It’s something we constantly preach at WriteBrain — storytelling sells, and that extends to both print and multimedia. It’s certainly true in the case of video, which has become the fastest-growing medium in marketing.
On the popular video-sharing website YouTube, more than 1 billion hours of video are watched every day. About 85% of internet users in the United States watch online videos monthly. And 87% of marketers already use video.
So how can you maximize your video marketing and stand out from the pack? By telling a story, of course. Americans spend billions of dollars at the box office and via television watching great stories unfold. You can join in, too. Here are three ways to improve your storytelling via video.
The three-act play
If you look at any great story, it does three things: introduce character(s), introduce conflict and provide resolution. These three plot points are drawn from the classic three-act play, a surefire foundation for a good story.
As an example, let’s use a bank and take it through the three stages:
Character: The commercial introduces a customer who wants to buy a house.
Conflict: The customer is frustrated and can’t find the right mortgage terms or the right lender to work with.
Resolution: The bank fills that need by providing a lower-interest loan or creating a relationship with that customer. At the end of the video, the customer is happy with their new house.
People can relate to a story like that. And if they don’t have firsthand homebuying experience, their interest will be piqued by the story of it all. Before shooting a video, create a storyboard with those three plot elements. Planning will keep your focus and create an engaging video.
These days, quicker and flashier videos perform better on social media, thanks to YouTube and the now-defunct Vine. Millennial viewers have watched movies and videos with quick-moving and high-action scenes. But because there can be an exhaustion that sets in when things are moving too fast, there is still a need to develop a story.
It’s about striking the right balance. On social media, 20- to 30-second clips seem to perform better, but on websites or television, longer-form videos seem to be the way to go. No matter how long the video is, keep the pace moving with different shots or action every three to five seconds. If there’s something attracting the eye — animations, angle changes, etc. — within that small window, your video will be better off.
Your audience is smart, and unless your subject is a world-class actor or actress, the audience can sense inauthenticity. But they can also sense emotion and body language, so have your subjects be themselves.
Documentaries are a great example of this and can be a unique, engaging way to tell a story. In the banking commercial example above, the customer could show the viewer through their house while talking about the wonderful experiences they had with the bank. Or they could express their frustration working with other banks to no avail. Emotions resonate!