• Andrea LaRayne Etzel

When it Comes to Sharing Your Story, don't Tell it - Show it.

Earlier this week on my Instagram, I shared a quote by Julianna Baggott "the basic rule of storytelling is - show, don't tell." Along with the quote, the post also included five ways to visually craft your story that would engage your audience.


Storytelling is just another form of marketing yourself and your business. But, whereas traditional advertising can come off stiff and lack emotion, storytelling is authentic, real, and conveys your message with personality. Instead of being tuned out, your story will captivate.


Five Ways to Craft Your Visual Story


1. A Human Element

Chef Portrait & Restaurant Branding Photography

As people, it's in our nature to be automatically drawn to connect with others. Humanize your brand. Share about yourself. Why did you start your business? What are you passionate about? Your values. When you're not working, how do you spend your time?

Depending on how you visualize the story (and the role you play in it) of your brand and business, you can get personal.


Have your employees share about themselves. The best experience they've had working for the business. Or, maybe a story of success. Change it up with monthly themes or holidays. If you have team events, volunteer work, or outings in the community- share it. Mix it up with styled and candid moments.


Types of Visuals: Photography & Video


2. Behind the Scenes

Personal Branding Photography

Let your audience get a peek of the “magic” behind the curtain. We are a curious bunch, when interested in something people tend to want to know more. It's the same with your followers and clients.


If you're a designer, build a story of snippets that show your creative process. Or a restaurant can bring viewers into the nightly tasting of specials - describing the dishes and the delicious reactions. Being transparent and open will create trust.


Types of Visuals: Photography & Video


3. Explain how your service/product is of value


Personal Branding Photography

Don’t go all “sales-y,” keep it light and simple. If it’s highly technical or specialized, remember some of your audience may not understand the language or lingo you’re using. If it’s too complicated, you’ll lose them.


Tip: Find a family and friend who is not familiar with what you do. Pretend they are a potential client and give them your “pitch.” Then ask for their feedback. Make adjustments based on their recommendations. It might help to ask more than one person.

Types of Visuals: Video Demonstration & Infographic


4. Let your customers have a voice



Word of mouth is still king when it comes to bringing in new business. When a client (or customer, or guest) says “I’m going to tell everyone I know…,” that’s your cue to also make sure they let everyone who visits your website and social media know by sharing a testimonial.


In the hospitality industry: hotels, attractions, and restaurants have the advantage of sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Make sure to check them frequently, and share positive experiences. Just as important, respond thoughtfully to those who left unfavorable reviews. It’s another opportunity to win them back.


Types of Visuals: User-generated content, Interviews & Quotes


5. Be authentic, be real, be conversational

Designer Portrait & Branding Photography

Let your personality shine through. This can work for an individual or a business. First, you need to identify your brand voice. Is it spunky and playful, or classy and sophisticated? The tone you choose will help determine and guide your visual style. Keeping consistency.


Here is a chance to further engage your audience. Ask them questions. Or, reverse, let them ask you questions through messaging, collect the questions, and then pick a time and each week answer them at that time. Most important, when you get comments, reply as quick as you can and keep the conversation going.


Types of Visuals: All types: photography, video, GIFs & graphics




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1300 Block SW Medford Ave,  Topeka, KS 66604

785-213-0126 | contact@andrealarayneetzel.com

Serving Northeast Kansas, Kansas City Metro & the Midwest region