I read this great article today which I wanted to share with you and my take on it. By now you all must know how much of a fan I am of storytelling. I believe that storytelling is a key leadership technique because it’s powerful, persuasive, moving, memorable and authentic. A good story captivates, inspires and motivates your audience, even online. Take for example ‘Kony 2012′. The campaign, which initially mainly revolved around an online video attracted more than 30 million views in just a few days. The worldwide campaign received both praise and criticism, but is now on many political agendas. It’s a great example of online storytelling with a big impact. Having a good story is just not enough. Here are 5 tips that can help you shape your story.

1. Determine your target group
If you have a story to tell, think about your target group. What is their relation to your story? What is their knowledge and why should they hear this story? For an audience, there is nothing more annoying than listening to a story which is not addressed to them. Online storytelling is no different. Visitors will leave your site in a split second if they can not connect to your message. You need to have an offer they can’t refuse, based on their needs.

2. Choose an appealing Story format
Online offers many more possibilities than offline. For example: video clips, animation, dynamic content, infographics / data visualization. Choose one or rather a combination of tools. Do not forget to add a clear call to action! For example when choosing a video make sure they so not just watch your video, but drive them to your website for more.

3. Determine the role of your visitor
Both offline and online is important to have a good interaction with your audience and that is certainly not limited to just answering questions afterwards. During the telling of your story you can actively involve your target audience in your story. For example, the website Slavery Footprint interacts in a fun way with their online audiences. By asking the visitor’s input and using this input through the course of the story, it keeps the visitor engaged!

4. Provide the context of the story
A good story is complete in itself and needs no further explanation. Yet it may just be the case that a visitor enters your story halfway. Compare it with zapping on TV and suddenly you’re halfway into a movie. If you decide to look the film, it often takes some effort to understand where the story is about and where you are in the story. This often happens online through Google searches: suddenly your visitor lands on a deep page on your website, and then? How do you get visitors to still participate in your story? It’s important to provide the visitor a quick overview of what you have to offer. For example, by bread crumbs, or indicating in which step of the story he/she has landed. Add links with more relevant information about the subject of your story.

5. Communicate the purpose of your story
We ususally tell stories with a particular purpose. Either to inform, inspire or persuade a particular purpose. Online, we are used to thinking in USP’s and call to actions in order to convince visitors to buy or do something. Although these goals are easy to reach with storytelling, it is key that your story is in line with the desired action. Is the purpose of your story to get in touch with your target audience? State in your story what the added value is for your audience if they would get in touch with you without a direct ‘product push’. Extensive contact options have more effect than a call to action to order products.

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