Digital storytelling is a new method for organizations to attract viewers to their website using storytelling techniques and digital technology. Rather than tell their story using one method such as video or text, companies use these elements as well as images, recorded audio, animation and music.

Digital storytelling allows businesses to tell their story in new and interesting ways. It can act as a way to start a conversation on social media about a company’s history, products or services. It can also make marketing campaigns more interactive and bolster the engagement on an “about us” page.

Smart digital marketers are putting it to use for companies of all sizes in all industries.

Elements of Digital Storytelling

Elements that make digital storytelling work include the following.

A beginning, middle and end. Like a good movie screenplay, it should have an event that starts the story, problems that must be overcome and a strong ending.

Emotion. A story can be great in its technical adherence to storytelling rules, but it’s even better if it contains emotion. Emotion makes connections with consumers.

Authentic. People can tell right away if a story is not adhering to the truth and values of the brand or their customers.

Relatable. People must feel some sort of connection to the people in the story, otherwise it will resonate with them. How many times have you heard someone say, “I didn’t like that movie because there was nobody likeable in it?” That’s a perfect example of not making something relatable.

Why It Works

Human beings are hardwired to look for and appreciate good stories. Storytelling has been around as long as people gathered around campfires, listening to tribal elders tell stories from their shared history. These oral histories were the foundation for storytelling as we know it today.

This love of stories explains how books continue to survive and even thrive in a digital age and why movies remain popular. In education, teachers use stories to communicate vital information to students. In your personal life, you probably still remember stories you were told in childhood.

These are the reasons digital storytelling works in marketing. People want to know the facts about a company and the product and services it offers. But to truly connect with consumers, a compelling story about why a company was founded can really resonate. Those type of stories can forge an emotional connection with consumers, as can stories about how a product is made or where the materials are sourced.

As with all things in marketing and business, the danger is that a term will become overused. That’s happened with digital storytelling, according to Marketing Land, so it’s important to make your digital storytelling as good as possible.

Examples of Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is all around. Many companies have been using it, especially via social media platforms. Some examples include:

  • The Our DNA campaign from Dyson
  • The Museum and History section of Mercedes-Benz uses text, images and video to provide an in-depth look at how the company developed
  • Tide offers an amazing How to Wash Clothes section that presents stories about real issues with clothes washing – such as foods that cause tough stains – and provides information on what Tide products can solve the problem
  • Airbnb has an entire section of its site devoted to stories from people who have booked rooms through Airbnb and those who rent rooms through the site

Those are four very different examples of using digital storytelling. The point is to be compelling and honest. That, more than anything else, will attract customers to your website and to your products and services.