5 Video Storytelling Tips from our PRSA Workshop

Tips on sourcing and capturing memorable stories using video

ByAshlene Larson
Feb 3, 2017

Last night, Dave and Darren were invited to share some of our expertise with a group of communications professionals from the Maryland Chapter of the PRSA. During their presentation, they shared some of the basic principles of video storytelling, as well as advice for sourcing stories, finding characters and gathering the necessary elements to make a story compelling.

We can’t give away ALL our tips, but here were some key takeaways from our session:

1. Character-driven storytelling creates empathy – As a group we watched some stories that were 30 seconds and some that ran 10 minutes, the element that made them all compelling was the empathy we felt for the characters on their journey. When an audience feels empathy for a character, they will remain engaged with your story.

2. The best character is the one who gives you access – A good character doesn’t have to be outgoing, boisterous or even likeable, but they do need to give you access. Access to who they really are. Access to their emotions, and their external space. Everyone has the potential to be a compelling character, the difference is how willing he or she are to let you in, share their story and take your viewers on their journey.

3. Don’t “interview” – Most people are not at ease in front of the camera and one of the biggest challenges in creating authentic stories is making your subjects feel at ease. Try to find common ground and build trust. Share some personal details and think of it as a conversation instead of an interview.

4. Remember, the best story might not be YOUR story – We discussed a few different sources for compelling stories, such as the leadership story and employee stories. One thing to remember is that the best story might not even be your story – it might that someone outside of your organization resonates with your audience and fits with your brand. Keeping an open mind and letting go of “messaging” will open up more possibilities for compelling storytelling.

5. Build an audience and evolve – Many marketers are handling all their own video production on a shoestring budget. We shared an example of a company that started with a webcam, built an audience and evolved their storytelling capabilities along the way. If you have a small budget to work with, a DSLR camera, some basic audio and lighting equipment and an easy editing program are a great place to start as you build your video storytelling capabilities.

Thank you again to everyone who joined us last night and to the Maryland Chapter of the PRSA for inviting us to speak to your group. We welcome any questions you might have along the way!

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