I have probably mentioned it before, but I am quite into Communications and PR, with a strong interest in how that can work for a tech startup, for a while now. Tech startup storytelling is the topic that I will develop in this blog post.
It all started with my studies of course (Comms and Media), but it truly grew to be a passion of mine, which inspired me to learn more and more every day about what communications can do for a company. It’s fascinating how communications became such a vital component of a company. I am not only referring to big companies or multinationals. Not at all. Even start ups need to get their priorities straight from the beginning of their existence, and one of those is a proper communications plan. It might sound intimidating, but what I mean by “plan” is just a clear and consistent communication that allows the company to build a relationship with its audience. Actually, you can see it as storytelling. And how many tech startups know how to tell their stories in a compelling way? Leaving aside “compelling”….how many tech startup know that they HAVE to tell their story? Edelman’s blog post on “Storytelling for startups” offers some pretty convincing reasons to narrate
A clutter of everything
The speed with which the sector of communication is evolving is impressive, there are always new channels to communicate through, new audiences, messages, senders, receivers,etc. What worked for a company last year, can’t even be thought of this year. It’s outdated, boring, monotonous, unimaginative, well… a big yawn in other words. There are too many startups that offer similar products and services, too many creative entrepreneurs with the focus on getting funded, and there are too less startup that have the faith to tell a human story that makes their company’s idea special.
Why is it necessary to consider tech startup storytelling?
Now, you might ask yourself, why am I talking about communications on the blog of a tech startup…Because tech needs communications peeps! It’s vital, as mentioned before. If you’re a tech startup, it doesn’t mean that you’re surrounded by geeks who don’t care. Actually, it is true, geeks don’t. All the other people around you though, they DO care. Unless you launch Candy Crush or something. Then it’s ok, you don’t really have too much explanation to do about your product. In all the other cases, you own that to your audience: tell them the story of your product/brand.
Four basic steps to tech startup storytelling
How do you do that? There are a million ways, but let me give you the top 4 aspects that you need to keep in mind when starting to communicate your brand.
1. Don’t over explain your product.
I know it must be very tempting to put all your words on “paper”. You want to make sure that everybody understands how cool your idea is and how many things it can do. Don’t do that. Focus on one or two top features and develop them as unique selling points. Robbert wanted to explain everything about Groovidi when writing a press release for the Web Summit in Dublin. No, that would only confuse the reader. They are smart, they will get it in a few sentences. Imagine you’re writing a press release (you have 1 page to say everything about your product). Don’t overwhelm your audience.
2. “Translate” your words in an understandable language.
No matter how easy to understand you think your product is, this is not what your readers’ opinion is. Of course your audience is diverse, and you’ll have tech geeks as well as people who are not that much into tech reading it. Start writing with all your audience in mind. If talking about Beacons, explain what that is. Watermarking? What does water have to do with marking? (that’s what I thought the first time I heard the term). Simplify simplify simplify! Talk to your audience in a language that they can understand.
3. Invite them to ask you questions/come up with suggestions – on social media
Extra advice/suggestions are always welcome. You can easily get lost in details or explanations about the product/brand that are irrelevant to your audience. Provoke them to get in touch with you, come up with suggestions, ideas and recommendations. You should be open to critique, learn to see the benefits of it, and constantly improve your work. Make your brand friendly and approachable, start a dialogue.
4. Keep your readers constantly up to date and involved
It’s already difficult enough to build a fairly loyal audience for your tech startup blog, don’t lose it by being lazy/too busy/uninspired to write to them, and listen at the same time. Be it tweets, blog posts, Facebook posts, daily Instagram pictures, just do it 😉 Tech startup storytelling is not for the passive people. Tools like Google Analytics are great for tracking your social media activity and its impact on your business.
Why did I give you 4 tips? Because 4 is the new 5. 🙂
Tech startup storytelling is not easy, it requires consistent work. But if you don’t want to get lost in this myriad of startups, don’t rely only on selling a great product. Sell a vision, communicate, tell your story.
Now think about it, and find time or a person to send the right message through the best channel to your audience. As usual, follow us on Twitter for updates on how our tech startup is doing and feel free to contact us on Twitter, and Robbert will make sure to get back to you.