The Power of the Founder Story – 5 tips to build your startup’s credibility

How to write your Startup's Founder Story

Every founder has a story to tell. Whether good, bad or indifferent, it is the human side of the journey that often provokes the most interest among journalists. What many founders don’t always understand however, is that it’s not all about the product, but the wider journey, the trials and tribulations that form each (often slippery) stepping stone for entrepreneurs.

Jeff Bezos quit his job to pack books in his garage on desks made of doors to create Amazon. Steve Jobs was fired by Apple only to later come back and save it. Two young computer engineers called Larry and Sergey built a system called BackRub that grew into the Google we know today. Mark Zuckerberg started something called ‘thefacebook’  at Harvard and became a college dropout. Every major tech company today has a powerful founder story, but so does every startup. Have you worked out the most compelling way to tell your founder story?


Crafting The Perfect Founder Story


With millions of ambitious founders across the world, it’s vital for them to be able to identify their USP before doing any PR. Founders need to ask themselves what differentiates them from everyone else, why the journalist should interview them as opposed to a competitor and, most importantly, why people should care about their product. Is it changing the world? If not, how can they get across that it could make a significant impact?

At ClearStory International we specialise in helping you to craft and tell your story in a way that will draw journalists to you. Like bees to honey, we specialise in creating that buzz about you and your product through organically developing that special substance that will attract the media to it.

If you are looking to leverage your own startup story, here are 5 ways to build your credibility:


1. Tell the story around your product

You may love your product and it’s functionality but, think of it this way, would your neighbour? How can you make your neighbour care? The best way to do this is to look at the wider story and identify which parts people can relate to. What challenges did you face? How did you overcome those challenges? This is the sweetener in our honey which is formulating.

2. Uncover what it is that makes you interesting – ask your family and friends

A key way to help figure out what makes you interesting is by asking your family and friends. You would be surprised at what grabs people’s attention. Apply those nuggets to your story, to give it that syrup-like texture.

3. Discuss the challenges you faced along the way in your story as a founder

Everyone, everywhere has encountered obstacles. Just remember, people love to read a good story as much as journalists like writing about one. Whether you spent your last 50 cent on printing a flyer or you managed to raise €500 in funding through cat sitting, the more unusual your story is, the better. Also don’t be afraid to discuss failure as a key component in helping you develop your product. Everyone loves a good rags to riches story (even if you’re not rich – yet!)

4. Share your company’s ambitions

Journalists love to write about people with ambition. Where do you want to take this company as a founder? Is the sky the limit or are you set on space? This is your honeycomb.

Help the bees land on your startup's windowsill with a compelling founder story


5. Don’t forget the details – include facts and figures!

Facts and figures are hugely important to any story and, as a founder, you have access to choose from all of them. A journalist will want to know just how much time, money and willpower you have invested in your idea. They will also want to generate a good success story should you achieve your ambition a few years down the line. Don’t be shy. Unless that information is strictly confidential you should willingly shout it from the rooftops. Do so and we guarantee those bees will land on your windowsill. 

Rebecca Lee

Strategic Director for ClearStory International, Freelance Broadcaster & Journalist of 18 years An established media and communications specialist and marketing graduate of UCD Smurfit Business School, Rebecca manages editorial both general and strategic at ClearStory International. Rebecca provides expert direction for client campaigns across the globe as well as managing PR for major tech conferences including Unbound, Techsauce Global Summit and others. Rebecca has written for many leading newspapers in Ireland and the UK such as The Irish Independent, The Sun, The Sunday World, The Mail on Sunday, The Sunday Business Post and The Irish Daily Star.

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