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How To Tell A Story Effectively Through Videos

Updated: Jul 6

by Crystal Wan Ying |


In this day and age, anyone could produce and upload an online video that would eventually be viewed by the masses. However, what sets apart a memorable video from the rest, is how engaged you get with your audience, and the best way to get engagement is to capture their emotions – which is why stories make for such great marketing and teaching tools! I’ve personally seen it myself when I use stories in classes. My students are far likelier to remember the information I attach to a story they can relate to, instead of just droning on about dry facts to them.



The most memorable advertisements we’ve seen are always the ones that elicit deep emotion within us (I’m pretty sure most if not all of us know of the Petronas advertisements by Yasmin Ahmad?), and storytelling is a far better way to get information across rather than just bombarding your viewer with information you want them to hear. Instead, what you need to do is make them want the information you’re about to give them. Humans are innately curious, and storytelling enables us to use them to our advantage; here are a few ways you can do it:


Present Powerful Themes

Build stories that would capture people’s emotions, and build a bigger picture around it. It’s not just about selling the idea or a product to people, it’s about what they bring to enrich the people’s lives! Keep your target audience and market in line when you’re mapping out your storyboard, but as viewers are able to turn away at any moment (remember, this is on video so you may or may not be around to control their decisions to switch off the screen!), the closer you get to know your audience, the more powerful you can make your video story be. Think about what has been the most memorable video stories you’ve seen, try to pinpoint why does it stick out in your memory, and try to recreate those elements with your own touch.



Captivate with Creativity

Go wild with your story! Whether it be a cute animation, stylized videos, or even playing with your intonation! Emotions in voices capture a listener’s attention, making them want to see what is causing the anger, sadness or fear they hear in a voice. Speaking also ensures that your storytelling, despite it being relayed through a screen and speaker, conveys more authenticity and credibility as opposed to reading words off a rolling text on the screen. Dress up if you’re the one playing a character on-screen – use puppets, play with camera angles, use sound effects. If you’re stuck at a creativity block, a simple Google search can give you many different creative filming techniques that could easily be done at home.


Use Pauses Effectively

Remember how, when we were younger, if our parents suddenly went pin-drop silence and glared at us, we’d panic and squirm? It works the same way, somewhat. Except, it doesn’t really cause fear, but instead it induces a sense of anticipation and curiosity. This especially works if you want to create a transition, and the pause works as a way to let the audience press the ‘reset’ button in their brain before you continue on.



Choose the Right Background Music


The right music can help greatly in creating the right atmosphere and feel that you would want to convey through your story, along with any accompanying sound effects. Google once made a very memorable video on an entire love story only through Google searches set against a piece of music and some background sound effects. The video was simple, but the accompanying music and sound made the entire video sweet and surprisingly moving. It also shows that storytelling through videos doesn’t have to be complex, as long as it has a good storyboard and captivating ideas.


Show, Don’t Tell

At the end of the day, use the video medium to the best of its ability. Visuals, sounds, colours, angles, audio, all work together to create a cohesive feeling, and it’s a waste if you don’t use it all to your benefit, so you can make the viewer feel exactly how you feel about the product or story you are telling on screen. Instead of explicitly telling your audience the message (which is not very different from, say, a normal presentation), use video elements to show what you’re trying to convey.

Ultimately, the goal is to generate emotion in the audience that is a reflection of the values you wish to associate with your brand. The more emotion generated, the more memorable you are to your viewers or your potential future customers; in my case, the more memorable my information is to my students who need it for their tests. People don’t want to be pitched at or have information shoved down their throats – they want to be inspired, amused, or moved, and that’s the best way to be remembered.


You can also learn more about the writer on Instagram.


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