5 best practices for video stories that matter

Video isn’t always the right medium for telling your story, but it can be a very powerful one, according to Annie Granatstein, Head of WP BrandStudio, the branded content agency within The Washington Post.

During a ClickZ webinar hosted by OpenText Hightail, Granatstein said, “We have all these different ways of telling a story and video is just one. But video works really, really well when a story is something very human and something very visual.” She added that because video affects audio and visual senses, it can have more of an emotional impact and be more immersive. “You’re actually in this person’s world that you’re watching, in a way that you can’t be if you’re reading an article about them.”

Once you’ve decided that video is the right format for telling your story, you’ll need to start planning your script. Here are five best practices Granatstein shared for creating stories that matter with video, including creating that sense of immersive experiences:

1. Immerse your audience – Sometimes the audience can picture themselves inside the story because they relate to the character in a one-on-one way. Granatstein shared an example of a multimedia project her team created for a camera company, where they transported the audience into a 16-year-old photography prodigy’s creative process. They shared his journey as he shot photos on the streets of New York, with multimedia components including his actual photographs and audio clips with his family and friends talking about why he went into photography at such a young age. “And it really transports our audience inside his creative process in a very immersive way,” she said.

2. Humanize the issue. A lot of Granatstein’s work is focused on thought leadership or corporate responsibility campaigns, with brands wanting to get the word out about their environmental or social issue efforts. “What we really like to do is put a human face on these issues and move between the communication elements of the issue and the more human state of the issue.” In one campaign tied to fighting the opioid epidemic, for example, the multimedia experience moved between educational elements and statistics and human stories of people affected by the epidemic—including addicts, treatment providers, police officers.

3. Find a new angle. Often, a client wants to talk about a certain topic, but Granatstein said it’s really important to “find that fresh, unique angle, very much in the same way that a journalist does—that thing that people haven’t heard before and that will really feel unique and eye-opening to them.” A Canadian government agency focused on tourism wanted to share transformative experiences of Americans going to Canada and really feeling like they had gotten something from the journey. The unique angle Granatstein’s team took was to profile a Cajun top chef, as he went to Canada to find his Cajun roots. It was a fresh angle, because it shared a little-known piece of history that Cajun people descend from Acadians who live in eastern Canada.

4. Think B2H, not B2B – Granatstein said about one-third of the content her team creates is for B2B advertisers who are looking to reach a business or tech decision maker audience. Instead of thinking of the content as B2B, however, Granatstein said it’s important “to think of it as business to human content and to put the people first—and take a different and potentially more creative approach than people normally think of with B2B content.”

5. Visualize the invisible – Granatstein said this best practice is very important when dealing with B2B or technology advertisers that want to show something behind the scenes that’s intangible. Granatstein said using compelling sourced photographic images and graphics that paint the picture can really help bring such concepts to life.

For more tips from the webinar, please visit our blog post on “6 rules for creating a great business video.

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