One of the things that consistently fascinates me, is the power of storytelling to capture attention, engage an audience, open hearts, open minds and drive action. There are few things quite like stories and effective storytelling allow us to become one of the characters, or at the very least, observe characters from such close proximity that we can empathize and relate to them, no matter how different they may be from ourselves. Stories can be told in so many ways and as the population expands and internet usage becomes more widespread across the globe, we will have the opportunity to see so many more stories than ever before. We will be able to empathize with people from all “corners” of our world, realizing that someone halfway around the world may have the same goals and dreams, and the same heartbreak and troubles as we do here.
Stories can be told through spoken word on recorded audio, or accompanied by body language in person or on video. Stories can be told through written words. Stories can be told through pictures. Stories can have a linear time structure like a book or the Facebook Timeline, or it can be freed from the constraints of time using hypertext links in format often referred to as hypertext narrative, though more commonly seen in Wikipedia. Stories can be immersive like a video game or improvisational theater.
The bottom line is this, stories are everywhere.
Stories are everywhere because we can relate to them and we understand the various formats. There are so many ways to convey information and stories are among the most interesting. Businesses everywhere would do well to embrace storytelling as part of their content strategy.
- Show pictures from the early days
- Write a blog post about the company founders and their vision
- Interview older ex-employees about the awkward growth years of the company
- Shoot videos of the people working at the company now
Each of these are interesting to someone and each provide context to the products and services a business offers. If you want to see a few examples of how to tell a good story, you’re in luck…here are a couple:
The Alexia Foundation – a highly respected award winning photojournalism foundation that annually provides up to $50,000 in grants for photojournalists documenting humanitarian and social justice issues around the world to bring about social change.
The Foundation thrives on donor funding to bring their photojournalism projects to life. The Alexia Foundation is built on sharing a story through images and over the last 20 years, has funded and worked with photojournalists who have covered important social issues from around the world including sex slavery in the United States, the atrocities of civil war in Sudan, Women’s rights, the impact of the violent drug wars, illness, poverty, environmental disasters, and much more.
After all that, see if you can find something else that you can really connect with in this video.
They started the foundation after they lost their daughter in a plane crash. Their daughter was a photographer. They started the foundation as a way of coping and honoring her legacy. To me, that is an extremely powerful moment in that video when they talk about that. Not only did I find myself drawn into the video because of how each image captured my attention but also how the images were used with voiceover, interview and all brought to me using web-based video. If you can, you should consider getting involved with the Alexia Foundation so that they can continue funding photojournalists to tell important stories about our world using imagery.
Zeigler’s Apple Cider
Another great example of a well told story is on Zeigler’s Facebook page. Zeigler’s has not only embraced the timeline format, they are rockin’ it.
Zeigler’s took it back to when they founded the company.
Zeigler’s goes back to 1932 to talk about the founder and the humble beginnings.
Zeigler’s even goes back to recite a poem from 1933 that they used as advertising.