Pitch in key: Your startup and crowdfunding journalism

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Credit: Decoded Conference.

I’ve heard multiple reporters say crowdfunding seems like a form of charity.

But as is made clear by the first half of the latest episode of This American Life, one crucial factor when selling anything is to make people feel like they are being shown a window of opportunity; like they are making an investment, not a donation.

The success of a crowdfunding campaign can hinge on your ability to ask your network to contribute multiple times, and the ability to approach people for quick, one-on-one conversations to explain your campaign and the idea behind it.

In other words, pitch is key.

I’ve helped several startup news and media ventures grow but have never started a business. I am however sometimes in awe of people who can do it well with mastery of their craft, like an athlete or great singer.

Talk up your crowdfunding campaign like Asia Newson, 11 year old owner of Super Business Girl, and you will be selling ketchup popsicles to people in white gloves in no time, or in her case, lollipops.


Or if that doesn’t motivate you (it will), listen to tips in the Act One titled “I Got 99 Problems and a Pitch Is One.” It includes tips and a bad startup pitch made good on a Los Angeles street by Chris Sacca, a venture capitalist who was an initial investor in Twitter, Instagram, Kickstarter and Uber.

To watch a continued journey of a new media startup, listen to StartUp, an appropriately named podcast by former Planet Money producer Alex Blumberg (whose pitch was perfected in Act One) which he calls “a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one.”

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Khari Johnson
Khari is founder and editor of Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. He also writes about bots and artificial intelligence for VentureBeat. He has built news startups in the U.S. and Europe for the last decade.

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