Video Storytelling is what makes some videos fun to watch, and others, well, kind of boring.
Since starting Content Puppy, I’ve had to learn quite a few new skills, from photography and video editing to graphic design, animation, even basic accounting. And of course, there’s networking—I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about working a room.
But public speaking? I’ve never considered that part of my skill set. I’m a video guy. I tend to be the person behind a camera, not up on stage talking to large groups of people.
Well, until now. Because I recently did a 45-minute-long talk at WordCamp Atlanta, on the Power of Video Storytelling.
In case you don’t know, WordCamp Atlanta is an annual conclave of WordPress aficionados—developers, designers, content writers. It’s two days of information-packed presentations for anyone who has anything to do with building WordPress sites.
So what does Video Storytelling have to do with WordPress? Well it turns out video is exploding in popularity right now. People are posting videos on websites, blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram feeds and more.
Animoto, an online video platform, says we’re turning into a “Video First” society—a world where people prefer watching instead of reading. Given all the evidence that’s piling up, I can’t disagree.
Examples of Video Storytelling
I started my talk with some examples of viral videos, beginning with Blendtec. Back in 2006, this small appliance manufacturing company designed a heavy-duty blender. To demonstrate their work, the R&D team showed how it could turn a block of wood into sawdust. That’s when the Chief Marketing Officer had an idea.
He spent $100 on supplies, and decorated the company break room to look like a game show set. Then he put the CEO in a white lab coat, and filmed their first YouTube video, “Will It Blend?”
A week after posting, their Blendtec video had 6 MILLION views. So they did another one, and another, showing how their blender could frappé a bathroom plunger, Star Wars action figures, an iPhone, even a bobblehead statue of Donald Trump.
Ten years later, their YouTube Channel has 285 MILLION VIEWS, and their sales have increased over 700 PERCENT.
More recently, in 2012, Dollar Shave Club produced a video for just $4,500. It immediately went viral, resulting in 12,000 orders in just 48 hours, and 20 MILLION VIEWS in the next three years.
A year after that, in 2016, Dollar Shave Club sold their company for around $1 BILLION.
YouTube is Taking Over the World
Success stories like these have created a new marketing trend—video content marketing.
Marketers and business owners are spending less money on television advertising (and the high media costs) and opting instead to post videos for free on websites, social media, and YouTube.
I shared several statistics about the popularity of YouTube. For example, YouTube currently has 1.3 BILLION users—that’s a third of all Internet users worldwide. And here’s my favorite: over 72 HOURS of video are uploaded to YouTube every single hour.
All this interest in YouTube is dramatically shifting advertising spending. It turns out media spending on TV ads peaked in 2017, and is expected to drop $66.5 BILLION by 2020. Other recent marketing headlines further accentuate this point.
It’s all about Storytelling
I also talked about the elements of Video Storytelling—what makes a video interesting to watch. By far, I think the most important element is visual storytelling. That means using visuals to help tell a story, not just showing someone talking.
If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. Why just talk about a business when you can actually show the business on video? Why just talk about a product when with video, you can actually demonstrate the product and let people see for themselves?
Another important element is visual interest. That means using extra images—known as B Roll—to give viewers something interesting to look at.
Well, my talk seemed to go well. Several of the attendees approached me afterwards, and the next day too, asking questions and wanting to know more about production and storytelling.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll start giving talks in other cities (they have WordCamps in a lot of places, I’ve been told). Thanks to WordCamp Atlanta for selecting me as a speaker. It was an interesting experience.