.Global, , , , , , — August 27, 2012 11:31 — 9 Comments

How Transmedia Storytelling will Transform the Role of the Content Strategist

Transmedia Storytelling

How users consume content is changing at a rapid rate. Social Media, mobile and Gamification have all created a need for how brands conceptualise, create, syndicate, manage and optimise content. This shift in thinking means content strategists will need to be cross-discipline. To meet this user generated demand for a Transmedia experience content strategy needs to shift from static content, served up to a passive audience through informative messages, to dynamic content co-created with a participatory audience through interactive messages. This will require a fundamental shift in how both agencies and brands view the role of a content strategist and also the skills required to be a content strategist in a Transmedia environment.

What is Transmedia Storytelling? The Wikipedia definition reads “Transmedia storytelling (also known as Transmedia narrative or multi-platform storytelling) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies, and is not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media franchises, sequels or adaptations”.

What this means for content strategists is that the story you tell through your content needs to be purpose built to live across multiple platforms and the real world, be flexible by allowing the audience to participate and delve into deeper levels of the story, and give them the opportunity to take contextualised actions around elements of the story.

Latitude, a research group who recently compiled a report about the future of storytelling summarises users needs around Transmedia story telling through the 4 I’s.

Immersion – Can I go deeper into the story-world?

Interactivity – Can I change or influence elements of the story?

Integration – Is a cohesive story being told across platforms?

Impact – Does the story inspire me to take action in my own life?

See below for the summary of the feedback from the 158 early adopters interviewed.


This report provides clear foundations for the future of content strategy. It means Content Strategists can no longer afford to specialise in just Digital or even Social Media. You will need to expand your skill set to include a deep understanding of above the line, mobile, games and offline experiences. Transmedia Storytelling is not a fad; it’s the convergence of media channels to meet the need of the user.

I’m an avid believer in User Informed Content and the results of this Transmedia Storytelling research only furthers my belief that by providing the user with the experience they want you will get the behaviour you desire.

For further reading on how the content strategy discipline is evolving please see The Future of Content Strategy: User Informed Content also by Kohlben Vodden


About the author

Kohlben Vodden has written 71 articles for WhatWorksWhere.com

Head of Social Media & Content Strategy @ #Ogilvy London + Editor of @whatworkswhere - Social Media Blog. Connect on LinkedIn: http://goo.gl/6Qv4b


  1. zeke Zelker says:

    the four i’s of transmedia creation: ignite (create),
    insight (share), illuminate (entertain), inspire (reward)

    • Very interesting to see another take on the 4 I’s. Thanks for sharing Zeke.

    • Briah says:

      Thanks for the comment AND for raiedng our musings. The Transmedia space is certainly exciting and great to hear about people (and of course teacher) like yourself who are embracing this new storytelling paradigm as a means of educating and empowering kids with project based learning. We would love to hear about specific issues/discussions/questions you encounter within this space!

  2. Tessa Sproule says:

    From the “broadcast” perspective, I see the “content strategist” as a ringmaster in the modern control room.
    They’re not calling out “Camera A”, “Camera B” anymore, but “Platform A” and “Platform B”. He/she needs to be fully
    aware of how the end user of said platforms will want to be engaged/entertained/informed.

    • Thank you for your comment Tessa.

      I love the analogy of camera vs. platform.

      If you have any Transmedia case studies that you could share with our readers I’d be most grateful.

  3. ElliotDwennen says:

    Fantastic Post Kohlben! I couldnt agree more what with the future of the job role of a content strategist.

    Love the 4 i’s from Latitude.

    We live in very exciting times! Ogilvy are doing a fantastic job at understanding the role of story, transmedia and how it shall impact brands and business’s.

    • Hi Elliot,

      I agree that it’s a very exciting time. The entertainment, marketing and advertising professions have a lot to learn from each other and I’m very happy to be part of the movement that is bringing them together.

      Do you have any interesting case studies of transmedia storytelling that you could share with our readers?

  4. marianne doczi (@KnowNOW_Knowhow) says:

    Surely then we need a term to replace audience? This is the age of the dr@m@teur – the digitally revved up amateur – who because of changes as diverse as social commerce, creative software, digital platforms, and crowdfunding, can now participate in active relationships at all points of the creative/production cycle. Rarely are people consuming culture in a passive block, or as a passive individual who, when aggregated, was deemed the ‘audience’. Dan Arielly’s work tells us that people rate more highly something they’ve been involved in so what/who was once ‘the audience” want to create and engage with professional ‘creatives’ far more actively. That’s what makes transmedia so powerfully transformative. Now just because “we/professionals” need to use multiple channels.

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