Visual storytelling can help you truly move your audience and subsequently grow your business, your community, and skyrocket your online presence.
We’re lucky to live in an era when all the available channels and tools give us so much power over the message we send out to the world. With video, animation, 360 video, virtual and augmented reality becoming more accessible and leveraged by businesses, we have some exciting storytelling times ahead.
However, regardless of the tools and channels you’re using to convey your message, it’s important you know visual storytelling techniques available to you. If you master these, your visual storytelling will grow exponentially!
Immerse your viewers in your story
It’s widely known that the stories that make your audience feel something deeply usually make a larger impact and remain in their memory longer.
Let your visual storytelling draw your viewers in. Do this by carefully picking every word and image in your story to provide sensory details that will allow your viewer to see, hear, feel and smell all the different prompts in your story.
Use your visual storytelling elements to create a mental movie for your audience and encourage them to be a part of your story, instead of simply watching it. This is a technique best leveraged through VR storytelling.
Show, don’t tell
This somewhat adds to the previous technique. We’re listing this separately as it’s important to ensure your visual storytelling elements don’t simply repeat each other.
Instead of reiterating what’s already been covered, your story elements should be carefully selected to add on to each other. For example, if there is a narrator or a dialogue in your video talking about a scene, use your visuals to supplement a part of that story that words aren’t necessarily telling (but are maybe implying), instead of simply using them to repeat what is being said.
Constructing a scene this way will directly transport your audience to a scene, instead of just describing it while using redundant visuals. Choose all your storytelling elements with great care!
Simeon has spoken about this at BloggerConf, when he covered in detail the importance of planning your video shoots and thinking ahead with visuals and audio that will help to show the story instead of simply telling it.
Create memorable first impressions
As humans, we’re programmed to create our impression of a person or an experience in a matter of seconds.
Now that we’re faced with hundreds of brand messages, advertisements and value propositions, it is more important than ever to focus on the first couple of seconds of your visual story in order to draw your viewer in.
Of all the videos that they’ve been exposed to today, why would they stop and watch exactly yours? What makes it different? What will make them stop whatever they are doing right that moment to experience your story?
Keep this in mind for each piece of your visual storytelling content.
Tell a personal story
Personal stories are potentially the number one reason why video works so well for businesses in the first place. Because when you are a brand talking to a person, you may be perceived as a large, corporate body deprived of feelings and personality.
On another hand, however, conveying a personal, relatable story works so well with visual storytelling (and with other types of storytelling, too), because it makes the viewer relate to it on an individual level and helps them identify themselves with it much easier.
When a person consuming your brand’s visual storytelling feels like they’ve been exposed to another human being’s story, you’ve won.
Build up suspense
This is a well-known storytelling technique and it works so well for movies and books. Creating some form of a conflict or suspense will keep your audience engaged and impatient for what’s coming next.
There are several ways you can do this. One is to tell a story chronologically and build up to a culmination. Another way to do this is to start the story in the middle of the action and then direct your story backwards in time to reveal the storyline that lead to this event.
The key aim with video is to keep your viewers interested and keep their attention until they’ve seen your entire story – and this is why suspense works so well.
Keep changing what the viewer is seeing
This is a simple perspective tip to keep in mind. If your setting and the nature of your story allows it, it’s always exceptionally useful to occasionally switch the perspective, such as framing, angle or distance.
This will depend on the nature, tone and emotion of your story. Ideally, you won’t be too limited – keep in mind the importance of dynamics in order to keep viewer’s attention. No matter what is the length of the video – but especially for the longer ones – your viewer’s eyes need to move throughout your video to make it interesting and dynamic!
Build up to a S.T.A.R. moment
A S.T.A.R. event is a “Something They’ll Always Remember” moment that will make your viewers think and talk about it for weeks and months later.
Nancy Duarte, a presentation expert, covers this in her book Resonate, and this technique can be done with the use of memorable dramatizations, shocking statistics, provocative images or emotive visuals.
And in Nancy’s own words, your S.T.A.R. moment should be a significant, sincere, and enlightening moment during your story that helps magnify your big idea rather than distract from it. Finding your S.T.A.R. moment can make your visual storytelling create an impact that stays with your audience for a long time!
End with a positive takeaway
Effective visual stories most often end with a positive resolution. You want to create a key takeaway, a feeling that you want your viewer to carry with them after being immersed in your story.
This will impact the way they will recall your story and tell others about it, as well as their feelings whenever they approach any of your visual content in the future. This is the key to keeping control over your brand awareness and the impression that your brand’s messaging creates!
That’s all – it’s your turn! What are your favourite visual storytelling techniques? Let us know!