Elements of an Emergent Style Guide for Kickstarter

Stephen Carradini, Eric Nystrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Crowdfunding campaigns are a way to secure capital for organizations, entrepreneurs, artists, and more. Little research has focused on stylistic aspects of text associated with successful campaigns. Method: We used corpus analysis to analyze the text of 312,529 Kickstarter campaigns. We used a novel scoring method to compute how often verbs and words surrounding verbs were associated with success or failure. We then identified prominent stylistic aspects of text that were often included in successful and unsuccessful campaigns. Results: Stylistic elements strongly associated with success included using we instead of I, using contractions instead of full forms of verbs, inviting the reader to join the project and receive rewards, and projecting confidence via will instead of the more uncertain would. Conclusion: Stylistic findings interact. Specifically, using we and contractions together indicates outcomes strongly associated with success. Broadly, each of the findings point toward creators of campaigns attempting to build trust in the readers. The elements of this emergent style work together toward a goal of producing campaign text that describes a campaign readers accept and trust as likely to succeed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-82
Number of pages29
JournalTechnical Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Crowdfunding
  • Kickstarter
  • Style
  • Style guide
  • Verbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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