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Posted on Tuesday July 13, 2021

Updated on Tuesday July 13, 2021

Seven tips for digital storytelling

How do we tell engaging and inspiring stories with cultural heritage online? Explore our seven tips.

Seven digital storytelling tips for the cultural heritage sector

Title: Seven digital storytelling tips for the cultural heritage sector

Creator: Europeana Foundation

Date: April 2021

Institution: Europeana Foundation

Country: Netherlands

CC BY-SA

About

Audiences want to feel informed by digital stories, but also curious, immersed, inspired and connected by them. It is this that sets storytelling apart from other content types; and it is this that gives storytelling such a role to play in engagement and community-building across the cultural heritage sector. 

These seven tips are a valuable resource for cultural heritage professionals and institutions looking to develop their capacity for successfully sharing their stories online. They were developed in 2021 by a Europeana Task Force on 'Europeana as a powerful platform for digitals storytelling' - find out more about their work and read their recommendations

Use the tips

These tips are available as an infographic and introductory video (below), slidedeck and video presentation, on Medium and on Europeana Pro News.

Seven tips for digital storytelling - full text below

Title: 7 tips for Digital Storytelling

Creator: Maggy Szynkielewska

Date: April 2021

Institution: Europeana Foundation

Country: Netherlands

CC BY-SA
Seven tips for digital storytelling - full text below

Seven tips for digital storytelling

1. Be personal

Personal stories bring the past to life and help people relate to history on an emotional level.

2. Be informal but expert

People want to learn from experts, but it shouldn’t be a chore. Overly academic language can put people off, but stories should not be ‘dumbed down’. Finding the right balance is important.

3. Tell hidden stories

So much cultural history remains untold. Bringing hidden heritage to light engages audiences and creates a sense of community, identity and shared history. When creating content it helps to ask: can you find stories that haven’t been told elsewhere?

4. Illustrate your points

A key strength of the cultural heritage sector is its wealth of visual imagery. This can be used to powerful effect in storytelling. Formats don’t have to be fancy, but do consider how visuals and text work together in the stories you share.

5. Signpost your journey

The best stories take people on a clear journey. In digital storytelling — particularly on complex or experimental platforms — good signposting helps keep people on track. Having a clear sense of both the narrative and digital structure helps to keep your story compact and capture people’s attention from beginning to end.

6. Be specific

Storytelling that focuses on specific topics can still engage a broad audience. Generally speaking, it works best to proceed from details to the big picture, rather than the other way round.

7. Be evocative

Of course, cultural history stories need to be based in fact, but the facts don’t need to be dry. Don’t be afraid to use poetic, descriptive and evocative imagery and approaches — they are more likely to engage people.

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