Blackbird Studios | Storyteller | Remote within US only
Blackbird Studios is looking for a Storytelling and Communications Expert to propel our vision and our impact internally and externally.
Who You Are
Do you have a passion for crystallizing verbal and visual storytelling? Are you fascinated by the power of story to shape culture, build resonance, and inspire action? Might the idea of working for a company that focuses on human-centered digital products for different stakeholders on different products intrigue you? We have an exciting vision at play for developing digital products at the highest level (and it’s working!) and are looking for someone to jump in with us to evolve the efficacy of our vision as we continue to grow.
With you as our inhouse Storytelling and Communications Expert, you would lead how we best craft, package, and express our mission, values, principles, processes, and the impact of our work to our internal talent, our clients, and design partners in different ways.
You are a self-starter, comfortable working autonomously to research and identify opportunity areas, or facilitate getting input and feedback from internal stakeholders. You’re a hands-on contributor, and your love of synthesizing and shaping content itself (like writing for tone, or mocking up a visual layout to tailor messaging to a particular audience) reveals your own knack for craftsmanship. Yet you can hire and art direct prospective freelancers to design a polished “container” for your content (like a website, a book, digital postcards, video narratives) … if these aren’t already in your wheelhouse as a storyteller.
Who We Are
With roots in San Francisco, Blackbird is a US-based digital software studio that specializes in a human-centered, iterative, and multidisciplinary approach to launching high-impact software products. We get to work directly with a wide variety of public and private sector clients – ranging from early stage startups to Fortune 50 companies – and cultivate ongoing partnerships with some of the top design teams in the world. The web and mobile applications we create are complex … yet cool; challenging, and therefore fun and edifying to build. And best of all? People interact with the apps we bring to life every single day, which makes it all worthwhile.
Blackbird is at an exciting inflection point in its history. After years of work, we have a compelling and effective articulation of our vision, mission, principles, and best practices. Clients and partners alike return to work with us because they value our strategic collaboration and our track record of noteworthy successes.
However, most of our company vision rests in the heads of only a few people, or is loosely captured in an assortment of eclectic decks, talks, diagrams, and artifacts created over the years. As we grow as a team, we need to be highly aligned behind a shared vision and fueled by guiding and useful content. As we get busier, we need a storyteller to relay the value in our work, our approach, and our impact more coherently and compellingly so we grow well. We need someone well-versed in the process of researching, synthesizing, creating, iterating, refining, packaging and sharing content for different audiences. We need a storyteller who can take ownership of these cultural artifacts, idioms, wisdom, and totems that unify the community and set us up to work in an even more refined and consistent way.
Ultimately, our goal is to improve the functioning of our internal and partner teams, do better and more impactful work with clients, and have a more satisfying and fun time doing that work. We believe strongly that a strong storytelling presence that can help us be aligned around emerging beliefs and best practices will have a massive impact to that end.
While we have some ideas queued up that reflect our current understanding of the communication opportunities, we have no doubt that in working with you, we’ll uncover new, exciting things to develop — even aspects of our internal processes to enhance. While stories will continue to emerge through Blackbird work, we imagine that establishing the solid foundation of content – and developing best practices and processes for sharing that content – would take about one year of full time work.
With an evolving set of communication artifacts, we hope to equip every team member to more easily internalize ways we speak of our vision, our offer and our project impact. By distributing the Blackbird narrative more consistently across our company, we hope to inspire more autonomy and creativity in our talent so they lead and advocate partnerships independently, and continue to push the boundaries of how we work over time. Creating this content and designing ways to spread it effectively means we can grow and function at even higher levels on all fronts. In other words, building up our story muscles and assets will help us grow Blackbird in more measured and meaningful ways, and you will be our voice and our springboard to get there.
What will it take to succeed in this role?
- Exceptional listening skills with the ability to interpret technical information and business impact anecdotes and translate them into compelling copy
- Solid writing chops to create clear storylines for both aspirational vision and detailed approach / best practices
- Ability to visualize and mock up ways to package content for different audiences
- Strong sense of creative direction and leadership when managing external contributors (for video reel production, web design, etc.)
- Understanding of digital design, dev, startup, and/or consulting processes with exposure to working with digital product teams
- Appetite for feedback and iteration in the pursuit of crafting thoughtful messages in compelling ways
- Comfort with being in a one-of-a-kind role in a tech company, connecting dots across software development projects and teams, with the company leadership team as your thought-partners
- Feeling liberty in getting to focus by working from home 100% of your time – as Blackbird employees have for years – yet open to national travel if a project warrants face-to-face time
Note: We are NOT looking for a unicorn designer who can do all these things. More than anything we are looking for a thought partner and writer, with creative director chops who can help us bring all these pieces together in a compelling and strategic way as a direct contributor – by finding, managing, and collaborating with internal and external supporting contributors.
What Are Some Example Artifacts?
- Internal Company Onboarding handbooks, content, programs, and “bootcamp” curriculum for new employees
- Presentation Decks with Workshop exercises; Capabilities Deck Templates that communicate who we are, our approach, and unique value proposition
- Proposal / Partner Decks templates with phases, activities, outcomes as kit of parts
- Internal communication artifacts with compelling and succinct representation of mission, Principles, approach, value propositions in print and digital formats
- Internal and Client/Partner Newsletters
- Case Studies (short and long form) extracting compelling stories and presentation for every project we do (or have ever done) for decks and website
- Website Refinements keeping the content fresh in communicating who we are, our approach, and unique value proposition
- Talks for presentation at design studios and conferences
What Might The Process Look Like?
- Research and Synthesis (Immersion): Interview external partners, internal stakeholders and teams; review past proposals and decks; shadow founders in presentations to clients and partners and during internal training; host Q&A opportunities to mine stories; review current state of mission, principles, fundamentals with team;
- Develop draft content as prioritized with leadership team
- Iterate and discuss how content needs revision or is slightly missing the mark
- Repeat / refine as needed until body of content across most use cases takes shape
- Socialize new rounds of content internally and coach teams on their messaging
- In parallel and ongoing, create case studies as new projects progress, track evolution of Blackbird positioning and process, and keep content up-to-date and fresh
- Founders Steve and Alex are the ultimate stakeholder for all content, and your key thought partners to prioritize and sign off on final content before formal packaging and distribution takes place (You might create or art direct form factor depending on skills/needs)
Interested? We’d love to hear from you! Please send resume, writing portfolio, LinkedIn, etc.
Equal Opportunity Employer
Blackbird is an equal opportunity employer. All partners and applicants will be treated fairly without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, physical or mental disability, age, or any other attribute protected by law.