Listen up: I’m coming at you with another marketing buzzword, but this one has some substance to it. The term is transmedia storytelling.
Transmedia storytelling is the process of holistically transporting a story-world or message across multiple platforms across multiple media platforms. This can be through a combination of text content and video content, such as a YouTube video that links to an accompanying blog post in the description.
Dr. Chester Branch, Transmedia Architect, breaks the process of transmedia storytelling down into four steps. The four steps are:
1. Social currency.
In traditional marketing, companies would present themselves as the saviours offering customers the products that will solve their problems. That sort of narrative doesn’t fly as easily nowadays. Rather, brands should position their audiences as the heroes in their story. Focus on empowering the user through your products or services through a mentorship role, rather than rushing to their rescue.
Airbnb does a good job of this on their blog. They use local reporters to write feature businesses and activities about their cities. They also have a Stories series where customers share their stories of how Airbnb brought them together.
“Prosumerism” speaks to the collaborative nature of product development these days. Rather than broadcasting a story to users, marketers should incorporate stories that users are already telling into their brand storytelling. What’s more, the consumer also simultaneously plays a role in the creation process of a product of service. The prosumerism relationship is an open telephone line between producer and consumer.
We see a lot of companies do this by posting beta versions of their products to places like Hacker News, where people can test them out and offer feedback.
3. Social triggers.
In a nutshell, social triggers in a transmedia context means immersive marketing wherein a brand’s stories become a part of their customers’ everyday lives.
For example, how often do you hear yourself or other people asking for a “Kleenex” rather than a tissue? For millions of people, sneezing triggers the thought of Kleenex, and vice-versa. Effective social triggers are commonplace, part of the fabric of our everyday routines.
4. Inbound strategy.
Inbound strategy marketing bears a strong resemblance to transmedia marketing, and because transmedia marketing is such a wide umbrella, inbound strategy falls under it. As you may already know, the 4 steps to inbound strategy are attract, convert, close, delight. If you have followed the transmedia marketing steps of creating social currency, prosumerism and social triggers, your content will attract new people looking for help in their own personal stories. This will spur them to visit your site, maybe subscribe, and share their experience with their friends, thus continuing the inbound cycle.
Keep these 4 basic steps in mind when creating your content strategy and you will create rounded, entertaining and helpful transmedia stories for customers old and new.
As a quick reference sheet, Venngage created a helpful infographic that summarizes these steps.