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The 5 Most Crucial Tips for Effective Video Storytelling

8 Min Read

Think about the last good movie you watched. You probably remember the characters, the conflict, and the plot in plenty of detail and can recount exactly what happened without missing  a beat. This is the power of great storytelling.

Whether it’s a movie, a book, or, yes, even a brand video, a good story is what separates memorable content from the forgettable. And you hopefully already know the power that storytelling holds when it comes to giving your company a competitive advantage. There are tons of benefits when it comes to creating brand awareness and brand loyalty that a good story can bring. But how do you formulate the perfect story and how do you tell it in a way that’s engaging, emotional, and absolutely captivating?

Unfortunately, there’s no secret formula for getting it just right, but there are a few things you can do to elevate your next video’s storyline. Here, we’re bringing you a few tips we follow religiously as we create branded content for businesses big and small. They’re essential if you want to tell a story that’ll stand out from the rest and get you and your brand noticed.

Let’s get started!

1. Focus on emotion.

Honestly, the emotion you choose for your visual story doesn’t matter. Your video can evoke anger, warmth, sadness, joy – whatever the emotion, as long as it’s communicated authentically and effectively, will have a big impact.

So, how do you communicate emotion in a video? Every aspect of your video should do this – the script, the visuals, the actors or subjects, the lighting, the props, the music – everything. But the number one builder of emotion in a video is story development. Start with a relatable premise, introduce an element of conflict, and then round your story out with a resolution.

That’s just what this video by HP does. It’s a little on the longer side, but every second packs a big emotional punch, rounding out a beautifully sad story with an amazingly satisfying and tear-jerking ending.

2. Change perspective.

There’s probably a lot you want to say in your video, but you can’t forget that your perspective is inherently biased. Whether you own your company or just work there for a living, your job is to sell something – and that’s not the perspective held by the majority of your potential customers.

Try flipping the script! Instead of focusing on why your products or services are great as told by someone inside the company, approach your video from the perspective of someone who knows zero about your company. Focus on the perspective of your target audience. If you sell a learning toy for kids, tell your story from a kid’s perspective. If you sell online digital services, tell your story from the perspective of the project manager that your services will help. This will make your story more relatable and memorable, connecting with a more relevant audience.

3. Be natural and informal.

This is a crucial tip for all the content you create. Unless your target audience is stuffy and corporate, you don’t want to sound stuffy and corporate. Relax! Make sure your messaging is natural, your tone is informal, and your voice isn’t forced or fake. That means using everyday words the average person would know and being clear and concise.

This also ties into our video perspective tip. Just like you want to mimic the perspective of your audience, taking on their voice will help them connect with the story you’re trying to communicate.

4. Think about your visuals.

Video is amazing in its ability to tell a story with no words or sound. Yes, using voiceover or a spoken narrative can help, but video is so much more powerful when strong, evocative visuals are used, no matter the audio.

Like the HP video above, or the Comcast video ad below, what you see on screen directly affects how you feel. Use dark colors and a bare background, and you’ll get feelings of emptiness and loneliness. Use bright, bold colors and sunshine, and you’ll feel happiness and hope. Visuals, along with audio, are the two main drivers of your story, so be sure to use both in a very purposeful way.

5. Use sound intelligently.

We couldn’t talk about visuals without also talking about sound! While your options for visuals are virtually limitless, sound does work within a more confined set of variables: you’ll likely use some combination of diegetic sound (sound happening on-screen, like a character talking or ambient noise), voice-over, music, or silence.

Again, you’ll want to think about how the sound you use helps tell your story. Silence or basic ambient sound helps the viewer focus more wholly on the visuals. Music without dialogue or voice-over strongly sets the mood of the piece. Narration can help you tell a more literal story, which is great if you have a great script, but awful if your script lacks subtlety or authenticity. Often, using a combination of these three sound techniques creates the most dynamic and engaging video.

Play with different options for sound. No matter which you pick, you’ll want high-quality sound that adds to your visual story and an experienced editor to put it all together.

Conclusion

No matter the type of video you choose to make, how long it is, or who your viewers are, telling a good story should always be one of your primary goals. Good storytelling is essential for brand awareness, engagement, and conversions, not to mention brand reputation, so keep everything from sound, visuals, perspective, tone, and emotion in mind when you’re creating your next video.

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