The successful telling of the story around a product is recognized to be as important as the product itself. This is especially essential for start-ups looking to stake their claim in the market, Ian Truscott shares his experience.

I am not sure if it’s possible to meet a marketer who does not understand the value of content marketing, but if you are an entrepreneur at the helm of a small organization navigating the choppy and chaotic waters of starting out, it may not be high on the list.

But, as everyone from Godin to Jobs is quoted as saying; the story of the product or brand is as important as the product itself.

The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.

Steve Jobs

Successful tech start-ups figure this out fast – and here are five reasons why:

1.    The process brings focus

The very act of thinking about the product story, of taking a moment to consider its place in the market, its competitors, how useful it is, how the consumer might perceive the product, brings focus to the product and way the company will take it to market.

Many tech start-ups are fantastic concepts, ideas, bits of code, wrapped in the use case that inspired its invention. It’s a set of features with maybe one idea (or a million ideas) of how this might be useful to someone.

The process of thinking about how you might tell the story, of taking an outside-in approach and considering where this product sits in the consumers life can either widen the lens to include other use cases that have not been considered or narrowly focus the idea to something that can be effectively executed.

Wherever the starting point is, the process itself fine hones the value proposition, the reason for the product and the direction to take.

2.    The problem has to be sold

The challenge with having a new solution, is that not everyone understands the problem and, as any old marketing sage will tell you, consumers don’t care about your product, they only care about their problem. So, we need to make damn sure that they care about the problem being solved by marketing it and making the client the centre of the story.

Defining a new market or category requires the need to describe the change that is happening, who will be the winners and losers through this change and to paint a picture of the promised land that the client will be transported to if they solve this problem.

Only then, when the consumer cares about the problem will they be receptive to listening to the solution and the evidence it can be delivered.

3.    It stakes the claim

An expression that of course comes from the gold rush, of prospectors putting out stakes to show the border of their claim, the area in which they could work. In the same way telling the story of the category stakes out the space in which the competition will now need to play. It shapes the definition on the problem being solved, a story that is of course tilted to the strengths of your product.

Being first to market with a product is great but being first to market with the story sets the scene, as your version of the truth becomes the rules of the game, or at least influences the shape of this emerging category or disrupts an existing one.

Being first to market with a product is great but being first to market with the story sets the scene, your version of the truth becomes the rules of the game

4.    It builds trust

I talk a lot about how marketing has three goals; raise awareness, grow revenue and build trust (that I call ART). If this three-legged stool can have a more important leg, today that leg would be trust. Buyers are way too cynical for that “leading vendor” bullshit and a whole list of features, they want something useful that addresses their needs and solves a problem.

There are plenty of studies that show B2B buyers interact with an increasing amount of content before making a decision or even interacting with the vendor – for example according to statistics assembled by Hubspot 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

Creating a brand story and telling it humanizes the brand, makes the solution relatable and if delivered authentically, disarms the buyer of their cynicism and builds trust.

5.    It builds awareness

Not every tech start-up has a massive marketing budget, however by creating client orientated, useful content through this approach, this content becomes a beacon that attracts an audience and becomes a very cost-effective way to gain awareness, as people seek out and share useful content.

Plus of course, the more “traditional” inbound activities as the search engine algorithms strive to reward good quality content and rank this higher. In turn this good content delivers more backlinks, moving it up the ranks of the search engines credibility-o-meter.  

It works!

There we have it five reasons why successful tech start-ups invest in content marketing, it focuses the solution, elevates the pain of the problem in the mind of the potential buyer, it defines the category and delivers awareness and trust.