Every company, every person, and everything has a story. But finding the story and telling it in a way that makes your audience want to read from start to finish and walkaway with the intended message is an art. With content marketing in high demand, more of us are being called upon to execute the art of storytelling. The question is: Are you up to the task?
The reason I ask is I’ve seen pieces posted on blogs, e-newsletters, and corporate news pages that were little more than words on the pages. There was nothing there that made me want to read beyond the first sentence. It’s a shame because there was a reason for the communication.
I was recently hired by the Notre Dame IDEA Center to profile a student-founded startup company called Resonado. Four young men launched the company in 2018 based on a novel flat core speaker technology that is an alternative to traditional cone-shaped speakers. Their technology could someday replace everything from the speakers in smartphones to cars to concert halls. The Resonado story has a unique twist: the Notre Dame football coaching staff will wear the little-known startup’s logo on their headsets for the 2019 season rather than one of a major national brand. The exposure will be priceless! Here’s how I approached the story:
1) Asked for the strategy behind the profile. Having a defined strategy is like having the foundation of a house. Whenever writing a profile, blog or press release, ask the purpose of the story and what the takeaway message(s) should be. The answer should be more specific than, “We want to create awareness.” The Resonado profile had very specific objectives: Help accelerate the startup’s success, demonstrate how everyone at Notre Dame gets behind their students to help them succeed, and attract future students to the university.
2) Did homework before the interviews. Before diving into a profile, do some digging. Visit websites, LinkedIn profiles, and other social media sites to get some back story on the company/person being profiles. This helps you form relevant questions and go into an interview with a knowledge base. In the case of Resonado, I knew they’d won major national pitch competitions, including the McCloskey New Venture Competition. I checked those out in addition to Resonado’s website and the founders’ online profiles. Not only was the knowledge helpful for questions, it later added texture to the story.
3) Prepared those being interviewed. It’s a good practice to submit your questions to interviewees in advance. This lets people organize their thoughts prior to speaking with you.
4) Listened for “nuggets.” Good stories should contain information not found on websites or LinkedIn profiles. Such nuggets give profiles personality. For example, Resonado’s CEO Brian Cho shared why he chose Notre Dame: an alumnus told him that the university’s alumni network was like having family across the country that was always ready to help. CMO Erikc Perez Perez said when the four founders spent ten weeks on the ground in Silicon Valley networking and learning, they survived on “Red Bull and ramen,” the power diet of startups. Who knew?
5) Confirmed the story was accurate and on-message. Obviously, as a freelance writer, I have to have client approval of whatever I write. But it behooves any writer, corporate or freelance, to allow those featured in a profile, story or press release, to submit drafts for review. The Resonado story approval process was key; no one knows the inside story better than the founders and their fact checking made for a better – and accurate – end product.
The Resonado profile was published August 31st on the IDEA Center website just in time for the Notre Dame football team’s season opener on Labor Day. I encourage you to read it here as the story it tells is a good one. My last piece of advice is to love the story you’re telling. Your passion will shine through and make people want to read to the very last word.
Writing is the my passion. If you want to great content that supports your business or organization’s strategy (and SEO), check out my portfolio and let’s connect. Lux-Writes has the words if you have the time.