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[Guest Post] Elements of Compelling Video Storytelling

Editor’s NotePeriodicallyVenture Atlanta features guest posts by industry experts on topics that are relevant to the startup community. Following is part 1 of a 3-part series on video marketing by Lisa Calhoun, CEO of Write2Market.


Once upon a time, public relations professionals only considered using video for major national stories ­– a video news release.

But over the past several years, in the throes of a slow and rather quiet death, print media has moved past obsolete into antiquated, and video media has surged forward to replace it.

Internet video channels and the phenomenon of “viral” status has rendered video an essential element in successful national-level business storytelling. This is evident in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and Inc.

Even highly conservative publications, including The Economist, regularly tap into the power of video as a storytelling tool.

Research indicates that video in email marketing increases click-through rates by over 96%; 59% of senior executives prefer watching a video over reading lengthy copy… and every minute, 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. Most people are more likely to watch an entire video that entices them to lean forward and engage – rather than partially read a print article they’re likely to forget.

Watch: “LEC Corporate Video”

Secrets to the Arc of a Good Story

In the classical tradition, a good story includes a hero who goes on a journey or endures some trial through which he gains insight and resolves a conflict. A great company’s story includes all these elements. In this case, your founder is the hero – whose passion or experience is the catalyst for why the company or product was developed. You’re sharing the unique insight gained, in the form of a product, service or specialized knowledge, which will solve a problem for your audience.

Regardless of your company’s current stage in the growth arc, your company’s story—why you do what you do—is at the heart of its greatness and a powerful component of success.

Watch: “Secrets from Success, Industry Leadership”

The story is woven into the company’s purpose and mission, the core of your message, distinguishing you from others. Because your message is an integral part of branding, you need a compelling story at the heart of that message. A compelling video tale starts with asking 3 questions:

  • WHO is your audience? What are they doing and where are they when they encounter your story? Why should they care? Why is your story relevant to them?
  • HOW will you know you made a difference? What action would the viewer take, and what is preventing them from taking that action now?
  • WHAT does your audience need to see, in order to take that action? Results? Statistics? A demonstration? A cogent argument from an academic in your field? Satisfied customer testimonials? Info graphics?

Although the preferred storytelling medium has evolved, the craft of telling a good story hasn’t changed – it has simply been enhanced with a visual element, which is only as compelling as the story it tells. Many well-intentioned filmmakers become absorbed with high-concept, over-produced treatments – and lose the great story they set out to tell. The best and simplest advice for video storytellers: get lost in the STORY – not in the production!


As founder and CEO of Write2Market, Lisa Calhoun’s passion is crafting powerful reputations for industry leaders.

In the past year, Lisa won a Gold Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year and was honored by Business Leader Magazine as one of Atlanta’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs “One to Watch.”

Contact Lisa via Twitter at @Lisa_Calhoun or @Write2Market.

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