Storytelling: Applying Art To Video Marketing

Storytelling: Applying Art To Video Marketing | KnowledgeVisionDo you study the craft? No, I don’t mean witchcraft. Though sometimes creating an idea can seem just as mysterious as conjuring a spell.

I mean the craft of storytelling.

When we sell an idea, like a product, or show others how to apply a principle through a training course, we resort to telling a story. Some stories are whiz-bang, like a movie with poor dialogue but brilliant special effects.

Other stories are more focused on character development, witty patter and cleverly-devised situations, but not so much on the explosions.

What they all have in common is a craft.

Tell Your Story With Online Video

There are several ways to devise a story for online video. Most focus on one person who must overcome an obstacle. Other stories take an ensemble approach where each character is equally important, but the rest is the same; they must meet a challenge of some kind.

In video marketing (and online training), your primary goal is to help a customer solve a problem, so it’s best to design your story arc in a Three-Act Structure. That is the technique used in books, movies, theater, and the best advertising. It involves a setup, a confrontation, and a resolution.

  • The Setup is where you lay out the challenge. Somebody, your customer for example, has a problem. Illustrating this problem is essential to your business’ value proposition. Instead of talking about your company, simply discuss the problem you help solve, and make it the villain in your story.
  • The Confrontation is where your main character meets the problem. In a movie, this is where the senator is kidnapped, the factory is blown up, the fort is attacked, or the boyfriend moves out. In your business situation, it need not be so tragic! But this is where the story really begins to take shape.
  • The Resolution is where the rubber meets the road. A solution appears, and our hero applies the solution he has discovered to the problem. This is when the enemy’s weakness is revealed (the Achilles Heel, the dragon’s belly, the chink in the armor), and the battle can be won.

There’s More Than One Technique

Another storytelling technique is called the 5-Act Dramatic Structure, most often associated with William Shakespeare. Video storytelling can get even more in-depth using the five elements, which I really like. They are the Exposition, the Rising Action, the Climax, the Falling Action, and the Dénoument, (or ‘unraveling’). In a nutshell:

  • The Exposition is where the main characters and issues are revealed, a little bit like the setup and confrontation rolled into one. Think about your video starting with something like “Sherry’s computer kept crashing every time she tried to update reports…”
  • The Rising Action is a continuance of the confrontation, but basically once the characters and conflicts are known, they escalate. “Sherry called IT, but they were stymied as well, no matter what they tried…”
  • The Climax is where the solution is discovered. Most believe the climax of a story is where the hero defeats the foe, but really it is when he discovers how to win, and decides to take that course of action. Think of it the climax as when Rocky Balboa first steps into the ring with Ivan Drago, not when he finally wins the fight. Or, when “Sherry finally took it upon herself to try a software evaluation tool from…”
  • The Falling Action is where the solution is being applied, the final battle is engaged, and usually things begin to get very dire. This is the dark before the dawn. “The quarterly meeting was in two days, and she needed approval from IT before they would install it…”
  • The Dénoument is like the resolution above, where the final outcome is achieved. This is where the hero clears his name, the villain is in handcuffs, and everybody can now go on living ‘happily ever after’. “Sherry’s reports were ready just in time, and were now easier to update than ever.”

Something like that can really make an impact on a customer, and on students as well. Online video should tell a story, but should also go beyond that by applying a solid writer’s technique. The craft of writing isn’t just another task to master, it is a critical tool to creating highly effective material for your online marketing and training videos and presentations.

Why not try a solution for online presentations yourself? We’ve come to the part where you try KnowledgeVision for two weeks. Who knows? It might help you vanquish the foe you discovered during this story’s setup.

Originally posted on The KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas Blog.

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