How to: Storytelling

Ok, now it’s gonna be a bit theoretical (but it will be over soon). It used to be called ™ you have to do something cross medial somehow. So what for example something printed, then a video on the net. This sometimes had funny effects, because you often saw the result that somehow it was something, well, tried. Someone then had to stop to make a video to the text, because: otherwise nothing would be Crossmediales.

The times are over, thank god one would like to add. Meanwhile, we talk all the more of storytelling. Granted, there can be excesses. It’s not always just a “story”, which can be distributed over the whole network. After all, this storytelling idea gives the opportunity to tell stories where they belong. And you do not have to search compulsively for anything. Storytelling means nothing else than to tell a story in the right context for the right device, Sounds easy. But it is not always. Because you often fail on a very simple question:

Do I even have a story?

If you have stopped the indignant shaking of your head after this question, think for a moment: It is an old journalism wisdom that you should first, before you put anything on paper or anywhere brings, first of all, which story you want to tell at all , Not much has changed in this still amazingly real bulrush. Except that answering this question has become more difficult. In the past, a simple “yes” or “no” sufficed. Today one would have to say: depends on what for. And for whom. And for what.#


The other way around: Modern and digital storytelling does not just mean that the content of the story must be round. But that you have to rethink the story for each channel and for each device. Logical: Facebook is something different than Twitter and this is something different than Instagram again and that’s again …

So a story is nothing other than a story content bracket. So a story does not mean that copy and paste is the same stuff everywhere, making it somehow a bit more fitting. The fact that channels and platforms are different does not just have to do with character limitations.

What is meant by storytelling?

Tell stories. As simple as difficult. With information that ideally hangs. For this, this information must also have a value. Which is why it is not at all wrong to ask quite banal questions at the beginning of the storytelling: Who wants to know this at all and what does it take someone to know?

This is especially true when it comes to the topic of content marketing, about which otherwise the colleague Karsten Lohmeyer writes here at LEAD very knowledgeably. Even with this topic, it’s not about simply telling any stories in which you can more or less inconspicuously drop brand names and other advertising stuff. Tell me a good story that I like to read, see, hear. And that comes in the right place at the right time on the right device.

As I said: so easy, so difficult.

What do I need for this?

For once, in this “how-to” episode, it’s almost not about technology at all (for that I recommend, with a clear conscience, about all previous episodes of this little series). Instead, today we are talking more about content related craft. So before we start storytelling, we need a few ingredients:

  • a protagonist (or more)
  • a topic, a question, a problem that can be narrated along these protagonists
  • a conclusion, a solution, a conclusion

Are journalists among the readers? Exactly, sounds in the basic requirements like the good old reportage. In fact, the two themes are not dissimilar. In both cases, it’s not just about communicating facts. There are many other, probably much more suitable forms of presentation.

And something else has reportage and storytelling in common: both are great art, if you want to do it well.

So, and now comes the point that you should not really mention in a how-to series: You also need narrative talent and skill. You can learn that to a certain extent, but that’s all you can. Not for nothing are good storytellers not found on every street corner, with good reason reportage writers are a precious, because rare good. How to become such a gem can not be described in a few paragraphs. Each training course dedicates a lot of space to the reportage, the good story. And some people never learn, sorry for that.

But even if you do not want to or can not write the big story yourself: At least you have to know the basic requirements for a successful briefing. No storytelling so without good protagonists, no common thread, no real information content. With everything else, you’re just wasting your time and possibly your client’s money.

On which channels does storytelling work?

In principle, on everyone. This requires, however, that one is familiar with the functioning and the special features of the channels, the terminals and the forms of presentation. Storytelling does not mean that every channel is recorded got to. Nor does it mean that one statement must treat a subject identically in all channels. Above all, you do not have to do everything everywhere at the same time. On the contrary.

Do I need a plan?

Normally such questions are only rhetorical: For what in the job do you need a plan? The question therefore arises here, because you just need a very good plan for storytelling. You finally pursue a strategic goal with it. And always when it comes to strategy, you should think twice about what you’re doing there. So, yes, absolutely: plan exactly who you want to tell what where. And how and with what. Video-savvy readers know this: A real and clear storyboard is immensely helpful.

Otherwise you will end up in the old cross media trap again – and make stories for the sake of history.

Jakubetz recommends

  • In the digital age, of course, it’s especially nice to tell stories in a truly multimedia way. Beautiful examples can be found regularly at WDR, who also used Pageflow to develop good software (which is also open to others)
  • You can also work well with Adobe Pages or Atavist

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