Imagine a situation in which, as a journalist, you received another in a series of official reports of a certain institution on about 20 pages about the topic you are working on. The editor has given you enough space for a text in which you can provide a “bigger picture”, insert numerous statistics and comparisons. Yet your content is shared on different platforms like social media. What is the best way to tell the story across different channels?
What is visual narration?
Visual storytelling is the skill of conveying a message, story, information, emotion using a visual medium (video, photographs, illustrations that can be further emphasized and aided by graphic elements, audio narration, music or some other type of sound). The power of visual narration lies in its ability to connect with the audience more easily.
How to tell a story visually?
Visual storytelling is effective, but it is important to choose the best form, depending on who we are addressing and on which platform. Let’s go back to the report from the beginning. It is impossible to spark the interest of the audience in a short period of time for 20 pages worth of dull data.
Still, knowing that data speak about human destinies and have an impact on individuals, we can always resort to visual storytelling.
Now, these are no longer numbers, but a person we can connect with, they are there, real and close.
Another method for the visual narration of statistical data is infographics and video explainers, which are the best method for visual review of data and comparisons that lead us to a certain conclusion. For example, how many women lost their jobs in the past three months compared to the same period last year. Which age groups are most affected, is there a change? What profiles and types of jobs are most affected?
Why visual storytelling works?
Visual storytelling allows a direct and clear explanation of a complex idea in a short period of time, but it also enables emotional connection with the audience, which is often a prerequisite for them to stay in the story, watch it till the end, and get complete information. If we know that the human brain can process images faster, visual storytelling becomes especially important in order to keep the audience’s attention in the present age of information overload when content is consumed frequently and often casually on the phone or computer.
What to pay attention to?
Telling a story by using an image - the story is carried by the image, and the text and sound are parts of the whole story. The sentences are short, direct and clear. The audience must feel the connection with the place, the person, the topic. The best video stories possess an invisible tempo and harmony of textual and visual elements.
Personalize the story - present the problem through the story of one person. Emotional connection with the audience and the topic.
Who are we addressing and on which platform – this is especially important for social media where video content should be shorter, offered in smaller bites, and the choice of form depends on the audience we are addressing.