving onto the next thing!
I think an update every 2-7 days pending on any number of circumstances is appropriate, with maybe a tighter window of 1-3 at the beginning and end of the campaign. I also suggest, if able, sending out updates at the time you feel your audience is most likely to be checking email (such as in the mornings).