4 Testimonial Storytelling Video Tips

Need irrefutable content? Go with testimonial storytelling.

I am Second is a movement of people who are inspired to live beyond themselves.  They’re using videos to spread the word about their movement. They believe less is more when it comes to testimonial storytelling.

A dark room, a white chair, and a light– that’s their setup. Storytelling works and draws your audience in.

In September, they celebrated their 100th film, featuring Eric Metaxas, author of a New York Times #1 Bestseller, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, who has a powerful story to share.

With over 20 million views, here are four tips we can glean from their approach to testimonial storytelling.

1. Be vulnerable

As you prep your storyteller, you can begin by asking them to tell her story from beginning to end. Take note of emotive content (even specific words), the turning point, and the breakthrough.

You don’t want to snuff out emotion, so be sure to tell her it is OK to be open and that testimonial storytelling is not a stoic venture. Then, summarize the story back to them to verbally underline the vulnerable, most powerful moments.

2. Share the imperfection

Viewers’ comments are where you’ll find marketing gold.

Organizations such as I am Second have found  – by analyzing viewers’ comments – that videos with the most imperfection are the greatest conduits for fostering a connection. This is because most everyone can identify with imperfection. Flaws are part of being real.

Your audience wants all-things real so give it to them in an imperfect story.

If it’s true and it’s real, share it with your audience. The greater the realness and imperfection, the more fundraising “space” you have so that you can follow-up the testimony with a strong ‘ask’ afterwards.

3. Don’t start with the ending

This isn’t journalism.

You don’t have to lead with the point of highest interest in testimonial storytelling. You want there to be a buildup so your readers feel like they’re going through a vivid experience with the storyteller.

If your viewers know they’re about to watch a testimony, they look forward to the climax instead of demanding it at the forefront.

4. Connect with the protagonist

Highlight the protagonist’s desires or lack thereof (e.g., “I never wanted to say those words. Just the thought of them made me cringe.”). To take it a step further you can tap into the reasons why they have those desires.

Desires always points to cravings that comes from within- similar to an appetite. Your need to satiate an appetite for food is similar to those internal appetites that we’ll call ‘soul cravings’—belonging, meaning, purpose, and identity.

Now that you have a few tips for crafting a testimonial video, go make a raw, simple, yet emotive testimonial storytelling video!

Need nonprofit video storytelling tips? Check out our free ebook!

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