I had written a blog on the kinds of stories that every startup needs to have. So what makes for a great story? I am going to share some thoughts on what makes for great stories. The objective of a great story is to be viral and drive greater discovery. Whether that is amongst the investors or customers. The more that people hear about you, the more good things happen for you.
Stories that go viral have a few necessary characteristics. Here are the characteristics of a viral story:
Simplicity – A viral story is simple and can be passed onto others quite easily. Simplicity is also important for it to be easily remembered and repeated. If your listener is not able to remember the story then they would never tell the story to another person. So you need to take effort to ensure that your story is as simple as possible.
Unfalsifiability – Good stories are hard to disprove. This what provide them with an air of authenticity. If your story has timelines that do not add up or seem improbable then not too many people are going to want to share it.
Conviction – The extend to which you are certain is the extent to which someone else is certain. Your conviction and certainty in how you narrate the story will play a huge role in the certainty with which I tell another.
Contagiousness – For a story to be shared it has to appeal to a broad audience. This does not mean that the story has to be about many or align with their views. It means that the story has to elicit a very fundamental human emotional response. That response can be love, hope, hatred or disgust depending on what your story is trying to convey but it should universally elicit the same response. To be spreadable, a story needs to be contagious—something people feel deeply compelled to share and that applies equally to many people.
Incentives – The incentive to the person telling the story can be purely in the form of amazement that they can attract from the listener or the knowledge that they seem to have. If they can add value for the listener by enabling them to benefit in some way by knowing it, its a cherry on the cake. For instance, do you know this company – Airbnb – They make it possible for you to stay at other people apartments that are lying empty, it can bring down your travel bill so much!
So do you think that your story has all of these aspects right?