Video storytelling has the power to transform businesses by elevating their marketing to new heights.
Storytelling forges a deep bond between you and your audience.
One that allows brands to create content that emotionally resonates with their customers and transforms them into passionate brand advocates.
The growing popularity of story-led marketing is clear from the fact that:
- People are 22x more likely to remember a message if it’s presented in a story (Harvard)
- Storytelling boosts conversion rates by up to 30% (Search Engine Watch)
- Consumers who are exposed to brand stories describe the brand in much more positive terms and are prepared to pay more for the product (Journal of Brand Management)
But what does “storytelling” actually look like in practice? And how do you create storytelling videos that audiences will love?
Viddyoze provides an online video storytelling app that’s helped more than 250,000 happy customers to turn their bright new ideas into stunning videos, so we feel pretty well-placed to answer those questions!
Ready? Then let’s get into it…
What Is Video Storytelling?
Video storytelling is the process of crafting an original story to demonstrate the value of your products and to make your marketing message easier to understand.
Stories are proven to keep consumers engaged and be more memorable than other content formats, making video storytelling a powerful marketing asset for your brand.
Rather than sounding like a sales pitch, video storytelling uses a clear narrative to describe the viewer’s pain points and offer a clear solution. This creates an emotional response in the viewer that compels them to take action.
Storytelling Frameworks To Apply To Your Marketing Videos
Creating a video-telling story doesn’t need to be difficult.
Many of your favorite movies or shows typically choose a storytelling framework and use that template to storyboard their content.
From there, all they do is swap out their characters and plot points to fit the story they want to tell.
You can apply this exact same technique to your marketing content to ensure that you create emotionally responsive videos every time.
Before we explain popular storytelling frameworks, it’s important that we quickly cover some universal principles around corporate storytelling:
- Every story involves a journey in which your character starts in one predicament, and finishes in another (typically their happy-ever-after)
- All stories need to have stakes or conflict to keep your watchers engaged
- Your customer is the hero of your story, not your business
These principles are non-negotiable and must feature in your videos to achieve the marketing goal of your video.
Now let’s take a look at how to apply them within popular storytelling frameworks.
Framework 1 – Three-Act Product Videos
- Act One – Establish Customer Pain Points
- Act Two – The Solution (Your Product Or Service)
- Act Three – Call Your Viewer To Action
Applying a simple three-act structure to your product marketing videos makes it easy to transform them from boring overly-promotional videos, to engaging stories that make customers understand why they need to buy your product right away.
The three-act structure makes storytelling easy because it splits your content into three distinct sections during the storyboarding phase.
This simplifies the hero’s journey of your story into a start, middle, and end. Easy right?
Here’s how to use video storytelling to sell your products.
Act One – Establish Customer Pain Points
In the first act of your product video, you need to display empathy to your target audience by acknowledging that you understand the difficulties they’re currently facing.
You do this by explaining or displaying their current problems and elaborating on how it’s affecting their current quality of life (i.e. the stakes of the story).
If you don’t know your customer’s pain points then you need to ask yourself what problems your product/services solve and then reverse engineer them from there.
Remember, your customer is the hero of this story. They need to be able to see themselves on screen.
The goal is for your customer to think “wow, it’s like this video was made just for me. This is exactly what I’m going through.”
Achieve this and you’ve already succeeded in triggering an emotional response in your viewer.
Act Two – The Solution (Your Product Or Service)
Now that you’ve drawn the viewer into your story, it’s time to progress their journey and move them towards their happily-ever-after.
Act two is where you build demand for your product because you frame it as the solution to all the problems your hero is encountering in act one.
It’s crucial that your whole second act talks about how your product works and gives the viewer a plan to solve their problems
The concept that you need to understand here is the dream outcome.
All consumers purchase a product hoping to achieve a dream outcome, if you can convince your customer that your product will achieve their dream outcome they’re much more likely to buy it.
For example, gym memberships. The dream outcome of gym customers isn’t to access exercise equipment. It’s to achieve a fit, healthy body, and increased self-confidence.
To put it simply: you need to promise the watcher that buying your product will lead to their dream outcome in your video.
Act Three – Call Your Viewer To Action
The final part of your video is to close the sale by calling your viewer to action.
Here you need to tell them precisely what you want them to do next. If you want them to buy your product then tell the viewer how they can do that and where it’s available.
Don’t leave anything to chance or assume that the viewer will intuitively know what to do after watching your video.
Just because it may be obvious to you, doesn’t mean it will be to the viewer. Be as descriptive as possible and you’ll achieve a much higher ROI on your marketing videos.
Framework 2 – The Pixar Framework
Beloved animation studio Pixar is famous for a number of hit movies that pull on the heartstrings. (How anyone can watch Up with dry eyes is beyond me.)
However, by and large they all follow the same 6-part framework to tell their stories:
- Once upon a time…
- Every day…
- One day…
- Because of that…
- Because of that…
- Until finally…
Don’t believe us? Here’s an excerpt from a Forbes article which shows the framework applied to Finding Nemo:
- Once upon a time, there was a widowed fish named Marlin who was extremely protective of his only son, Nemo.
- Every day, Marlin warned Nemo of the ocean’s dangers and implored him not to swim far away.
- One day, in an act of defiance, Nemo ignores his father’s warnings and swims into the open water.
- Because of that, he is captured by a diver and ends up as a pet in the fish tank of a dentist in Sydney.
- Because of that, Marlin sets off on a journey to recover Nemo, enlisting the help of other sea creatures along the way.
- Until finally, Marlin and Nemo find each other, reunite, and learn that love depends on trust.
If you want to give your marketing videos the Pixar treatment and emotionally gut-punch your audience, you can do so by writing these 6 stages into your video script and storyboard.
In this framework, the first 4 parts are really hammering home your customer’s pain points, the consequences of them, and the emotional impact it’s having on them.
The final 2 sections, need to introduce your product as the big idea that begins to spark positive change. And finally, end with your customer’s dream outcome.
Framework 3 – The 5-Step Business Story Framework
It’s a storytelling framework to grow your brand awareness and inspire your audience as opposed to immediately selling them on your products.
Here’s how it works:
- Step 1: Dive into the Action – don’t waste time over explaining the background of your story. Begin it at the most interesting peak and you’ll hook people from the very start.
- Step 2: Develop with Details – establish an emotional connection, let them know how it felt in the moment, tug on the viewer’s empathy.
- Step 3: Build Tension – introduce the stakes. What will you lose if you don’t solve the issue?
- Step 4: Share the Shift – engaging stories need a shift in tone, they need conflict resolution and a happy ending. This is the part of the story where you turn things around and explain how you did it.
- Step 5: Connect the Dots – your story doesn’t end here because you solved the problem. Now’s the time to refocus your audience and summarize the moral of your story. A great tip to grab your viewer’s attention is to start this section with the phrase: ‘I share this story because…’
This type of corporate storytelling has exploded on LinkedIn in recent times. Take advantage of it to grow your organic following across your social media channels with heartfelt accounts of your brand’s journey.
Visual Storytelling Content Ideas
- Tell Your Brand Story
- Your Product Is The Solution
- Customer Success Stories
Recommended reading: 36 Fresh Marketing Video Ideas For Your Business
Tell Your Brand Story
Particularly among younger demographics, consumers favor brands that appear to share their worldview.
Research from 5WPR reveals that 83% of Millennials believe it’s “important” to buy from brands that align with their values, while 65% have boycotted a company they’ve previously bought from because of a stance over a specific issue.
So if your brand was founded on an emotion-provoking purpose, you could improve audience engagement and loyalty by communicating it through video.
Alternatively, if you partner with a climate change charity or a social justice advocacy organization, use video storytelling ads to highlight their mission and your efforts to support it.
Your Product Is The Solution
If the primary goal of your storytelling videos is to sell something, the best way to achieve that is to demonstrate your product or service in action.
Don’t just tell the viewer how amazing you are; show how people like them are using the “thing” you sell to overcome a key pain point or achieve a common objective.
Remember, consumers don’t buy products, they buy solutions to problems.
Creating a video which showcases your product (or service) as the solution to a common problem your target audience encounters will be much more memorable and impactful to them.
Customer Success Stories
Is there a more perfect video format for explaining the hero’s journey than customer success stories?
By choosing a real-life customer to share their experience with your product – where they were in the beginning and where they are now after achieving their dream outcome – you can create seriously powerful marketing videos.
What makes customer success stories so important is that they change the messenger for your brand to a real person, who has achieved real results with your product. You can’t get a bigger endorsement than that.
Video Storytelling Examples
Enough theory – let’s cap things off by looking at three of our favorite narrative storytelling examples:
Recommended reading: Recent Video Marketing Examples (And The Goal Behind Them)
Viddyoze: Fade To Black
Fade To Black is the story of Viddyoze co-founder Joey Xoto and how he bounced back from being made redundant to build a business and generate more than $30 million in sales. In many ways, it’s also our company’s brand story, but telling it from one person’s perspective makes it much more engaging than speaking as a faceless corporate entity. Remember, people buy from people!
Yeti: The Long Time
We love outdoors brand Yeti’s long-form narrative The Long Time. It’s a million miles away from a “typical” advert; it doesn’t mention a single Yeti product. But by telling the compelling story of an architect who created a baseball team in a poor Alabama community, it speaks to the importance of passion and innovation — two concepts that are central to Yeti’s brand.
LEGO: A Slimy Situation
LEGO is fortunate enough to have a product that’s instantly recognizable. It uses this to its advantage in A Slimy Situation, an animated video that places the brand front and center while still presenting an engaging narrative. It also incorporates interactive elements by inviting viewers to decide how LEGO City should be saved.
How To Make Storytelling Videos Quickly And Easily
Trust us: storyboarding a video, gathering the necessary equipment, and stepping in front of a camera is hard.
The amount of preparation involved can quickly become a huge drain on your time — and if you’re not detail-oriented, you risk producing a video which has no chance of inspiring your audience.
So, should you just stay in your lane and leave video to the pros?
No, because it doesn’t need to be that difficult.
Viddyoze has simplified video storytelling by creating an online tool that allows you to create perfect video content every single time.
We’ve handcrafted and uploaded more than 90 studio-quality video formulas to our platform.
Getting started couldn’t be easier.
All you need to do is logon to the Viddyoze app, choose a template from our library, customize it with your branding and messaging, then download and post. It really is that simple.
And the best news yet? You can get started right now for FREE.
For a short-time only Viddyoze is offering a 7-day free trial. Sign up and if you don’t like it, cancel before your trial is over and we won’t charge you a penny.
Tap this link to start your free trial and begin telling stories that resonate with your customers.
Tips And Best Practices To Tell Better Stories
- Prepare By Storyboarding Your Video
- Practice Being Comfortable On Camera
- Make The First 4.57 Seconds Count
- People Connect With Other People
Prepare By Storyboarding Your Video
Engaging story structures don’t just come about by chance — they require serious planning.
And one of the most important steps in the planning process is to prepare a storyboard: a visual representation that uses individual panels to communicate the various steps in your narrative.
Not only is it an effective way to flesh out your video story, but it also makes life much easier for the production team, allowing them to turn up for the shoot with a clear idea of the shots they’re going to capture.
Inevitably, that leads to better results than forcing the film crew to make things up on the fly.
Practice Being Comfortable On Camera
A video camera can strike fear into the heart of even the boldest people.
No matter how confident they feel in the run-up to filming day, a lot of first-time presenters crack the second a lens is pointed in their direction. They start to ramble; they stare fixedly at the camera; they don’t know what to do with their hands. They adopt a kind of rictus grin. Honestly, it’s awful.
Give yourself a fighting chance of avoiding those rookie video marketing mistakes by putting in the practice at home.
Even if you’re just speaking to your iPhone camera, rehearing in your own time will help you behave more naturally and confidently when you’re recording the real thing.
Make The First 4.57 Seconds Count
One of the biggest video storytelling tips we can offer is to start with a bang.
Because your existing and new customers are busy. According to Socialbakers, the average watch time of a Facebook video is a mere 4.57 seconds, so if you don’t absolutely smash those first crucial seconds, don’t expect viewers to stick around.
Grabbing the viewer’s attention means not always beginning with a fancy logo animation or an extended introduction.
In our experience, most successful videos dive straight into the content, or have the presenter verbally tell the audience what they can look forward to if they keep watching. And then dive into an amazing opening intro.
People Connect With Other People
Audiences want to see real people on screen.
They don’t necessarily expect you to be super polished and professional. It’s absolutely fine to display a little humor and personality — in fact, it’ll help you seem more relatable and engaging.
At Viddyoze, it’s pretty common for us to often leave in cuts of our presenters veering off-script or bursting out laughing during a take, because it makes for more compelling content.
The point here is that people engage with people rather than brands.
This becomes obvious when you look at the world of sports. According to NBC, the Dallas Cowboys are America’s best-known and most popular NFL franchise. Yet, at time of writing, Patrick Mahomes — rated by Morning Consult as the league’s most-liked skill position player — has twice as many Instagram followers as the franchise.
Video Storytelling Techniques For Social Media
Storytelling On Instagram
So let’s take a look at our top Instagram video storytelling tips:
Standard Instagram video posts have a limit of 10 minutes, although that rises to 60 minutes for some verified accounts.
This video format is ideal for engaging your existing audience — people who already follow you and enjoy your content. Of Insta’s three video formats, this is the one to choose for more corporate or sales-oriented videos.
Instagram Stories vanish into the digital ether after 24 hours and are limited to 15 seconds (although you can string a longer narrative into multiple posts).
Because they’re perched right at the top of the screen, Stories are great at generating engagement. While the average engagement per post on Instagram dropped to a paltry 0.98% in 2020, interaction with Instagram Stories increased to 7.2%.
While you can do pretty much anything with Insta Stories, their fleeting nature makes them perfect for informal, behind-the-scenes content, which is great from a brand building perspective.
Reels is Instagram’s answer to TikTok.
Just like TikTok, it started out with a maximum length of 15 seconds per video, but has since increased that limit to 60 seconds.
Still, it pays to keep things short and snappy on Reels. Use it as a way to reach new followers with fun, bite-sized content.
Storytelling On YouTube
YouTube is far and away the most popular video platform in the US, and it’s also the world’s second-biggest search engine.
It’s not like Instagram, with its myriad restrictions and content formats. You can post any type of video format on YouTube, and the sophistication of its algorithm means you can generate a ton of awareness by publishing content on the topics people are searching for.
In particular, we recommend using YouTube for educational thought leadership — the type of stuff that gets people interested in your content and compels them to seek out your website, blog, or socials.
Product and sales-focused videos work well, too, by converting viewers who are further down the sales funnel.
Storytelling With Ads
We’ve already mentioned how you only get about 10 seconds to hook in your viewers. If you fail, they’ll bounce or hit “skip”. So make sure you use this time wisely and compel people to keep watching.
Targeting is another key point. All social platforms incorporate sophisticated targeting features that allow you to reach specific niches. It’s important you make best use of these features so you’re not burning budget on viewers who aren’t a good fit for your products or services.
In our experience, two types of video work best from an advertising perspective:
- Product videos
- Company culture videos
Either way, it makes sense to incorporate a strong call to action in your video — something that compels the viewer to visit your site or subscribe to your social channels. That’s particularly true for product videos, which are ultimately all about driving sales.
When it comes to video ad campaign types, we’re big fans of Google’s Video Ad Sequencing feature. It allows advertisers to target viewers with multiple videos in a pre-defined order. It’s great for telling longer stories or communicating complex subjects by breaking them down into smaller chunks. And it’s much more effective than serving someone with a single two-minute video ad that can be skipped after five seconds.
A good story is a whole lot more impactful than a content marketing strategy which simply pushes “features and benefits” product videos.
But it’s also a whole lot harder to pull off.
Anyone can list the key features of their product or service. Most can do it in a way that speaks to common pain points. But far fewer can spark emotion from viewers by telling a compelling story with a start, middle, and end.
However, Viddyoze makes the process a whole lot simpler by giving you all the resources you need to start telling engaging stories right now. Start your free trial here.
How Do You Make A Storytelling Video?
To make a storytelling video you need to begin by choosing a storytelling framework, then storyboarding the transformation that your hero undertakes. Where do they start, what do they accomplish, and how does that transform their life? Once that’s planned out all that’s left is to film the content.
What Are The 4 Types Of Storytelling?
- Origin stories
- Value stories
- Vulnerable stories
- Persona stories
What Is A Digital Storytelling Video?
A digital storytelling video is simply a story in video format posted online.
What Is Visual Storytelling Technique?
Visual storytelling technique is the practice of using visual cues such as graphs, charts, and diagrams to better explain your story and its concepts to the audience.
How Do You Make A Storytelling Animation?
You can make storytelling animations by using specialist software such as Adobe After Effects. Alternatively, if you’re not experienced with animation software, you can use a tool such as Viddyoze that uses pre-made templates to easily create custom animation videos.