How Getting Your Audience Into a Story Can Increase Revenue
The weekend is almost here!
For most, weekends are times to relax and unwind from the day-to-day stresses that are part of a productive week. They are characterized by events, busier roads, packed restaurants, increased movie ticket sales and red box rentals.
One of the most popular activities is to sit in a cool dark theater and be consumed by actions on the big screen and surround sound.
What makes going to the movies so popular? Why do people line up, sometimes for hours, to sit and eat over-priced greasy food in a room full of strangers and spend about two hours watching something that is not real?
Because–everyone needs a break once in a while!
Taking a break is not only enjoyable but imperative to maintain a healthy life balance and mental state.
One of the best ways to take a break is to get lost in a story.
People are naturally drawn to stories because they provide a quick and easy temporary escape from pressing deadlines or situations.
Whiteboard storytelling is so attractive because it plays on the human tendency to pause and get wrapped up in a story.
Here are 7 reasons whiteboard storytelling can help you build your business.
1-Whiteboard Storytelling Gets Past the Infamous 9 Second Attention Span
How long is your attention span? Maybe a better question is, do you have a smart phone? Followed by “How long can you go without picking your smart phone up?”–be honest here.
I admit that unless I’m on a date with someone I really like, I will check or at least think about checking my iPhone at least every 45 minutes–and that’s only if I’m in the middle of something important like a work meeting or if I’m at a movie theater where I can subtly peek in my purse to see if something earth shattering has come across my tiny iPhone screen once or twice. Otherwise, it is conveniently at my side where I can be alerted the instant someone reaches out to me.
I think I can safely say I’m not alone in my iPhone dependence.
We live in a society where we are blessed to have access to almost any information we want in the palms of our hands. It’s a blessing but also a curse where we are constantly bombarded with so much, that we have become almost expert at weeding things out quickly.
In Jace Vernon’s article Today’s Double Down Audience he mentions that recent studies show online viewers have an attention span of 9 seconds! And that’s only if they come across something they find interesting enough to pause and actually take a real look.
Think about it. Think about how you scroll through your Facebook feed or Instagram, scanning what your thousands of friends find important at that particular moment and how you mechanically show your virtual approval with “likes”. Think about what goes through your head as you settle on a YouTube video to watch.
Now think about how you would react to a video set up as a story. Chances are you do pause.
Then you see a hand quickly drawing a concerned looking man and you wonder what he’s worried about. You watch intently as the hand draws a house on the screen..and then…FLAMES coming out of the house! OH NO!! You feel anxious for this poor cartoon man as you sit glued to the screen long enough to see that happily, in the end, the angst on his face is replaced with peace and satisfaction because ABCD Insurance had his home repaired without a hitch.
Your attention span went from 9 seconds to about 90 because you got involved in a story.
2-Stories Distract Us From Noise Around Us.
I just illustrated this point a little with the man and the burning house. Your focus was on learning the outcome of the firey disaster despite other things that are always in the background or just a click away. You were distracted from those distractions long enough to zero in on one story.
Author Jonathan Gottschall wrote, “The human mind is a wanderer by nature. The daydream is the mind’s default state.”
Stories help us focus on one thing and, in most cases, we enjoy it! The mind can still be in that “default state” and sometimes even learn something in the process when it is drawn into a Once Upon a Time kind of setting.
It’s human nature to appreciate being taken away from our distractions and escape into a story. Even a sad or frightening tale is enough to temporarily remove us from our current reality and give our brains a break from all the other noise that is constantly present.
3-The Brain Connects with Patterns, Pictures, and Stories
With so much information being thrown at us to process, the human brain copes by using past experiences to categorize things into little boxes that it can understand and relate to. One way it does this is by connecting patterns, pictures and stories to the new information provided.
In one of Ydraw’s favorite references, the book, Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath provide two different explanations of what a pomelo is on page 53 to illustrate how people use past experience to understand new information.
“Explanation 1: A pomelo is the largest citrus fruit. The rind is very thick but soft and easy to peel away. The resulting fruit has a light yellow to coral pink flesh and can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from seductively spicy-sweet to tangy and tart.”
“Explanation 2: A pomelo is basically a supersized grapefruit with a very thick and soft rind”
Chances are you’ve never tried a pomelo. Explanation 1 is very detailed, but “spicy-sweet” could describe anything from sweet and sour chicken to cinnamon bears to, what it is really similar to which is a grapefruit. With Explanation 2, you have a better idea of what to expect when you prepare to bite into a refreshing and tangy pomelo–because chances are very high that you’ve actually tried a grapefruit before.
With this example, you are able to take something you’re familiar with to better understand something you aren’t.
A primary goal of your whiteboard video is to get your audience to see themselves successfully utilizing your product or service.
Where on average, you have 30 seconds to 2 minutes to get your point across, you don’t have the luxury of putting in all the nitty gritty details necessary to do justice to what you are trying to promote.
Give your audience metaphors or situations they can relate to so you don’t have to recreate the wheel.
With whiteboard storytelling, you can portray a scenario general yet specific enough that your target audience can use past experiences to see and themselves in the story you present. Mission 1.. accomplished!
4-Stories Appeal to Senses and Emotions
Imagine a video like this:
Scene 1: A triangle tent is drawn and then a campfire next to it. Dark blue pops onto the screen around a bright yellow crescent moon and a couple stars. The soundtrack is crickets, the crackle of fire and distant singing to an out of tune guitar.
Scene 2: A griddle is drawn with two strips of bacon and two eggs sunny side up. The soundtrack is sizzling and popping and a faint sound of a brook in the background.
What did you experience when you read that?
Could you smell the bacon cooking and did it make your stomach growl? Could you smell the pine trees, crackling fire and taste marshmallow from the s’mores you consumed before curling up on the cold hard ground? Could you smell the nylon tent mixed with bug spray?
Did your heart lift and sink because your Grandpa John, may he rest in peace, loved to sing around the campfire and play his guitar that was never in tune? Did you feel the cool mountain air, the warmth of the rising sun and a rush of freedom that came from being away from the office for a few days?
My guess is, even just reading the scenes helped you experience some sort of flashback or emotion. I did while writing it! Though I just explained a fraction of a story, it is set up in a way where the mind can fill in the blanks with past memories and experience. The escape into a story already exists right there!
Storytelling in detail that appeals to the senses will almost always conjure some kind of emotion. Senses and emotion go hand in hand. For example, when I hear the song “Return to Pooh Corner” or smell Irish Spring soap I instantly get teary-eyed because those things trigger subconscious memories of my dad who died when I was young.
People buy into things that trigger the right emotions.
Narratives are everywhere–and as a marketer, that’s a very good thing–since narratives that appeal to the senses and emotions really do sell!
5-Storytelling Influences People’s Actions
In most cases, if someone stops on a video, they are curious about something in the description (so you better use the right key words and title–more on that another day). They are watching your video to help them make a decision, generally about putting their money and/or time into something new.
Reason 5 is a compact way of reminding you that when people hear stories that trigger emotions they will act one way or another whether it be clicking off your video or clicking the link under your video for more information.
Keep the story interesting enough that they will want to know more and ACT on your call to action.
6-Facts Tell Stories Sell
You’ve got seven seconds to sell your audience on watching more of your video. This is not the time to bog them down with facts–start with a story!
By now you should have an idea in mind of what kinds of characters and what your basic plot will be for your video.
You’re not even close to being done..
Seriously–you need more than one “story” in your video.
What I mean is that besides the main narrative, you also need sub-stories, like a line about how your business started. You definitely need testimonials from outsiders who briefly share their experiences with your company. Testimonials are like mini one liner autobiographies.
Don’t go overboard but definitely, add more for your audience to chew on with a mini “story” or two.
Save your bulleted facts for your website; let your stories sell you and your business.
7-People Like to Share Stories—So Why Not Your Video?
Finally, another primary goal is for your video to get watched..and get watched a lot!
People love to share stories, particularly if those stories make them smile, laugh, or shock them.
Where word of mouth is the most trusted form of advertising, make sure your video story is the caliber that your audience will want to spread the word about by sharing your video.
In closing, I just want to remind you that whiteboard storytelling can be fun! Stretch your brain and come up with relatable stories that will keep your audience captivated and give them a great and lasting impression of you and your company.
I just gave you the WHY of using whiteboard storytelling; check in next week for tips on HOW you do it!
Thank you for your time. I hope these 7 Reasons Whiteboard Storytelling Builds Business have given you something to think about as your business continues to grow!
How Can You Produce the Right Message and Get Magical Results?
Let’s talk scripting. How can you write a perfect script?
Simply put, no script=no video, bad script=bad video.
Over the years Ydraw has published (and will continue to publish) posts about script writing since the topic is so important and sometimes can be a hard one to truly grasp.
Your script is the framework or skeleton and life’s blood of a video that will deliver your core message to your audience and draw them in to learn more about you and your company.
I may be stating the obvious here, but everything else that is done with your video, from scene planning to art to voice over, follows and builds on your script. Unscripted delivery is called improv and that only works on stage or on the sales floor.
Whether you’re working with one of our creative directors/script writers or writing on your own, following the six guidelines in this article will save you time and frustration during the script writing process and help you create a perfect and effective script for your video.
1-Know Your Audience and Speak To Them..not At Them.
You have a product or service that will change peoples’ lives and the world deserves to know everything about it! Right?? Wrong!!
Let’s face it, your audience is priority #1 so before you start bullet-pointing all you have to offer, make sure you really understand who you’re trying to reach, put yourself in their shoes, and see how long you’d be willing to listen to your own message.
What is your audience dealing with, how can you help them, what will make them listen to you and why should they? If you were them, what would catch and keep your attention?
Create a fictional person or avatar. Know everything about him or her—write to connect with that “person”.
As a professional writer, whether I’m writing scripts, blogs, articles, screenplays or a full blown novel, I’ve noticed my best work is done when I put my ego aside and find a specific target or “person” to write to. It helps me write in a way that creates a much deeper connection with my audience as a whole.
In the article Script Writing 101: Know Your Audience, Ydraw Creative Director Linne Marsh goes into detail about how to identify your audience and how to gain trust and interest by showing that a product or service you have can “ease their pain”. She also warns against going off on tangents that could drive potential customers away.
2-Include Five Key Elements in Your Script:
These elements are your structure and must be included somewhere in your script, no matter what and no matter how. You can be creative and hint at or even combine some of the elements (your B-Problem can also be your A-Header depending on how you write it) but make sure you incorporate all five.
A-Header: Have a powerful header or hook to draw your audience in.
B-Problem: Clearly identify a problem your audience can relate to.
C-Solution: Show how your product, service or idea will remedy that problem.
D-Testimonial or Proof: Provide testimonials or an example of when or how it has worked for others.
E-Call to Action or Offer: Invite your audience to buy, click a link, send an email or make a call, whatever it is you want them to do, at least once during your video.
3-Follow the Made to Stick Principles:
Jace Vernon wrote an in-depth article called 5 Step Guide to Writing A Script the “Made to Stick” Way about one of his favorite marketing tools; The Made to Stick Model by Chip and Dan Heath. Read the book. If not the book, at least read or re-read Jace’s article—it is well worth your time!
Put these tried and true Made to Stick guidelines listed below into practice and you will see results!
A-Simple: Save the nitty gritty details of your product, business or people until after you’ve gotten your audience wanting to know more. Keep your message clear, simple and relatable.
B-Unexpected: Have an element of surprise to your message to catch and keep attention. Have fun with this. Use off the wall ideas or metaphors, unexpected facts and definitely include humor when you can!
C-Concrete: Create a very clear picture of your message for the audience. Avoid being too abstract.
D-Credible: Use statistics or authorities/experts to validate the benefits of what you are offering.
E-Emotional: Playing to your audience’s emotions is so critical! People remember messages when they feel something during delivery. So many decisions are made emotionally!
F-Stories: Make sure your script has an engaging story your audience will get involved with and want to watch through to the end.
4-Write in Memorable Scenes
We love what we do and we love our videos! What isn’t to love about watching a cartoon being drawn and listening to an entertaining story, right?
Where making people smile is definitely right at the top of our list, the reason we are here is to help you market your message. If too much focus is on creating a captivating cartoon, your message could get lost in the art of your video.
Keep in mind, the human brain thinks in pictures.
This is why Ydraw videos are done in shorter scenes rather than one long visually stimulating story.
For example, say you want to market a program to help with finances. It could look like this:
Scene 1: A family of five is having financial struggles.
Scene 2: Your amazing program can help them organize their finances just like it has helped dozens of others.
Scene 3: The family uses your program and they are able to afford a trip to Disneyland.
Scene 4: Invite your audience to call the number on the screen and talk to a financial expert NOW!
Of course there would be a lot more to the script, but if you focus on the main points, put them into scenes and write catering to those scenes, your audience is going to walk away remembering what you want them to remember.
5-Write with Pictures in Mind
Writing a whiteboard script is very different than just about any type of writing. You have a short period of time to tell a story while it’s being drawn to life on the screen before your audience’s eyes.
Yes, your script is the foundation and most critical part of your video, but the pictures are what people see and remember–and that’s why you’re here.
As you think of your scene, think of potential accompanying visuals and write only what will be said by the voice over artist.
The beauty of whiteboard video is that pictures do a lot of the explaining for you and this cuts down on your word count. A good rule of thumb for word count is to keep it between 150-160 words per minute. Writing that way might be more challenging than you think but you’ll notice much more clear and memorable messages as you write with the pictures in mind.
6-Make Sure Your Script Isn’t Boring
There are enough boring things to read and watch in this world.
Clients admittedly come to us with necessary but less than exciting products and services. We make learning about somewhat mundane things un-boring with metaphors, humor and unexpected twists.
Enlist the right side of your brain and add life and character to your message so it grabs and keeps attention, is memorable, and makes magic that encourages potential clients want to learn more about your business and you!
Thank you for reading “How to Write a Perfect Script”
Since I’ve started here at Ydraw we have put in place a simple Script Writing Formula that we like to call the The Made to Stick Formula. I’ve gotten familiar with the Made to Stick method, the formula that makes an idea remembered. It is categorized in 6 principles.
Each of these principles represents the methods to help stick your ideas in the heads of the consumers. Let’s look at each one individually.
What are the core elements of your message? There is a lot that goes into a company and a lot that goes into a product, but the audience doesn’t need all of that background knowledge. That’s the difficulty of having knowledge, thinking that everyone will be able to absorb what you know when they can’t. By adding too much information you can confuse the audience in what they are supposed to know. Find the core of your message and share that message with others. In doing so, you will motivate them to a decision.
If there’s nothing to grab your audience, why would they remember your video? Try and pique the interest of your audience by introducing a mystery that they can’t wait to figure out. Humans like to think in patterns and to keep their attention all you need to do is break these patterns.
The easiest (and most quoted) example of this is Aesop’s fables of the concept of “sour grapes.” The Fox cannot reach some grapes and decides that they must be sour anyway. He wasn’t bitter over not getting what he wanted. But the term ‘sour grapes’ is a lot easier to say than ‘don’t be bitter from not getting what you want.’ Something becomes concrete when it can be described by the human senses.
How do you look credible? Base your idea on authorities – experts, if you will. If you can’t do that you can use 5 other methods. An anti-authority (the dying smoker), Details of about your product, Statistics, Using the ‘Sinatra Test’ (“If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere” – the one test case that proves what you can do) and Testable Credentials (allows consumers to test it themselves).
I’m not suggesting that you should make your audience cry or anything, I’m suggesting you get them to care. For people to take action, they have to care. To do that focus on the individual, as Stalin once pointed out, “a single death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic”. Association also works well by associating between something the audience doesn’t care about and something they do.
What really makes an idea stick? Tell it as a story. Stories can reflect oneself in the minds of the audience and can go a long way to enter the long-term memory storage of an individual. There are three major types of stories to look for. The challenge plot (underdog, rags to riches), the connection plot (developing relationships that bridge the gap), and the creativity plot (somebody making a mental breakthrough or solving a long standing issue).
When following these six principles, your ideas can stick better in the brain of your target audience. But let’s see it in action, here’s a video we did for Atlas, an IT service management company.
How well did this video accomplish the 6 principles of ‘Made to Stick’?
Let’s go through them.
Simple. Atlas is the choice for your IT service management.
Unexpected. Using a monster truck as a metaphor for being stuck without knowing what to do with your IT services is something out of the blue and no one saw it coming.
Concrete. “We are your IT service management contact.” That is a concrete promise to the consumer. By using Atlas they won’t need to go any further to get their IT service management needs met.
Credible. At 1:15 the video talks about costumer satisfaction and shows a graph to show how they are improving on that concept. In the next scene they go over the benefits of using Atlas, cooperation through get together sessions, using webinar training and choosing ways to save money while increasing the user experience.
Emotional. There were a lot of emotions that are felt in that video. Worry and frustration, because the truck was stuck in the mud. The relief when Atlas came along and helped them out of the mess. Finally, gratitude, when they chose a better path and Atlas filled their gas tank and cleaned up their truck.
Story. If I worked in IT service management, I would certainly remember this story of how Atlas came to the aid and helped an ITSM company out of the mud and back on the right track.
There are so many great ideas out there that are just waiting for a story to tell the world about how amazing they are and how that idea can improve the lives and companies around the world.
I hope this little Made To Stick formula will help you create your next script. If you need a video, reach out to us. We would love to help craft the perfect script for you company.
Hey by the way, if you want to check out how to write a script the Made to Stick way, check out this guide on writing a script.