Digital Storytelling: A New Way To Connect

By Juan Fajardo Juan Fajardo has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 6, 2022

The digital revolution is one of the biggest advancements in information delivery since the printing press, bringing many new concepts and ideas every year, with some of them being here to stay. One of them is digital storytelling, which has proven to be one of the most effective technologies to present narratives.

Narratives have been an essential aspect of human civilization since prehistoric times, evolving along with them both in terms of functions and presentation. Of this, written narratives and the ability to replicate texts massively were some of the biggest. However, we could also argue that the most radical shift came in modern times,  with the inception of digital storytelling

With digital storytelling being one the most effective ways of connecting people and sharing information, is not a surprise that brands and organizations are making use of it.  This is especially true at a time when the younger generations have proven to be especially attracted to short-format content such as Tik-Tok and Instagram stories.

What Is Digital Storytelling?

Digital storytelling involves the use of modern content creation tools to produce media such as audio, video, social media, text, and interactive elements. While this definition sounds too general, there are some common threads, even through different topics and media types.

As we get to understand the process of communication better, content can be conveyed in faster and more reliable ways. This knowledge, supported by the flexibility of modern media, helps deliver an experience better suited for the needs of the receiver.

An immense number of technologies developed in several different fields made this content revolution possible as hardware is more powerful and cheaper than ever, and software keeps evolving too. Together, they improve access to editing tools that were unavailable or limited to a small number of people in previous years.

As communication technology improves, content availability and production follow closely and extend quickly, reaching almost every corner of the planet. Each day, more humans are connected to the internet to enjoy the many benefits it brings. This keeps growing the incentives for creating digital content, enabling people from all over the world to partake in it.

In a similar way, devices for capturing images, video, and audio have seen incredible improvements in the last decade. This multiplies options for content creators in many ways, providing infinite possibilities as to how they can record and combine media. Recording audio or video can be done in many different locations, with little preparation and lightweight equipment. All of this while achieving a quality that was unthinkable just fifteen years ago.

Most often, digital storytelling is produced in video form, although there are many other options available. However, video content allows for the usage of still images, text, and sounds, which make them extremely efficient when it comes to using social media platforms. Video also allows creators to transmit more information in a simplified manner, which makes content easier to digest for the receiver.

Written articles, on the other hand, can provide for an immersive experience as readers go through the text at their own pace. They can also include images, links, audio, and even embedded video depending on the platform. Indices can also be used to browse the text more easily and jump back and forth within articles.

In this way, readers can quickly pick the information that they want, while disregarding information they already know. The possibility to jump to a different webpage, video, etc. also helps the person on the receiving end. All of this makes for a smoother, more versatile experience to suit everyone’s needs better.

While text and video are some of the most popular mediums in which digital storytelling is presented, there are several others. For example, podcasting has seen incredible growth in popularity over the past years.

The Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling

Joe Lambert is one of the most-cited experts on the topic of digital storytelling. He is the founder of the Center for Digital Storytelling, a nonprofit organization focused on digital art. One idea defined by Lambert that is widely used is that digital storytelling has seven important elements creators should consider.

These ideas revolve mainly around video content but can be applied to any other media, forming a framework to help shape the story while taking advantage of the strong points of this art form. This idea has been used by many as a great starting point for digital storytelling, such as the University of Houston.

Let’s go over the seven elements of digital storytelling and how they help create a compelling experience:

  1. Point of View – Defines the main point of view and the author’s perspective.
  2. A Dramatic Question – The question around which the story revolves. It should be answered by the end of the story.
  3. Emotional Content – The presentation of issues that attract the audience and makes it feel connected, presented in a powerful, personal way.
  4. The Gift of Your Voice – Usage of clear voice recordings to tell the story taking advantage of all the benefits of spoken words.
  5. The Power of the Soundtrack – Any music or sounds that follow along with the story and help the audience get immersed.
  6. Economy – Not using too much content, just enough for the viewer to have a comfortable experience.
  7. Pacing – The rhythm of the story or speed at which events unfold.

Where Can Digital Storytelling Be Used?

The insights and tools of digital storytelling can be extremely useful in many fields. No matter what you specialize in, chances are digital storytelling can help you communicate better. It allows you to create material that is more clear, easier to follow, and more interesting for the receiver.

As technologies become wider-reaching, the requirements for organizations to take advantage of digital storytelling grow thinner. Just having a smartphone, computer, or laptop puts anyone in a good position to start producing this kind of content. Considering that, we can conclude that most organizations are capable of getting involved in digital storytelling.

Any advance in making communication more precise and efficient is likely to benefit us all. Digital storytelling is a force to reckon in that sense, given its power and accessibility in modern days. Let’s see some examples of this.

Digital Storytelling in Dducation

For educators and students of all levels, digital storytelling can help a great deal in exposing ideas and learning. It makes educational content exciting in many ways and helps it last longer in memory.

The most obvious way is applying it to content created by the teachers themselves, but there are other resources. Encouraging students to create their own stories provides a handful of benefits to be harvested too. This process forces them to get involved with the content on a deeper level. It helps them learn to communicate better in general and improve their confidence and writing skills. And knowing that digital storytelling is here to stay, it’s important to push students into learning the skills involved.

When educators use digital storytelling to create their own content, they can make for a thrilling piece of information. This can be a standalone piece to be expanded further in class or through other media. In that case, it serves as a starting point to get students involved and interested in additional content. It can also become part of a series in which the teacher develops a larger topic. When requested in the form of group projects, it helps the students work in their team-building abilities.

We should hope that more educators become aware of this tool and how to put it to work. In combination with their knowledge of pedagogy, very educational content can be created with little resources and time.

Digital Storytelling in Marketing

For brands, digital storytelling can provide a powerful and versatile marketing tool. It helps connect with people in new ways that convey the strength of emotional responses such as empathy. This helps in making customers feel closer to the brand in a way that colder, old-school media could never match. Now that companies compete for our attention constantly, it helps to communicate relatable, human experiences in little time.

Going further, those organizations that have more extensive resources can produce more of this bond-creating content. This allows marketers to do tests in order to see which stories do better. That strategy is great to create more specialized content and focus on particular audiences.

For these reasons, many, if not most big marketing efforts involve some sort of digital storytelling nowadays. If you have seen a few video ads online, chances are at least one of them has been conceived within this framework.

Another powerful way to introduce digital storytelling is to have followers of the brand create them. In a similar way that hashtags are encouraged, the creation of these stories can be encouraged too. This results in stronger communities, and a better sensation of being involved, further attracting people to the brand.

Digital Storytelling in Health Promotion

One big obstacle that science and health communicators face is a lack of interest from the general public. This creates big opportunities to put digital storytelling to work for public knowledge about all things health-related.

Many public service announcements containing recommendations often go overlooked by the public they’re made for. In situations like that, digital storytelling can be used to target these efforts more efficiently. 

Spreading information about diseases like cancer or diabetes can save lives for example. By having a clearer idea of how their messages are being delivered, experts can communicate better to their audiences.

Medical devices and treatments sometimes demand people who are not trained in medical sciences to take certain actions. Digital storytelling gives doctors and other specialists better control over the message that patients receive.

Medical companies can use this resource too, in order to improve the way they communicate to doctors and patients. This includes information about processes that are not directly health-related, such as payments, policies, and resources.

What Are the Best Digital Storytelling Platforms??

As digital storytelling becomes more popular, it influences the way we connect to others online. Many companies recognize this and seek to provide people with the tools and audience to deliver their message. The result is a growing number of communities with their own creators and receivers, forming a thriving environment for ideas.

Whether you are a communicator or just want to enjoy the content, these platforms are very useful. They are a show of how mass media gave ground for small-scale productions for writers, video makers, and artists in general.

Next, we will go over some of the main platforms for digital storytelling. We will describe each complete with its approach to this new era of communication.

Covering all sorts of topics, a widely popular publishing platform for digital storytelling is Medium. Focused mainly on text posts, this website features everything ranging from amateur publications to professional works.

With over 100 million readers, Medium has a large enough audience for any type of idea. The website does not run ads, based on its intention to remain unbiased. One clear leader in digital storytelling, Medium is where social media meets quality content sharing.

As time goes by, more of your Google searches are likely to result in Medium articles. Especially since it features many different tags for an extensive set of topics. Among the most popular ones, you can find startup, life, politics, design, business, sports, food, art, and health. Some of these go over current news, others explain how a service or website works, others are opinion articles. There is content for all tastes and expectations.

Medium charges a monthly or yearly subscription to read unlimited articles, and pays content creators for their contributions. Once contributors achieve a large enough follower base they can start getting paid for their content. The profit of each creator depends on the amount of time paid subscribers to spend on content made by them.

Steller is another great company that is taking advantage of modern technology to create an impressive experience. This platform is theme-oriented, encouraging content creators to focus on travel stories. Through the app, they can combine images, audio, video, and text for a rich description of a place or experience.

Tourism, vacations, and travel can bring about some of the most interesting photos and videos. Really, who doesn’t enjoy the picture of a beautiful, exotic landscape? Some of the stories featuring this theme make it hard to look away. While the platform was created with the most enthusiastic traveling fans, the posts are enticing for anyone.

To access Steller content users have to download an app, available both for Android and iOS. Once they start creating content, they can use the app to post it on other social networks too.


Another company that is great to see at the front of innovation is Shorthand. One of the pioneers of “scrollytelling”, it allows people to create pages that move and respond while the user scrolls. These stories can include a wide variety of different tools and animations. Images, videos, effects, animations, and even interactive pieces like graphics and maps can be included in Shorthand content.

Shorthand provides the possibility to create highly interactive and dynamic experiences with no coding required. That means average users can create great content by just getting to work with minimal training. Bridging that gap between regular people and the creation of interactive sites is an excellent way to make the web more friendly. This is not limited to publicly available sites, as Shorthand is great to create internal communications within companies. Some big organizations have already made use of Shorthand content, such as Honda, the University of Cambridge, and the BBC.

Created stories can be published in Shorthand hosting at a subdomain of your choosing. They can also be downloaded in different formats, some of which are easy to put on a web server. Surely, putting some effort into offering this kind of flexibility was a great idea on Shorthand’s side.

While a free trial is available, getting your Shorthand story published requires a paid plan. The plans are named prime, pro, and premium, with the first one containing more than enough features to get started. While prices are not publicly available, you can ask for a discount for charities, academic institutes, or Journalism classes. While it features an extensive knowledge base, it’s important to note that only premium plans receive support from Shorthand.


Recognizing the advantages of digital storytelling for projects of all sorts, Animaker is another great platform for content creation. It is directed towards entrepreneurs, educators, online content creators, and anyone else who can make use of creating entertaining animated stories. Several big companies trust Animaker to create part of their digital content. Some of its largest clients are Pepsi, Google, Verizon, Unicef, and Walmart.

Animaker can help you edit video and combine it with animated objects and custom characters, and much more. It allows for cropping video and adding overlays of all sorts, including subtitles and watermarks of your own creation. This platform also has one of the largest collections of multimedia content to include in your projects. It also supports 4k video, to create digital stories of excellent viewing quality.

All of this can be accessed through powerful templates that simplify content creation a lot. Some other well thought features make the process easier too, such as a character builder with many facial expressions. It also has text-to-speech with several different voices and auto lip-sync for characters.

Animaker has a nicely done knowledge base and tutorials page, covering almost any question you can think about the platform. While this tool is not totally free, it offers several different plans starting at $10 a month. By creating a free account you can also test most of its functions.

Book creator

While video content and animations get most of the attention, books are far from dying out. Almost all of our devices with a screen provide book reading capabilities, and ebook readers still have a growing user base. Book Creator knows this and made a modern platform that is up to the challenge of satisfying digital content creators. By using this tool, users from all over the world create nearly two million books each month.

Books created in this platform can include a variety of media types, including video, music, recordings, and drawings. For additional functionality, these stories can also include spreadsheets, Google Maps, and personalized code. Book Creator users can collaborate in real-time, allowing for a rich experience for teachers and students.

This platform is also fully compatible with Google Chrome, Safari, Edge, and can even be used as an iPad app. Once a book project is completed it can be published online or exported as a PDF or as an ePub file. 

The free version of Book Creator lets users create up to 40 books, but real-time collaboration is not available there. Paid plans start at $12 per teacher per month, and allow for up to 1000 books per user.


Now you are ready to put digital storytelling to work in alignment with your objectives. This puts you in a position to extend your influence on the world. Make sure to use that in a positive way, and help others improve in this aspect too.

The power of narrative to make people feel more connected is much more than a tool to increase sales. It can be a way to connect more deeply with your teammates, students, or organizations.

Knowing how digital storytelling presents itself you will be prepared to recognize it when used by others. Being able to spot those narratives and think about how they were conceived can help you become a better communicator too. It can also aid in protecting yourself from being heavily influenced by these stories.

By Juan Fajardo Juan Fajardo has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Juan Fajardo is a News Desk Editor at Grit Daily. He is a software developer, tech and blockchain enthusiast, and writer, areas in which he has contributed to several projects. A jack of all trades, he was born in Bogota, Colombia but currently lives in Argentina after having traveled extensively. Always with a new interest in mind and a passion for entrepreneurship, Juan is a news desk editor at Grit Daily where it covers everything related to the startup world.

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