Story planning tips
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
- Sign up to a training webinar to ensure you know how to use all of the features in Shorthand with the greatest effect.
- Check out our Pinterest page and seek inspiration from other storytellers.
- Download our commissioning and planning documents.
- Have a look at our blog, the Craft, for more advice and tips.
- Sign up for one of our subscription plans to ensure you can publish!
- Break the story down: consider the key sections / moments, and best way to tell each part. And don’t forget the end – the end of the story doesn’t need to be the end of the engagement with your reader.
- Consider the most effective ways to tell each part of the story, and how assets could add to storytelling, or standalone. Could be images, video, graphics, illustrations, interactives, etc. Are you using existing assets or creating new ones? Where possible create assets with the treatment in mind.
- Set out timeframes, deadlines, and allow extra time for feedback at the end if possible.
- Consider your publishing and post-promotion strategy. Once you’ve created and published the story: what next? More tips on our Craft post or in our video guide.
- What do you want to get out of the story as its creator, and what about your readers? Will that be achieved based on your plan?
- Have you considered adding analytics to the story to learn about reader engagement? Put the time in now to ensure that’s integrated appropriately.
- Focus on your narrative and the story – this is the spine of the story, and needs to be strong to deliver engagement.
- Consider the flow from start to finish. Is the sequence of sections logical, and can you use storytelling to entice the reader to continue scrolling? Our planning docs should help with this.
- Don’t let mobile be an afterthought. Optimize media for cross-platform consumption. Consider responsive crops of images and background video, and keep detail away from the edges. Create portrait versions / crops of images where a central crop wouldn’t be ideal. And use the Preview to keep checking the story across platforms.
- While the story comes first, the experience closely follows, and performance is vital. Remember this when preparing your video – keep a close eye on video sizes, and consider the length of the story – the more elements to load, the longer it will take.
- When bringing your media together, be strict with which make the final cut. Assets should add to the storytelling.
- Use your plans to make a note of cases where text may sit over media. Also be sure to refer to our safe area guides.
- Consider the journey your reader is taking, from top to bottom. If an element changes that direction, it can impact on drop-off. Use to effect, or bear in mind how you will encourage continued engagement beyond that point.
- Consider what your CTAs are going to be. You may want to consider using the Collection Section to create an onward journey for your reader.