Storytelling: Some video inspiration

Posted on Posted in Blog

Quite simply, people love stories. Long before there was YouTube, flatscreen TVs or even books, people were etching their stories on cave walls and stuff.

Who are you, what are you about, and how do I relate to you? These are just some of the questions your viewers are asking themselves when they click on your website, or your video. People seek connection, and stories are a powerful tool to help you engage, relate and reach your audience.

But how you tell your story can be a key to your success. You don’t have to be a huge company, or have a $50 million budget just for ad placement to tell a good story. How? After reading some tips from TED Talk’s greatest story tellers, here are some tips we put together to help share your business’ story.

It’s not me, it’s you

First, when setting out to tell your story, remember your objective is to engage and interest your viewers, not just explain how awesome you are. As executive coach John Bates emphasizes on how to tell your business’ story, “stop bragging and start relating to your audience.” (Business 2 Community)

People get bored very quickly when you just talk about yourself. As much as possible, your viewers should be the hero of the story, not you or your business. Sharing your story in this way will help your viewers relate, stay interested longer, and be more likely to want more.

Check out this video. Sure, the ad is for Always, but the real heroes? The young women who are strong, courageous and should not be limited by societal pressures.

Be Direct

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (“Toy Story,” “WALL-E”) says that effective storytelling is “knowing your punchline, your ending, knowing that everything you’re saying, from the first sentence to the last, is leading to a singular goal, and ideally confirming some truth that deepens our understandings of who we are.” (

About 20% of your viewers will navigate away from a video in 10 seconds or less. Read: you have a limited amount of time to capture your viewers’ attention – maybe even start your story in the middle, or the end. And, make sure dialogue and action support your main objective.

Appeal to Emotion

What does your audience care about? Sparking the emotional side of your viewers’ brains can help them see past boring business info and actually connect. Guinness nailed it with this one:

Entertain…or at least add value.

When possible, entertain. You want your viewers to enjoy watching your video. This is especially true if you plan for your ads to run on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. People expect to be entertained by the videos that fill their newsfeed. Think: “how does this video add value to my viewer’s 30-120 seconds of time?” Plus, do it right, and your video will also be shared, reaching people well beyond your target audience. Awe and captivate?  That’s exactly what DC Shoes did with this video:

The 5 C’s

And lastly, Bate’s first rule for storytelling: every story needs the 5 C’s – Circumstance, Curiosity, Characters, Conversations and Conflict. Set the scene, draw people in, identify the characters and start building your story! Check out this great blog recap of John Bates’ TED talk of storytelling.

These tips are just the beginning.

What do you think makes a great story? What are your favorite video ads?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *