What is Digital Storytelling?
Storytelling has always been a powerful tool for bringing people together, entertaining and conveying meaningful messaging. And in 2019 we call it digital storytelling.
Over the ages, we’ve shared our knowledge and experiences by telling stories, first orally, then with drawings and writing, and more recently photographs, television and films to create captivating stories in fresh ways.
Digital storytelling uses any of the art forms we mentioned above, but digitally.
However, in digital storytelling the narrative is short and meant to be consumed online.
Big brands recognize the importance of building a strong community of loyal customers and followers around their brands, which is why many of them have become so adept at digital storytelling ads.
Why Digital Storytelling Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy
Effective marketing puts a heavy emphasis on consumer-first strategies, and nearly 80% of consumers have made it abundantly clear that they’re thirsting for brands to tell stories.
We’re neurobiologically engineered to crave stories we can identify with and relate to. The important takeaway for businesses is that when we humans become emotionally invested in these stories, we’re primed to take actions related to the story.
In other words, a well-crafted digital story can increase your chances of forging deep connections with your audience and consequently making many more sales.
5 Steps on How to Create Exceptional Digital Narratives
- Start with an idea: This is no time to be timid – you want your audience to remember your story. Humor, empathy, excitement and drama are all winning story components that draw consumers towards your brand.
- Establish your Target Audience: consumers are more likely to remember ads that feature other people like them. Understanding who you’re targeting will have a real impact on your story arc and what voice you’re using to tell it.
- Choose a platform: Is your audience on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or possibly on all of them? Whatever platform you go with, it’s hard to go wrong with a video story – consumers love video, and they can be uploaded to just about every social platform.
- Create a storyboard/Script: Winging it is not a realistic option here. Take the time to figure out who the characters are, what exactly it is they should say, and how you want the story to be resolved in the time you have.
- Include a call-to-action: If you’ve done everything right, your viewers or listeners should be in the right state of mind to act. Make sure to include a specific CTA to channel that energy into the sale or donation the story was intended to encourage.
The Digital Storytelling Toolkit
- Podcasts: You want your listeners to be able to hear you loud and clear. Invest in an XLR microphone so that listeners can hang onto your every word.
- Images: Your smartphone can be enough to take high-quality photos for your Instagram account. If you want to edit and add depth to these photos, however, apps like Enlight Photofox make it possible to jazz up your photos straight from your iPhone.
- Video: For businesses, video is arguably the most worthwhile type of digital storytelling to engage in, since video content is taking over the internet.
Affordable tools like lavalier microphones, two- or three-point lighting, and a tripod can make your videos look that much more professional without compromising their authentic tone.
You can create strong brand association by adding branded components like your logo, specific fonts and templates that all link to your brand. Video maker app Swish lets you do all of this as well as letting you add music, filters, and other elements to create short, engaging videos.
Meet Some Digital Storytelling Pros
Below are two great examples of digital storytelling videos used for small business video marketing purposes:
Addict Aide Digital Story Example:
In 2016 French non-profit Addict Aide used both Instagram and YouTube storytelling to launch a powerful campaign to raise awareness to addiction.
In its award-winning “Like My Addiction” campaign, Addict Aide used Instagram to create a digital profile of a fun-loving, stylish young woman. They then flipped the narrative on its head in a YouTube video that revealed that her every Instagram pic included an alcoholic beverage. Awareness about alcoholism: raised.
EatWith Digital Story Example:
Often described as the Airbnb of dining, EatWith matches people with local culinary experiences.
The company’s “Meet Our Hosts” videos on YouTube have everything a digital story needs to resonate with viewers: Winsome hosts describing what food and communal eating means to them, shots of gorgeous food paired with upbeat music, and people connecting over food, all with branded EatWith products tastefully sprinkled throughout.
Get Started with Digital Storytelling in 2019 and Beyond:
Every brand can benefit from incorporating digital storytelling into their marketing mix.
With smartphones getting smarter by the day, even the smallest businesses can whip up digital stories that make a huge impact on their bottom line.