Some untraditional storytelling inspiration

When you hear the word storytelling, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Words on a page? Illustrations? An audiobook? If it’s any of these things, we’re not surprised. These are all traditional storytelling media that people still use today, whether for education, entertainment or better audience engagement.

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These days though, technology lets us be a bit more adventurous and creative in the way that we tell stories. In this post, we’ll share some examples of our favourite ‘unconventional’ storytelling. These are stories told on untraditional platforms or the creative content being distributed to audiences through them. Hopefully, it’ll inspire you to find innovative ways to tell a story.

What if you gamified your story?

Zombies, Run!

What is it?

Zombies, Run! combines storytelling with really engaging gamification to help people get into running and turn it into a habit. As you exercise, motivation comes in the form of a story with a mission, narrated via your earphones. The way the story developed is sort of linked to your performance — or at least that’s hornet feels.

More than one million zombie-dodging runners have downloaded the paid app to date and hundreds of thousands ‘play’ every month, keeping fit in the process.

What’s the story?

The adventure starts with an intro scene where you’re told the backstory and you have initial interactions with key characters. After a couple of minutes, the first song on the playlist you’ve previously set up and the action begins. It’s time to run for survival.

To increase engagement, the writers (which includes award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman) have added in a few interesting little twists in the app design. For example, as you’re walking back home, dripping with sweat and feeling like Rocky Balboa, the Zombie News Radio kicks in, hosted by real DJs. In between news stories, the music they play is from your personal playlist.

What if you told your story right into people’s ears?

Serial

What is it?

It’s probably fair to say that podcasts are no longer a fad. Combining elements of audiobook and radio storytelling, they have become one of the most popular storytelling platforms today. Even traditional media such as news broadcasters have turned to it as a way of reaching a wider audience.

The intimate nature of podcast storytelling is quite unique. The stories are delivered straight to the listener’s ear via their device of choice. For the audiences, it’s also a very convenient way of consuming content as you don’t need to focus on images on a screen or words on a page.

A good podcast is a perfect soundtrack when you’re doing routine tasks that don’t require much concentration.

What’s the story?

If you ask your local podcast addict how they got into binge-listening to people talking, a lot of them will name one specific show. Serial.

The NPR audio series came out in 2015, is a popular reference for storytelling fans worldwide, and not just in the podcast industry. When you start listening to the documentary-style show, you start to understand why.

A real-life, investigative crime story chopped up into Netflix-style style chapters, you can’t help being gripped by Serial from the beginning. What’s more, the story is brought to life by the supporting website content where listeners can find important visuals such as maps and photos of characters Take a listen to Serial for yourself here.

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Of course, if you’re looking for an original way to tell a story, whether it’s for a presentation, a pitch or just for practice, why not try the Triggers Storytelling Deck?