Responsive Storytelling

Jennifer Barker

Business Development Strategist

By now you’ve probably heard plenty about the benefits of storytelling and why it should be a core part of your marketing strategy. We have to say that we agree.

Storytelling is an excellent way to strengthen your brand, reveal more of your personality and connect with readers. It’s also a highly valuable way to share information in our mobile-driven world. People expect to be excited, intrigued and entertained these days. Just OK isn’t going to cut it.

But like all good things that find their foothold in the digital world, storytelling has been dusted off, fine tuned and improved. Storytelling has now emerged into responsive storytelling.

What is Responsive Storytelling?

Responsive storytelling is the ability to capture your reader’s attention and then guide them through an interactive flow of information that is entirely unique and customizable. In other words, you're not sharing any old story with your reader but instead one that is relevant to them. This is the ideal way to connect with someone and leave a lasting impression on them, but how doable is it really?

In order for responsive storytelling to work, there are some basics that you need to be concerned with.

  • What is the goal of your campaign?

  • What target audience are you trying to reach?

  • Why should your target audience care about your campaign?

Bottom line: Don’t go into a responsive storytelling campaign with a blind eye. Just because it’s an innovative way to reach people doesn’t mean it will automatically work. You need to take the time to understand your target audience, what matters to them and why your campaign will be important to them.

Let’s expand on this.

Start with the Facts

To begin a responsive storytelling campaign, begin with the basics: the facts.

Let’s say that your brand sells coffee made from organic coffee beans. Organic, Fair Trade coffee obviously matters to your customers or otherwise they would buy their coffee from anywhere. At the same time, people on the fence may have a hard time spending the extra money if you don’t convince them why your coffee is different.

Think about the types of facts that are compelling, such as that your coffee is free of pesticides and herbicides. Then build around these facts. With this approach, you’re sharing information that is interesting, relevant and eye-opening. In other words, you’re giving your content some backbone and ensuring that the key points of your story are not missed.

Build a Responsive Framework

Now it’s time to build a framework that allows readers to choose how the story is told. You can do this using simple features such as bread crumbs and smart user-driven navigation. These features allow the user to customize the story so that it fits their needs and encourages them to connect with your brand on a personal level.

For users who want a more in-depth look at your content, you can recommend interactive infographics, charts, maps and other types of data-driven content. The way that you deliver this content should also be taken into consideration. With web-based interactive options, users have far more freedom and functionality, but they also need to have a live internet connection.

On the other hand, traditional interactive options like PowerPoint and Google Slides are more limiting on functionality, but they are more accessible. As you choose a format for your responsive storytelling, consider your audience and the types of resources they have. It’s important to tell a good story, but what’s more important is that your audience can access your story.

Conclusion

There are many ways to tell a story. In this particular instance, there is no one right or wrong way to do it. What’s important is that you have a good understanding of your target audience and the types of things that are important to them. This way, you can deliver a compelling storytelling experience that is relevant to their needs.

 

About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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