In an era where content is being created at an overwhelmingly aggressive pace, developing content that will resonate with target audiences and move the needle is key to success. For many businesses and nonprofits, this means building out a series of content that tells a compelling story and, most often, showcases a need. Here is how your brand can excel at digital storytelling:
Focus stories around central characters
Whether using the Instagram Stories feature (literally) or uploading an album of event photos to Facebook, assess how viewers will follow the storyline before going live or uploading. Events, in particular, often convene a broad range of stakeholders and it is critical to build your online content out around the core of the event – think awards presentations, keynote presentations, educational workshops and the like.
Build it up
Spoiler alert – don’t start with the climax! By comparison, contextual content is oftentimes less compelling when it follows the biggest news. Consider how you can build a series of social media content that lays the foundation for telling your company’s or cause’s story and then provides opportunity to unveil new “chapters” as you go along.
There is no denying the power of visual marketing. A compelling story has rich illustrations (photography, diagrams, infographics, etc.) to strengthen the story of the text itself. Video is another powerful tool to enhance your digital story – just think how your clients’ and donors’ stories could come to life via videos included in the digital version of your annual report. The same can be said for well-scripted product demo videos.
Develop a distribution plan
With a great digital story in place, it’s time to get the story in front of the right audiences. While your story may first publish on your website in an annual report, blog post, flipping book or other medium, the next (critical) step is driving people to consume that content. This is where Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, email marketing and online advertising come into play. Using a wide range of channels to promote your story is a best practice, as various audiences have unique communication preferences.
Plan for a sequel, or a trilogy
Let’s say you unveil a new product at an industry tradeshow. The product is well-received and you experience an influx of website traffic from people who are now seeking more information about the product. What happens next? Do you aggregate a collection of client testimonials (“stories”) to show how the product is used in everyday life? Do you develop a series of informational videos highlighting various product features? Is there an opportunity to bring in a partner to show how your product can be used along with other tools and applications to realize greater benefits?
Similar to the reviews that occupy the jackets of your favorite books, digital stories also benefit from third-party reviews. These reviews may come in the form of Facebook and Yelp reviews, positive comments left in response to social media updates or forwarding promotional emails to friends suggesting they learn more about your product, service or organization. As part of your storytelling strategy, identify how you will solicit reviews and use them to propel your business or mission forward.
As you craft your online story, consider how punchy copy, compelling visuals and a multichannel distribution plan can deepen engagement with existing stakeholders, cultivate new audiences and set your company or cause apart from the competition. With a consistent voice, compelling plot and dynamic visuals, businesses and nonprofits can grow their online audiences and drive meaningful action that positively impacts the bottom line.