So, you’ve got a great product in mind for Kickstarter. You’re sure your idea is wonderful and groundbreaking. And it probably is.

But before you get started, there are a ton of things you need to complete.

Well, not literally a ton. An actual ton of things would be quite a lot. For example, one ton of standard A4 paper would be over 200,000 sheets.

Thankfully, you’re not dealing with that much paper. Yet, you still have a lot to do to prepare for launching your Kickstarter campaign. To help you on your journey to crowdfunding success, we’ve compiled a nice little checklist for you.

1. A Video

A video is like the bones of your campaign. It is a significant support but isn’t the be-all-end-all of the campaign.

It is very important to have one. The video should include clear and concise information, such as the reasoning behind the project, how you plan to have it completed, a few examples if they’re available (if not, try to make them available), background on your team (or yourself if you’re a one-person team), as well as some limited information about the campaign reward tiers and why the goal amount is set as high as it is.

That’s certainly a lot of content, but you should also make sure to keep the video short. No more than 5 minutes long unless absolutely necessary. An engaging video has the key information condensed into that time. It’s difficult but not impossible. If you need help from friends or professionals, get it. It’s well worth the investment for the video as well as the following items.

2. Copy

No, we’re not referring to a copy machine. We mean the writing that goes on your Kickstarter campaign. This text is the beefy cover over the bones of your campaign. It’s what gives your backers the finer detail of the campaign points.

It should include lots of information in an easy to digest form of your campaign. You may include what your backers receive for funding you. Or maybe why you’re crowdfunding your project.

But there’s a lot more copy to consider that just that. You also have to consider copy for your reward tiers.

3. Reward Tiers

Reward tiers are an enticing series of increasing rewards at increasing prices. They’re important because it simultaneously draws in big pledges from people who can afford it while also providing rewards for smaller pledgers who still want to support you at smaller amounts. It’s important to build a varied list of tiers. It’s essential to ensure that each tier reward matches the amount of money listed for it.

For example, don’t set a $500 tier with a reward of a new pencil set. But at the same time, don’t set a $5  tier with a reward of a new car.

Keep the value of the tier and the value of the reward relatively equal. Realistic promises to backers will not get their hopes up for something super exciting or expensive for little input into the project.

As for the copy, make your offer very clear and succinct. It should include the key details without turning it into a multi-page affair with enough legal jargon to give a lawyer a migraine. It’s all about balance here (well, here and everywhere else in this checklist).

4. Pictures

Pictures are also very important to engage the potential backer. A photo is worth a thousand words, so use your photos well.

Disperse them among the main copy, without overloading it. The images should support and enhance the copy and, ideally, would include short one or two sentence captions.

The product and rewards should be nicely documented with pictures. Having examples of the finished product comes in very handy. Even if it’s just a prototype version, it’s generally better to show off how the product will work to the potential backers. If you have a product with moving parts in some way, then a gif would be ideal to show the parts in motion.

5. Friends and Family

This step might be one of the most difficult ones, but it’s important to give it a solid try at the very least.

If you already have some level of backing right at the start of the campaign, other people will see that and will be more likely to join in on the pledging and rewards. Right at the start, this support can be invaluable and can make or break a campaign.

The most likely people to support your campaign are your friends and family. Find some people who are willing to back your project before it launches. Even small initial amounts are helpful.

When you contact your friends and family, do so with an individualized message. Don’t send a bulk, one-size-fits-all email out to everyone on your contacts list hoping that they’ll all respond the same way. The reality is that they probably won’t.

Yes, personalized messages to people are a lot tougher and more time consuming, but Kickstarter campaigns are time-consuming. Why skimp on the work now when you’re already most of the way there?

Checklist Complete

There you have it.  These five items are the majority of things you need to have prepared before you get a Kickstarter campaign up and running. Sure there are some minor things, but most of those are dependent upon the type of campaign project you’re running. You wouldn’t really be able to send out alpha test packages of a new type of compact folding chair like you would a video game or word processor software for instance.

Now, go forth and campaign!