"Digital storytelling" is a relatively new term which describes the new practice of ordinary people who use digital tools to tell their 'story'. Digital stories often present in compelling and emotionally engaging formats, and can be interactive.
A good story has a good flow, makes a point and is most effective by showing, not telling. Good stories keep your audience engaged, and use a familiar structure to capture attention so that users want to know what happens next and are compelled to continue following the story. Doesn’t that sound very similar to the things we strive for when building websites?
Stories provide order and meaning by simplifying the complex.
People to connect to emotional stores and subject matter.
Stories will never die, but the ways we tell them are changing.
Your brand is made up of a series of concepts or values (elegance, creativity, simplicity, etc.) and everything from your page layout to your font choice to your web copy and microinteractive page elements are narrative tools with which you can tell stories that embody those concepts and values by showing them in action.
Who is the audience?
What are your goals?
Do you have a clear meaning?
Through storytelling, you can communicate to your audience that you and your prospective customer have something in common and how your story may be relevant to something that he or she may be currently dealing with. All in all, incorporating storytelling into your content marketing strategy is a powerful way to connect with readers and build relationships.
To tell your story, you have to know your reason for being in business and be able to articulate it clearly. What is your purpose? What is important to you? What makes your product different from the competition?
From shampoo to chocolate to logistics companies, people want to know the history of your products or services and how they came to be. Has anyone else owned your company? How did it come to be? Was there a creative or historical event behind the origin of your business? If you’re stuck for inspiration, consider that the luxury notebook company Moleskine created a fictional history around its notebooks, describing them as “The legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin.”
Every brand story has main characters that helped it take shape. Was your business inspired by a book? Did your founders have a chance meeting with someone on a subway? Was there an aha moment while jogging? To find the heart of your story, start by identifying all of the people (real or fictional) who make your business thrive, and use them as your cast of characters.
This is your business’ ultimate reason for being. Why are you in business? What call are you responding to? What problems are you trying to solve? Method Products founders Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry set out to turn the consumer goods industry on its head by creating products that “inspire a happy and healthy home revolution” with ingredients that “come from plants, not chemical plants” and will be “role models in bottles.” Method’s annual revenue now exceeds $100 million.
Failure often breeds success. Showing people how you failed along the way and transparently embracing those pitfalls demonstrates the humanity of your business and will help them feel more connected to you on a personal level. Even Henry Ford failed in his early businesses and lost his fortune five times before founding the Ford Motor Company.
As you dive into the Q&A, pay attention to topics or subjects that you see people being hesitant to share. It’s common practice to try and fill every month and year of your working life when creating a resume. You aren’t “supposed” to have any gaps in your professional life. From our experience, those gaps are usually where the most interesting stories take place. Whether a year of work is missing from traveling the world, starting a family, or simply being unemployed, the best stories often come from those empty spaces. Be honest with yourself and acknowledge the good and the bad. What you’ll likely find is that during those times you normally wouldn’t highlight, the most interesting part of your story will emerge.
You have to know who you are before you can explain it to someone else. Brands that don’t have their core value propositions in place, or have internal discrepancies about what they are even trying to say, will never be able to share their story with the world in an honest and engaging way.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”