Digital Storytelling: what it is and how to use it in your company

Digital Storytelling refers to the art of telling stories that excite and engage audiences using the digital tools made available by new technologies.

You will discover that the areas in which it is used are diverse: from political and corporate communication to Digital Marketing, passing through schools of all levels (from primary to secondary school), where it is proving to be a fundamental medium in education.

Thanks to a Digital Storytelling course you can expand your communication possibilities through the use of new digital channels to reach your listeners or readers more directly and effectively.

You will be able to capture your audience’s attention, convince them and create trust by offering content, and therefore stories, with 3 key characteristics:

  • Spontaneity;
  • Truth;
  • Reality.

But, why is digital storytelling important for companies? It must be assumed that people are tired of the usual advertising, and no longer react to advertising stimuli as they did in the days of traditional advertisements.

Gaining the trust of possible customers is the primary objective to be achieved. Build, therefore, in customers the esteem for the brand that you want to “tell” and promote because the problem of advertising today is precisely that of failing to overcome consumer skepticism.

Conversely, using Digital Storytelling helps to break down the walls of mistrust. Today, it is important for companies to learn how to increasingly use this tool within their digital marketing strategies. To obtain the right skills, it would be useful to consider training internal company resources.

Corporate Storytelling creates an enormous advantage for businesses, namely that of being able to inspire greater consumer regard for the brand, products, and services. This translates into fundamental benefits for any business:

  • Increase sales;
  • Increased retention rates (repeat and loyal customers);
  • Generation of referrals, i.e. word-of-mouth of satisfied customers who recommend the brand to other potential buyers.

So how do you build a story? A digital narrative? In the following paragraphs, I will explain how to tell a story and with what tools.

digital storytelling tools

How to do effective Digital Storytelling

Many companies use digital storytelling in their business models to engage users and create a direct relationship with end consumers. Digital Storytelling for businesses allows you to tell and share the story of a brand, product, or service through the most appropriate online channels to capture the attention of your ideal audience.

Once you have identified the main concept you want to express in your corporate brand storytelling, it is good practice to create an outline to develop its various aspects.

In this case, it is very important to follow a logical and sequential scheme like this one:

  1. The general idea of storytelling is the first thing to be identified. It indicates the main subject on which the whole story will be elaborated.
  2. The search for information is indispensable to creating a starting point. In this phase, all useful material is gathered and analyzed, looking for possible specifications and insights.
  3. Writing the storytelling means creating a script to develop the various stages in chronological order.
  4. Creating a storyboard by means of a preliminary graphic sketch is used to realize the setting of the story to be told.
  5. Combining the elements is a process in which all the initial steps identified, collected, and developed are put together. Thus begins the actual production phase.
  6. Sharing storytelling determines how, through the web and social media, you want to get the company’s story across. For example, with a video on YouTube or with an editorial plan on Instagram and Facebook, where visuals and copy can be combined.

The subject is vast and an integral part of a good digital marketing strategy because it is a subject that, if mastered well, can achieve really important results.

In the following, I will list examples of narrative models and essential tools for creating an effective digital narrative.

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Examples of storytelling: narrative models

As already pointed out, digital storytelling can be used to communicate and convey messages effectively in many different areas. But how can you learn how to build a narrative? What should you start with?

examples of storytelling

There are some classic storytelling patterns, used since time immemorial in literature and in tales handed down from generation to generation, that can be taken as a model in the construction of winning Digital Storytelling that engages your audience. Fairy tales and fables, in fact, have always been an extraordinary medium for conveying moral lessons to children.

Here are two particularly interesting narrative models that you can take as basic examples for constructing your storytelling: the Three-Act Structure and the Golden circle.

Structure in three acts

It is a narrative pattern widely used in communication, in all its forms. We are talking about a very simple but effective structure that can be used as a basis for storytelling. It consists, precisely, of three acts:

  1. Setup. An introductory moment in which the characters and the setting of the story are introduced.
  2. Comparison. Through the succession of various events, we arrive at a discount between the different actors in the story.
  3. Resolution. The protagonist manages to get the better of the antagonists and obtain what he wants.

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Golden Circle

This is a very simple diagram developed by Simon Sinek, which can be useful for building successful corporate Digital Storytelling. It is characterized by three concentric circles representing the questions to be asked when constructing the image that a company wants to give of itself. The questions are:

  1. WHY? The innermost circle, the real “heart” of the matter. Why does your company, or your brand, exist? What are its constituent values? Why should anyone be interested in it?
  2. HOW? Secondly, you have to ask yourself: how does your company differentiate itself from the competition? What is the value proposition that makes it unique?
  3. WHAT? Only at the end should one ask what the company does or produces, providing more “technical” and objective indications.

Storytelling, therefore, is a very different thing from informing: Digital Storytelling means communicating a story and giving deep meaning to events through the emotions and involvement of one’s audience.

Apps and software to create your story

Pen and paper are, and always will be, indispensable tools for those who work with creativity. However, nowadays, you can count on a number of useful tools (including software, webware, and mobile applications) that allow you to develop winning Digital Storytelling easily and quickly, from outlining a draft to the final presentation.

software for creating stories

Here are some of the most interesting tools listed according to their main functions:

  • Creating the timeline. Setting up a chronological sequence of events is one of the first steps in defining Digital Storytelling; among the many tools available I recommend TikiToki or Xtimeline, online services that allow you to create animated and multimedia timelines.
  • Setting up the storyboard. StoryboardThat is a very intuitive tool that even youngsters can use to create small comics and vignettes; particularly suitable for teaching purposes.
  • Taking care of graphics. Surely you have heard of Canva, undoubtedly one of the most popular tools for creating customized images, graphics, and charts in an easy way. It is also recommended for the less experienced due to its intuitive graphics.
  • Visual Storytelling. Using images in storytelling is essential and apps like Steller allow you to create animated stories using photos and videos directly from your smartphone.

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Digital Storytelling at School

The school world is also evolving and adapting to new technologies. Digital Storytelling is a new communication tool that can be used in teaching activities by teachers in both primary and secondary schools.

Proposing a compelling narrative to students rather than cold, impersonal notions proves to be a valuable method to attract the attention of the class and convey content in a much simpler way.

Multimedia tools such as animated presentations, interactive maps, and videos are methods that younger students undoubtedly find more appealing than a classic lecture or reading a printed textbook.

On the other hand, Digital Storytelling is a learning medium that children and young people can use to improve their imaginative and expressive skills, as well as their mastery of digital tools and devices, by learning to integrate different multimedia elements (video, images, music, text) in the construction of a narrative.

How to use storytelling for your company

Digital Storytelling and Digital Marketing are a winning combination! How important is communication in marketing? I would say that it is a determining and indispensable factor. If it is combined with an integrated digital marketing strategy, then you have a very powerful weapon, a guarantee of success.

Storytelling is a storytelling technique that harnesses people’s unconscious emotions. The term is very fashionable today and is increasingly linked to online marketing, but there is often confusion about its true meaning.

Therefore, it is good to clarify that digital storytelling refers to communication as a narrative realized with digital tools (e.g. videos, images, gifs, social channels); whereas Corporate Storytelling or Storytelling Management refers to the telling of the mere corporate story.

There are several cases of Web Storytelling in which alleged “storytellers” take advantage of the lack of knowledge on the subject on the part of companies, which thus find themselves paying for a service without obtaining any benefit.

Or those who pass off the simple story of the company’s birth in an “About Us” section of the website as an effective digital storytelling maneuver.

It is therefore important to understand which digital tools to use to compose and convey the narrative, the digital story of the company or brand you want to promote. As you continue reading the article, you will discover the digital marketing tools needed to convey digital stories.

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Digital Storytelling Tools

What are the digital media through which to convey the stories you want to tell? Here are some of the storytelling tools offered by the web that are ideal for reaching your audience with a narrative that succeeds in engaging the recipients of your message:

  • Video. The strongest and most powerful tool of all is the video, because, by combining images with words, it gives you the possibility to communicate 360° with whoever is on the other side of the screen. It is the most direct communication channel and manages to give the impression of how real, spontaneous, and natural you are in what you do.
  • Blog articles. In addition to video, another high-impact communication opportunity is certainly that of blog articles, i.e. posts with which to develop one’s own story in text form.
  • E-mail marketing. Another tool related to direct e-mail marketing activities. An e-mail allows you to convey different content, but your ability to make the topic you are talking about appealing with visual content is crucial.
  • The visual aspect in the online world is, in fact, becoming more and more decisive. Which narratives to share? The digital stories to tell are those that make your company more interesting, that bring the brand closer to the consumer, and that add a plus to what is already known. So, tell me what is worth seeing, reading, or listening to.

You could tell, for example:

  • A particular anecdote from the history of your company.
  • Of your products or one particularly representative of your corporate identity.
  • People, like those who work for your company.
  • Or, you could publish testimonials from some of your customers. How they came across your brand and how positive their experience with you was.

WANT TO GO DEEPER?

If you want to learn more about storytelling and how to excite your potential customers, check out this comprehensive mini-guide on storytelling marketing.

Want to build your storytelling strategy but don’t know where to start? Consult one of our experts for free

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