How to Tell a Story Online for Marketing Purposes

In today’s digital world, the line between marketing and storytelling has blurred. Thanks to video blogs, Instagram stories, and Snapchat lenses – not to mention some classic blog posts – content creators can now tell a story using compelling images and video to draw in readers and encourage them to take action.

While video content is often overlooked as a marketing tool, it’s a must-have in today’s digital landscape. Thanks to platforms like YouTube and Instagram, it’s now easy for anyone to share their travel adventures, fashion musings, food guides, and more with their audience.

Why Tell a Story Online?

Let’s be honest, we live in a world full of trolls, bots, and spammers. If your goal is to gain credibility with your audience, video is a great place to do that. You can craft a compelling story about yourself or your product, and engage with your viewers in a way that’s meaningful and memorable.

While it might seem like there’s not much difference between storytelling and traditional marketing, the key is in the delivery. In the past, you might have launched a blog post, cranked out a quick video, and then called it a day. Today, you can combine the two and use storytelling through social platforms to engage with your audience, build credibility, and eventually drive them to action.

How Do You Tell a Story Online?

If you’re looking for examples of brands successfully using video content to tell a story, you can start with Airbnb. One of the world’s most popular travel accommodation websites, Airbnb created a hub for people to discover and share their travel experiences. Using sophisticated storytelling techniques, Airbnb was able to craft an engaging narrative that draws the viewer into the experience.

Through a combination of videos and text, Airbnb’s travel blogger, Rowan Scott, weaves an immersive story about her travels in Thailand – including some pretty breathtaking scenery – with her dog, Sadie. The story is framed as a memoir, and it’s interesting to note that some of the techniques used are reminiscent of a novel. For example, she weaves the story of her travels into a narrative arc, using the beginning, the middle, and the end of her journey to create three distinct chapters that build upon each other.

The result is an informative and immersive experience that will keep the reader/viewer interested and engaged throughout the entire story – a skill that only skilled storytellers can achieve.

The Importance Of Authentic Content

With video content becoming so abundant, it’s essential that you stand out from the crowd. To create authentic content that will have lasting value, you need to find your unique angle and approach to storytelling. In the example above, Airbnb’s Rowan Scott did an exceptional job using her personal experience to showcase the wonders of Thailand – and the fact that she is an authoritative voice within her industry only adds to the perceived value of her content.

To create content that has the power to move someone to action, you need to find a way to connect with your audience on a personal level. If you feel that you’ve got something valuable to share, don’t be afraid to put yourself in your content – whether that’s a memoir, a how-to guide, or whatever else you may deem suitable. The key is to ensure that you’ve got something valuable to say, and that you’ve chosen your platform (i.e. blog or video channel) wisely. If you do, you’ve got a good chance of engaging your audience, and tempting them to take action – whether that’s booking a travel holiday, getting a hair transplant, or whatever else you can think of.

Make It Visual

In the same way that you would craft a brochure in a word processing document, you can use image editing software to craft a visual story. When it comes to online content, people have shorter attention spans than ever before. To grab a reader’s attention, you need to stand out from the crowd with eye-catching images that will make your story more memorable.

The key to storytelling through images is to make it a narrative. Instead of just throwing together a bunch of unorganized, chaotic images, you can pull together an image album to tell a complete story. To make it interesting, you can alter the photos’ composition – using a combination of photos, graphics, and text – to tell a compelling story and keep your attention.

Airbnb’s Rowan Scott takes this a step further by designing her travel blog around a central theme of discovery, using images to showcase her travel experiences and showing us around Thailand, her bucket list of things to see and do. She places the spotlight not only on discovering the beautiful country, but also showing us how she did it. Through various images that are both artistic and informative, Scott presents a perfect example of how to use images to craft a visual story.

Keep Your Audience On Your Side

One of the most effective ways to engage with your audience is through social media platforms. There are so many different channels – from YouTube to Instagram to Twitter – and the good thing is you can always find an audience on one (or more) of these platforms.

These channels provide you with a great degree of freedom to craft your own narrative, and allow you to connect with your audience through a personal connection. That connection can then be leveraged into a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) marketing relationship, or become a customer yourself.

The most effective way to engage with your audience on social media is through video. Instagram, in particular, is a goldmine when it comes to video content, offering marketers a massive audience – 100 million monthly active users – and the chance to engage with them on a more personal level. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 86% of consumers have watched video content on social media, and 75% of marketers plan on using video in their content strategy within the next six months.

The takeaway from this? Video isn’t going anywhere, and it’s a great way to engage with your audience and build credibility. In the right space, with the right content, crafted through the right medium, video can be an extremely powerful tool for your marketing strategy.