Video Storytelling - A Complete Guide

One of the most powerful tools for video marketers is the ability to tell engaging stories through video content. Great video storytellers can make prospects in their tracks and convert them into paying customers in a flash. In this article, we show you what it takes to create powerful video storylines that bring in the prospects by the hundreds.
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    Humans love stories. That is why the most popular brands aren’t the ones with the best products/services, they are the ones with the best stories.

    Hubspot hit the nail on the head - “Storytelling is the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are embellished or improvised to better explain the core message”, and we couldn't agree more. It is, in fact, the bridge that takes you from the market to your consumer’s hearts and minds.

    We are at the onset of 2021 and the relevance of video storytelling has only increased furthermore. That is why building a narrative around your products/services and your brand as a whole is the key to sustaining the digital era.

    Here is a complete guide that will help you make brilliant brand videos for your business. Read on.

    Basic Features Of Video Storytelling

    Here are the star ingredients (quantity, as per creativity) that are mandatory for your baking a great story for your brand-  

    1. Plot

    One primary and interesting thing about storytelling in marketing videos is how it could create an emotional approach towards the product. And in this process, the story remains a potential part of a consumer’s thought process and hence his or her decision while choosing any product is the emotion that he had felt while watching the video. 

    Now, what makes a good story that would do the right pitching for your audience? What would retain their attention? 

    It is without any doubt, the plot of the story that you are telling. 

    So, what is a Plot? 

    The plot could be explained as the primary body from which other elements such as the characters, events, and scenarios branch from. It is important to have a strong plotline and even stronger plot for the story to make sense and sync into the minds of your audience. This is because the plot decides what kind of story you would like to tell and to whom and hence deciding the effect a story would have on the consumer

    2. Characters

    Once the plot is set, characters would take the next place in the priority line. If the plot is the story you wish to tell the consumers, it is the characters which would tell the story. 

    The characters must be chosen according to the requirement of the plot and the targeted audience. The characters must also be designed in such a way that they could convey the story with a touch of empathy. One great tip to make your characters convincing is to allow them to have a complete arc. SHow their inner journey through the story. 

    3. Location

    Once the characters and the plot are set, look for the right location that would complement the video. Location o plays a vital role in bringing sense to the narrative. It is not only from the perspective of telling a story would the location be important, but it also connotes a major significance regarding where the product is being marketed and thus the location of its story. '

    For example, a video advertisement for an air conditioner would make very little sense if its plot is set in Manali. However, a great video ad about a heater would incline the audience towards buying it.

    4. Tone

    The next comes the tone. The tone of the narrative refers to the type of the product and the services being sold. And this solely depends on how you intend to convey them to the customer through your video.

    Here, the tone refers to the voice of the story. As in, does it send a cheerful message? Is the story warning us against something? Is it emotional or is it meant to be informative? 

    Another point to be beware while setting a tone is to not intermix the emotions. This can massively hurt the emotions of consumers and can spoil your brand image for good.

    For instance, a warning against the side effects of Tobacco cannot be funny. 

    5. Ambience

    The last but certainly not least is the Ambience of the video. A lot of marketers tend to skip this part without understanding that a story without a proper and an apt ambience is like having a candlelight dinner in a brightly lit room. It would make no sense.

    The last but certainly not least is The ambience of the location and where the characters are situated plays a primary role in conveying the services or the product to the customer.

    How to Tell a Story Through Video?

    Now that you know what it takes to make a great story, let’s walk through how you can make a 

    great brand video-

    1. Identify Your Goals and Target Audience

    Before you make any video, you have to define your goals, and here, the marketing goals. For instance, your brand video’s goal could be to build a brand image or to educate the audience about your products/ services. Once you are done with that, make sure that all of the subsequent steps are aligned in a way that they could help you fulfil your goals.

    The next step would be to identify your target audience. One great way is to create ideal customer profiles that include, age group, gender, interests and other attributes of your target audience. This way you will surefire-ly know for whom you would be making the video.

    2. Pick a Video Style 

    Once you have identified your target audience and defined your goals, go ahead and choose a video style. The criteria for your video style should be its relevance with your target audience. For instance, an animation video would suit the storytelling of a product or service meant for children. 

    A brand that wants to give a slice of life touch to their brand story can choose to make a video with real footage. One can also choose to make interactive and live-action videos for capturing a set of a tough audience. 

    Whatever the style is, ensure that it would appeal to your target audience and fulfil your goals.

    3. Create Memorable Characters

    I can't emphasize enough on the importance of having not just great characters but also convincing characters. Having characters that connect to the audience can help you get away with a bad script as well. But characters that don't connect with the audience can harm a well-written script. 

    So while making a video, focus on creating memorable characters. One foolproof way of doing it is making them relatable to the masses. The more relatable they are the more people will connect to your brand.

    4. Create a Storyboard 

    Ideally, every story has three parts - the beginning and the ending with a plot twist in the middle. A brand video is no exception to that. You can think of your brand video as a mini move about your services and products. The only difference being that your brand video should be a reflection of your brand story, its vision, mission and value system. 

    5. Write a Strong Script

    Once you have all the above in place for the video, let's get to the main part of video storytelling - the story itself. Do you need the best writers to write a strong script? Maybe. But do you need a bunch of creative writers who are willing to bring innovation into writing to craft a string script? The answer is a big, fat yes.

    Scripting is where your team’s creativity would get the most audience. This will in return define how the audience would perceive your brand. Because your team’s creativity is a reflection of your brand's authenticity.

    So compromising on a script is as good as compromising your brand reputation. 

    There is no thumb rule for scripting. It is very much subjective to your goals and target audience. Just make sure that your script is the star of the video.

    Things to Keep in Mind While Video Editing

    Videos are universal. They make this world a smaller place, allowing us to communicate with people of all corners. But before you get started with your video storytelling, here a few tips that will help you make your videos foolproof-

    1. Show, Don’t Tell

    Brand videos work brilliantly for pitching your products to your audience while not sounding sale-sy. But they can go terribly wrong if you don't do it the right way. Brand videos are not for telling what your brand is about, it is about showing what your brand stands for. Don’t just tell that your brand cares for the planet, show them. Don’t just tell your audience that you stand for animal rights, show them. Don’t tell that you want to transform the society, show them

    2. Create the Video Around Emotions

    We humans are emotional creatures. What touches our hearts, remains in our minds. The same is true for marketing and sales. In fact,  95% of purchase decisions are determined by subconscious factors. That is why it is almost mandatory to weave some kind of emotion into your brand videos too. Be it patriotism or sympathy, joy or empathy. Viewers will then connect to your video emotionally and in return connect with your brand. This is emotional marketing and its relevance is huge in tv advertisements. The same has penetrated into the digital world as well.

    3. Use a Theme in Your Concept

    This is a no-brainer after the first point. You brand video cannot be just about your products and services. Your sales team is in place for that. As a marketer, and a video marketer in specific, your docs should be to build the brand and tell people how your products and services can make a difference in their lives.Have a theme for your video and build your video’s story around that.

    4. Be Funny

    Like we discussed before, humans are emotional. And laughter is one of the best triggers for happy emotions. The reason why people love comedy is because it enhances one's mood. You could use this to your advantage by adding humour to your videos. This will make your audience laugh, stirring a positive impression around your brand. A report by buzzsumo stated that, “humor” was the most engaging content type.

    5. Use Music Intelligently

    Another instrument that can help you make your video more impactful is music. Using it mindfully can enhance your campaign to a large extent. So don't just have any background music. Have the one that matches the tone of your theme. It will help you control the perception of your viewers and further build an emotional connection.

    6. Keep it Short and Sweet

    Videos are getting shorter and shorter, especially the ones made for business. According to a report by Vidyard, the average length of a video is 4.07 minutes. This was back in 2018 and we are now prepping for 2021. So one great tactic of retaining your viewer’s attention is to keep the videos sweet and short. If you are still confused about the duration, here is the thumb rule- keep your videos 1 minute long. They are evergreen and the most liked by consumers.

    Bonus Tip

    Bring interactivity to your video. With the market flooding with new products and services everyday, consumers are becoming tough nuts to crack. One brilliant tactic to keep them hooked to your brand video is to encourage active viewership. You can do this by adding interactive elements like MCQs, 360 degree view and branched stories that let the viewer define their own story plot. 

    VideoForm is one great platform that would help you make interactive videos on the fly. Try the platform for FREE now!

    Sahithi Prerana
    Content writer at VideoForm. I transform complex ideas into simple words.

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