From Dull to Dazzling: How to Do Storytelling that Attracts and Engages
How do you attract prospects when you’re a boot-strapped B2B or SaaS business?
Even more challenging, how does it happen if you don’t have many customers or a marketing budget?
You need three key ingredients:
- A different, interesting or unique angle. It’s an intriguing, exciting, curious, and different story. It’s a story that stands out — even in a small way.
- A champion or advocate willing to tell your story on your behalf. It’s a customer who sees value from the product, even though they may be the only one.
- A strategic plan about what to do, who to target, and how to pitch a story that resonates.
It’s a straightforward “recipe,” but it requires creativity, an appetite for risk, and a willingness to tell a story that requires a leap of faith.
And in many cases, it requires a third-party perspective, someone who can see the possibilities because they’re not engrossed in the day-to-day operations of a business.
This scenario appeared recently when I was approached the brother of an entrepreneur who is breeding crickets. I’m talking about millions of crickets.
While the sale of crickets, which are high in protein, hasn’t generated a lot of momentum for human consumption, the business has sold into a couple of markets as experiments.
One of them was a golf course, which was using a mixture of cricket shells and excrement as a fertilizer.
As you can imagine, the golf course was willing to try a new product. And it was happy and probably pleasantly surprised when the fertilizer performed well.
It’s a promising marketing idea, right?
But here’s the thing: the entrepreneur only viewed it as a business transaction. The focus was straightforward: how to sell cricket fertilizer to other golf courses.
As an ex-journalist and die-hard storyteller, I had a different perspective.
What if you could pitch a story about the amazing properties of cricket fertilizer to golf magazines, bloggers, and podcasters?
It’s an “out there” idea, but it should drive curiosity and get people to bite on a story that goes against the grain. Remember, different is better because it surprises and intrigues people.
That’s the concept. Now, let’s talk about the mechanics:
First, the company has to get the golf course onboard.
It has to demonstrate that it’s a win-win proposition.
For the company, it’s an opportunity to attract the spotlight to build brand awareness drive sales of cricket fertilizer.
For the golf course, it’s a unique way to attract more players, establish a reputation as a pioneer, and build the brand of the person who decided that cricket fertilizer was a product worth embracing.
The company could offer a discount on cricket fertilizer to the golf course to sweeten the offer. There’s nothing like saving money to close a deal.
Second, the company needed to build a list of magazines, newspapers, radio shows, Websites, blogs, and podcasters who cover golf.
There are thousands of potential targets, so the key strategic step is establishing and segmenting the list.
It means researching each target to understand the type of stories that resonate, the editorial options (e.g. guest posts, Q&A, podcast, long-form features), and who’s responsible for writing and editing stories.
Third, the company must develop a well-crafted pitch that puts the spotlight on the wonders of cricket fertilizer and how a forward-thinking golf course is reaping the benefits.
Hopefully, the combination of an interesting product and enthusiastic customer is enough to make targets realize that the product exists and it has been validated by a customer.
The pitch would include interviews with company’s CEO and a representative from the golf course who can provide real-world insight into how the cricket fertilizer is used and why it has worked so well.
Amid fierce competition, this type of outreach hinges on a story that depends on sparking someone’s curiosity.
But when you have a limited or non-existing marketing budget, it’s a challenge to attract earned media. You need to be creative and willing to accept rejection as part of the process.
You also need to think out of the box and tell a different story (a point emphasized in a great podcast featuring Devin Read).
Looking for help crafting stories that attract and engage key stakeholders? Book a free 30-minute discovery call.