Sorry Storify, I Totally Don’t Get It

It’s tough being a startup.

Not only do they need to create a product or service that fills a void or need (or, at least, convinces potential users they have a void or need that needs fillings), they have to do an excellent job of marketing themselves to rise above the competition.

This is why messaging is so important. In a world in which people are time-strapped and multi-tasking, startups only get one shot to make an impression. If they fail to capture someone’s attention right away, it’s end of story, even if the service has some value or usefulness.

As much as I don’t like to criticize people doing hard work, an excellent case studies is Storify, which presented today at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

Storify is a real-time curation platform to help journalists, bloggers and experts tell stories with elements of the social Web. It is, therefore, somewhat ironic that Storify does a bad job of telling its own story.

In particular, Storify fails to explain why anyone would want to use its service. Here’s Storify’s explanation about why someone would use it.

“That’s up to you! You can create a story around an event using social media from people who were there, or put together a story using your own Tweets and photos. If you’re a business, you can use it to compile what people are saying about your product. You can also make an online scrapbook from a wedding or party with posts from your friends.”

The problem is Storify is making me figure it out. When I’m checking out a new service, I don’t want to do the work; I want a start-up to clearly explain why they do and, more important, what’s in for me (the user). Storify needs to do a much better job explaining the benefits of using it services other than to “put together a story”. Sorry, that’s not good enough. Instead, it really has to explain why its service is better or different than other social media tools.

Another problem spot for Storify is its corporate demo video. Right off the bat, I want to know what the service does. It has to be clear and well-articulated. I want to quickly think “Yes, I totally get it”. Instead, the video is unclear. It’s hard not to get the impression that Storify was rushed out of the gate too quickly. If you haven’t nailed your messaging, it can be kill any chance of getting traction, even if the service is pretty good.

Storify demo from Burt Herman on Vimeo.

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