Storytelling in the Digital Age

Note: Simone and Mike recently gave a talk titled "Storytelling in the Digital Age" at the North American YMCA Development Organization conference in Detroit, MI.

We're pretty lucky to be able to count a number of YMCA Associations across Ontario as our close partners and favourite clients. Being part of the conversation at this conference was a real honour. Nerd Alert: We’re still on a presenter’s high from all the meaningful conversations we had about content strategy and digital marketing.

For those of you who weren’t able to be at the conference in Detroit with us, we wanted to give you a high-level summary of our talk and a sneak peak into our storytelling process. We have also included some of our favourite (and super useful) resources to help you build a culture of storytelling in your organization.

Start with “S”

First we want to share the diagram below. This diagram breaks down our storytelling process and shows how each stage builds off of each other. The important takeaway here: everything relies on your STRATEGY.

Stages of storytelling


First and foremost we start with research. Research is all about empathy. It’s about putting yourself in someone else's shoes. It can be hard to get our own ego and assumptions out of the way, but when you try, you'll be able to see what really matters.

Content Strategy

Content strategy is the plan that drives everything (it also makes our hearts pitter patter). Once you truly know who you're trying to influence (because you've done the research), you're ready to balance the vision and values of your brand against the viewpoint of your audience. What stories do they tell themselves? What stories do they want to be told next?

Be an editor and ruthlessly cut down your narrative until it tells exactly the story you want.


Now it's time to put your story in front of your audience. It's dangerously easy to get distracted by new technologies, tools and platforms (just ask Mike!). It can be challenging to decide if having a brand presence on the newest social media platform is a good idea. But, when we let our understanding of the target audience combined with our content strategy drive the decision, it becomes really easy.

Is your audience on Facebook? Then you should be there.


Don't skip this step! Evaluation is how you know what you need to do to get better next time. It's how you measure yourself and know if you're achieving your goals.

Evaluation comes in all forms - analytics, trends, financial info etc., but what really matters is understanding how your stories are resonating with your internal champions.

Are they telling the story for you?

Got a question or another resource to add to the list? We’d love to hear from you!.