How to be a better storyteller in your videos
Video storytelling is a marketing tactic that uses the naturally engaging video format to tell a story about a brand, company or product. It guides viewers through relatable narrative-based content that gets to the heart of their pain points, ignites an emotional connection, and presents a satisfying solution. People get pulled into what’s happening due to a combination of factors, ranging from camera angles to the soundtrack, the characters and the emotion of the story itself.
Video storytelling is more than a sales pitch, because it focuses on the story of your company rather than just selling products. It is immersive, powerful, and highly effective in engaging your viewers.
To get you started with storytelling in your videos, here are some of the top tips to consider.
1. Create a narrative arc
Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. In other words, there are three parts to every story: a calm beginning; a part where the momentum and tension build-up, and an end.
Classic narrative arcs make it easy for viewers to follow along with a story, engage them in what's happening, and keep them watching from start to finish.
This could be done as easily as opening the video with an introduction. Who are you, what do you work with and what are you going to talk about in this video? In the middle part, you go through the things you mentioned in the introduction more in depth as this is where you want to convey your message. The ending can be a short summarization of what you talked about where you thank them for taking the time to watch the video and give them a clear call to action.
A call to action could be adding a link in the video where you say: “If you want more information on this topic, please click the link below to read more”, or for applicants: “If this sounds like a position that suits you, feel free to send us an application using the form linked in the button below”.
2. Think about your target audience
The goal of every video is to make it engaging and inspiring for the audience, but this is tricky as engagement and inspiration is highly subjective. Make sure to then target your video towards your target audience and determine what they'd rank as "engaging" and "inspirational".
An easy way of defining your target audience is by mapping out their demographics, psychographics and challenges.
Demographics are all about age, gender, location and occupation of your audience. Where are they based? How old are they? Are they working or studying? In what field?
Psychographics are about your audience's personality, values, interests and lifestyle. What are they valuing? What do they find interesting?
Finally, consider their challenges. What are their pain points? How can you help solve their hurdles?
Once you know who your viewers are, their interests, and what problems they may encounter, you can use this knowledge to build a narrative around the "pain points" they have. The purpose of the video should be to solve their problems or enlighten something they find interesting.
3. Understand the four P's of storytelling
Before you start creating your video, make sure you have a firm understanding of the four P’s of storytelling: Plot, Purpose, People, and Place.
Plot: What is the plot that you try to tell in your video? How do you use the introduction, middle part and end to keep your audience engaged throughout the video? This is about keeping the viewer interested and “hooked” on your story.
Purpose: What is the aim of your story? Think about what you want to achieve with your video and what you want the viewers to do. Do you want them to get more information on a linked page? Send an application through a form? Or solve a problem they have encountered?
People: The story needs to be about someone, their specific idea, concept or journey to bring it to life. Who is the best person to tell the story? Video with people describing their own experience is a lot more trustworthy than someone else presenting how they have “imagined it to be.”
Place: The location and background influence the story. What is the setting that you want your story to take place in, and how will it affect the plot? Can the video be filmed in a meeting room, or do you want your audience to see the beautiful sunrise your employees get when walking towards your office in the summer mornings? When you talk about the new customer you just landed, can you film a testimonial with them outside their office showing their logo instead of a canteen that can be anyone’s?
4. Appeal to emotions
One of the reasons that stories are so effective is because of how they convey emotions. When you start developing your video idea, try focusing on the feeling you want to invoke at your viewers.
Do you want to give them a sense of happiness in the video? Hope for a better future? Or maybe you want to talk about something sad and how they could help make it easier?
To do it well, you must consider all of the elements in video storytelling. The colors in the background, the location for the video, the way a scene is composed, the story's plot, and the development of characters and conflict. All these things affect how the viewer feels about what he or she is watching.
5. Make it short and sweet
Instagram stories and Snapchat have shown us that you don't need to spend hours on a story to make it compelling. So when you’re making a video, try to keep it as short and clear as possible.
It's true, especially if you want to create video content for social media. Social media users prefer videos that are no longer than 2-4 minutes, so if you can say something in 10 seconds, don't spend a minute on it.
The shorter, the better!
Everyone has a story to tell. When you're planning to tell yours, keep these storytelling basics in mind and you’ll create videos more engaging and inspiring than ever before.
If you also want some tips for the actual filming of the stories, check out our six tips for creating better stories here.