Digital Storytelling: Finding Your Filter

Posted on November 3, 2014

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We have a new member of the ELGL columnist family. Kim Ervin, of #ELGL14 fame and Pyramid Communications Senior Social Media Strategist, joins us to provide a monthly column on digital storytelling. She’s also organizing a Google Hangout to explore the topic more in-depth.

 Digital Storytelling: Changing Landscape, Consistent Goals


By: Kim Ervin, LinkedIn and Twitter

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of sharing the stage at the super rad ELGL conference in Portland, Ore. (I mean, did you get a chance to go? Talk about a great group of engaged, fun, beer-loving local government leaders!). During that conversation, I had the chance to share some of the trends that I see coming down the road.

Naturally, after talking with the ELGL folks about starting a monthly column, it seemed to me like a good place to start might be to share some of those trends for those of you who weren’t able to attend. Let’s start with trend #1:

Changing Environment, Consistent Goals

Ryan-and-Kelly-playing-dance-dance-revolution-the-office-14794864-500-220Although the communications landscape has continued to change for a number of years now (MySpace, then Facebook, then Twitter, and on and on…), it continues to actively shape communications and force people to think differently about how they’re approaching communications every day. Today, there’s Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Nextdoor, Ello…I mean, it’s hard to stay on top of it, right? There is a seeming endless supply of social channels and networks that all hold potential for organizations to reach and connect with people. It kind of reminds me a bit of Dance Dance Revolution—you gotta dance faster and faster just to catch up. Or do you?

Well, that might not need to be the case. Here are three important filters you can use to bring a little method to the madness, so you can stop all that dancin’…unless you feel like you just gotta dance!

imagesFirst filter: What is your goal? (You’ll likely be hearing this a lot from me.) If you can bring intentionality and clarity to what you’re doing, it makes it a lot easier to filter through the noise. Let your goal be your North Star.

Second filter: Where’s your audience? This one may seem obvious, but it’s a pretty important consideration. Certain channels attract different demographics and serve very different purposes. Is the channel you’re considering going to help you reach the people you want to reach? You should also consider: how mature is the channel you’re interested in joining, and is there a large enough community there to make it worth your valuable time?

Third filter: A great segue into our third point—What’s your capacity? Honesty is absolutely the best policy here. You might be tackling 11 different things in any one day, so you’ve got to prioritize your efforts accordingly. Starting up a channel, only to have it sit silently for weeks at a time, hardly reflects well on your agency. Know that when you start something, you’re making a commitment to your community that you will be responsive and attentive to them. If you go dark, they might learn to distrust you.

I look forward to bringing you many more tips, trends, and insights about how digital storytelling is changing and how to help you focus your efforts on the right things.

If you’ve got feedback or ideas about what you’d like to learn more about, feel free to comment below or tweet me @KimErvin or @PyramidComms.

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