Here are some key insights to help you and your teams to begin publishing your own Stories (Web Stories ) on your own website! Let me show you why it is important to own your content and to gain all of the SEO and find-ability joy that comes along with this new opportunity coming to the open web. You can’t put links in social media stories folks and the monetization only benefits the closed (walled gardens) platforms.
Tips new adopters of Web Stories will benefit from understanding early on:
Your story needs a purpose and a structure. It’s important to look at examples from the wild before you start. Understand the difference between editorial content and humble brags. Web Stories are really immersive experiences that lend themselves to editorial content. Think photojournalism, educational stories, reporting about events or announcements, recipes, lists, adventures and first person perspectives. It’s also great to collect all mixed media and styles before building your story too. Create an outline after you collect and organize your assets.
Content creators delight!!!! This is an entirely new medium – it is a media driven visual communication platform as opposed to a text driven platform. You start with the media when composing these stories and merely fill in with text where it supports a composition or with captions for video. Currently we have: blog posts (articles), video, podcasts, and products (eCommerce) as content verticals. Now we can add to that Web Stories!
Learn the difference between social media stories and Web Stories. Here are few to know right away. Own your own content and gain the SEO and searchable benefits of publishing Web Stories. You can use links in Web Stories! You decide how long they should live. Social media stories are primarily humble brags and not necessarily editorial content. Only the platforms profit from monetization. When you publish your own – monetization and optimization are yours to develop through a variety of ways. Branding placement contracts, ads, links, promotions, affiliate links etc… but not before you really develop your content curation, rhythm, and tooling. This is different and worth the time to get right. User-centric content verticals deeply rooted in this immersive user experience is where this medium shines! If your users value specific topics like a specific sport, team, players, events, stats, insights and love to “see” what is happening within, then Web Stories will become critical for you! Link to longer format content – products, events, conduct and link to interviews, provide live updates, build community and showcase yourself and an industry leader. These are highly performant tappable mobile experiences where people have control on moving through them unlike a video recipe demo where you have to keep pausing etc… That’s some great UX!
There are a variety of publishing editing tools to choose from, even custom builds for enterprise scale budgets. If you use WordPress, you’ll LOVE the new plugin. It continues to release new and needed features and I’d say now is a good time to jump in and experiment knowing some nice animations are coming plus additional awesomeness! Get the Web Stories plugin for WordPress from the plugin repo. Your site does not need to be an AMP site but if it is – Web Stories will automatically work with AMP enabled sites too.
Visual storytelling is new to many and more like publishing video in that you have to source all of your assets in advance of beginning to construct or outline your Web Story. Video is critical to a successful web story experience for the audience. You or someone on your team will need to be able to edit video in a video editing tool to be able to maximize this opportunity. You’ll only use text as a support where needed to punctuate the experience where needed or with video captions. This is a tappable, kinetic, interactive, immersive, mobile-focused, short format, interactive experience not a long or medium length reading experience.
For the best tips on how to get started follow this series: StoryTime by the Google team bringing this new media to the Open Web. Our teams at XWP work in partnership with Google supporting this new platform and bringing it to WordPress.
Using the WordPress plugin, I recommend you experiment with the templates provided. Customize them and practice using them for a jump start. Templates are great for expediting work and sparking ideas.
Proof your stories on a mobile device and mind the safety zones while editing.
The first 2-3 sides should grab the audience’s attention right away!
Decide how and where you want to add Stories to your website. I recommend categorizing them too. Making your theme ready for a beautiful archive page is also a great place to start. The plugin comes with an archive page ready! Consider adding a carousel to your home page and/or category archive pages. Maybe add “Stories” to your navigation menu too! Also, you can embed them in your articles and offer a Web Story experience with a long forma text based article. Lastly, share them on social media! They are basically web pages and they are optimized for sharing with metadata including your logo, title, description (excerpt) a cover image, (don’t add text to your cover image – in Google discover the search results for stories has a carousel that adds the title as an overlay so no need to duplicate or make it difficult to read there).
Impactful storytelling takes practice
Take a little time to empower yourself and your teams by getting familiar while this is a new media expression that is just beginning to surface in the WordPress ecosystem. The new editor makes the production of Stories easier than ever – and it will only get better and better from here. The following Web Story is a quick intro and at the end links to the first video in the series I recommend everyone watches. Keep in mind the WordPress plugin is new and some features are still being actively released in planned versions coming out soon… Get the link to this Web Story (embedded using the Web Story block below) and experience it on your phone or in the browser on desktop.
Watch the awesome Web Stories video series here is the 1st episode and remember this is really new so new episodes are still being released!
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