Video Storytelling Made Easy: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

An eye-catching opening, slick text animation, smooth transitions—these are all important elements of polished social videos. But what really makes a story shine is a strong, concise message, told in a way only your unique perspective and voice can. Whether you’re telling a personal story, creating a fundraising pitch, inspiring others to care about a cause, or teaching potential customers about your business, video stories are most memorable when they have a core message. A “so what” moment. The difference between having a clear, succinct point is often the difference between viewers who take action after watching and viewers who click out half way into the video because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be getting out of it.

That’s, of course, easier said than done. Ideating and distilling your ideas into a few simple sentences that can translate to the screen can be winding road. Fortunately there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you craft a compelling video story. Use these questions to guide your storytelling strategies and then add your text, images, video clips, and even narration to Adobe Spark Video!

1. Who am I talking to?

Identify your audience and much will fall into place such as word choice, mood, and tone. Not only is it helpful to decide who you’re trying to reach in terms of demographics like age, interests, or gender, but it’s also important to know how you address your audience, if at all. Personal stories might use “I” and never break the 4th wall, or acknowledge the audience. But if you’re presenting an idea or trying to reach customers or potential donors, we recommend using the friendly, singular “you” as if you’re addressing just one friend. This tone lends a personal, friendly quality that people connect with.

Photo-printing company Persnickety Prints knows their target customer inside and out and it comes through in how they address their audience:

2. What do I want viewers to walk away thinking or doing?

Instead of trying to think of what to say or write, consider what you want your audience to do, think, or feel after watching your video. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and get overwhelmed, but decisions will be easier to make if you have an idea of what tone you want to hit and what you want your viewers to do. Establish your goals up front so that each moment or slide ladders up to the goal.

See how CHOICE Humanitarian sets a tone with an inspirational quote that supports the organizations mission of humanitarian travel:

3. What am I trying to say in two or three sentences?

A general rule of thumb for social video is that you have about three seconds to capture attention. As such it’s important to lead with your best imagery and get to the point. Distill your message down into a couple of sentences then use supportive video clips, images, or icons to visually represent your point. A few strong pieces of copy can help your video shine, especially since text on screen can help make your video translate even if people are watching with the sound off.

This San Francisco restaurant showcases its philosophy in under thirty seconds with a clear mission statement and video clips that bring it to life. And it’s designed for a sound-off audience, which makes up most viewers on social media.

4. How can I captivate?

So you know who you’re talking to, what you want them to do, and you have a couple sentences you want to communicate. Now comes the fun part. Think about ways you can delight, surprise, or move your audience. Can you open in a clever way that stops thumbs in their tracks? Can you come up with a gimmick that’s wacky or fun and true to your brand? Sometimes captivating can be as simple as serving up beautiful imagery to go under your text. Here are some tricks of the iPhoneography trade.

How to Create Video with Spark

You’re ready to make Video magic! Here’s how to create your video story in Spark Video

  1. Start by creating a new Spark Video project.
    Clicking the big plus button on web or in the iOS app will open a slide-based editor. No complicated timelines here! We suggest storyboarding out your video story within the app by selecting one of the preloaded story structures or creating your own by adding notes to slides, which will guide your creation. Each slide should represent just one point or thought.
  2. Add media to the slides.
    Now it’s time to add media to your slides. Choose between images, video clips, icons, or text. You can search for free photos or icons within the tool or use your own images or video clips. Add up to 30 seconds of video at a time to each slide. We recommend using short video clips or images to visually represent your message.
  3. Select pre-designed layouts.
    Present your media in a variety of layouts by selecting one of the preloaded placements in the top left corner labeled “layouts.”
  4. Use text to communicate key information or calls to action.
    Text on screen makes sure those watching your video without the sound turned on get your full message. If you’d like to speak directly to your audience, simply record your voice by hitting the red button and speaking into your phone or computer.
  5. Spice it up with a theme and soundtrack.
    Spark Video comes pre-loaded with themes that control the overall look and feel of your video. Themes power transitions between slides and the motion of elements. Simply tap the “Themes” category and choose from tk unique themes. You can also add music by uploading your own track or selecting one of the free songs in Spark Video.
  6. Publish and share.
    Once you’ve finished the video, save the video to your camera roll as an mp4 and upload it to Instagram. Make sure you click the expand icon in the bottom left corner so your video plays in landscape mode. Select a cover image that shows your most engaging image so it looks great in your feed.

Share your videos with #AdobeSpark for a chance to be featured here and on our social channels.