Composing the Origin Story

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In comics, origin stories happen when a storyline pauses and takes us back in time so we can learn about how the hero found his or her motivation to start wailing on bad guys and running around in tights.

Origin tales also can be fun ways to learn about a villain’s earlier days – what circumstances and choices propelled someone with a bad attitude into a criminal mastermind, and what happened the first time he or she collided with the superhero?

The same curiosity that causes people to want to know origin stories may also drive them to learn more about your company’s start. Where? When? Why? Who? How?

Even if the actual story is more technical than thrilling – “We used our combined powers and sense of justice to fill out the paperwork to create a LLC and apply for a SBA loan” – in the right hands you can make it relevant to modern customers, whether it happened years or decades ago.

Ideally, the task should be given to people who have been around the longest, maybe even those who started the company. However, in some cases, they may be good at getting a company off the ground, but may not necessarily be as skilled at writing the story.

So a writer can help with this task, preferably someone who has worked with content writing websites plus has story crafting skills. Your official company bio should be a combination of useful text for your site or company marketing materials plus a fun story to read.

The ideal corporate bio should differ from individual bios of company officials, though there may be some overlap.

For instance, Coca-Cola has a separate history section from its leadership section, where each prominent individual has their own bio page.

Wal-Mart also has followed a similar tack, with a general Our Story section, where you can read about the current leadership and corporate structure, plus the history. The history section includes a timeline and a short bio of the company founder Sam Walton.

Your company’s origin story may not be as long or adventure-filled – yet – as the multi-national beverage company or the world’s largest retailer. But you can still make it interesting.

  • Make it fun. You don’t have to go full “zap pow” superhero, but you can make your story light and entertaining.
  • Keep it short. Sam Walton’s story is fascinating. But the company site gives his tale just over 600 words. However, he also penned his own autobiography “Made in America” that provides more insight into his personal and professional success. Apple’s Steve Jobs and Starbucks’ Howard Schulz also wrote their own tales independent of their company sites. If a company founder has more to say, encourage them to write their own tale or have your writing team assist.
  • Update it regularly. Since good web content needs to be refreshed often, don’t just write the bio and walk away. You don’t need to make weekly tweaks, but at least when something significant takes place.

Joe B hopes to be successful enough of a writer someday to have a tell-all book written about him.


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