Storytelling is a mainstay of marketing for as long as some of us are old enough to remember. Digital Storytelling has taken the same practice and brought them to the Digital forefront. While some will treat it as though it’s different from traditional Storytelling it is the same thing. The difference is really that people have seen and become accustomed to some of the old tricks and methods. To create a story that takes your business in the right direction you will need to use new ways and ideas. Whether you’re going to tell your story digitally or otherwise here are the key elements of good Storytelling
Point of View
The first element to have in any story is a point of view from which the story will be viewed. In most cases, this is done through the use of a protagonist but there are other points of view that work. One of the biggest problems I see in Storytelling attempts is telling the story from the point of view of the business. While this is great the probability of people relating to this is very low.
Your product is a solution and for that solution to pay off you will need to set it up with a question. The question sets up the terms of reference for the product in the story. Perhaps the question for your cleaning product is “how do I keep my house clean and my family safe from the coronavirus threat” or a graphic designers question might be “how do I communicate what my brand is about”. Remember both these questions are being asked from the perspective of the consumer of the product.
I have mentored a few content creators in my time and they will tell you that this is something I emphasise on. If your content is not connecting on an emotional level with the audience, you are unlikely to achieve the goals of your content. I won’t give away all my secrets here but if you’ve read my writing you will realise that even when writing about business ideas and finances I will draw on emotions. When Storytelling you want content that will have people drawing from emotional experiences or desires. Emotions motivate faster and harder than anything else.
Voice is defined as how you speak to your audience. How do you connect with them? Will the story be told from a sophisticated perspective that assumes prior or intimate knowledge about the business and the product? Will the story be presented from the simplest point of view to be understood by the ordinary person. Look at mobile phone adverts to get this. While other companies will tell you about the capacity of the battery which means nothing to the non-technical person others will simply boast all day or 2-day charge. Voice is more than just how sophisticated you come across. If you’ve established a laid-back and open approach to your brand, your storytelling must continue with the same voice. Suddenly going stiff will more likely shock the audience than endear them.
Stories are not always told in one go. A picture says a thousand words, a video infinitely more but there are cases where your story may be told in a longer form or over multiple tellings. You have seen people post absolute walls of text on sites like Instagram and Facebook. Even if we ignore the lack of paragraphing there’s still the matter of pacing the story. When people read your stories they do so out of interest but you must keep them interested and that means moving on to the next point or stage while they are still with you. Resist the urge to go on and on but rather say enough to make your point and let that be that. Cut out fillers such as “I’m going to talk about” or “I would like to announce” because you are already talking or announcing. If you are going to use multiple posts or instances to tell your story make sure each one holds up on its own and that they all come together. I believe the fewer the number of words (or shorter the duration) you can make your point in the better your point comes across.
Purpose of the Story
Purpose should really come first but there is a reason I saved it for last. The purpose will inform your entire approach to the story and it will also ultimately shape the ending and call to action. What do you want to achieve? More followers? Awareness? Sales? Educate the market? All of these are valid. While the idea is to drive more sales to your business rushing to get there isn’t always the way. It is useful to tell your story in such a way that it feeds into the call to action.
The point of storytelling, digital or otherwise, is to foster connection with the audience. The deeper the connection the better the effort. Make sure you have these elements in your stories.