We’ve all heard that storytelling is a powerful way to connect with potential clients. However, unless you have a system in place for collecting and sharing those stories, it’s really easy to forget about it. As a videographer, storytelling is all I do. So I wanted to break down how some of my clients have systemized their brainstorming and video storytelling process so we are finding great stories to share on a consistent basis. This is the process we do for videos, however it definitely applies to almost any form of storytelling!
Step 1 – Confirm Your Business’ Goals and Resources
Like with so many things, you cannot get into a great storytelling idea without a solid understanding of what your goals are. Even a really powerful story is useless if you’re not harnessing that power to help you get to your goals. Setting up firm goals also helps with the brainstorming process later. Setting tight restraints on what the story needs to do can really spark some original ideas. I’d recommend writing down your answers to these questions to have with you for the next step.
What purpose does your organization offer?
That’s asking a larger goal. For example, if you’re a CPA you’re helping to relieve stress because you’re taking the weight of tax season off of your clients’ shoulders. This involves asking yourself what you want your clients to feel when they work with you. Ideally, you want your storytelling to speak to that feeling. You can have multiple purposes but try to keep it below 3.
What is success for your organization?
The most helpful way to think about this one is in terms of your internal business. So this is things like, “have consistent clients always coming through the door” or “getting more of a certain type of client”. Knowing this helps make sure that your specific goals match the form your storytelling will take.
What resources do you have for storytelling?
This is just to make sure you are being realistic with what storytelling you can really do on a consistent basis. How much time are you willing to commit to collecting stories on a consistent basis? One hour a week? One day a month? That will greatly influence how you find and create your stories. Also think through what assets you already have, things like pictures, testimonials, videos. Things that you can use to start creating a story. Lastly, it’s helpful to break down what connections you have to stories. Do you have employees that are the ones actually talking to your clients? Do you follow up with your clients on a regular basis to hear how things are going? Those are great entry points to start finding some new content.
Step 2 – Plan Out Your Marketing Goals
Continuing on your list, start thinking through what you want your marketing to do. It’s helpful to have your answers for the last section in mind.
List 3 Focuses for Your Communications
Why do you market your business? Do you just want people to hear about your business, do you want people to know your values? Do you want to show how you differ from your competition? There are probably a lot of reasons, but choosing a few main focuses will help you make sure you actually accomplish those goals.
List 5 Takeaways You Want Viewers to Come Away With
This will build off of your focuses a little. Outlining exactly what you want your stories to say to clients. For example, “wow, this company really cares about their clients” or “I had no idea how much of an impact a financial advisor can make on your life”. This is also very helpful to have if you’re working with an outside contractor to write/create your stories. They’ll know exactly how to curate the project to your unique focuses.
Step 3 – Brainstorming
Alright, so now you have your focuses and takeaways, now you can start brainstorming! I’d recommend picking one focus and one takeaway and start thinking through a story that you could use that would meet those specific topics.
If you’re thinking about creating a video, here are some of the most common types of stories I see when it comes to video storytelling.
Mission video. This is like an elevator pitch in video form. It’s ideally around 90 seconds long and is an explanation of your business and its values. It’s a great way to give people a glimpse of why they should choose you.
A behind the scenes video. It gives people an idea of what your services actually look like. This is best for businesses that have something visual to what they do (like a brick and mortar or a chiropractor). It’s just a more casual way to connect with viewers and helps them see your authentic side.
Educational videos. This is when you just focus on one topic that you’re an expert in and share your knowledge. These are especially great for anyone in the difficult position of wanting to connect with clients on a personal level while have also talking about topics that are complicated. Quick educational videos can be really powerful for a person like a lawyer or financial advisor because it allows people to see their face to connect while also highlighting their expertise.
Client success stories. These are one of the most powerful types of video for all types of businesses. That’s why you see these types of commercials all of the time. Think of Chick-Fil-A or Verizon commercials, it’s just happy customers on a white backdrop and nothing but their testimonial. Having some outside affirmation can make a huge difference in creating trust with potential clients.
Step 4 – Revising
Now that you have some story ideas, it’s important to make sure an impactful one and that it provides the whole picture. Here is an example little check list for you to think though to make sure that your story has all the necessary components.
Does the story:
- Fit with your goals and themes?
- Focus on a subject rather than just your organization?
- End with a next step or Call To Action?
- Meet your time and asset restraints?
Does it include:
- What happened? Who was involved?
- Why is this important?
- How do they/you feel about it?
- The larger context surrounding the topic?
Step 5 – Systemizing
Thinking through your idea or ideas, how can you practically capture stories that match that topic. Think through the timing of it. Will you spend one hour once a month thinking about it? Will you have a quarterly meeting with your team to collect stories? What systems do you need within your team to be able to consistently collect stories from clients?
And lastly, what assets do you need to make your dream a reality? Do you need to make sure someone takes some pictures at your next big event? Do you need to create a word doc of all of the best interactions you had with clients? Thinking about all of this helps make storytelling sustainable past the initial excitement.
Step 6 – Creating
Video tools are becoming more and more accessible to everyone. Here are some recommendations I have to help in your video creation process.
Tools for Shooting on a Smartphone
If you’re shooting on your smartphone, I’d recommend finding a microphone to plug into your phone. Bad audio can easily ruin an otherwise great video. Here is a microphone for iPhone and one for Android.
I’d also recommend finding a way to stabilize your shot. Smartphone stabilization has gotten a lot better in recent years but a smooth steady shot is an easy way to make your videos look more professional. Here’s an example of a tripod that you can hook up your phone to. If you’re going to be on the move a lot, you can look into getting a gimbal like this for your phone.
Tools for Editing Your Videos
Here are three different editing options I’d recommend depending on how complex your video will be:
Canva. You can do some basic editing on both Canva’s free and paid versions. It’s great for people who just want to be able to clip their video a little and maybe add their logo. Canva is known for being very user friendly and high quality.
Lightworks. Lightworks is a free editing software that comes with a lot of tools. Many other free editing software put their logo on your video when they export it, but this one allows you to export your video as is. The only drawback is that the free versino only allows you to export standard definition rather than high definition. The difference wouldn’t be very noticeable for social videos, but would be for a video going on a big screen.
Adobe Rush. This is a paid option but is about as high quality as you can get without paying for a professional software. Adobe Rush was created to be an easy-to-use form of their professional editing software for people who are not professionals.