Storytelling for an Internet Audience

The most effective way to make a point is to surround it with a story the visitor/viewer can relate to, a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

By letting the reader identify with the story, we make our point in a non-intrusive, non-threatening fashion. This is what makes testimonial advertising so effective: someone like us telling his or her experiences (story) with the product or service. The best stories are personal because they allow us to identify on a personal level, the level at which we make most decisions.

Be Aware of Web "Hypertime"

Another key element to effective storytelling is to be in the appropriate time frame. We've all seen TV ads made back in the '60's that show a woman dressed for cocktails and dinner cleaning the kitchen floor. Such an approach would not work today. We laugh at government information and training films made in the 1950's. On the web "current" has an even more instant perspective. If website content is not kept up to date (literally) you might as well not bother to have a website.

Layering for the Web

Finally, stories must be tailored to the medium. In the old days this meant editing for word count. A certain brochure design only gives the copywriter so many words to work with. Videos tend to be very time sensitive. Writing for a website is different still. While the number of words is not an issue, how a story is "layered" is critical. Since you can never assume a captive audience, web content must take into account both "skimmers" and "readers." This means that a story has to be highlighted and truncated on one level and appear fully on another.

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