In the past few years, as owner of a video production company, I’ve noticed a real shift in what clients are requesting. A few years ago, it was mostly the typical sales pitch video. But, now clients want more. They’re looking for ways to connect with their audience, to use emotion, and to create a lasting impression. This is a promising trend for all of us in the professional video industry. Below are a few reasons to embrace the trend of storytelling in videos.

1. Storytelling sets us apart as video professionals in a world where anyone can shoot and edit.

As professionals, we strive to do a much better job than our clients could do just setting up a camera and reading a script. New editing software and cheap digital cameras make everyone a video producer. But, once we hone the craft of telling great stories, our clients can’t really emulate that. And, they don’t want to spend the time it takes to master the art.

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Use humor in your stories

2. Storytelling videos are much more likely to be shared online

Sales pitch videos, though they certainly have their place, aren’t really likely to be shared online. But, when you create a humorous, interesting, thought-provoking, or problem solving video, people will share it. Consider this example.

My company, Marietta Video Productions, got a call from the owner of a commercial painting company. He wanted us to shoot one of his restaurants being painted. When he told me the restaurant was The Big Chicken, one of Atlanta’s iconic landmarks, I asked him to let us tell that story, not just shoot some video. He agreed and arranged to allow us to interview a couple of others involved in the project.

The result was a really fun video that accomplished the goal - a great response from the people who mattered - his clients. They didn’t just watch the video, they enjoyed it, laughed at it, and shared it. The video helped to create a deeper alliance between him and his customers. It portrayed him as a caring, creative, and fun guy who really goes above and beyond for his customers. It also gave his customer’s a deeper understanding about what sets his company apart from his competitors.

3. Storytelling videos can be very efficient and can help you get the sale.

Some clients have a really tough time narrowing down the points they want to make in a script. The process of developing a script and storyboard can be very time consuming.

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All clients want to bring too many ideas and thoughts into a video while still keeping it short. And, if the client can’t really articulate their vision, and they’re relying on you to come up with what they want, sometimes, you can lose the sale.

I’ve learned over the years that when I tell a client we will develop their story from conducting interviews instead of creating a script and storyboard, it eases their stress. The client trusting you - the video producer - to pull out the best portions of the interviews and keep the ideas concise gets the ball rolling and helps you land the sale.

The process is simple. We do interviews, preferably with the client and the business owner. We send the audio files to a video transcription company, such as CopyTalk™. We get the transcripts back in a couple of days and write the stories completely from the interviews, just like a news reporter does. I use information in the narration, and I use the interviews to convey opinion and emotion.

Keep in mind, storytelling does not have to be expensive for your client. We use stock video in some cases and build the story around what we can find. In most cases, it’s much easier and less time consuming than developing a script and trying to get clients to say something that’s scripted rather than the conversational style of an interview.

In the Data Center video below, we used stock footage for the opening scene. We told the story through the eyes of our client’s customer, and we developed the script from the interviews. This video achieved its goal as well, helping our client “connect” with their prospects. It’s helped them close several key sales.

Storytelling seems to be the buzzword right now in video. It’s not just the interview style of storytelling clients want. No matter how you tell the story, whether using interviews or a script, keep in mind, the components of storytelling such as emotional characters, a fun or dramatic plot, and engaging settings are more likely to land a great response and be shared online.

  • Stan Arthur

    My films are all about storytelling. Here's one for ya:

  • Corey Petree

    Donna is so right about technology - anyone with a webcam or smartphone can technically make a video, just like anyone with a pencil can technically draw and anyone with MS Word can technically be a writer. Quality and craft go a long way toward making video productions great, though, just like hard-earned skills make good writers and artists. The most important difference between even a technically skilled amateur’s work and a great video production is ALWAYS the story. The promise of a story is why video productions are created and the story is why people watch and even share. The quality of a story and the way it's told is often the difference between a passable professional production and an outstanding one. It’s back to that proverbial campfire, it’s why language developed and it’s how history is understood. It’s deep and it’s simple. It’s right in front of our noses yet ignored, taken for granted and overlooked routinely. Paying attention to this most fundamental aspect of video production - story-telling - makes the crucial difference between a viewer becoming engrossed and sharing an engaging story or hitting that dreaded “back” button on a browser. It’s the difference between the story itself making a difference or … not.

    • donnadavis

      Well said. Glad you took the time to read and to comment.

  • Daramola Steven

    In the professional video industry one have to embrace your shooting,editing and setting up camera. Reading and writing of your story on your script has to be done very well Listing to each speakers and tell the story exactly as it happening.For example when you are covering a ceremony or occasion for a news item for a Television Station.
    Like shooting the swearing ceremony of the head of state of a country. Like my country Sierra Leone with i did.Thanks to Donna Davis and her organization for video industry in world.

  • gerryoginski

    Storytelling is just awesome. It draws a viewer into the video. I have always been a big fan of telling stories. Just think about how we transfer information from generation to stories.

    Think about what we do when we get together at holidays. We sit around the dining room table or kitchen table with different generations and we tell...stories.

    When we go out to dinner with our friends and are sitting at the table, we tell each other...stories. It is the best way to get a viewer interested in what you have to say. Thanks Donna for pointing out again a great way to communicate with your online viewer!

    Gerry Oginski, Esq.
    Founder of Lawyers Video Studio
    NY Medical Malpractice Trial Attorney

    • Donna Davis

      Thanks Gerry. I say that all the time. It's not complicated. It's what we do everyday. Our friends take a trip and they come back and tell us the story. It's really a skill all of us are developing every time we engage in conversation.