Startup Storytelling 101
Effective public relations all comes down to storytelling. If you’re going to be contacting journalists, you need to come armed with a narrative that will strike a chord with your target customers and further engage them with your brand.
“Well, I don’t really have a story to share!” you’re muttering under your breath right now, half-panicked. But, trust us, you do. Even the most seemingly boring and mundane products can find ways to craft narratives that are sure to connect.
Look at Dawn Dish Soap, for example. Yes, I’m sure that their classic blue gel is awesome at sloughing off that caked-on casserole from the night before. But, that’s not always the message they choose to hammer home.
You’ve probably seen their commercials and advertising related to oil spills. Wildlife rescuers choose to use Dawn to clean off affected wildlife, because it’s both gentle and effective.Source
Now, you tell us, what’s the more powerful story? Chances are, those little ducklings made you sigh, “Awww!” It’s a story that you connected with much more than that pesky casserole dish — and, it’s likely one you’ll remember moving forward.
That’s just one example of how impactful storytelling can be for your brand — there are certainly many, many others. Needless to say, learning how to craft a narrative and tell your own story is an incredibly important piece of your PR strategy. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it comes as second-nature.
So, let’s briefly uncover a few of the things you’ll need in order to tell a story that your customers will connect to on an emotional level.
Crafting Your Narrative
The best place to start when telling your story is by thinking about the problem you’re solving, rather than just the solution you’re offering. This will help you to avoid becoming too self-centered with your narrative, and better craft a story that truly connects with your customers.
Beyond that, there are a few other key fundamentals you’ll want to remember about your brand story, as included in an insightful Entrepreneur article all about storytelling:
- It’s authentic: A false brand story won’t do you any good. Always keep truth at the center of all of your storytelling.
- It’s human: People connect with other people. So, focus on the human side of your story — nobody really cares about the complex technology behind what you’re doing. Sorry.
- It’s original: Remember, separating yourself from the pack is important. Make sure your story is fresh, and helps you to stand out.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Like I mentioned before, you already have a story. You have a journey that got you to where you are today. You just need to polish the pieces and share it with the world.
Easier said than done? Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get those creative juices flowing. Grab a notepad, jot down some ideas, and you’ll start to see your story take shape.
- What makes your business or your product unique?
- What problem are you solving?
- What gave you the idea to start this business or launch this product? Was it a personal experience?
- How did you get to where you are now as a business? What was your journey like?
- Who have been the key players in your story so far?
- What has been the most exciting thing you’ve experienced with your business?
- What are your goals with your business moving forward?
Of course, there are hundreds of different ways you could take your story—and, there’s really no black and white formula to craft your narrative and build your brand identity around that.
But, again, begin thinking through some of these questions, and your story might come to light even sooner than you think.
Want a few more storytelling tips under your belt to ensure you craft a narrative that’s sure to impress and resonate? Along with being authentic, human, and original, here are a few other things you’ll want to keep in mind.
- Keep it Simple
Along the same lines as making your story human, you also want to make sure you keep your story simple. Yes, you can have a powerful narrative, without it being crammed full with all sorts of technical jargon that your customer won’t understand.
Remember, your customer likely doesn’t care to get into the weeds with all of the complex happenings of your product or business. Focus on the simple, human element that they can truly connect with.
- Make it Customer-Focused
I’ve already briefly touched on this, but I can’t emphasize it enough. Make sure that your story focuses on what problem you’re solving for the customer, and not necessarily the solution you’re bringing to the table.
- Show, Don’t Tell
We all trust real-world examples more than we do catchy slogans or salesy language. So, incorporate real stories and customer accounts wherever you can. That’s sure to give your story more of an impact.
- Have a Clear Arc
Every good story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. And, yours should be no exception. Make sure that your narrative has a clear arc, so that your customers aren’t left confused.
Once you’re armed with a solid narrative that’s sure to resonate with people, you’re ready for the fun stuff: Creating your PR strategy, contacting journalists, and spreading your message to your target audience.