Storytelling requires time and inspiration. However, if you’re short on either, turn to creative giants. For example, combining the strategies of Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Jacqui Banaszynski and the storytelling techniques of filmmaker Andrew Stanton will provide a 15-point tip sheet.
More than a decade ago, Banaszynski mapped eight ways to tell a story. Her strategy remains relevant today, even as technology changes at a dizzying pace. Ask any of these questions, and you’ll find a storyline.
- Who are the characters, places, and events behind a story? Choose one and create a profile.
- How does something work? Why does it happen? Explain by showing your audience.
- Is there something big behind your story? Maybe it’s a trend or issue.
- Do you see a story with scenes, tensions, and structure (beginning, middle, and end)? Then you have a narrative.
- Does a special moment stir interest? It might act as a short alternative to a narrative.
- Can you find a unique perspective? Does a roundtable of voices tell a story?
- Can you relate a tale in the blink of an eye? Visual storytelling works with photographs, illustrations, infographics, gifs, short video, and Vines.
- What about an opportunity to dig deep into documents and summarize something complicated? Take a cue from investigative journalists.
Once you have a strategy, follow through on delivery. Filmmaker Andrew Stanton offers seven clues that transform a story from good to great:
- Make a promise.
- Have a theme.
- Use what you know.
- Make your audience care.
- Head for one resolution.
- Know your punchline.
- Create a sense of wonder.
Making the most of storytelling techniques will power up your content with humanity.