At Studeo, we see a lot of interactive storybooks. All of them are great – but some are truly exceptional. Because our job is to help everyone create truly exceptional storybooks, we conducted a deep-dive analysis to see what these truly exceptional storybooks had in common. Turns out – there are 7 things… today’s blog will share those 7 tips with you.
1. Story Structure
Just like every good story, your storybook needs a structure that makes sense and is easy to follow. The best storybooks we’ve seen are organized is in a way that’s similar to a home visit. They start with the front of the house, tour the main floor, second floor, basement, backyard then neighbourhood. Here is a description of what that could look like:
- Front: The front of the storybook should always be a direct shot of the home’s exterior. There are a couple of ways to do this; with a static shot, a cinemagraph, or an overhead drone shot, as long as it properly showcases the front of the house.
- Main Floor: Once you walk into a house, you’ll be on the first floor. Use the first few pages to showcase the living room, dining room and kitchen. Ensure your first few pages offer a wide variety of media like video, 3d tours and cinemagraphs to help bring the home to life.
- Second Floor: Then move on to the second floor. Typically on a second floor, you will find a primary bedroom and bathroom as well as additional rooms. Usually, these rooms are less about communal experiences and more about private sanctuaries. Make sure your content reflects that.
- Basement: If there is a basement, showcase it! It is an additional living space that can be used either for movie nights, home gyms or extra space for the children to play.
- Backyard: Don’t forget to showcase the backyard. For many people, backyards are a huge reason for homeownership. It’s where a lot of family memories happen.
- Neighbourhood: Finally, don’t forget to include a section at the end of your storybook that describes the neighbourhood surroundings and the local amenities.
Now that you understand a great flow for your storybook, let’s talk about some of the tools you can use to help make it as engaging to your reader as possible.
2. 3D Virtual Tours
A good thing to use in the front-to-back structure we’ve just covered is a 3D tour. This allows the viewer to properly see the internal structure of the rooms, and form a mental map of the house layout. They can also use it to emulate the experience of walking through the home themselves. Floor by floor, room by room, just like during a private showing but from the comfort of their home.
3D virtual tours are best used as the only interactive element on a storybook page. As well, they are best matched with slideshows on the other page of a spread, so that they remain the focus of the interactivity. At the same time, viewers can see and compare locations in the 3D tour to the slideshow images, and get a real sense of space and scale for the house.
Try to avoid placing 3D tours on either cover of the storybook. The best place for a 3D tour to have maximum impact is near the start of the shorter storybooks (page #3 is a sweet spot) or towards the end of the longer ones (within the last 3 pages, almost as a recap).
3. Videos and Cinemagraphs
Adding videos and cinemagraphs to your storybook is a great way to bring the house to life. The movement from these creative pieces makes it easier for the buyer to picture what it would be like living in that house. There are several different video formats that can be included in storybooks.
These include drone shots of the house and surrounding neighbourhood areas, cinemagraphs of the house exterior with clouds passing overhead, kids playing in the backyard, house tour videos, or just short cinemagraphs of everyday moments around the house of people sitting down to share a meal together or enjoy a movie night.
These brief moving snapshots of life will make it much easier for the buyer to imagine life in the home you’re trying to sell, and it’s an easy way to increase the quality of storytelling your storybook offers.
Often one or two pictures won’t be able to properly present everything in a room. That’s why we recommend including slideshows with 3-4 images on the same page as the room in question. The additional images will allow the buyer to experience the room from multiple perspectives as well as highlight any unique features that may have otherwise been missed.
5. Creative Copy
When creating your storybook, it’s important that the text on the page directly relates to the surrounding images. It would be nonsensical to be talking about the kitchen when the surrounding images are that of a bedroom. Keeping everything that is related near each other makes it easier for the viewer, and will give them a greater understanding of the property you wish to sell. Being able to make connections through images and text at the same time is a simple concept, and in practice, it drives a ton of value.
Though it’s not entirely just about putting them in the same place. People can understand you’re talking about the bedroom when the pictures are of the bedroom and the text states it, but if all you’re doing is listing the room’s dimensions and floor material, the engagement will still be low. As said earlier, pure information and data are not exciting.
That’s why instead, you should use the text space to also paint a picture in the mind of the buyer by using more descriptive language and introducing them to potential scenarios that might often occur in a room. For example, if you’re writing about a dining room, describe eating with friends and family. This will prompt the buyer to directly imagine that scenario in their head, which evokes an emotional response and makes them more attached to the idea of the property you’re selling. Adding these simple types of scenarios across your storybook will increase engagement much more than numbers and graphs can.
6. Neighbourhood Highlights
It’s obvious that when selling a property, it’s important to show the property itself, but it’s also important to remember that the location of the home is very important to the buyer as well. No matter how good a house might look from the inside, if the buyer doesn’t know how great the surrounding neighbourhood is for their lifestyle, they might be less interested in your property. That’s why in your storybook you should make sure to have a section describing the local amenities of the neighbourhood, whether through pictures, maps or Street View. If the home is well designed for a family, include a local school in your storybook, or possibly some local parks. Make the neighbourhood feel inviting to the buyer, not just the house.
7. Your Expertise
It’s natural that when making listings it’s with the intention to sell a property, but the point of making these listings look good is for you to stand out. These homes will sell no matter what your listing looks like, but a good listing will make the buyer/seller remember the agent that made it and allow for more business opportunities later on.
The listing is more about selling you as an agent than it is about selling the property. You’ll be much more appealing to future clients if when looking you up, they see high-quality listings that make them think directly “Wow, this person really knows what they’re doing.”
It helps, even more, to make sure that the listings you create circulate around the media as much as they can. No matter how great your listing is, if nobody sees it, you won’t get any more business than usual. That’s why, once you’ve got a listing ready, blast it wherever you can. On your social media channels, email it, put it on the MLS listings etc. Make sure you give your listing as many chances as possible to garner attention.
Work with the mindset that an agent is just as good as their listing. Because it’s the best agents who get business, and those who get business have good listings that make it clear that they deserve the business they’re getting. So make use of the tips here and work towards even greater success!