Troubleshooting Your Campaign: Weak Tagline

It’s very hard to boil a project down to a good tweet, but that’s exactly what you have to do.

Most crowdfunding platforms prominently feature taglines. They show up in two ways: at the top of the campaign, and as an element of a campaign’s “snapshot” in the platform’s search function. Along with your key campaign image and the funding meter, the tagline is part of your first impression to potential backers, so it’s important to get it right.

tag-line-2

It is difficult for our clients to distill what is often years of work down to one sentence (hardly surprising!). Here are a few common pitfalls, and how to fix them:

  1. Ambiguous tagline. Something along the lines of “A thrilling story continues” is a common early tagline contender. But this tells us nothing about the project. It’s important to be specific – details sell. “Armed guards return Zack to the troubled teen compound” tells the visitor what the project is actually about.
  2. Dry tagline. Sometimes, in the effort to distill down the project, the artist is left with just the facts and not the heart of the work. An example was “Charlotte Salomon, a young Jewish woman in exile, makes the choice to use art as her weapon against racial violence, the family illness and time itself – Water or Glass is a multi-media play that follows one family’s women through 3 generations and 2 world wars.” After lots of revisions, this became: “A multimedia play about Charlotte Salomon, the painter who found her voice amid the Nazi nightmare.”
  3. Complicated tagline. Pruning down to the central message of the project is hard. In the example above, the early blurb lacks focus. It took months to pare away everything unnecessary. Writing a good tagline cannot be done in a day. Leave yourself lots of time, and try the Rule of 10 – start by writing the first thing that comes to your mind, and then write 9 more taglines without reusing any words. Sleep on it. Come back the next day, pick the best elements, and do it again. Simplify, and be ruthless.
  4. Pleading tagline. It’s a trap to avoid anywhere in a crowdfunding campaign: sounding desperate. This chases backers away. It’s especially important to avoid taglines like “Help! I need money!” That is NOT what your project is about. You are funding an amazing work. That is what the tagline is about.

Because the tagline is only a few words, it seems like writing it will be easy and fast, but it is not. Start early and revise often. Get lots of feedback. Remember to be specific, and pick one or two key details that reveal the heart of the work. This will strike the emotional chord that will help to get prospective backers on board.

tagline

Above to the left is the Crowdfunding for Authors campaign homepage, and to the right is the “snapshot” that comes up when “crowdfunding for authors” is entered into the Indiegogo search function. The tagline, “A step-by-step guide to crowdfunding your book”, appears prominently in both (along with the book cover, and the funding meter).

For a free analysis of your crowdfunding idea, please fill out our questionnaire. We send a personalized diagnostic of your idea’s strengths and weaknesses – a $125 value! – within 2 weeks.

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