Yes, it's digital.
No, it's not complex.
Forget about all the fancy words they told you in marketing school. Yes, storytelling has changed with the internet, but so have stories, storytellers and you. Or are you still «rocking» these beige cargo shorts from ten years ago? Right.
When it comes to modern storytelling, I hold on to the principles below.
They were initially developed when setting up multimedia strategies in journalism, but wherever a story is being told, they work universally.
Step aside, storyteller
Journalism is full of egocentrics, that's no secret. Until recently, a lot of stories were being told exactly like the author told it best.
With digital possibilities however, the main emphasis should now lie on the audience, not the author.
It is not about how the storyteller can tell it best, but how the audience can experience the story best: in a multisensory way.
This needs rethinking. It also takes a lot of communication between audience and author.
It needs a storyteller who knows for whom he or she is producing at all, who wants to know who his or her target audience is, who wants to read their desires. This does not mean giving up professional code. It means treating the audience with respect.
Hit all the senses
There's no need for being overwhelmed by the multimedia possibilities. Yes, one problem might come up: What exactly am I going to tell in what way?
Luckily, when planning a story, there is an easy question which provides a solution:
«Does the story have aspects that can be told in a better way using different media?»
Let's put it this way: The aim of modern storytelling is providing the audience with a satisfying, in-depth experience.
Done the right way, this experience creates a feeling of added value with the audience – an experience it doesn't quite get elsewhere.
This added value is achieved through addressing as many senses as possible when telling the story. So, the above question should actually be:
«Does the story have aspects that when told by using a combination of different media – audio, video, graphics, interactive tools – will lead to a richer, deeper and more personal experience?»
And guess what, every story does. Show the audience, what you would want to see with your own eyes.
Make them hear the sounds that will make them understand. Make it all multi-sensory and bring it to life.