How to make multimedia storytelling your secret weapon
By Morgan Rider
Once upon a time, in a special place in northwest Oregon, a group of passionate dreamers armed with conservation strategies, biodiversity guides, and GIS mapping tools set out to make the world a better place. By accepting a challenge -- to unite hippy tree-huggers in Portland with farmers in rural Clackamas County and soccer moms in Forest Grove -- the Intertwine Alliance set out to enhance OUR COMMON GROUND.
And they all lived happily ever after. Well, not quite. Actually this is just the beginning of the Intertwine story. Because unfortunately, when disparate groups disagree on priorities and perspectives, sometimes all the scientific facts and reason in the world result in little to no impact or lasting influence.
Peoples’ beliefs and behaviors can, however, be swayed through effective storytelling. Stories make an emotional connection, whereas facts and figures can be easily forgotten. Great stories can change people and the world. And today’s multimedia technology is creating new possibilities for how they're told.
"Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever." – Proverb
So you’ve got a great story to tell? Should you create a video? Write about it on a blog? Post links on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram? Yes, yes, yes and yes!!
The average Internet user watches 186 videos each month on mobile devices and computers. And 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. To capture the average internet user’s incredibly short attention span -- and make a lasting impression -- the goal should be not just be to make an entertaining and interesting video, but to have that video go viral. You want as many people as possible to see it, love it, and share it with their friends.
Golden Rules for creating a viral video
Rule 1: Make it simple and great.
To create a viral video, simpler is better. Overproduction distances us from the action and makes it less involving and consequently less contagious. In 2012, nine out of the top ten viral videos on YouTube were professionally created. Check out the Adopt a Gorilla video that Earth Protect Productions created to drive viewers to click on our website www.earthprotect.com.
Minimum set up, maximum payoff. It introduces the concept and gets right down to business. One to three minutes in length will cater to the short attention span of the average Internet user. California Wildlife Center is an animated commercial that we created to be shown on public television and online. This video that helped increase awareness, funding and donations for this non-profit. Talking animals are always great. We love them.
This is where the video falls short in an interesting way. Candid Camera-style videos are at their best when showing us joyful human reactions. It’s active, positive emotions, after all, that are most contagious. Touch the Wall is a documentary on Missy Franklin, the teenage swimming sensation, that Grant Barbeito is just wrapping up. It’s a great story, inspirational, authentic and super entertaining.
Rule 4: Promote it like crazy.
The key to going viral is to get a bunch of people to see it. Be proactive, and start emailing journalists and bloggers personally at least one week before release. Then upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and anywhere else you can. And if all else fails, make a video with adorable animals or kittens! Everyone loves kittens.