If you’re interested in digital storytelling, it’s important to know what content is best suited for the mixed-media format.
With consumers’ attention spans at an all-time low and competition for those consumers at an all-time high, brands that can grip consumers with a novel and aesthetically-appealing digital experience have a huge leg up. In this landscape, digital storytelling is a wildly powerful communication tool.
If you’re creating content online, you’ve likely already dipped your toe into digital storytelling. Whether you’re posting videos on social media or including charts with your blog post, any story that includes elements beyond just words can be considered “digital storytelling.”
While a video or infographic can add a lot to a branded content experience, digital storytelling is a rich and varied terrain. There’s a lot to be gained by taking a deeper dive into multimedia storytelling, but it can be difficult to know where to begin and what content actually merits a digital story.
Here’s what you should consider turning into longer-form multimedia content:
1. Case Studies
Case studies offer the opportunity to show off the results of your company’s work. Data visualization graphics make a great addition to a case study, but adding animation to the mix makes an even stronger impact. Consider showcasing your hard work and success with a digital story that illustrates your data, like St. Louis startup accelerator Arch Grants did with its 2017 annual report, a “case study” of the organization’s impact over the course of a year.
Throughout the report, Arch Grants uses animated graphs to show financials, job creation, industry permeation, and more. The combination of stock video, recipient testimonials, and custom flipbook-style animation fleshes out the overall narrative, lending more power and punch to the report.
Reports can encompass news about your own business or trend reports that comment on the world around you. Like case studies, reports become significantly more engaging and impactful with the addition of multimedia formatting. For example, this New York Times digital story illustrates how climate change might affect the Antarctic ice sheets in the coming years with animation, illustrations, and video.
Instead of simply presenting another article about ice sheets, the Times draws the reader in with animated maps of ice movement, photos of the research team, and an immersive 360-degree video that lets readers view the ice from above. Through this three-part digital story series, readers can see how ice sheets are being affected by global warming – with their own eyes.
3. Side Projects
If your company is working on a side project that you want to have a distinctly different look and feel from the rest of your brand, a digital story allows you to explain the project in great depth while keeping it separate from the rest of your brand.
The SpaceX “#dearMoon” project is a great example. Instead of hosting information about the project on its website, SpaceX dedicated a separate URL to the #dearMoon efforts. The microsite not only acts as a compelling introduction to the project, but also serves as a portal for future updates and content.
4. Deep Dives
If you’d consider writing a white paper, giving a talk, or creating premium gated content out of a subject, you should consider turning it into a digital story. For example, this digital story from the United Nations takes a deep dive (no pun intended) into the health of three communities that rely on the ocean – threatened by pollution — for their livelihood.
As readers scroll through the three stories, they not only read about the communities, but also hear recordings of the water, view photos of the community residents, and watch video of fishermen hard at work. The result is a compelling case for ocean stewardship that goes beyond what is possible in text alone.
Remember – digital stories are as compelling as their subject matter. If you have a thoughtful and enticing narrative, multimedia formats will only augment the reader’s experience.