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4 Visual Storytelling Techniques to Entice Your Audience

Ah storytelling … a buzz word that everyone’s using, but does everyone understand what it is? We’ve talked about it for the past 10 years and understand that the best storytelling sits at the intersection of connection and creativity, where the consumer is hooked from the beginning and carried all the way through. We like to think of ourselves as genuine storytellers because it's been important to us from inception and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips. So here are 4 visual storytelling techniques you can use to entice your audience!

1. Make your first impression count

There’s a good chance you remember being told from a young age that first impressions are everything. You want to put your best foot forward during a job interview and on a first date so why should your video be any different? First impressions can speak volumes about the product or service you’re selling. It’s about hooking them and becoming the wind beneath their wings.

With 85% of consumers wanting more video content from brands, it’s time to step things up! It all boils down to two steps … grabbing their attention and then using a teaser within the larger story.

Not following? In order to hook the audience, you’ll need to be quick on your feet. The first few seconds are the most important. You can try hooking them with a statement or question that will leave them thinking.

Pro Tip: If you choose to use a voice over, the best voices are often from people you’ve interviewed. Interviews tend to feel more genuine, especially when the interviewee doesn’t have their responses pre-written. The thoughtfulness that comes from answering questions then becomes the voice guiding you through the story. When filming "History is Made: Legalization in Canada", we used then - CEO Bruce Linton’s voice from an interview to help tell the story through his perspective.

Once you’ve hooked the audience and figured out what your story is, you’ll need to work a teaser into the narrative that will allow the rest of the story to unfold. Keep in mind that the teaser should be compelling. Think about it this way, you’ll leave a trail of m&m’s for them to follow. Once you’ve laid it all out and they’ve gotten a taste, snatch the rest away. This will encourage them to watch to the end and get the rest of the m&m’s!

2. Allow your music & video to dance together

When it comes to visual storytelling, music isn’t something we take lightly. We may even argue that music can be more important than the video itself. Not many people stop to think about how music and video work together and instead, it’s often an afterthought. If you want the audience to feel something, you’ll have to play with the music to get the impact you’re looking for.

Try thinking about it this way … The music and video are dance partners. Allow the music to lead the video in the direction you’d like it to go and spin it around. If you work with it the other way and the video is leading the music, your story will probably fall short. That’s because the music can be used as a tool to create nuance in the video. Just think about how much music can affect any story’s mood or atmosphere.

For example, if you shoot a scene with a person walking down a dark hallway and frame the scene with calm music, you won’t draw people in. BUT, if you change it up and put intense and scary music, the mood changes instantly and you go from shooting a documentary to a horror movie.

3. Don’t fear the unorthodox

One of the most important visual storytelling techniques just comes down to not being afraid of breaking the spine of your story. If you stick to the typical archetype of storytelling, you may lose the audience right off the bat. People are interested in something that throws them off their trail a little bit and gets them thinking.

By avoiding a chronological order, the audience will have to work to put the puzzle pieces together – and who doesn’t love a good challenge? Everything will eventually come together and make sense in their minds, so don’t feel the need to stray from the original story in the beginning. As long as you allow the narrative to come full circle by the end, you’ve got nothing to worry about!

4. Always f*ck with your viewer

Before you click off, let us explain. In order to keep the viewer invested in the storyline, you may need to mess around with them a bit in a ‘choose your own adventure’ sort of way. Your story may be great but if you can’t keep them interested in the first 30 seconds, it doesn’t matter. You could have the most magical ending but they’ll never see it if they aren’t pushed and pulled in the right ways.

If you tell the story too slowly, they’re gone. The same goes if you rush through the narrative. To keep them perfectly suspended throughout the entirety of the video, push boundaries right as they get comfortable with the storyline. Keeping them on their toes is a sure fire way to hold their interest.

Want more?

Still not sure how to tell your story? Crucial Pictures is a content agency that has had a laser focus on the art of visual storytelling from its inception. Head to our contact page to get in touch!

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