Online video has the potential to be a powerful tool — but you have to know how to use it to get maximum results. For the most impact, you have to strike an emotional chord with your audience. Storytelling is a great way to do that. Here’s why visual stories make the difference.
Facts and figures are easy to forget. They may seem important to you because they highlight your product — but the fact is that they’re not important to your customers. What’s important to them are their lives, their work, their stories, the challenges they face, and the solutions they’re looking for.
Instead of getting caught up with numbers and facts, present your product or solution through an emotional story. You’ll connect with viewers and, consequently, build a relationship. Share with them that you understand their challenges, and offer a short glimpse into the solution. Then, provide a call to action that gets them to connect with you in a space where you can continue the conversation later on the phone, in person, with more video, or through a simple interface.
Metaphors have the power to build a link between the new information you are sharing and prior knowledge the viewer has. Video metaphors pack even more punch; stimulating both the visual and auditory senses increases retention by 68 percent, versus only 10 percent from auditory stimulation alone.
People Believe What They See
This Dropbox homepage video  makes a complicated topic look simple — and that makes people who watch it feel comfortable trying the software and using it on a daily basis. I’ve had people tell me how simple Dropbox is to use, especially compared to Google Drive, but when we dug deeper, most people acknowledged that both were about as user-friendly. The difference was that Dropbox’s video gives the impression that it is the easier choice, which gives the company a huge advantage.
Clearly, storytelling in video is important. But, as they say, nothing worthwhile comes easily. While imperative, successful storytelling can also be a tough code to crack. Here are five tips for doing it effectively:
1. Keep it short. If you go off on too many tangents and include too much information, it makes it harder for someone to grasp what you’re talking about. Include only what the viewer needs to know — anything else can be unnecessary.
2. Use common language. Nothing turns off an audience like using “industry-speak” in a video. It’s like explaining what you do in a foreign language, which means people outside your industry won’t be able to relate. After all, your goal is to make it easier for people to understand your message — not more difficult.
3. Allow the visuals to tell the story, too. Visuals are there to support the message, so use them! If you can show your audience something instead of telling it to them, then go for it. This will allow you to insert more information into your video while keeping the running time short.
4. Keep your objective in mind. If your purpose is to explain why red balloons are the best, don’t get off-track by explaining the problems with all the other colors. Focus on one topic. If your video highlights too many different ideas, your red balloon, though awesome, will get lost in the clutter.
5. Have fun with it. Don’t take your service or products too seriously, and have fun producing videos. This attitude will come across and make watching them more engaging for your audience. Your video will not only explain something, but will also entertain — and that’s always memorable.
In video, we need to make a connection to past knowledge in order to create new knowledge. This is how information is retained in the long-term memory. So, if you can build an emotional connection through a powerful story — and connect to your audience on a personal level — people will remember what you’re sharing with them. Now that’s a great story.
Guest post by Andrew Angus. Andrew Angus  is an author , speaker, and founder and CEO of Switch Video , a video animation company that produces simple videos that “explain what you do” in an engaging and compelling format.
Notebook image  via Shutterstock.