What is visual storytelling? 5 simple rules of storytelling

April 18, 2022
What is visual storytelling? 5 simple rules of storytelling

How to tell a great story? Storytelling tips to master storytelling!

From creating drawings to YouTube videos, visual storytelling is a powerful way to share ideas, communicate, educate, and engage with your audience.

If you hear something today, you’d only retain about 10% of it in three days.

But if imagery is used along with the same information, retention within three days is increased to over 50%


What is visual storytelling?

Visual storytelling is one of the most powerful tools content creators and marketers have. They tell stories   using beautiful visuals, images, videos, and voices to fully engage viewers.

5 Simple Rules of Visual Storytelling

1. Visualize your Story

To create your story frame, you need to think about how the user will interact with your story and what platform you plan to post content on. For example, for storytelling on Instagram, you should combine inspiring images and videos with an enticing narrative that makes for more memorable visual storytelling.

Whereas, visual storytelling on YouTube can take the form of a longer video. Once you’ve identified your direction, it’s time to sketch out your ideas in storyboard form and develop your story. First, sketch out the actual subject of your story. Second, consider how you’re going to direct the viewer’s eye through the image elements so that your audience is guided along an intended path.

Illustration of a girl and a boy creating visuals on a computer screen

2. Teach something, but in a fun way

Try giving a lesson and educating through storytelling. Every marketing effort carries a message, that of your brand or business. Even in the educational process, storytelling is a powerful tool to grab the attention of students and engage them in the lesson. The human brain is a remarkable processor of stories, making them a great way to teach valuable life lessons. So if you want your followers to listen to your story, or capture your students’ attention, it’d be a good idea to teach something important they wouldn’t typically have learned from their everyday interactions.

This  leaves your audience with a longer lasting impression of your brand. And as a teacher, you can ensure that any concept you teach will be remembered for years to come.


3. Show, don’t tell

What could be better than engaging your audience—giving them an active role in the storytelling and making them part of the experience?

“Show, don’t tell” is a technique authors use to emphasize on showing the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author’s exposition, and description.

When you make your audience see rather than just hear, they create visuals in their mind and come to the conclusions you want them to.

For example, if you have a specific idea bubbling around in your head, try to think about the situation you want to depict. Then sketch the settings and characters. This is a great method of developing a story that also leaves certain things up to the reader’s interpretation, which is much more interesting than making everything explicit.

Image showing how to engage your audience using visuals

4. Make the context clear

Context is the relationship between the storyteller and the audience. So context matters to help you build meaning, trust, and interest for the reader. Context adds specificity to your idea and directs the reader’s attention to a particular object. However, be careful as too much will get in the way of your message as you digress and too little makes your writing hard for the reader to understand.

So without a clear understanding of the context, you cannot fully comprehend the author’s value, nor the overall meaning of a story.

5. Focus

Details are important in a story, but you have to be objective enough to notice when you’re getting tangled up in the details and forget what the story is about. Don’t get caught up in details that don’t serve your story.

You may have heard of the Rule of Thirds, applied to the process of composing visual images such as designs, paintings, and photographs. The Rule of Thirds is a type of composition in which a screen is divided into thirds using lines, and the focus points that the eye is naturally attracted to, are placed at the intersection of those dividing lines. Also, if the philosophy of the Rule of Thirds is applied effectively in storytelling, it gives extra depth to the story you’re telling.

Image of a dog in white and green frames

“People don’t buy products, but rather the stories these products represent. (From Storytelling: The Story Making Machine and Formatting Minds)

So if you’re wondering why you should care about visual storytelling, you should know that people don’t care about how good your product is, they connect with visual content and your story.  In a world overflowing with data, marketers might fail to grab audiences’ attention. (maybe delete this sentence, I’m not really sure what it means)

Even if your first attempt at visual storytelling wasn’t that great, ask yourself whether your visual content follows all these rules and tells a good story to stand out among the sea of competitors. 

If you’re a creative storyteller and a podcaster feeling overwhelmed about where to start, Podofly is an excellent tool that will help to improve your storytelling and enable you to easily and quickly create beautiful visual content for your audio.

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Collaborate with your friends or co-workers to create a new video in minutes!

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