Digital Storytelling for SMBs

Victor Ortiz

Victor Ortiz

Content Marketer with GoodFirms

Small and medium businesses can compete with large and established firms by using digital storytelling to their advantage. It is a great way to grab the attention of your target audience and promote your products services. If done effectively, it can be the difference between a better-performing firm and an average one.

In this blog, we will have a close look at what digital storytelling is, the different types and how SMBs can leverage it to their advantage.

What is Digital Storytelling?

Digital storytelling is a method of connecting with your customers, using a narrative approach to tell your brand’s story, identity, and values. It can evoke emotion and inspire the target audience to engage with your brand. Digital storytelling helps people understand the benefits of your products/services and make them curious to learn more.

It can be done through different digital media, including:

  • Videos
  • Graphics
  • Slides
  • Still Images
  • Presentations
  • Text

All these media have their particular benefits depending on the type of story you aspire to tell. For example, you can create a video to take your customer seamlessly through a storyline that explains the benefits of using your products/services. Another option can be infographics, which use a combination of words and images to do the same.

You can choose any medium depending on your product/service and target audience. This will help in standing out from the competition.

How Digital Storytelling Works


Consumers are more likely to engage with a brand with which they feel a connection. The best way to form a connection is by weaving a story that provides the audience with a solution for their needs. This story needs to be told via a medium your audience will most likely use.

This is easier said than done because the audience is very demanding. So, decide on a story structure and then add details to develop a story with human elements and emotion.

Story Structures in Digital Storytelling


Mountain Structure

In this story structure, a character is introduced to a problem that continues to grow. This evokes emotion in the audience as it is an uphill struggle.

Finally, the character discovers the solution; the stress is reduced to dramatically. The character goes down the mountain, and the final outlook is a positive one.

Hub and Spokes

Many stories are presented which are related to the main theme, which can be compared to the spokes of a wheel, all connected to a single hub.

This can help illustrate how a particular product can help people from different walks of life. The hub here represents a common solution, whereas the spokes are symbolic of diverse customers.

Present & Future

This story structure first depicts the present state of the customer, who has still not used the product and is struggling with some issues. Next comes the scene when the customer starts using the product and sees a huge change.

This contrasting scenario creates a connection and desire for something better, which is like a Call to Action (CTA).

These are the three main story structures that are generally used. However, it all depends on the context and your creativity.

Key Elements of Digital Storytelling

    1. Captivating Message

      Key Elements of Digital Storytelling: 1-captivating message

      Digital storytelling is a medium through which you can share your brand’s message and values. This helps customers in relate to your brand and trust your products. So, the first thing you should do is figure out what exactly you want to convey and then find out the best way to do so. A captivating message is the foundation of any story, and that’s why it should be fixed upfront. Of course, you also have to take your target audience into consideration to find out what they will resonate with.
    2. Key Elements of Digital Storytelling: 2-showcase humanityShowcase Humanity

      People will connect with you better if you emphasize your business’s human side. You can portray all your employees in the story who are the ones working for a particular product or service. Engaging storytelling is all about portraying real challenges, emphasizing the issue being faced, and presenting hope. You can show the culture inside your organization, who your employees are, and what they do daily. Keep your story simple and make your audience a part of the story. Show real expressions and emotions.
    3. Key Elements of Digital Storytelling: 3-make audience the heroMake Audience the Hero

      Generally, stories have protagonists and antagonists who interact to overcome obstacles and reach a goal. No doubt, your brand should be a central figure in your story; yet the focus should be on the audience. In the digital world, you tell stories to build lasting relationships with your prospective customers. A great campaign should have multiple touchpoints for interactions. If you can do this successfully, it can give your clients a completely different entry to your brand. As a result, they will be more engaged and willing to trust you.
    4. Key Elements of Digital Storytelling: 4-contextAuthenticity

      A story can only be successful if you are authentic, and for that, you need to be true to yourself and your audience. This presents a challenge to the storytellers as they have to impress the audience without being disingenuous. In this fast-paced world, people don’t have time to go through a long message. You need to make them curious to know what you have to say. You have to assure them that their time will not be wasted.
    5. Key Elements of Digital Storytelling: 5-authenticityContext

      The context of your story is also an essential part of your campaign. Setting the right context and following it is essential to getting your message across clearly. An effective approach is to be relatable in order to educate. Stories help in transmitting knowledge and learning. People learn better by observing, experiencing, and sharing experiences with others. To create stories as per the context, ask questions like:
      • Why should customers give you their time?
      • Why should they hear your story?
      • How is it different from those of competitors?
    6. Key Elements of Digital Storytelling: 6-brand's missionBrand’s Mission

      The digital storytelling done by you should be in tune with your brand’s value proposition. It should portray what your business believes in and what you want your customer to adopt. Whatever cause you are trying to relate to in digital storytelling should be important both to your audience and your brand. You should ensure that your brand’s mission and values do not get lost in your pursuit of storytelling.
    7. Key Elements of Digital Storytelling: 7-technologyTechnology

      Several platforms are available these days for digital storytelling. The prominent ones include Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. You can use images, videos, graphics, or snippets to convey your story. However, you should choose the platform according to your needs. The choice should be based on your target audience and their preferences.

New Trends in Digital Storytelling

        • Customer-Generated Storytelling

          When customers themselves tell their story, it becomes much more authentic. Companies these days ask their customers to write reviews or create a short video demonstrating the company’s product use. These videos are posted on the company’s websites, social media accounts, and other marketing channels.
        • Data-Driven Storytelling

          Data drives a lot of a company’s business decisions and thus improves sales. Companies gather a lot of data about their customers and prospective customers through digital media. This data can be analyzed to develop valuable insights, which can be used for coming up with relevant and engaging stories.
        • Mini Ads

          In this digital age, the attention span of people is on the decline. As a result, the traditional, long forms of advertising are losing to mini ads. These ads are small snippets of information that are meant to evoke curiosity.

Benefits of Digital Storytelling

Since time immemorial, stories have been popular with kids and adults alike. People like listening to stories, which keep them engrossed and entertain them. In marketing, digital storytelling helps in the following aspects:
        • Forms emotional bonds
        • Builds loyalty and trust
        • Creates a Call to Action (CTA)
As you tell engaging stories to your target audience, you are in a better position than your competitors to take them further down the sales funnel.

Wrapping Up the Story…

So, to write your first SMB story, write down a few bullet points about your business and why you started it. You can then turn the bullet points into short sentences. The next step would be to weave a story around the sentences and your brand’s identity. You should make sure that you test your story in different formats, from blog posts to videos. You can share your story in multiple formats to reach a larger audience. SMBs have the potential to grow into large corporations, and digital storytelling can help you in that endeavor. Digital storytelling is cheaper than marketing on television or print media, and the ROI is worthwhile. So, tell your story…
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