What's your company's log line?

As I mentioned in a post the other day, I recently took a Skillshare class about script writing…one of the lessons in that class was focused on how to build your log line. A log line is basically a ‘Tweet-like’ description of your entire script…it’s meant to be short, descriptive, easily understood, and of course as catchy as possible.

In the class, Vince Jolivette suggests you focus on answering these three main questions in a way that a four year old would understand:

  1. Who is your main character?
  2. What do they want?
  3. What is standing in their way?

If you stop to think about it though, this is really universal advice for pitching/communicating any idea or business.

Who is your main character?

You might have lots of different customers or users, but there can only be one 'main’ character.

In the case of Coach Wizard, we believe we provide value to parents, athletes, coaches, league administrators, and even spectators/fans of youth sports…but our main character is 'parents’.

Internally we’ve had lots of debates and discussions about who our main character really should be (and lots of outside parties have shared their opinions on who our main character should be as well)…but at the end of the day, we picked parents because it’s the main character we are most personally invested in and connect with. It’s who *we* understand best and really want to serve the most.

Picking another main character would mean building a *very* different company.

What do they want?

What’s the one core thing that your main character really wants? You might offer a lot of features and services, but there’s got to be one main thing above all else that is your core product/service.

In the case of Coach Wizard, we believe more than anything else parents want to help their kids become better athletes.

Once you’ve picked your main character, and have done the work to really understand them…figuring out what they *really* want will probably be the easiest thing to figure out of all this work. The trick is to focus it down to one main, simple and straightforward thing you believe they are after.

It can’t be X, Y, and Z…it can’t even be X and Y…it has to be only one thing, only X. Why? Because the moment you have more than one thing you want, you have to allow for compromises - and that becomes a lot harder to communicate and a lot harder for people to evaluate.

What is standing in their way?

Within the context of a script, this is meant to introduce the antagonist, or at least the obstacles that you will have your character endure throughout the script. But within the context of business, it should really be about what problems you address (your true value and unique selling points).

If your main character really wants what you say, how are they currently scratching that itch? If they aren’t currently scratching that itch in anyway, you probably haven’t answered question #2 very well. Meanwhile, if they are already happily scratching that itch with something another service/company provides - why will they switch to you?

In the case of Coach Wizard, we believe the obstacles are primarily a lack of time and knowledge. That is, parents are too busy and don’t feel like they have enough knowledge to really coach/help their kids to become better athletes (so we need to provide a solution that is focused on overcoming these obstacles).

Putting it all together.

Once you’ve answered these three questions, Vice also suggests that you try to make your log line as compelling and interesting as possible. The goal here, he states, is that you want to get people asking 'what if’…to pull them into wanting/reading more.

So for Coach Wizard, our combined log line from the answers above comes out to be something like:

Coach Wizard is a tool for busy parents to help their kids become better athletes.

Not bad, and not too far off our current one-liner on the site “Coach your kid anything in minutes” but if I’m totally honest, also kind of boring.

It doesn’t really get me asking 'what if’ or even 'how’…it doesn’t make me want to dig into the service, create an account, or even see a demo.

However, it does communicate the basic idea clean and simple - so it’s a good internal guide and a start…but clearly there’s still some work to be done before it can be used as our official teaser/tweet/log line…so stay tuned!

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

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