Storytelling Tips for Startups 

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Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in today’s marketing landscape. Although its history goes back hundreds of years, developments in technology and increasing number of communication channels, make it popular again.

What is Storytelling?

With a business perspective, storytelling can be defined as sharing business stories with your target audience to engage with them. By using business storytelling, you can tell the purpose of your startup, who is behind it, what it stands for and what it has achieved etc.

Benefits for Startups

A startup means a brand-new story.  As a startup, you are at the very beginning of your journey. So, it is the right time to build your story. Having a storytelling strategy helps you not only to introduce yourself correctly but also to make a good start in building a strong brand identity.

With storytelling, you can connect your startup with different stakeholders including clients, prospects, partners, potential partners, investors etc. Storytelling also helps you to;

   -Attract a large audience

   -Connect with people on an emotional level

   -Have an advantage over your competitors

   -Build trust

   -Increase customer loyalty

Storytelling Tips

To succeed in storytelling, you need to focus on each element of your story. A good story fits the audience, speaks their language in a way that is touching and inspiring. It also offers some emotional details that allow readers to engage with. By following the tips below, you can make the best of storytelling as startup marketing tool.

Consider your audience

Without knowing who exactly your audience is, you cannot catch the right tone to tell your story. First of all, you need to understand the demographics (such as gender, age, interests etc.) of the specific audience you are targeting. This will allow you to speak their language and build your story with the messages they can engage with.

Include personal elements

Good stories give the audience something they can relate to. That is why, putting something personal, like an experience from your own life, your feelings etc. will make your story come alive. In other words, by adopting a personal tone, you can make your story touching and inspiring. Personality gives a flavor to your story, makes it appealing to others and differentiates it from dull marketing content.

Don’t ignore sensual details

While you are sharing a story, do it in a way that lets your audience envision the details. You need to get your audience to have a similar feeling like yours. In other words, tell a story which helps people see, hear, taste, smell, and feel your message. By providing details that help your audience easily empathize with, you can connect with them on an emotional level. This allows you to persuade your audience through your story in a way that builds trust and loyalty.

 Use a story structure

People tell stories for ages. Even topics and methods vary today, some basic points never change. Basic story structure includes the following stages: ‘setup’, ‘conflict’ and ‘resolution.’ The same structure can be applied to startup storytelling in different forms like blog posts, emails, case studies and pitch decks. While ‘setup’ can be used for introduction; ‘conflict’ can define the pain points and needs of customers and finally ‘resolution’ introduces the solution which can be a product, service or new approach.

 Use the right format

Today, the number of communication channels we have is higher than ever.  And each channel allows us to tell our stories in different formats; including text, photograph, video, podcast and so on. These formats have a huge impact on storytelling: they determine how we tell our stories. That is why, choosing the right format is an important decision to make in startup storytelling. While choosing the format, consider; the overall goal of your story, the message you want to give, the preferences of your audience, the channel(s) you are planning to use, and decide accordingly. Of course, you can use different channels and formats simultaneously; but you will need to adopt an integrated approach. Thus, each channel and format will work together in harmony to give a consistent message regarding your story.

Conclusion

As a startup, you are at the very beginning of your journey and it is the best time to start building your story. When crafted strategically, storytelling helps you to tell your audience; who you are, what you do, what you know about their pain points and what you offer as a solution. By combining story elements with personal details, you can produce a feeling of familiarity and trust which result in stronger connection with your audience.

 

Basic PR Tips for Startups

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Public Relations (PR) is not among the favorite marketing tools of startups. Actually, many startups view it as an expensive method with unclear results. That is why, they neglect this unnecessary expenditure.

However, unlike traditional PR, today’s digital PR; has hundreds of analytics tools, can track user activity from a media placement to a website visit and enables accurate measurement of PR efforts. So, startups can better evaluate their results to make better decisions.

PR can provide unexpected benefits for startups in addition to act as an effective communication method. The right PR can help startups build user bases, increase sales potential and attract interest from venture capitalists etc.

What is PR?

PR is the acronym for public relations and is defined as; “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics” by The Public Relations Society of America. As a form of marketing, public relations uses publicity and nonpaid forms of promotion to positively influence people about a company, its products and services.

How can PR help startups?

PR can help startups build trust, create brand awareness, improve SEO results by increasing online visibility and contributes to sales by making it easier to reach out prospect customers.

Raising awareness

· Being covered on the media means reaching out more people.

· The more people talk about your company and products, the more you will be on the media again.

· This will create a snowball effect: more people-more media coverage opportunities vice versa.

· So, you will raise awareness of your startup, product or service.

Building trust

 PR;

· helps you get press coverage which is seen more trustworthy than paid content.

· increases your chances to be reviewed by a journalist.

· helps you position yourself as a thought leader.

· establishes credibility for the reader.

· helps brands gain and keep customer trust.

 Increasing Online Visibility

· Qualified PR content means higher organic search results.

· According to Search Engine Watch, up to 64% of all website hits come from organic search.

· When you get covered by a big site, you can get a ton of exposure.

· With qualified PR content including online press releases and articles, you can increase the traffic of your website.

· Your online visibility raises accordingly.

· This will increase your chance to be seen by more people.

Increasing Sales Opportunities

· Increasing sales potential is a natural result of qualified PR efforts.

· The more coverage you get on the media, the more your awareness raises.

· When your awareness raises, you can reach more people.

· This increases your chances to convince them that your product is worth trying.

Basic PR Tips for Startups

Don’t ignore content quality

· Have a short, well-thought and to the point piece of content.

· Include attention-grabbing elements in your content.

· Don’t send copy-paste content that would never pull a journalist’s attention.

· Don’t limit yourself with traditional press releases, use different types of content like infographics, videos, etc.

· Prepare media kits that include useful elements like company profile, product description and related photos and videos.

 Speak the same language with journalists

· Identify your target media outlets and journalists.

· Use the power of social media not only to reach your target audience but also to reach the journalists.

· Consider your audience’s preferences while deciding on the media channels you will use.

· Know what is newsworthy and make your story exclusive to each journalist.

· Consider timing when sharing content with a journalist.

As a powerful marketing tool, PR can provide various benefits for startups and early-stage companies. With the right tactics, PR not only helps startups raise awareness, build trust and increase online visibility but also contributes to their growth by increasing sales opportunities.

SEO 101: Introduction to SEO for Startups

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As a startup, your website is among your main assets. A website that ranks high in search results means high impression and high visitor numbers. The more your website is visited, the more you interact with your prospect customers. And this points to the importance of SEO as a marketing tool.

In simplest terms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving traffic to a website by increasing the site's visibility in search results.

Today, SEO is one of the most important components of a marketing strategy and your startup certainly needs it. Because SEO;

· makes your website visible to not only humans but also search engines.

· produces high traffic and high conversion rates.

· is free.

· is the main tool for gaining web presence.

· is a must in today’s competition.

You don’t need to be a veteran to enjoy the benefits of SEO. By following these basic steps below, you can make a good start to your Do-It-Yourself SEO efforts.

Before starting: Understand the logic behind search engines

Although there are several search engines including Yahoo, Bing, etc. Google is the king. And you can understand the logic behind search engines by understanding Google. The entire purpose of Google is to provide users with the most relevant search results.  And to return the most relevant result, Google answers the following questions:

· How many times does this page contain your keywords?

· Do these words appear in the URL, title and description?

· Is this page from a quality website?

· How many outside links point to this page and how important are these links?

Basic SEO Tips for Beginners

There are two main components of a DIY SEO strategy:

1) Creating SEO-friendly content

2) Building qualified links

Let’s take a deeper look at these components:

1) Creating SEO-friendly content

Google aims to show the most relevant sites in the search results. This means a site which better answers the questions of users, is ranked higher. So, considering SEO tactics while creating content on your website, plays a crucial role in your success. To create SEO-friendly content;

Create unique and original content

· Be authentic instead of writing content that can be easily found anywhere.

· Understand user intent by finding out the reason of their search.

· Consider your audience and provide useful information that solves a real problem for them.

· If you are going to write about a popular topic, find the best example and write an improved version of it.

Optimize the title and headline

· While headlines are for humans, titles are for search engines.

· For the best result; both titles and headlines need to be optimized.

· Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, and think about the keywords they use in their searches.

· Include these keyword, at least your focus keyword in the headline.

· Aim for a title of 55-60 characters, this is what Google will display on the search engine result page.

Use the right keywords

· Ignore the legend that says keywords are not important for SEO anymore and try to use them in context and at the right balance.

· Ensure your keywords are up-to-date by using keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner, Yoast Suggests, Moz Keyword Explorer… etc.

· Be more specific and focus on a single keyword at the beginning.

· Think about starting with long tail keywords- very exact keywords with lower competition instead of popular keywords.

· Do not sacrifice the quality of your content to include more keywords.

Aim for readability

· Use a simple language with active voice.

· Use short sentences and short paragraphs.

· Avoid using jargon, be as simple as possible.

· Divide text into sections in a clean and organized manner. 

· Check the readability of your content by using apps like Hemingway, Read-able, etc.

Use optimized images

· Always use images in your content, nobody would like to read a chunk of text.

· Use qualified and relevant images.

· Add a title or alt text for your image to make it reachable by search engines.

· Include your focus keyword in the alt tags of the images.

2) Building qualified links

Building internal and external links which is also known as interlinking is an important part of SEO. By building relevant and qualified links, you not only help your visitors receive additional information; but also help search engines better understand what your website is about. Whether you’re linking internally or externally, make sure that every link serves its own purpose in your content.

Internal links

Internal links are links that point to other pages on the same website. By using internal links, you can send visitors to different pages of your website. Internal links increases the visibility of your site while providing your readers additional information. Internal links also help search engines better understand what your website is about. With internal links, you can;

· increase page views on your site

· help users to easily navigate within your site

· increase the time spent on your site

· reduce bounce rate

External links

External links cover both inbound and outbound links. An inbound link which is also known as a backlink, is a link coming from another site to your own website. And an outbound link is a link from your website to another site.

The authority of a site increases in parallel with the links it receives from other sites. Higher authority brings higher ranking in search results. In other words, external links points to reliability of your website. By linking qualified websites, you can provide additional resources for your readers and increase the credibility of your content through outbound links.

Building good inbound links require you take various actions which are known as off-page SEO. Publishing online articles on industry news sites, commenting on other blogs and sites, becoming a guest blogger, sharing links on social media are among these actions.

Conclusion

As a startup, SEO is an indispensable component of your marketing strategy. Although SEO is a long-term investment which requires time, it guarantees effective results and high ROI if done properly. By creating unique and original content and working on building quality links, you can make a good start to your SEO efforts.

 

Basic Presentation Tips for Startups

As a startup, making presentations is among your important tasks. Presentations play a crucial role in telling your story. With a well-prepared presentation, you can target any stakeholder including investors, prospect customers, potential partners etc. You can use presentations for different purposes including providing information about a specific situation, introducing a product or service, persuading your targets, explaining a business plan or strategy and making a sales pitch.

Getting Started

While preparing a presentation, you need to answer the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve, what is my goal?
  • Who am I targeting?
  • What will be the context of my presentation?
  • What will be the content?
  • How will my presentation look like?

Goal

The goal of your presentation defines the result that you would like to reach. Before starting to work on the content and design of your presentation, you need to set your goal. Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve with this presentation? Answers may vary: to provide information, to convince, to sell and so on. Your answer will determine the rest of your presentation.

Target Audience

The more you understand your target audience, the better you answer their needs in your presentations. While defining your audience try to answer the following questions:

  • Who is my audience?
  • How much do they know about my presentation topic?
  • What do they expect from my presentation?
  • What kind of presentation style they are got used to?
  • Why are they reading/ listening to my presentation?

 Context

The context of your presentation determines how your message will be understood by your audience. For example, will it be an oral or written presentation? If you are going to speak at an event, you will have an oral presentation. So the presentation you will prepare may include less text and more images since you can explain your slides by speaking. But if it will be a written presentation that will be published on an online medium like Slideshare, or will be sent to a customer; then you will need more text since you will not be able to explain your slides by speaking.

Content  

The content of your presentation defines what you are going to say. While creating your presentation content; you can follow the steps below by answering the related questions: 

  • Determine your key message. What should your audience remember at the end of the presentation?
  • You need to develop your ideas around your key message. While developing these ideas, consider if;
    • your key message is your most critical message,
    • your ideas are clear and concise for your target audience,
    • your messages are convincing enough to persuade your audience,
    • any of your ideas needs improvement.
  • Support your key message with statistics and emotional proofs. Why should your audience care about your message?
  • Try to make a benefit for your audience. How can you frame each point with a clear benefit that concerns your audience?

Design

Visual design has a major impact on the success of your presentation. A good design can help you close a deal, win new clients, or simply influence and convince your audience effectively.

Take into account the following details while designing your presentation:

  • Support your content with graphic evidence including photos, images, tables and charts.
  • Do not use too many bullets on a slide.
  • Use each slide to express one idea, do not include more than 5 lines of text.
  • Instead of using cluttered slide themes included in your software, start with a clean and plain background.
  • Maintain a strong contrast between text and background.
  • Use readable fonts with appropriate sizes. For example, sans serif fonts can be easier to read.
  • Do not use too many colors at once, instead, use close colors from a palette in a way that provides consistency.
  • Instead of using too many images on one slide, use a single image.

Include high quality images. You can use free stock photos if you cannot afford paid photos.

Creating effective presentations, requires not only know-how but also hard work. Although getting professional services can be an option, startups generally adopt a do-it-yourself approach due to limited budgets. Thanks to free training resources and design tools on the Internet, startups can create useful presentations at no cost. The tips above can also guide them through the preparation process.