How to Become an Expert Visual Storyteller with Video in 2019

Published: May 12, 2019  by 
woman standing in front of video camera

We’ve been hearing for years now that video is the future of not just social media, but advertising as a whole. So far those predictions seem right on the money as consumers crave the constant hits of dopamine shot into our brains via our eye receptacles that watching billions of hours of video content provides. Much like social, the landscape for video content keeps evolving and marketers need to evolve with it. According to Wordstream, video content is used by 87% of online marketers. As we have seen from most top marketers in the last year, even when a campaign ends in a total disaster for a brand (hello Fyre Festival), a great piece of video content activates a major case of FOMO and drives consumer decision-making like nothing else.

Video has come a long way in a relatively short span of time and is still changing all the time. With every new app, a piece of gear, or technology that comes along, masses of marketers go gaga for a short period of time before their shiny object syndrome moves on to the next big thing. Ever since YouTube gained sentience on Valentine’s Day 2005, there have been other video game changers and killers. Remember uStream? Remember Vines? Remember the first generation GoPro? Sure you do. Tomorrow something else will come along that will make the current technology or trending app obsolete. So how will brands and marketers stay relevant? Simple. You need to become a master visual storyteller – no matter what the assignment, no matter what the product or services. Trends come and go, so you need a handful of principles and a grip on the latest trends to guide you to success in your next project.

Start with a Compelling Narrative

First and foremost, whether you’re creating content for Instagram Stories or a long-form commercial ad, you need to have a compelling narrative for the story you’re telling. No campaign too big, no post too short can afford to overlook this point. What are you trying to communicate to the viewer? How do we express it visually? Does it make sense? By starting here and understanding what the customer takeaway needs to be, you begin on the path of getting there. Also, worry less about being clever and witty, and more about what the end result of customer journey needs to be.  Spoiler alert: This idea comes from film school, and you’ll see a lot of high-quality agency-level ads now filmed by movie and television directors. Basic storytelling tenets never change.

Get to the Point

The crux of perennial dismay between brand managers, copywriters, directors, and editors is getting the heart of the message. Even long-form pieces of content can lag with wasteful moments. Create the copy deck or storyboard with the video medium you choose, and sure, go nuts in the first draft. But be prepared to edit it and seriously whittle it down. Much like the rhythm of a joke, ask yourself often “is this too long a story to make the audience remember the brand?” The answer will tell you if you are on the correct path. Global insurance company Aflac famously had this problem when audiences raved about the funny duck in their highly successful commercials and became a sensation on Facebook. But fans had a disconnect about what the brand was selling.

Create Highly Shareable Content

As we said earlier, mediums and tools do change, but best practices don’t go out of style. Even if you think you have a bulletproof strategy and a killer idea for the execution, consider if it has value to share for others. You may very well make a great piece of content that you hope goes viral, but there is a lot of evidence that says you can’t manufacture a viral piece of content unless you are an influencer. Think about your favorite videos, ads, and even memes and GIFs. What do they have in common? They all had something about them that made you want to share them – a hook. Create videos with “great hooks” and getting it shared won’t be a problem. Brevity wins in advertising, so no matter what your end goal is, aim for small bites of content rather than longer pieces, or create long clips with the ability to have smaller teasers made for all your socials.

Choose “The Mr. Right Now” Medium

Tools and networks are ever-changing, so this is a tricky line to walk. If you follow this blog space, we have discussed Facebook Live and IGTV in the past. Those are being pushed hard at marketers and there have been some early successes. Ads on Facebook and Instagram Stories continue to grow brands, and they are great because they don’t feel obtrusive and they fly in and out quickly without really interrupting the user experience. Twitch is a channel that is blowing up in 2019, and brands and influencers are starting to use it for game reveals, new products, and more. Simple to use, and easy to monetize, it is a channel being flocked to by millennials. YouTube has also been pushing its “Live” platform more in 2019 to compete with these upstarts so we are seeing a lot of premieres, product unboxings, and reveals. The ability to lead a live chat discussion in real-time during YouTube Live is a huge draw if you promote it properly, or have a huge built-in audience as well. 

If video still feels a little daunting, reach out and talk to our video experts, who will guide you toward a video strategy that works for your business.