Online Storytelling

Online Storytelling: An Ultimate Guide to Become a Digital Storyteller

Stories are captivating! We like to hear stories of the past and make up a few of our own. Stories are thought-provoking, making us feel the words of a storyteller. That’s why online storytelling is such a powerful tool.

There must be someone you know who can tell great stories and keep you engaged throughout the session. What is it about a particular person that keeps you hooked when you get bored listening to someone else? The art of storytelling lies there. 

A completely new form of storytelling has emerged as digital storytelling or online storytelling – it is now dependent on technology, but you still have to narrate a story the same way people did 100 years ago.

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What is Online Storytelling?

Online storytelling refers to the act of telling your story through videos, images, and music like those found on sites such as YouTube. For example, if you want to promote a new product, you will make a video about it, narrate your product offerings and publish it online.

The purpose is to pass the messages convincingly with added sound effects and graphics, which make it more interesting. 

Digital storytelling, or online storytelling, is a relatively new technique to tell visual stories using tools and technologies.

Online Storytelling helps you bring narratives to life. Video clips are combined with audio and several photographs to create videos. 

There are tons of videos on Youtube where creators stitch together several photographs and a video – they use their voice to tell the story and the media provides an immersive experience. That’s online storytelling in its purest form.

Why should I use Online Storytelling?

Virtual Storytelling or online storytelling has taken the whole internet by storm. When you combine audio and visuals to create an immersive experience, passing on a message becomes easier. People love to experience close-to-reality aspects rather than just reading a story online.

You can use online storytelling mostly for promoting your business and getting people engaged with customer service, brand values, or the purpose of your event. Before you know it – the viewers are sharing what they see on their walls in real-time!

Some find online storytelling useful in raising funds for charity where instead of selling t-shirts and caps, artists used quirky outfits to express an emotion that was more creative and powerful.

Good storytelling trumps marketing and advertising any day; the idea of online storytelling is no different! Online storytelling brings you close to your audience, really bringing them on board with your message.

Online Storytelling

It helps ensure that even those who might not read a book or watch TV have experienced your offerings online.

Here are some of the benefits of online storytelling

1. Storytelling is an effective and engaging way to connect with your audience

2. Storytelling allows you to reach a wider audience than just the people who visit your website or blog

3. It’s a great way of telling any personal story, whether it is about you or your company

4. Through storytelling online, one can share intimate details of their life and add personality to them 

Online Storytelling

5. Storytelling allows expanding the horizons and reaching out to more people

Through online storytelling, you can evangelize your brands through online digital media and invite users into a parallel universe where they can participate in the story. 

Also Read: A comprehensive guide on how to become a content creator

It also creates an online storytelling community that is building an online social media environment for readers, listeners, and viewers alike as they are simply sharing written words for readers e-manga via a storytelling product within its website or app.

What are the 4 types of storytelling?

If we see from the point of view of a storyteller and the audience, there are mainly 4 types:

1. The story is told from the point of view of a single character.

2. The story is told from the point of view of multiple characters, and it’s not just one or two people that are being focused on, but a large group of people with different perspectives.

3. The story is told in an omniscient third-person perspective where the narrator can see what each character sees, hear what each character hears, and know everything about every character in the story at any given time.

4. The story is told from the point of view of a single character, in the first person.

You can start with any one of these and test which one works best for you. A single POV (Point of view) will not work in every situation. You should not stop experimenting and being creative with your approach.

What are the 7 elements of digital storytelling?

The 7 elements of digital storytelling are as follows:

1. Who is the protagonist?

2. What is the main conflict in the story?

3. What genre is it?

4. What time period does it take place in?

5. Where does it happen?

6. When does it happen?

7. How do you know this happened to your protagonist, and what evidence do you have to support that knowledge?

What are the 4 P’s of storytelling?

The 4 P’s of storytelling are the following:

1. Pre-production – This is where you map out your story and decide what it will be about and how it should play out.

2. Production – You film or shoot your story with all its aspects relevant to the overall theme, such as shooting actors in their natural habitat at just the right time of day for lighting adjustments in post-production editing so that they look good on camera at just the right time.

Online Storytelling

3. Post Production – You edit your completed project to look polished, storyline important moments are highlighted in bold, and shots that show character development last longer than others so they feel more impactful with the audience.

4. Publicity – This is where you take what people see on TV or in movies for granted (i.e.: when a movie premieres) but are unaware of how hard work goes to get people interested.

How does Online Storytelling work?

The term “online storytelling” refers to the process of creating, sharing, and publishing stories online.

A story is a piece of content that you create to make an impact on someone’s life or give them a reason to interact with your brand.

There are many ways that you can tell stories online:

  1. Videos – this is a necessary form of 360 storytelling because you can’t get the same effectiveness from reading and pictures. Videos contribute to the immersive storytelling experience and are widely accepted on all channels.
  2. Photos -​ this type of storytelling works by creating content that puts together and portrays a picture about your business, product, or service for potential customers to see online so they have an idea of what it’s like if they are interested in purchasing something featured on their page or taking part in your activities.
  3. Blogging – this is a popular form of content marketing where you write about different topics related to your business and share them with people who might be interested in the topic.
  4. Podcasting – this type of storytelling takes place when somebody creates an audio recording for their audience, usually featuring interviews with other individuals or experts in various fields.

There are three basic aspects of online storytelling: beginning, middle, and end.

The Beginning: The story must always start properly with a simple introduction to the plot and then solidify something by the end. Introduce your characters in some way to the work, some of it must come into play later on. A story without a hook never works when the attention span of the audience is decreasing. Keep the introduction short and straight to the point.

The Middle: This is the build-up part where you:

  1. Give your audience a break from the action
  2. Shape up the plot by introducing some interesting new twists and stakes that keep driving the story forward.
  3. For those who are reading or watching online, try to flesh out their world in an even more immersive way – alternate views of what they see/hear with audio/visual hints. 
  4. For those who feel insecure about what the story is about, try to make your audience get a better sense of it – establish whether they are watching or reading fiction, rather than something real.
Online Storytelling

The End: You should always have an objective in mind while writing the end of the story. The end should communicate your message in the most subtle way possible.

  1. A message does not have to be profound but should depict the overall meaning of your story.
  2. Do not start with what is happening, instead, think about what you wanted the audience to get out of it in an abstract sense.

You can also go for an ambiguous ending that leaves you focused on questions while leaving more unanswered at the same time as well as giving readers and viewers an avenue by which they can draw their conclusions based on novel ideas/thoughts you have provided.

To write good storylines, I suggest looking at patterns from stories – all kinds of literature, anyone has written anyhow. When considering the ending, put it in writing as you write and see how well it works. 

The story must be built up (from beginning to middle) then translated properly into your language so that people understand what is being said – You will not end up with a stalled train of thought if you plan everything first.

What are the qualities of a great story?

A great story is well-written, compelling, and it leaves the audience feeling satisfied. It can be a novel or a film.

The qualities of a great story are:

• It has to be interesting.

• It should have characters that the audience can relate to.

• The story must be well-paced and not dragged out too long.

• The ending should provide some sort of resolution to the events that happened in the story before it began.

Online Storytelling

Use Emotions in Online Storytelling

The emotions you want to relay through online storytelling can be simply summarised as catharsis and empathy. It means communicating emotion through a story, not through words or speech. As a result, they will have an appreciation of what the story means to them by the end of the story.

For a storyteller to do this successfully, they must be able to convey compassion without appearing insincere.

A story can make the audience laugh, cry, or a combination of both. They are also impressionable – a certain emotion might create an effect on the reader that will make them change their point of view at least temporarily.

Humor and sorrow are the second most common emotions among readers since these two tend to soften people’s hearts in a way that they can relate to any genre without making them feel uncomfortable about how strong emotions can be.

You should incorporate a special touch into your story writing with character development that makes them feel like they are living through their own experiences. It should not be like watching somebody else live around them- make characters relatable to one another so by the end of your piece there is some sort of understanding between everyone.

How do you do virtual storytelling?

For virtual storytelling, one needs to start with a concept first without thinking much about the execution. Once you get around the story to portray, you can start to work around the required skills.

You cannot go wrong with a good script and you will find that most people ask for one. After you get the right idea, it’s all about choosing the right technology to create your story with.

Online Storytelling tools allow narrative creators to combine images and take advantage of visual storytelling so they can tell compelling stories in various formats such as virtual reality (Facebook), 3D environment, etc. This gives online media creators an edge over other creators in the industry.

How-to Learners Guide for Virtual Storytelling

Virtual Storytelling starts with recognizing the message to record and pass on to the audience. You may start with only a basic smartphone to do all this or go for professional equipment depending on your budget and requirement.

Once you get online storytelling right in terms of tools and techniques, it is about finding a creative way to present your creativity.

Let’s start with storytelling equipment before jumping to the whole process of digital storytelling.

Online Storytelling Equipment

Camera

I would never suggest a beginner buy a DSLR instantly and start recording on it. While starting, you should look for solutions with the least investment upfront.

Start with your smartphone camera and move to a high-end camera once you start receiving good reception from your audience. If you have the budget to go all-in then there’s no harm in spending money on your passion.

In case you are buying, go for a compact camera and you can still be flexible with the quality expectations of your audience.

Online Storytelling

There are many things to consider while choosing a camera. Consider what you need it for, whether or not video storytelling is your primary focus, and then check the features that take care of any adjustments in your story-telling production. Additionally, if something like low light recording capabilities or some other feature makes itself useful during storytelling but can be problematic when you’re out shooting, this should be considered as well to make an informed decision.

Some features may interest you in other ways than storytelling like a wide-angle lens, low light recording, etc. Which will open up new possibilities for storytelling on camera. Utilizing features like a wide-angle option and low light recording capabilities may help you against lightning conditions or darkness.

Tripod

Go with the basic tripod you can find online or in the nearby store. There is no need to go for anything fancy, just solve your purpose of having a sturdy lens while you record your storytelling session. Though you can use a selfie-stick or even bounce along ultimately storytelling is an art that only imagination and creativity come in help with.

Microphone

An active noise cancellation microphone is suggested if you shoot near a highway or there’s a lot of noise in your shooting studio. In every other case, you can do well with a basic microphone before you go for the professional ones.

If you have the budget, we recommend something like a shotgun microphone. It captures more sound without being overpowering and also provides a pumping bass response which is most suitable for an online storytelling session.

Suitable Background

You want to have a clear background or at least something related to your storytelling topic. If you cannot do this, go for a green screen and use the background of your choice while editing.

Online Storytelling

How to play with the background of a storytelling video?

1) Add a visual metaphor for the storytelling (e.g., plants, natural landscape, manmade landscape)

2) Incorporate your storytelling into it so the video leans more towards living or producing memories of places you’ve visited

3) Obtain footage from online sources like archive movies and vlogs to blend in with a post-production filter

These features will make your online storytelling session a success.

Music/Sound effects:

If film score or music has its place in your storytelling, then composing that yourself wouldn’t be difficult to do with some technological assistance.

Some online storytelling platforms such as Facebook, Vimeo, etc. offer the option of writing and even creating your music for a storyline that would fit well with it.

An online platform normally has their playlist on to match specific stories to work from there too especially if you are planning an online storytelling session catching people’s attention using audio effects is quite easy.

So don’t rule out this possibility, after all, storytelling may be about more than just storytelling.

Now that we are done with the equipment, let’s move towards the way to execute storytelling.

Creating an Immersive Digital Story

Creating an immersive digital story requires you to plan a lot of things before thinking about the execution. It starts first with the planning behind it. How would you bring your idea to life? Would using videos or motion graphics help to better express what you are trying to convey?

To present your idea at its best, you should always have it shorter than 250 words, which secures more attention when people read.

Many effective tools make this possible without having professional skills in writing or some sort of visual software like Adobe Premiere Pro.

Here is a laundry list of solutions for how you can create an immersive digital story:

– Create a blog

– Blog post video – Vlog

– Slider post video – Storyboard

– Tin Can Robot projection

– Live conversation via Facebook Live

– Short Stories are accessible with a click of a button, etc.

You don’t have to stay on one medium, you can go from one medium to another as long as you make it clear in your story which device did what for easy understanding of what is going on.

So now that we know how this whole immersive digital storytelling thing works, let’s talk about how do we execute it?

Well, storytellers have to figure out what is the core of this idea or the message that they want their audience to see and be inspired by:

Here are a few pointers on how you can take your concept from the idea phase into execution:

  1. Have an engaging intro sentence such as “Imagine yourself in this world.”
  2. Make sure there’s also a punchline at the end of your story that makes the reader go, “WHOA!”
  3. Illustrate your story with a relevant image that has an impact.
  4. Hit your major point(s) early so it can resonate throughout the narrative.

Functions of this are especially important if you’re using video as well just for extra emphasis and attention to what is happening in front of them.

  1. Tell a personal story
  2. For example, take an assignment for the TED talks or tell your mom’s life story.
  3. Show that every one of us has something worth contributing to in order to effect change in the world.
  4. For example, a child discovering they’re not alone
  5. One way to make your video engaging for an audience on a story is by using Action Words (fascinate, astonish) or Anecdotes which epitomize what’s happening
  6. Ideally use an audio device with your video so you can take advantage of sound.
  7. Including a story from someone in the audience gives it more depth to humanize it because there’s no better way for someone to tell their own experiences than by using scripted words.

Examples of stories that get people thinking: “What’s Next?,” Why This Matters” and “Bits of Us.”

Which sites offer Online Storytelling services?

In online storytelling, you can find online platforms that offer services either free or paid. The quality of the storytelling depends on how much budget one puts into his project and what kind of visual elements are created for the video.

Normally, a photographer hires an editor to create all these background images often with copyrighted photographs – it’s still called post-production because when I’m developing a movie there isn’t so much editing involved in this point as compared to online storytelling. But online storytelling has larger flexibility and can be instantly accessible to people through a website or app that allows them to hear the voice of a narrator who tells their story in pictures.

Many websites offer these services, and they vary in price depending on the site you choose to work with.

Here is a list of some sites that offer online storytelling services:

1. Wattpad

Wattpad is a community of readers and writers who come from all over the world to discover new stories, share their passions, and share their passions. It’s an online platform designed for lovers of reading and writing that aims to connect writers and readers.

Wattpad is accessible from any computer or Mac browser, and you can read books and publish stories with its free iOS and Android apps. The website and applications provide free access to catalogs of stories, novels, and fan fiction from all over the world.

Wattpad protects the authorship of work by allowing the writer to choose from a variety of rights options to protect his story. Wattpad’s added value comes from its functionality in a social network-style, which is its originality. It provides different ways for users to interact and comment on stories.

2. Scribd

Scribd is a social media platform where users can publish, share and discover creative content. Scribd provides a space for authors to store their stories with an archive that makes it easier than ever before to find old favorites or new discoveries from friends and around the world.

Scribd stories are uploaded in the form of PDFs that can be read on almost any computer or smartphone app for iOS or Android devices. The mobile version has a good story browsing system where you can scroll back and search by keywords, even if you save stories offline when your data connection goes down.

The Online Storytelling Tools section of Scribd is a personal favorite; I appreciate Scribd’s page design as it guides you to storytelling tools while connecting your story to its audience directly through social media sharing features like email, links in blog posts or Twitter feeds so that people can easily get the message out about your work without ever leaving the site. However, stories are not added automatically but users must download titles and peruse them instead of reading read-only blog posts all over the internet.

Also Read: How to create content for Twitter?

3. Tellagami

Tellagami is a storytelling tool that allows storytellers to practice their own stories and connect with other storytellers online. It lets you create animated quick stories and customize them according to your choice. You have an option of adding several characters and manipulating them to churn out a story for the users.

The description of their mobile app says, “A Gami can be an exciting tweet or status update. It can be a fun way to tell a story. It can be a thank you message or a vacation postcard. It can be a birthday greeting, party invite, or a cool way to share photos. The possibilities are endless!”

Now build your creator website and mobile app in under 5 minutes on GoSocial without coding. Click to start for free.

Conclusion

Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools that people can use to convey their message. It is a way for them to be able to create awareness and drive sales through their content. This is what makes it such an effective form of online marketing.

There are a lot of benefits that come with using storytelling in your online marketing, but it does take some time and effort to get started on this process. You have to invest time in learning about storytelling and how you can apply it in your business. GoSocial helps you do just that by connecting you with experts who can help guide you through the process, which will ultimately lead to greater success for your business. Join Communities on GoSocial to learn Storytelling from and with the experts.