Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Your profile and product need a story

Here are five elements to incorporate in your Etsy Profile:

1. Nail down precisely why you are relevant.


Right out of the gate you want to establish your relevance for your viewer � who you are, what you do, and who you serve. This is basic positioning. In the case of an Etsy Profile, you want to describe your shop�s focus and specialty (for example, fashion, knits, jewelry, prints, etc.) and for what audience (vintage lovers, tweens, etc.).

2. Fly your freak flag.

Let your audience in on your secret passion. Are you embarrassingly obsessed with pastels? Do you have an entire steampunk ensemble that you wear to cons? Maybe you�re unable to create something that doesn�t have polka dots! Describe what makes your pulse race or your heart sigh contentedly.

3. Explain your superhero origins.


Provide a back story for your passionate streak of genius. Maybe you discovered your true talents in the 4th grade pageant. Go ahead and reveal that crazy thing that happened freshman year of college (if it�s good, they�ll remember you for it). Anchor your brand story in the past, and establish �natural authority� for your subject. Pedigree is always nice, and it can be established in any number of creative ways (your uncle was a tailor, your grandmother was a jungle explorer, your dad is a race car driver�)

4. Show your trophies.

If you�re a DIY revolutionary, you want to balance your story with external validation, so that your authority in your arena doesn�t just feel like fairy tales from the land of make believe (and if your arena is fairy tales from the land of make believe, get some testimonials from Snow White, Donald Duck and the rest of the gang). Mention media outlets, recognition, credentials, or other markers that reinforce your �in-demand� success, although be careful not to lead with bragging and boasting (this can be a total turnoff). Lead with your story first.

5. Be authentic (even if you�re eccentric).


Your Etsy Profile needs your personality. You don�t have to go open kimono and share your entire life story or every detail imaginable, but you do want a few details that are uniquely you � hobbies, guilty pleasures, and idiosyncrasies. For example, I�m left-handed, color-blind, and eat more chocolate than the average human. And my TV guilty pleasures are Millionaire Matchmaker and Celebrity Rehab. Now don�t you suddenly feel like we were separated at birth?

We�re going to explore this and how to apply it to your item descriptions at the Etsy Success Symposium, in my session Get Storied: Why Every Product Needs a Back Story. Have you ever noticed how many of your favorite products come with a little story? From Cabbage Patch dolls to Moleskine notebooks, we love a back story on where an item comes from and how it�s imbued with meaning.

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