Videos

How to incorporate storytelling into your short-form videos

There’s a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and now that videos are taking over, we can’t help but wonder, how many words is a video worth?

A one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research. Though this figure doesn’t fully quantify the value of videos, it shows that videos are powerful marketing tools that translate messages more effectively than images.

In a survey conducted by Wyzowl, 93% of marketers said that videos are an integral element in their marketing strategies and surpassed images as the most valuable resource for achieving marketing goals. The majority of the customers surveyed also said that videos are more effective in convincing them to buy a product.

Short-form videos are currently dominating in social media apps because this type of content can be used in different ways: to educate, entertain and even promote products and services.

For example, TikTok was initially popular for its entertaining dancing and lip-syncing videos but it transformed into a content marketing tool when brands, celebrities and influencers started to use it to promote their products and services. 

TikTok’s popularity has driven other social media platforms to add short-form videos into their features so that they can compete for the audience’s attention. Instagram replaced IG TV with reels while YouTube adapted to the demand for short-form videos by adding YouTube Shorts in 2021. 

More websites and platforms are expected to follow as short-form videos continue to dominate social media. Even small business owners are now using short-form videos to reach a wider audience with creative and relatable content. 

Why are short-form videos effective marketing tools?

Social media’s fast-paced environment makes content consumption quicker but this also means it’s harder to compete for your audience’s attention. 

According to Vidyard’s 2022 Video in Business Benchmark Report, 58% of viewers would only finish a video if it’s under a minute while only 24% will continue viewing until the end if it’s for a 20-minute video. Leveraging short-form videos will allow you to effectively engage your audience while cutting through the noise of too much content on social media.

Short-form videos are twice as shareable compared to other types of content, particularly since the messaging is condensed and easily understandable. If you consistently create engaging short-form videos, it can increase the likelihood of your viewers staying longer on your official channels to watch content, which can increase your conversion rate as well as your SEO ranking.

You can also create different kinds of content with short-form videos such as FAQS, product teasers and explainer videos. Short-form videos can be an avenue of visual storytelling so that you can create an authentic and relatable piece of content that will engage your viewers.

3 advantages of using storytelling in your short-form videos

Visuals are effective in getting the audience’s attention but it needs a compelling story to make an impact. Even a visually stunning video can be skipped over if it lacks a powerful narrative. 

Storytelling gives your content depth while conveying your brand message. It can give you a competitive advantage over promotional content on social media because the storytelling aspect of your short-form video content can spark an emotional connection with your audience. 

Here are three key advantages of using storytelling in your short-form videos:

1. Storytelling can grab your audience’s attention

Getting the customer’s attention is the hardest challenge for businesses. If done right, storytelling can help capture and retain your audience’s attention despite the content overload. 

A powerful introduction or premise will make viewers stop scrolling and watch your content. Using character-driven stories can also make your brand more trustworthy and human because they can tap into your audience’s emotions and spark a deeper interest if your audience makes a personal connection with your characters. 

Incorporating storytelling elements into your short-form videos will also ensure that your content has a clear direction and brand message, which can establish your authority in your industry.

2. Storytelling can help your audience retain information

Stories have the power to educate and explain, which is why customers are more likely to remember factual information when they are presented with a story. Your audience won’t remember your products and services if you just list them down, but if you incorporate visual storytelling with the data you need to present, then your viewers are more likely to retain the information.

A short-form video showcases a condensed message, so it’s important to highlight the most important details in your video to give value to your audience and avoid bombarding them with too much information.

3. Storytelling humanises your brand

Developing a deeper connection with the audience makes your brand trustworthy and stand out from the competition. Your audience is more likely to develop brand loyalty if you build an authentic relationship with them. 

Incorporating powerful storytelling into your short-form videos humanises your brand, allowing you to foster a personal connection with your audience. Engaging and compelling stories drive growth for your business because they create long-lasting impressions and attract ideal customers to your brand. 

How to integrate storytelling into your short-form videos

An effective short-form video should be able to keep the audience hooked from beginning to end. And to do this, you have to learn the art of storytelling.

Here are four tips to successfully integrate storytelling in your short-form videos:

1. Remember the four Ps of storytelling

Before you start producing a video, it’s essential to have a story in place. Learning the four Ps of storytelling (plot, purpose, people and place) can help you create a structured and focused narrative.

Each P of storytelling will have correspondent points in your story that you need to address:

  • Plot: What story do you want to tell?
  • Purpose: What do you want to achieve and what are the expected actions from the audience? 
  • People: Who are your characters and how can the audience relate to them?
  • Place: Where is the background or location and does it influence the story?

Identifying your four Ps will guide your storytelling process better because they provide a solid framework for your video that makes it more stable and consistent.

2. Focus on one message at a time

Short-form videos only last for a few seconds, which means it’s important to only focus on one message at a time. Too much information can make your video seem vague and aimless, and it will only confuse your viewers. 

The core of your story is what will resonate with your audience the most. Identifying the core message to share in each video will be easier when you know and understand your target audience. Your audiences’ pain points and your brand’s solutions to these problems can be great starting points in creating a core message for your content 

Ideally, your message should provide insightful ideas to your customers and highlight how your product stands out from the competition.

3. Plan your video’s structure and create a strong arc

All stories have a beginning, middle and end. Every second counts when it comes to short-form videos and for your story to be compelling, its structure has to be thought out to the last detail. 

You can come up with your structure based on your brand’s planned content type and duration but there are also classic structures you can take inspiration from.

For example, a three-act structure that starts with setting the story and characters, then introducing conflict (or pain points) before reaching the resolution. This structure is useful if you want the video to be more relatable and personal. 

For shorter videos (i.e. 15 seconds maximum), you can opt for a two-act structure, which introduces the problem before providing the solutions. This format is more direct in showcasing your product’s unique features than the three-act structure.

The hero’s journey is a popular plotline format that works well for businesses because it’s a narrative archetype that everyone is familiar with. By having a relatable character that the audience roots for, they will view your brand as more human—which will make them engage with you more over emotionless corporations. 

Another way to get ideas for your frameworks is by looking into structures that worked for previous content. For example, TikTok shared six storytelling frameworks that they deem helpful for businesses on the platform, such as the elevator pitch and the step-by-step guide.

4. Use emotional triggers

Emotions drive the audience’s decision-making and they’re more likely to remember your video if it connects with them on an emotional level. 

The best part about video storytelling is that the visual and auditory elements add another layer of emotion to your content, from the editing style and the choice of music. 

For example, using bubbly catchy pop music in your video can evoke a positive mood while creating different shot styles can emphasise different emotions. Slow-motion shots can build up the tension for intense scenes while close-ups can highlight the expression and body language of the characters. Combining these visual storytelling elements produces an impactful video that will boost your brand’s engagement levels.

Short-form videos are a valuable addition to your marketing strategy especially since it is dominating social media platforms. Incorporating storytelling into your short-form videos will ensure that you can create impactful content and engage your audience.  Mastering the art of storytelling not only improves your video’s quality but also sets you apart from competitors and establishes your brand personality.

So, are you ready to start creating story-based short-form videos? If you are, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you

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