Stories are everywhere if you know how to look for them. It also helps if you know how to tell a story. Luckily, most of us do — it’s the way we communicate — and they don’t need to be elaborate constructions; they can be incredibly short. Six words are enough to tell a story: For sale, baby shoes, never worn.
The point is that you can find a story in anything. Even your business that you think doesn’t have any interesting stories to tell.
It helps to understand the elements of a story. It’s all about the 4 Ps: People, Places, Purpose, and Plot.
This isn’t a bulletproof formula to use for every video, but you can use these p-pillars as guidelines to build your story.
Think of storytelling as a way to give structure to your video. This can be useful when you know the objective of your video (build awareness, sell a product, instruct, etc.) but are still unsure of how you’re going to get there.
Storytelling is so much more than a vehicle for marketing objectives, though, and every business has a good story to tell.
If you think your product or service will not make for an interesting story, it could be that you’re just not looking in the right direction. Instead of looking to your service for video ideas, look to your people. Finding a good story to tell is often about asking questions.
Start at the beginning. How did the company get started? Were there struggles? Who were the people involved in the early days? Not every company needs a rags-to-riches, “started in a garage and now we own the world” origin story like Apple or Amazon. Maybe the founder has an interesting story. Larger companies could feature somebody who worked their way up through the ranks and now holds a management position. Their perspective of what it was like in the early days, compared to how things are now, could be interesting.
Day in the Life
People love to see behind the scenes. And they love to see how things get made. Day-in-the-life style videos combine these elements while showing the human side as well. It feels like a secret world that we’re allowed to peek into for a moment. Again, use the strength of your people to bring the story to life. This is a great approach for companies who make a product, as you can mix in the making-of with personal stories for an engaging video.
This is a different take on the behind-the-scenes approach and can take many forms. The essence of it is to show your audience where the work gets done. It could be a beautifully produced video used to showcase your location and draw people in, which is a great approach for a retail location or a business looking to raise its profile. Or, for a more informal approach, it could be as simple as a handheld, vertical video walkthrough to post to social media.
If you’re looking to interact with your audience, you could do the video live. As you walk through the business, you could answer questions and take them places they ask to see.
Turn the focus away from your business, and show how your customers benefit from what you do. This can take the form of a customer testimonial, a case study, or even a mini documentary about a company that uses your product or service.
These videos benefit from the concept of social proof. When looking for a new product or service, people look to peers for validation and confirmation that they’re making the right decision. In this instance, it’s showing how other people have found success with the help of your product or service.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Once you start looking, you’ll realize that there are plenty of stories to tell. As you make videos, keep an eye on your metrics to see which stories or videos connect with your audience. This will help you to decide which stories to tell next and how to tell them.
Do you have a favourite way to find stories and video ideas? Let us know in the comments.