My startup launched recently, but going live wasn’t the beginning of our story.
We already had an audience long before launch – a group of folks waiting with bated breath for our official arrival into the world.
Every startup should be so lucky, and every startup can.
From the very beginning, we blogged about who we are and what we were building. Other than programming, blogging is easily the number one tool for our successful launch. Your startup should be blogging too. Here’s why:
You Have A Story To Tell
No doubt, your idea is amazing. But if no one knows your story, will they understand just how amazing it is? Behind every great idea lies a great story, and your startup needs to be in the business of telling stories.
Every product has a story.
Where did you get the idea? How did you come to find your inspiration? What did you see happen that inspired you to create? While these moments may have been mundane at first, they can likely be crafted into a compelling storyline that catches people’s attention.
Build Buzz, blah, blah, blah
Fine. Every startup has a blog. I get that.
But do you really use it?
It is easy to start a blog with self-promotion in mind. It is easy to talk about what you are doing, but that really isn’t the story that people want to hear. A good story tells why. It cuts to the heart, and it isn’t focused on “building buzz.” It is focused on sharing your idea with the world. It is about giving people something to grab on to.
Your goal isn’t to build buzz, it is to make a connection. When we learn to focus on that, the storyline starts finding itself.
How We Blogged CoSchedule To Launch
We launched our content marketing editorial calendar with a story. It wasn’t complicated, and it was tremendously rewarding. Here’s the simple formula:
- Get Blog.
- Post weekly (or daily).
- Share everything.
In early January we launched a simple landing page to showcase our idea. Nothing special, just a page with an idea and a signup box where folks could “get updates” on our progress. We didn’t do much with the page. We just put it out there and let the email addresses drip in.
It was simple, and so was our blog. Nothing fancy, just a solid WordPress theme and a commitment to the trade.
We wrote one post per week in the beginning, with moments of additional activity here and there.
Blog posts were automatically emailed to our list, in their entirety.
Not so hard, nor revolutionary, but a total game-changer. In the end, though, the key to success wasn’t the method, it was the content.
We Crafted A Storyline
We didn’t make it up. We had a story. We were a young startup from the middle of nowhere. We were building our first major application for the WordPress platform. We were unproven, unremarkable, and willing to put ourselves on the line.
We were an underdog with nothing to lose.
Everybody loves an underdog.
We were also trying our hand at the lean startup, a process that many entrepreneurs are familiar with, but eludes most attempts. By sharing this process with our readers, and letting them in on our story, we made them a part of our journey.
It became a big part of our story. As well as so many other things.
We provided regular updates — We included regular updates on what we were building, making the reader a part of the process.
We asked for feedback —Constantly showing our audience that they were, in fact, a real part of the process. This was great for the product and our launch story.
We showcased key decisions—Everybody wants to be a part of a startup. By showcasing what seems like mundane decisions, you bring an audience with you.
We confessed our failures—A storyline without conflict isn’t story at all. Warts and all, go for it!
We acknowledged their needs—Users show up for a reason. We invested some time into understanding why they cared about what we were building. This gave us huge motivation.
We provided them with value—The major tenant of content marketing is providing readers with value. We did this too. No one complained.
We crafted a storyline—The simple act of sharing and listening during the start phase created a story of its own.
Looking back, I am really proud of the story that CoSchedule told, and is still telling. But, even more than that, I am amazed by the potential that storytelling holds for any young startup. There is so much more that we could have done, and there is so much more that you could be doing – just by telling a simple launch story.