Rockstar Startup Storytelling: Know What It Takes

This post is part of the Content Q&A Series, featuring interviews with top content strategists and bloggers about their work and insights about the industry.

Congratulations on building the most innovative product on earth. It solves a major consumer pain point, leverages sophisticated technology, and is truly one of a kind.

So now what?

If you can’t connect with your target audience, your efforts will likely fall flat. Great products don’t always sell themselves. You need a great story to bring your company’s vision to life.

“In some cases, a product is super sexy, and people naturally just want to talk about it,” said Onboardly co-founder Heather Anne Carson. “In others, the power to succeed is entirely in your ability to tell a story.”

Start from Within

“The biggest pain point is struggling to first identify what your true unique story is.”

Storytelling is far from a natural process. You need to position your core message, align with with your target market, and drive sales — all challenging acts to balance. Start with what’s simple.

“I think the biggest pain point is struggling to first identify what your true unique story is — and then, to put it into words,” Carson said. “Ultimately, the best stories are the truest stories.”

Detach yourself from the rose colored glasses.

“It takes a certain degree of humility and honesty to dig into your true motivation for starting a company,” said Carson.

Know Your Motivations

Yes, you built something awesome. But why did you do it in the first place?

“For many entrepreneurs, there’s a deeper reason than just doing something you love,” Carson explained. “You want to change the world. Start by telling why.”

It’s as simple as understanding yourself. As Carson put it — “What is your reason for getting out of bed in the morning?”

Be Awesome

A common storytelling struggle that most startups face is choice. You have many stories to tell — which one is right?

You need to take the time to evaluate your product positioning to answer that question. Do your due diligence to find what ‘feels’ right.

“It’s easy to feel guilty about taking the time to reflect on your why instead of spending time on the product,” Carson said. “But from that, also comes a startup’s strength, in that these teams usually have a great story to tell.”

Be Assertive

Storytelling is far from a passive hobby.  You need to commit to fully understanding your group’s motivations and goals.

“Startup stories are always incredible.”

“Ideas don’t just materialize out of thin air,” Carson said. “They come from within and oftentimes, for most founders, they rise from extremely unique circumstances.”

And as a startup, that unique story is precisely your strength.

“Startup stories are always incredible,” Carson said. “I love being the one to help them tell their brand stories. I’m always cheering for the underdog. And by helping startups get noticed and get more customers, I get to do what I love every day.”

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