The battle for attention. That’s been the job of marketers and business owners since the first marketplace bazaar. And has remained the same every day since.
Today, instead of just shouting louder and pressing harder than our competitors across the market, we’re also up against things like cat videos, current high-profile court cases, and entertaining failed escapades. In the digital world, grabbing your audience’s attention is a new game.
The game isn’t just one competitor versus another competitor. It’s content versus content. The video marketing strategy that may have worked two years ago will soon be ineffective if it’s not already. The scope and quality of your video content matter more now than ever before.
Statista reports that video has an online usage rate of over 90% and this number rises year over year. Another survey found that pre-produced video was the leading B2B content marketing pursuit. Data also showed that approximately 50% of businesses use video in email marketing and the same number also use video on company landing pages.
With so much video content being created and shared, just adding your boring point and shoot or cheesy slideshow to the mix won’t do the trick. So how do you break ahead of the pack?
By telling a great story.
Let’s review what video storytelling is and how you can infuse stories into your next B2B video campaign.
Table of Contents
What Is Video Storytelling?
Video storytelling is a naturally engaging form of marketing that shares information in an organic way. Rather than shoving an ad down their throat, you delight and engage your audience with a relatable narrative.
Humans are storytellers. We love to spin a tale! The dissemination of information through stories is how we have evolved as a species. There’s a reason you “sit around the campfire and tell ghost stories.” It’s part of our innate nature as humans.
Stories are shareable, relatable, compelling, and interesting, and the good ones bring you back for more. Let’s review an example.
If you saw an Instagram Reel with two people hugging and sobbing (there’s plenty out there), but there are no captions, and no description, you can see it’s a special moment but you don’t know why.
Because you don’t know the story. If the creator had added that these two had been separated for three months in a war-torn country with no communication, each uncertain if the other was even still alive and that they have only just been reunited, that’s the story or the why.
Now, in light of the story enhancement, the video of two souls weeping in relief and gratitude is far more moving than just an embrace on the internet. By creating a narrative-driven video, you can address the pain points and desired goals of your target market.
Storytelling In B2B Video Marketing
B2B video marketing is often stuck in the rut of being boring, dry, and underwhelming. Investing the time and money into developing and producing a high-quality, inspiring video will have an impact on the strength of your marketing.
The options for video types are plenty. Testimonials, explainer videos, company or product overviews, thought leadership videos, documentaries, commercials/ads, and so much more. If you don’t have the resources in-house to create these types of videos, don’t worry, you can simply outsource to a marketing agency or explainer video company.
Even LinkedIn Is onboard with storytelling! They shared that solely relying on rational appeals in B2B messaging inhibits the potential for future opportunities due to a lack of emotional connection. They even say that B2B marketing strategies that make emotional appeals drive 7x more large business effects over time than plain old rational campaigns.
In 2020, Statista reported that the most widely used video type for B2B communication was product videos but shortly behind that were how-tos and explainer videos. Training videos accounted for 47% of marketing content and video social media ads were leveraged by over 41% of B2B marketers.
With the rise of platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and the second most popular search engine, YouTube, videos flood the online space. But do your B2B customers really use those? You might be surprised.
In another recent survey Statista conducted of B2B marketers, 16% reported Instagram was the most important social media platform for their business. Another 80% use Instagram primarily for organic content and while 77% percent used it for paid ad strategies.
Video Marketing Storytelling: B2B vs B2C
The basic component of B2B marketing that separates it from B2C is that you’re appealing to decision-makers, rather than end-users.
This doesn’t mean they will be the first touchpoint in your sales funnel, but overall messaging has to make sense and cents to C-suite execs and department heads. This emphasizes the need to deploy high-quality video content that proves your authority and credibility.
Flip the script on boring B2B! Be engaging and interesting instead of crusty and boring. Start with a clear idea and what emotion you intend to convey or evoke. Craft your story around that. This is how you ensure to attract connection-driven customers rather than cost-driven.
How To Revitalize Your B2B Video Marketing With Storytelling
It’s time to get comfortable with your emotions and all the “feels.” What emotional connection do you want to create?
Happiness and enthusiasm promote sharing and community while sadness and despair elicit empathy and a deep connection. Fear, concern, and shock trigger a desire for comfort and familiarity. Opposites, but still deeply connected, anger and ardor, inspire explosive interaction or the “love it or hate it” polarization.
In a B2B world, there may be very few instances, if any, where you might infuse an element of despair into your video storytelling, but what is the profession adjacent? Frustration? Feeling stuck?
Find an emotional adjacent that fits with your branding, products, and services. That’s where your story begins.
Video Storytelling 101: The Seven Ps Process
Here are the top seven elements that every good B2B story needs in order to be successful:
- The Prospect (target audience, who you’re talking to)
- The Plot (flow and structure)
- The Point (the moral of the story is…)
- The Players (talent, characters)
- The Panorama (setting, environment)
- The Post-Production (editing, enhancements, audio)
- The Path (a way to share it, video channel)
This is your storytelling video creation framework for planning and developing video stories.
Always start with the prospect, not the pet thing you want to talk about. What do they need to see and hear from you?
Who is the decision-maker you’re appealing to? What is their title or role? What are their objectives? Who do they answer to or who answers to them?
What problems do they face? How will they define success? What perceptions, misgivings, or beliefs do they hold?
What kind of budget do they have? What does the buying process look like? How long is the buying cycle?
How will they come in contact with your brand? Where are they in the sales journey? What’s keeping them on the fence? What will move them forward?
These are just some of the questions that will help inform what story you need to tell in order to match it to the needs of your B2B client.
Stories have a beginning, middle, and end. So should your video content. Don’t jump into sales, set the scene. Show the action. Give a glimpse of where you’re headed.
Get creative! You have to dig deep to connect and aim high to inspire. Shooting from the hip will result in the same old run-of-the-mill videos everyone else is doing. Think outside the frame.
Don’t forget what platform you are using to share this content when plotting and filming. Make what is suitable for its future home.
What’s the moral of the story? The crossroads where the viewer will find themselves? What do you want them to do? The purpose of your video story should be crystal clear, reasonably simple, and devastatingly relevant.
Who is in the story? Are you hiring talent to portray a role? Will it be your face? No matter who it is, it should still be a persona or character that you’ve studied and understood.
The setting and environment aren’t likely the focus of your video but they will be noticed. Choose an uncluttered space that is interesting without being distracting or stealing the show.
You can film in your office, or conference room, go outdoors, or for a polished and professional edge, shoot in a studio. If you’re hiring out production, a pro team will come with all the expertise, equipment, and editing skill to turn any setting into a winner.
This is the detailed editing and enhancement that takes place after the content is captured where you can add music, make cuts, add text overlays, and any other elements you need.
Video editing software tools are a dime a dozen, but some favorites are:
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Apple Final Cut Pro
- Magix Movie Edit Pro
- Pinnacle Studio
You have your completed video masterpiece and now it’s time to share it! Whatever your platform of choice, suitable content can be modified and recycled on other platforms.
If you’re creating a video for YouTube, you can also reformat and edit it down for Instagram Reels, Facebook, or even TikTok.
Rinse and Repeat
Create a systemized process or framework that you use to develop new video concepts and plan stories, production, and deployment. When a specific video gets better reach, more views, or greater conversions, duplicate it!
What was different about this video, and why did it do better? Learn how to replicate that and use that data to improve future video content.
Quality Over Quantity
You don’t have to suddenly change careers to “video producer” to make this happen but it’s important in the B2B market that you avoid anything that looks shoddy or cheap. Selfie videos in your car might not be the right approach to getting high-quality leads.
If you only distribute three or four great videos a month, that’s better than a dozen terrible videos. Trust, credibility, and reliability are crucial in a B2B market.
Quality Over Quantity, But Don’t Overthink It
Depending on your platform of choice and the intended audience, simple videos that aren’t over-produced can still have an incredible impact. Not showing up with video content has long since not been an option.
Start somewhere. Make it happen. Don’t overthink it.
This has two meanings. One is that the context of your content is consistent. Meaning your messaging is connected across videos.
You don’t want to swing wildly from style and topic to new styles and topics that don’t match your brand or values. Stick to what you know, what you’re good at, and what you can sell.
The second meaning is that you produce content on a predictable schedule. You don’t have to film every week to put out weekly content. Film four weeks of content in a day and you’re set!
That’s how the film industry does it! They don’t fly back and forth like the characters in their movie. They do all of the New York things in New York, regardless of the timeline, and then all the LA things in LA. You can too!
Selling With Stories
Stories should be interesting as well as informative. Hook them in early! Walk in their shoes, what do they want to hear?
Break down any possible objections in an impactful and compelling way. Make your sales story personal by using case studies, before struggles and after successes, and lifestyle framing.
It takes a bit of mindfulness and strategy to know when and where your story will be the most effective and give the most value to your clients.
But when you’ve set the stage, and told the story well, you can simply ask for the sale to the sound of their applause.
Video Storytelling To Grow Your Business
The self-proclaimed and highly-acclaimed King of Sales, Jeffrey Gitomer, is attributed as having coined the phrase “People don’t like to be sold but they love to buy.” This is still true with B2B markets. Your ideal customer is looking for a solution or has a goal they need to achieve. Make sure your solution is the one they connect with.
Torrey Tayenaka is the co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse, a training video production agency. He is often asked to contribute expertise in publications like Entrepreneur, Single Grain, and Forbes. Sparkhouse is known for transforming video marketing and advertising into real conversations. Rather than hitting the consumer over the head with blatant ads, Sparkhouse creates interesting, entertaining, and useful videos that enrich the lives of its clients’ customers. In addition to Sparkhouse, Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse & Forge54.