Video messaging and storytelling: Are they the same thing?

Messaging and storytelling. A match made in video production heaven? 

We certainly think so! 

But how do these two terms differ? And if you’re about to embark on a new video project, which one should come first? 

Great question! We’re super glad you asked. You see, we’re pretty passionate about messaging here at Moonshine Agency. After 12 years making and producing impact films, the one thing we’re absolutely certain about is this: messaging matters. So you definitely need to get yours sorted before cracking on with your next video project.

If messaging is something you think you struggle with, can we suggest checking out this post over here? It will step you through the basics and give you a framework to craft a message that perfectly defines your brand, project or company. Hello, high performing video! 

But before you start counting video views in your sleep, let’s rewind things – just a little bit. Because even if you have your messaging down to a fine art, it doesn’t mean your audience will actually take any of it on.

Yes, messaging is critical but if it’s not delivered in the right way? Well, it can fall on deaf ears.  Remember that year 10 maths class when your teacher spent 45 minutes lecturing you on e=MC squared and pi is 3. something? No? Exactly. 

Most people don’t learn by being lectured to. But with a little thing called storytelling, you can have your audience in the palm of your hand. 

In this post, we’re going to help you understand the difference between messaging and storytelling and show you how combining the two can do wonders for your video marketing. 

First, get your message straight 

As much as we love storytelling, in our opinion, messaging should aLways come first. That’s because it’s usually the easiest thing to pinpoint. 

A message is your big headline. A powerful one-liner that summarises what you’re trying to communicate with your audience. It’s something you’ll likely want to repeat again and again throughout your video, too. 

But as a rule, you’ll want to limit the amount of messages you include in your videos to about three. Any more and you’ll just end up overwhelming your viewers. And that’s no way to persuade them to take action! 

Here’s the thing though. Even if you get your messaging down to three clear and compelling points, if you just shout it to your audience over and over, it can be … well…a little dry. 

It’s a bit like serving up a big bowl of boiled brussel sprouts without any sauce or seasoning. Worth consuming? Sure. But palatable? No, not really. 

Enter …. 

The magic of storytelling 

Your communications needs to go beyond communication alone. As the old advertising adage goes: facts tell, but stories sell. 

So if you really want to get your audience interested in your messaging, you need to weave a story around it. 

Stories are among the most effective methods to deliver messages. They enforce your message with meaning and emotion. But what makes for a good one? Beginning. Middle. End. Sure. But there’s just a little more to it. 

To begin, have a think about the genre of your video. This will help you quickly work out what type of story you want to share. 

And yes – genres are exactly what you used to search for when you’d walk up and down the aisles of Blockbuster trying to pick a DVD to watch on a Sunday night about 15 years ago. Drama, Comedy. Thriller, Documentary. We promise it’s not just for Hollywood! 

Even a three minute video you’re making to build brand awareness for your side hustle will fall into a genre. Do you want it to be funny? Informative? Heartfelt and personal? Full of action? 

Figuring that part out can really help you to nail down a narrative. 

You’ll also want to give some thought to your characters, Who’s your hero? Can your audience identify with them, or at least sympathise with them? 

These are common storytelling layers that will mould your message into a really engaging story for your audience. 

For some further storytelling tips, cast your eyes to this blog over here which breaks down a simple recipe for great video storytelling. 

Marrying your message with your story 

Ok. So you’ve got your key messages. And you think you’re pretty au fait with the art of storytelling. Now it’s time to marry the two together. 

But doing this is an art unto itself because you actually need to hide your message in your story. That’s not to say that your message is any less important than the story bit. It’s just that sometimes a message is way more memorable if it’s wrapped up in a fun, moving or relatable narrative. 

To bring it back to the vegetable analogy for a minute, did your mum ever hide diced carrots or celery in your spaghetti bolognese or other favourite dish? Maybe it’s something you do for your own children. Serve those veggies raw and they’d likely be left in a lonely pile on the plate. But concealed in something juicy and delicious? Gobbled right up. 

Your message is the celery and carrots in this scenario. No doubt good for your audience, just a teensy bit bland on its own (sorry). 

If you can allow your message to come out organically through your story, your audience won’t feel as you’re shoving it down their throats. They might even feel as if they’re discovering your messages all on their very own. 

That will leave a lasting impression and create more engagement with you and your brand over the long term 

Your video messages are more powerful with storytelling

We hope this has helped you understand the difference between video messaging and storytelling, because they are both highly important ingredients in the video-making process. 

Here’s a quick overview of what we discussed: 

• First, give some serious thought to your key messages and get them locked down before you start crafting your story.

• Next, think about the type of story you want to tell, the genre it will fit into and the kinds of characters who will feature 

• Then, bring the two together! Weave your message through your story and let your audience feel and experience your messages through the guide of your characters and storyline 

It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to video production – especially if you want your video to move your viewers to action. Which is why we’ve created a YouTube series called Moonshine Moonshot that’s all about helping people just like you create better videos. We drill down on messaging, marketing and everything in between. Head there now and subscribe to learn when new episodes drop (it’s every Tuesday, by the way!).