Tips on How to Tell Better Stories

Make a bigger impact through effective storytelling

Now more than ever, your message deserves to be heard.

But with millions of videos and online content, how can you ensure your audience pays attention to what you have to say?

The answer: A powerful story.

For centuries, the art of storytelling has been used to capture audiences and draw communities closer together. And today, it’s your turn to do the same.

TL;DR: Magisto’s new features are designed to help you tell better stories while supporting these key principles that create a strong narrative from beginning to end:

  1. Create a compelling hook
  2. Define the structure
  3. Set the tone
  4. Surprise your audience
  5. Lean into emotion
  6. End on a strong note

Introductions are Everything

We’ve all heard the saying “you only get one chance to make a great first impression.” Well, the same goes for your video story. You have less than two seconds to grab the attention of your audience (no pressure). And if you don’t capture your audience immediately, you run the risk of them clicking away before you dive into your main message.

This means it’s crucial to hook your audience right away. Luckily, we’ve got a few ideas of how to do this (and no, it doesn’t involve you juggling fire on a unicycle…unless that’s been your recent quarantine hobby).

The first rule of thumb: if there’s something that you really want people to see, put it in the first frame. For example:

  • Open with an eye-catching image (choose your own or pick from the millions of stock photos we have in our library)
  • Make a powerful statement with a shocking statistic that will pique interest right from the start.
  • Begin with a question that hits home for your target audience. To get the answer to that question, they’ll want to keep listening to your story.

Build Structure

Before you begin piecing your story together, define your plot. What do you want to tell your audience? How will the sequence of your frames be strung together?

Once you know what you’re going to say, figure out how you’re going to say it. All stories have a beginning, middle, and end — but how your story is organized will heavily influence how strong your story becomes.

Think about when you’re listening to a story. Is it more impactful when it’s poignant and concise or when it jumps around? Sorry, to interrupt Ted, but is there a point to all of this?

The more structured your story, the easier your audience will be able to follow along and stay interested throughout.

If you need a little guidance, Magisto has over 350+ templates that use our AI magic to create the perfect pacing and transition time to effectively keep your audience interested.

If you want to adjust the scene duration or the layout, there are options for that too. Using Magisto’s editor you can change up the layout for side-by-side images, video clips, or text to accompany your visuals.

Strike a Tone 

The purpose of your story is defined by the overall tone. It’s important to establish what the intention of your story will be right from the start. Is the purpose to inform your audience about an issue? To educate about something you’re passionate about? Or, perhaps to persuade your audience to take action? Whatever the purpose of your story is, the tone of your video will be how you drive that point home.

For example, if the content of your story is more serious, then you won’t want bright colors and bubbles in the background. It distracts from the severity of your message.

With the new Magisto, we have 40+ styles that will define the mood and tone of your video as soon as you hit play. All you’ll have to do is pick which style fits the tone of your story.

Our styles not only add a polished look with professional graphics and transitions, these effects transform your footage into a compelling story.

Master the Element of Surprise

Keeping the attention span of an online audience can be a daunting task. With thousands of online distractions, pop-ups, and advertisements, it’s harder than ever to gain the interest of your viewers. Oh look, jeans are buy one get one half off!

Make your content fresh, different, and entertaining from start to finish. Add in unexpected features like stickers, graphics, or animated text. The best way to keep your audience glued to their screen is by sprinkling in surprising elements that are different from what they’re expecting to see. If the audience feels like your story has excitement along the way, they’ll stay invested.

Burst with Emotion

The best way to capture an audience? Draw on their emotions. Whether you want to excite your audience, upset them, motivate them toward action, or pull on their heartstrings, there’s arguably no better way to achieve this than through music.

Most people make decisions based off of how they’re feeling. While the tone certainly sets the mood of the story, music can enhance it even more.

Magisto has thousands of soundtracks to choose from. Listen to a few, then select the one that you think captures that right emotion for the story you’re trying to tell. Already of a song in mind? No problem. Through our editor, you can upload your own music as long as it complies with our licensing terms and agreement.

Final Delivery

The end of your video is your final chance to drive home your message — make it memorable. It should be as interesting as your introduction since it’s the last thing you’re leaving your audience with. If your story doesn’t end strongly, it won’t cement the message you’ve worked so hard to tell.

Try ending with another powerful image, or a thought-provoking question. If you’re trying to persuade your audience towards something, have a strong and clear call-to-action to make it easy for them to take the next steps.

Our final suggestions to tie together your story: 

  • Define your audience. Who are you primarily telling this story to? This will impact the styles you choose, the tone you set, and the emotion you want to evoke.
  • Where does your audience hang out online? Which marketing channel will you choose to share your video so it reaches the largest audience?

Edit, edit, edit: Remember, the more compact your story, the more interest you’ll be able to hold from your audience. You can set your video length to your desired time duration to ensure your story is paced accordingly. Also, be sure to preview your video several times before you share it. Check for any grammatical errors or technical issues. The more credible your story, the more your audience will get behind your message.