How to use storytelling to create visual content
Remember your school book when you were in primary school? While it may not be possible to recall the lessons, you will agree that most of the information was conveyed with images and drawings and fewer words. Or even when your teachers taught you important processes like seed germination or food chain, they narrated it like a story. Why? Because information is easier to grasp and retain when in the form of visuals and stories. But why are we talking about images and storytelling? Well, because the same technique is now widely being used in content creation. The trend of visual content via stories has gained momentum in the digital age as an effective medium to educate, engage, and inspire audiences. And this is of utmost importance in a competitive market where an average person’s attention span is just around 8 seconds.
What is visual storytelling?
Visual storytelling is a style of virtual content where graphics, images, drawings, symbols, and videos are used to engage with viewers, steer emotions, create intercommunication, and motivate action.
In a world that is primarily driven by non-verbal communication, brands are looking for new ways to convey visual content. According to research, a 1-minute video is worth 1.8 million words. This seems apparent considering today’s audiences’ preference for visual content; from film reviews to news, everything is delivered in the form of Instagram reels or Twitter Fleets. But as a marketer or content creator, besides moving to visual media, you also need to adopt a style that appeals to viewers – storytelling.
Tips for using storytelling while creating visual content
A good piece of visual content that uses storytelling as a medium achieves five purposes; reach, motivate, entertain, educate and inspire. As a marketer or content creator, follow these tips while creating visual content:
Show more, tell less
Weave information in the form of a story and rely more on images and visuals and less on words. Show the features, functioning, usage, and benefits of your product rather than simply stating them. Have someone demonstrate the product or service or highlight how the product makes life easier; again, let the visuals do the talking.
No story is complete without context; it helps the audience better understand and engage with the story. And since you are using lesser words in visual content, establishing context is necessary for better communication.
Context refers to the setting, time period, colors, etc. they evoke a certain emotion in your viewers and sets their expectations. Determine the context of your story depending on your target audience. For example, LEGO used motion graphics designed like a fairy tale to appeal to children.
To capture your audience’s attention, you need to offer them content that is relatable to their life, situation, and concerns. Don’t tell a story about your brand or business, but a story about people – show your audience that there is a person just like them. And create a context that your audience is familiar with. To set your brand apart from other competitors, try weaving real-life events into your context.
Carry a message
The beauty behind using storytelling to share visual content is the layers of excitement and information it brings along. If your content is bland, it’s as good as non-existent. Stories serve a purpose, they teach a lesson or share a stance, and the ultimate goal for every marketing effort is to carry a brand message. So, identify your brand’s message or stance clearly and then build a story around it.
Contrast and conflict
The driving force behind any great story is conflict. Why? Because conflict sparks interest in a way, other emotions cannot. When it comes to branded storytelling, audiences look for a relevant problem they can associate with. With the conflict in the play, you can use contrast to build around different sensations or messages. The use of striking colors like red signify danger, passion, and even love.
When sharing a visual story, it is easy to lose focus and get lost in the details. There is nothing worse than content that rambles over multiple details. To avoid this, keep your visual story clean, crisp, and well defined for your audience to focus better. With information to the point rather than beating around the bush, your viewers will linger around to watch what’s next. If it takes 10 seconds to convey a message, don’t drag it to 20. Follow the KISS (keep it simple and stupid) principle.
Storytelling through visual content, especially while incorporating brand demands, can seem complex. But it’s a great way to get your creative muscles working. And, of course, the content you create will have a larger impact on your audiences.
Contributors: Minal , Sanchea and Swapnil