It’s all about the story.

campfire storytelling

Open source and decentralized projects suffer from one thing in particular. Lack of marketing.

How can that ever be overcome?

Marketing needs to come from the community and the project itself, but those people are often busy with the project and well, life. Also, marketing may not be in their wheelhouse. So, I’m always wondering how we can help these awesome communities and people.

Before we delve into how to help, we really should think about why? One of the unique things about decentralized and open source projects and communities is that they probably don’t need marketing like a corporate product does. The people involved in creating and using these projects are developing, supporting and using them simply because they need them or just want them. It is the culture of- if you want it, make it.

Ok, so why market for these open source and decentralized projects?

They could almost always use more help. From what I can tell, the majority of the benifits they could get are from more and better help in creating, testing and updating. That is a special kind of marketing, but it is just marketing.

Probably the most powerful marketing tools of all time is simple story telling.

Here is a great example of a simple and effective story:

Ps. You should share that all over the place.

Here are four tips to telling a good story.

Get out of the comfort zone. All story arks need an obstacle to overcome.

My obstacle today is definitely overcoming my resistance to going downtown to meet with the makers at Hive13 here in Cincinnati.

This is something I initiated and something I really want to do, but if I had my way, it would be early in the day. I’m an early bird. No doubt about that. Being an early bird is great and all, except that it seems the rest of the world is not into the early thing. It’s been a thing my whole life.

Anyway, although I’m really curious and interested in them and their space, I don’t really like going down there at 7:30 pm and trying to find a place for my SuperDuty in a crowded, dark, and unknown place. I will definitely be out of my comfort zone. I don’t even like NOT crowded, unknown places. It’s sort of a thing.

But, that is exactly what might make for an interesting video. New people, new place (a maker space) and new ideas. How could that not be interesting?

It might sound obvious, but a story must have a beginning, middle and end.

If you can define what the beginning and end are going to be, the middle tends to fill itself. Using the tips I’m talking about here, put a little adversity in it and hopefully make things more interesting.

Create good interviews to weave through the footage.

The most compelling thing about a story is the voice that is telling it. In short documentary or the like, it will likely be a bit of so called “B-roll” and people talking about something. The B-roll is just footage of the area in a bit of an indirect tie to the area or just some general background footage.

It is important here to make sure you have excellent audio. Obviously, you want to be able to understand what the person telling the story is saying. Its even more important than that, thought. Audio quality is much more important than video quality to keep your audience interested. One the best ways to turn people off of your work is to have sub par audio. People will just go away.

Capture all the elements, especially the tough ones. It’s these moment that you are least likely to be filming.

Emotions are the key footage. When trouble starts happening, that’s when the first impulse is to set the camera down and focus on the problem at hand. Now, clearly, if it is a safety issue, then you should absolutely put safety first.

If it is just a comfort issue, then stay the course! You may feel like not showing what you think may turn into failure, but that is exactly what your audience might be most interested in. I’m not meaning to see that they want to see you fail, but that there is a lot to be gained from seeing it.

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