This is part 3 in a 6 part series on the top 5 ways video for social media can help your business profit.
There's an old saying: "Tell, don't sell". Which is great...'cuz most of us (me included) don't enjoy selling things. Most of us aren't fans of salesmen, but almost everyone loves a good story, or book, or movie. Telling your story is an opportunity to make yourself known in a "remark-able" way. A way in which your target audience will remark about you to others and help you spread the word.
I believe telling your story is the single most effective way to promote yourself. There's a famous TED Talk by Seth Goden where talks about the key to some of the most famous marketing campaigns being that they were "remark-able". Here's that talk...I highly recommend watching all of this if you want to be able to tell your story remarkably to help market your business/product/service in the most effective ways.
A Remark-Able Video Story
Derek Alan Rowe, a dear friend of mine, co-owner of Doctrine Creative (a high end media and production company out of Orlando, Fl), recently created this incredibly well done video telling the story of his personal journey through being a storyteller. He did it for a National Geographic Digital Correspondent Contest (where he could end up winning a contract with National Geographic!) and even talks about the first movie we made together called "Within Reach" about sustainable communities which he helped me co-create. Watch how he weaves his personal story with beautiful visuals and compelling things he has done in his life or things that make him "remark-able".
One of the things I love about the video that Derek put together is he's very down to earth with his storytelling style, it's almost like you are having a conversation with him. I believe using this conversational tone and approach is how you can make a video (like Derek's video above) that leaves the viewer feeling you are friendly, casual, and approachable.
I encourage you to have a friend sit down with you and record on a voice recorder, in 3 minutes or less, you casually telling them your story. Focus on these 3 things:
Tell it as you would tell it to others in a short conversational way (like in an elevator pitch style) to help them get to know you
What's remarkable about you
What you have to offer.
In today's market, with social media becoming so personalized, the most effective business marketing has taken on a more personal approach. The advertising world has been making commercials more candid and documentary style. I like to call it "Cina-doc" where the style of the video creates a cross between Hollywood cinematic camera and lighting work and blends it with documentary style camera and lighting work. Making it more of an indie feel with a cinematic look. Here's a great example of this:
People want to get to know you...your essence...your personality. You are selling you!
Here's another example of a great story being of a video I created for Tina's restaurant in Dundee, OR. Look at the two co-owners sharing beautifully about the things that make them and their business remarkable in an authentic way on camera to help "tell" (not sell) their business:
Viral Video - Aim High
If you ask anyone who owns a business almost always they will say that the most effective way they bring in business is word of mouth. Advertising is secondary...almost always. With that said...one of the most effective ways to bring about word of mouth these days...is through social media and video. It almost goes hand in hand with word of mouth. I know this because my business has personally benefitted from social media helping spread the word about what I offer and some of my more popular media work is a responsible for that happening. Though you may not be in the media business....the same benefit can happen for your business through extremely popular videos.
"Viral video" is a phenomenon of our modern day digital world and the benefits to business has been incredible. Though you don't have to make a video that goes viral...it is something to aim high for. What is important is to find parts of your story that are like memorable headlines that people will then talk about with other people. You may not get millions of hits, but you will definitely get a lot more than otherwise.
For example recently I released a 1 minute trailer for my new drone movie "Soar - Oregon" and it was received with more enthusiasm than almost any other post I have ever received. It's not to hard to imagine why....the footage from a drone is "remark-able". People have been raving about seeing their local world from above. One of my keys was targeting my audience to the local Portland area by tagging in my Facebook and Instagram posts about the trailer...all the businesses and people I could that were directly or indirectly in the video. They then shared the video with their audiences and it basically went viral in the local Portland area on Facebook with thousands of hits and comments.
I spent weeks mulling over and delaying this blog post because I was basically forcing myself to FINALLY learn proper storytelling structure thinking that if I am going to promote good storytelling, I at least need to know how the most well known storytellers do it. I have been hearing for many years now that Hollywood screenwriters follow a very strict structure where they follow a method that brings in plot points. They always have "character", "desire", and "conflict". They also have proven that screenplays that follow the "Hero's journey" do amazing at engaging audiences. I find that I don't always enjoy conflict in film or videos and am loving seeing more and more examples of storytelling where the emphasis is not on a major conflict (Like Derek's video above). Why can't we tell stories that have a focus on transformation, or uplifting turns of events or infinitely possible other ways of telling stories rather than centering on conflict? My favorite quote about storytelling:
"The key to the future of the world, is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.” - Pete Seeger
It got even more interesting when I read this section about how almost mathematical and logistical and formulaic the Hollywood story structure has become:
"In a properly structured movie, the story consists of six basic stages, which are defined by five key turning points in the plot. Not only are these turning points always the same; they always occupy the same positions in the story. So what happens at the 25% point of a 90-minute comedy will be identical to what happens at the same percentage of a three-hour epic. (These percentages apply both to the running time of the film and the pages of your screenplay.)" -http://www.storymastery.com/story/screenplay-structure-five-key-turning-points-successful-scripts/
I say...well no wonder so many Hollywood movies have felt so cold, and formulaic, and basically bland to me over the years and more and more so. I want to feel something new when I hear a story...and often the storytellers who tell stories in a new way...like Derek did above in his video...really stick with me.
I had a client, Yihan, this weekend who met with me to plan out story structure for her business promo video with me. We felt a major part of her story was how, though she is a business woman who is very logic oriented, she is also very in touch with her emotional, intuitive, passionate nature. So we decided to throw the logic side of storytelling out the window and approach telling her story from a more intuitive and "go with the flow" style. We decided to write down a short script idea, and then the way we shoot it will be with no storyboard, but by just going on location and feeling into what shots feel right to capture the essence of her and her short script. How fun! I can't wait to share the results.
I was going to write this blog all about how important good story structure is. However, after talking to Derek about what his process was like scripting his video, and tapping into my own extensive experience creating movies, videos, screenplays, (and even spending the past 4 years writing out my life story as a book to be released in the future), this is not necessarily always the case. I am finding that having your story at the core...tug at people's heart strings, and keeping the main elements of your story or "plot points" engaging or "remarkable", that you will accomplish more than you could possibly even with "proper story structure".
I risk saying this because EVERYONE tells stories. The vast majority of us are not formally trained in story structure. Many people tell great stories and the great stories have captured humanity, given us something that stands out and is easy to remember, and is something that can keep us engaged. Storytelling is possibly "THE essential human activity" as in many ways...stories keep the human spirit alive.
When you create your story for your video, keep in mind that you are contributing to the vast and greater story of the human race, that people will be potentially, touched, inspired, changed, or just downright in awe of your story. Or maybe not. But the most important part to remember is that stories genuinely contribute to the evolution of our race, as the learning of others stories allows us to now be able to take what they have learned and what they have to offer, and apply it to our own lives. It's a gift, because now others don't have to go through all we have gone through to learn the lessons and experiences we have to offer them through our stories.
A dear old friend and teacher of mine taught me once in a conversation about my love for movies, that it's part of my (and most people's) human experience to "learn through story". It's true...I find myself often uplifted, transformed, and vicariously satisfied, after watching the world through the lens of another's story.
As a final "charge" to all you newly reinvigorated storytellers (because you ALL have told a story or two before)...there are so many ad's, promos, websites, products, stores, services, sales, deals, hustles, scams....being thrown at us all day every day...that it's a breath of fresh air for most of us in our busy days...to just hear a lovely story. When that story inspires us, introduces us to something new and wonderful, or is just something remark-able...that makes us want to share it with others...that's when you know you have not only contributed something positive to the world....but you will likely be rewarded by an increase in your bottom line...because people can't help but share amazing stories!