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How to Story-Tell for Video Marketing Impact

People love stories. They thrive on them. Stories allow you to put actions and words into context. When marketing a product or service with video, stories help you show prospects what you’re about, without making them feel “sold.” When a story is on target, a prospect identifies empathetically with its characters.

To prevent rambling (and obscuring your intended point), be sure that your stories are carefully constructed. Give your story a complete structure, which includes these elements:

  • The beginning: Every video needs to start somewhere. The beginning establishes the context, characters, and expositions such as time, place, and circumstance.

  • The middle: The middle contains the dramatic point of conflict or anticipation that engages your audience. It’s where the action is.

  • The ending: Ultimately, the conflict must be resolved, often with an offer of solution from your company.

To design a story that speaks to your audience and drives the action you intend, start with a clean sheet of paper and identify these required components of storytelling:

  • Setting: Determine where the story takes place, and decide which important characters are involved. Viewers must be able to easily comprehend the location, the business process being addressed, and the company involved in the story so that they know what’s happening.

    The video setting doesn’t always have to be established at the beginning. Sometimes, revealing the setting at the end can have a greater impact. For example, viewers may react differently if a story they’ve just finished watching turns out to be a dream.

  • Protagonist: This character drives the story. She nearly always has a purpose. The protagonist is the reason the story is happening. However, the person who drives the action isn’t necessarily the character whom viewers identify as themselves.

  • Conflict: Conflict establishes the emotional connection. Somehow, obstacles get in the way, and pain is created. When you coordinate the challenge of the characters to correspond with your prospect’s pain, you make the emotional connection.

  • Resolution: Ultimately, your prescribed course of action should end the story. Even if the purpose of a marketing video is only implied, it still must promote your product, service, or idea. The characters must be perceived as benefitting from your offering — or at least as perishing from never obtaining it.

One key difference between marketing videos and artistic videos is that marketing videos are designed to compel specific action from the viewer. A marketing video has a purpose beyond being entertaining and artful: Its story must make the point and drive the viewer to respond or retreat. Telling a story for the sake of the story itself may attract viewers, but not buyers.

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