Five points for an effective guide to digital storytelling
The NOI Project aims to understand how stories’ impact can be measured, that’s why we worked on a Toolkit for practitioners and facilitators that will help them to use storytelling as a tool for the creation and the measurement of impact.
In this article we want to share with you a short yet effective guide to digital storytelling, split into five points:
- Identifying stakeholders
- Communication channels
- Work on your story
- Spread the story and measure its results
Now we analyze each one of these points for an effective guide to digital storytelling
First point: the Objectives for a proper digital storytelling
First of all, before starting to design your story, you should define your objective: why you want to write that story and what you hope to achieve with it. It doesn’t need to be very detailed, it just needs to act as a reference and a reminder for those who write the story and develop it.
For example, this story shows how it can:
– help us achieve our overall organizational objectives;
– engage effectively with stakeholders;
– demonstrate the success of our work;
– ensure people understand what we do;
– change behaviour and perceptions where necessary;
The story’s purpose can be different depending also on the storyteller’s identity. Take the time to think strategically about the stories you tell: who is the best person to tell this story? What is the best way to tell and share this story that would reach and inspire your intended audiences? Are there any asks at the end? When telling and disseminating a story, it is important to ascertain whether and how it influences the audience.
This will help conclude organizing campaigns on social media or disseminating educational films. For this, we need initial assumptions as well as a current assessment to be sure that the time and money invested in digital storytelling is well on the way to making a social change in society. To make an impact and lead to social change, wanting to use your resources most effectively, you need to define what success means to you and find out how you will know when you achieved it.
Second point: identifying stakeholders
The storyteller needs to write the story depending on the characteristics of the stakeholders that he/she wants to reach. In this section, you should focus on understanding your main stakeholders. These might include the public, politicians, service users and the staff. You might also refer to potential audiences that your organization wants to connect with.
This part of the strategy consists in developing the story depending on the characteristics of your audience. A way of prioritizing your audiences or stakeholders might be to map them. This can help show you who are the most important and the ones with whom you should be spending most of your effort communicating with. It is often easier to do this analysis with two criteria, so you can highlight the differences between audiences.
Third point: communication channels
For each audience identified in your previous section, you should now indicate the most appropriate channels for communicating the story with them. These might include different digital channels, each of them with its pros and cons, which will vary depending on your organization’s needs and resources. Try a simple internal analysis of the channels you have at your disposal to see which to use for getting your story to your audience.
Fourth point: work on your story
With your audiences and key communications methods identified, the next step is to design the story with a specific work plan. The work plan should also include proposed timescales and identify particular milestones within the strategy. This will allow you to measure clear steps towards ultimate goals.
Fifth point: spread the story and measure its results
Once you have written your story, you should start disseminating it and measuring the results. Every digital channel has its insights and they are an important aspect to evaluate the success of your story. Use the insights to test different storytelling styles and find the one that generates the biggest impact and that suits you the most. You can also ask the listener how your story made him feel, and if he was inspired to change their behavior.
Now that you have the tools to measure the impact of digital storytelling, do not forget that the storytellers are at the heart of the process and they have control of the story’s destiny.
If you want to understand more about how stories’ impact can be measured, read our Toolkit.