Always Tell a Story

Thinking about what works for entrepreneurs and what doesn’t, it occurred to me that it’s not always enough to do the right things. You have to do the right things in the right order.

That sounds hard. It is tough enough to know what the right things are, without also knowing what order to do them in.

But the order matters. Adding a particular investor first helps you get the interest of others. There is a right order to seek investors.

There is a right order in which to seek press and PR for your products, and possibly a different order that’s best for your company as a whole.

You could call it “strategic,” but that implies that it might be hard to figure out, or that a wrong move might cost you dearly. That’s probably not quite right; but there is usually one story that’s better than the others.

I think in the end we are all just telling stories: about ourselves, our companies, and our products. We tell a story to prospective employees, and all sales is really storytelling.

So here’s the trick: tell a good story. If you tell a story that has good characters doing interesting things in a compelling order, you’ll win.

And the inverse is also true. Tell a sad story, or a boring one, or one where the elements don’t build towards a climax, and odds are, you won’t get very far.

So the next time you’re worrying over strategy, or wondering how to get investors interested in what you’re doing, start thinking about your story: the characters, their beliefs, the heroes, and the villains.

Write a story that motivates you, and odds are, others will want to play a part too.


#1 Scott Paley on 07.04.11 at 12:47 pm

Basically the premise of Seth Godin’s All Marketers are Liars.

#2 Dave Troy on 07.04.11 at 1:06 pm

I make a point of not reading Godin, so no one can accuse me of plagiarism. 🙂 Seriously, he makes some good points and many things, like the subject of this post, need to be said again and again and reach as wide an audience as possible!

#3 Scott Paley on 07.04.11 at 1:12 pm

Probably good you don’t read him, since he’s basically said all there is to be said about marketing. That would leave nothing left for you if you wanted to be original. 😉

#4 Mario Armstrong on 07.04.11 at 4:24 pm

This is spot on! As a person that receives tons of pitches a week asking to be featured or reviewed, the pitches that I/we in the media are most excited about are one’s that have a story. However, getting a story in a pitch is very rare, it’s always here’s the product and its features blah, blah, blah!! Unfortunately too many PR firms aren’t even good at storytelling. As an entrepreneur myself, I would suggest that before hiring any PR firm that you really vet their ability to craft a strong story for you and not just a simple features-driven message.