I have to write some website copy for a new version of Andela.com that the team and I are shipping in a few weeks. It’s daunting to look at a fresh Google doc and the skeleton of a sitemap and wireframes. I have a growing list of things to get done and I’m tempted to just treat this like a flu shot: just get it over with. At the same time, I know that Andela deserves better than that. Our story is a powerful one, but it’s complex. It’s art and science, business with a mission, aspirational, but practical all at once.

Had some quality Lorem Ipsum time yesterday. My new favorite writing spots: East One Coffee and 61 Local in Cobble Hill. Also, new Dumbo House is so pretty.

What’s getting me over this writing hump this morning is one of my favorite marketing gems from Seth Godin: “Ode: How to Tell a Great Story”. 

A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.

Great stories make a promise. They promise fun, safety or a shortcut. The promise needs to be bold and audacious. It’s either exceptional or it’s not worth listening to…

Great stories happen fast. First impressions are far more powerful than we give them credit for…

The whole post is worth a read, but the closing is particularly poignant:

Most of all, great stories agree with our world view. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.

As I write this copy deck, I have to remember that I’m not writing for everyone. I’m writing for people who believe that diverse and distributed engineering teams are more important than ever.

There’s so much story to tell, but I’m determined to do this first chapter justice.


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