Humans have been telling and writing stories since the beginning of time. It only makes sense that with the rise of the internet and the invention of social media, stories would soon become digital. Now that we are in the digital age, public relations and advertising professionals must navigate this new terrain by making sure their clients’ stories are being told digitally.
Organizations realized early on that they would have to incorporate storytelling into their brand strategy. The key to storytelling is creating an emotional connection to an organization and their brand, which goes far beyond just shoving information down an audience’s throat. With social media, organizations have more control over communicating their brand story, whereas in the past, their only option to reach their audience through pre-established media connections.
The great thing about digital storytelling? It isn’t limited to one platform or medium. You can tell stories digitally on Instagram, Facebook, through an infographic or video. The opportunities are endless. However, there are a few things you want to keep in mind.
Who is your audience? What channels are they using? What time of day are they most active on those channels? What are your organization’s or client’s goals? What do you need to communicate? Make sure to ask yourself these questions and find the answers to them before even creating a story. There should always be a strategy to your creative content.
Make it Relevant
Sure everyone likes a good story, but if it doesn’t resonate with your audience, then is it really accomplishing your goals? Use the audience’s language, and know their values and needs. Find a way to meet these characteristics through telling a story. If you can’t seem to find a direct relation to your organization’s or client’s goals and the needs of your audience, then maybe you should reconsider your audience.
There is a lot of content out there. You need to find a way to make your content stand out. Whether this includes posting a really cool picture or writing about a common idea in a new and different way, you need to find a way to draw people in. There are a lot of stories that have been told a million different ways (Hamlet and Lion King, anyone?), but it is up to you to be the one to possibly take an old story and rework it in a new way.
Share Your Audience’s Stories
The amazing thing about social media is that instead of PR and advertising professionals doing all the work, your audience has been creating their own content. The best stories are real, and even better stories come directly from your audience. Try incorporating your audience’s stories into your digital storytelling strategy.
Robert McKee once said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” If you are looking to make a connection between your audience and a brand, the best way to accomplish that is with a digital story. Think outside the box, but most importantly don’t forget to keep your audience at the forefront of your mind.
Noelle Hobbs is a senior from Macomb, MI majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with a Double Minor in Writing and in Digital Studies. She is the Vice President of Administration of her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi and an Account Associate of GrandPR. Noelle’s love of writing has inspired her to want to be a copywriter for an Advertising agency after graduation.