Storytelling while campaigning

5. 4. 2017


Last week I took part in a discussion about storytelling at the Impact Hub in Bern. One question I threw into the round was: How to structure you story when designing a video campaign on social media?

You want to sustain your audience attention over a longer period of time - one, three, or six months. The workshop participants provided good answers:

  • It is difficult to plan a social media campaign over a long period of time. If you create a video series, people might miss a video and then not bother to get up to date, effectively loosing interest in your story series
  • Taking into account that people won’t tune in to every video of your campaign, it might be more prudent to create short standalone videos. If they are funny, people will come back and watch new releases

While these inputs are relevant for a good campaign I was not completely convinced. Do we really have to play more of the same videos over a period of time to make a video campaign work on social media? Where is the story arch? The suspense effect that lingers throughout a good story?

Level up!

Back home while I was enjoying the first warmer spring evenings on our balcony it hit me: The storytelling concept as used in games might be the solution! After each successful completion of a world, you (the gamer) enter a new level, a new world, where moving around is trickier and opponents are stronger.

Your levels might not feature an ever stronger Bowser (Super Mario Bros.) or complicated worlds to navigate through. Your story elements might be of different nature.

Start with the story structure. A simple story gives you the opportunity to structure you campaign into 3 levels: act 1, 2, 3. Add further levels based on elements specific to your story:

  • Different locations: The story takes place at different locations: A project is planned in the office and implemented in the field
  • Different actors: Your story moves from one actor to the next
  • Increasing complexity: With the story progress the complexity increases. This is very useful when trying to communicate interdependencies and you don’t want to oversimplify
  • Ever tighter suspense: What will happen next? The more your story advances, the more is at stake. Very effective way to keep your audience hooked

After fixing your story levels for the entire campaign you then create the individual short stories. They don’t necessarily have to be an ongoing story, like a typical TV series. But they won’t be more of the same either. With each new level your story changes slightly, renewing your audience’s interest.

What other story elements you can think of that help you to level up your audience during your campaign? Write me on Facebook!

Or check out these related articles