SPOTLIGHT: Tips for Digital Storytelling

Posted on May 11, 2017


As utility communicators, some of our greatest inspiration comes from our peers’ success. NRECA’s 2017 Spotlight on Excellence Awards celebrated the best communication innovations, including many award-winning projects produced by Ruralite Services’ members.

For the next two weeks, we are highlighting Spotlight winners on our blog. Heading north to the last frontier, we get an insider’s look into Copper Valley Electric Association’s gold award from Director of Communications Sharon Crisp.

Sharon Crisp

Best Digital Storytelling (Class 1), Gold

Watch the winning video: Allison Creek Hydro

“Digital storytelling has become so incredibly important as it’s quick and easy for those who want to see it,” says Sharon. “No one would ever ‘read’ through the pages it would take to tell the details of three years of a hydro project construction.”

Since construction began on the Allison Creek Hydroelectric project in 2014, Sharon Crisp has shared the progress with CVEA members on the project website, which earned her the silver 2015 Spotlight award for Best Wild Card. Sharon won the 2017 Spotlight award for her project video, which debuted at the Allison Creek Commissioning Ceremony and Powerhouse Dedication in October 2016.

The video takes viewers through the construction from beginning to end. It highlights the major project components and people who made the hydro project possible.

“Our goal was to provide a comprehensive outline of the project that would make sense and bring it all together for someone who perhaps hadn’t been following it,” says Sharon.

In today’s age of short attention spans and a need for visual aids, video is a valuable tool to spread important utility information.

“While not quick and easy to produce necessarily, it is pretty easy for communicators to get video and other digital media in the hands of, or at the fingertips of those we want to see it,” Sharon says.

Sharon has three tips to tell your story:

  1. Be consistent. Make sure your imagery and messages tell the same story. Know your goals, objectives and audience before sharing information.
  2. Diversify your sharing. Use various platforms to spread your message. Try social media, website and printed materials, such as newsletters and magazines.
  3. Include visual aids. Whether you are sharing digitally or in print, use images, graphics or videos to support your message. Sharon uses visuals in most of her Facebook posts after seeing a drastic increase in engagement compared to text-only posts.

Another member in the Spotlight

Read about Arizona G&T Cooperatives’ Geoff Oldfather’s 2017 Spotlight Win in our post Five Ways to Let Your News Story Shine.

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