5 Secrets to Digital Storytelling for Startups August 28, 2015 RICCentre By: Billy Vrbensky “Marketing is storytelling. The story of your product, built into your product. The ad might be part of it; the copy might be part of it. But mostly, your product and your service and your people all are part of the story. Tell it on purpose.” – Seth Godin, best selling author, entrepreneur, and public speaker The challenge for startups when it comes to marketing is being able to tell compelling stories that resonate with your followers. If a story doesn’t resonate, tell one that works and live that story to make it true. To best position your startup for success, your tales should fit the audience you’re trying to target. Several entrepreneurs believe that their brand’s story will grow naturally, although this isn’t the case. You should figure out the message that you want to tell and craft your stories around it. Here are five secrets to digital storytelling for startups: 1) Show your brand’s value through storytelling. The goal of storytelling in your startup should be to help customers connect their stories to your product. Identify how your brand helps customers better than competing products. With the development of a value proposition, you’ll be able to better understand the problem you’re trying to solve, the benefits you’re offering, and how you differentiate yourself from the competition. 2) Make it short and bursting with creativity. If your story takes too long to explain, chances are people will scroll past it and find something more interesting. Your stories should be short enough to understand and original enough to captivate people. In today’s noisy online world, the stories that get shared the most are the ones that are passed on easily and impressive to consume. 3) Build brand fans with a unique experience, not just a story. Even though you want to produce captivating web copy to hook people in and convert engagement into transactions, creating a unique experience for website visitors may exceed transactional benefits. It could spark a positive discussion about your brand over popular social networks and cause a spike in web traffic. 4) Understand your audience to keep your stories relevant. In your startup, chances are that you will have different audiences to tell your story to. Each of them deserves to know how they will benefit from your startup. Customers want to know your value. Investors want to understand the potential market opportunity. Employees want to see where they fit into your plan. Influencers and press want to understand the disruptive nature of your startup. If you keep your story relevant to each party, you will have the best chance to compel them to support it. 5) Test your stories often and make sure they sit well with your audience. Only those companies who “made it” in the past were able to test their storytelling abilities because they had the required resources like time and capital to do so. This has recently changed with the plethora of analytics software available. It’s easy to find out which blog posts, web pages, multimedia, and so on, work and which ones need adjustment. The ultimate goal is to find out what stops people in their tracks; what really captures their attention. Digital Storytelling for Technology Companies Digital Storytelling for Technology Companies, a one-day workshop by Gail Mercer-Mackay, recently took place at the RIC Centre. She educated the audience about how to create a particular message to convey to readers, doing so in a way that creates increasing engagement from the community through blog posts, monthly newsletters, and social media posts. Julie Murphy, a RIC Centre client who attended the workshop, was pleased with the experience, and noted: “Gail Mercer-Mackay’s Digital Storytelling for Technology Companies was one of the most useful workshops that I have ever attended. I can’t believe that she packed in so much useful information in such a short period of time. Gail’s advice was smart, practical and easy to implement; critical elements when you are a startup.” Gail Mercer-Mackay clearly made an impact on Julie’s startup. “One of the clear benefits is that we are able to deploy a lot more through just one part-time person. We have already employed many of her tips and strategies into our digital communication efforts. We are already seeing higher engagement numbers with the dramatic improvement in our CLUES stories,” said Julie. The RIC Centre would like to thank Gail for coming out to present her ideas about digital storytelling to our clients and demonstrating the important role it plays in content-driven marketing initiatives to get results.