Creating The Ultimate Transmedia Story Experiences: 3 Key Principles

images-2 copyAre you a storyteller who wants to create transmedia experiences that attract huge audiences? Well, to do so requires that you understand more than just how to tell a story via multiple platforms. You also need to know how to craft a story experience that resonates with audiences and inspires them to move from one platform to another.

The transmedia impulse is a concept that Jenkins referred to when he introduced the idea of transmedia in 2006. The transmedia impulse is the key to understanding what motivates audiences toward engagement with stories across platforms. I believe in order to build out successful transmedia story experiences, we need to not only build storyworlds across platforms, but we need to consider the psychological motivating factors that get audiences to move with the story from platform to platform – the transmedia impluse. So what does it take to spark the transmedia impulse in audiences?

3 Key Principles to Sparking the Transmedia Impulse in Audiences

1) Relatable Storytelling – Humans have a fundamental draw toward stories as they help us to better understand others and ourselves. This gets back to what Joseph Campbell has been telling us for years – tap into the mythology of being human and you will “grab” the attention of a larger audience. This is why super hero stories continue to create massive followings, as they are the quintessential hero’s journey. The more your story and your characters capture identification in your audience, they more likely your audience will want more and travel across platforms towards your story.


Harry Potter fan art

2) Story Community – Once you’ve inspired your audience with a relatable story, create a community where audiences can share their story identification with each other. Humans have a fundamental need to be validated and belong. Once audiences identify with a storyworld, they want to meet with other fans that can validate their experience of story identification. So create story experiences that get your audiences to interact, share and build community around your storyworld.


Harry Potter fan art

3) Transport Audiences Away into Story – If you can transport audiences away – they lose track of time and who they are, they get into the “flow” – their overall love of your story increases. The more your story transports people, the more likely they will be to want more when it ends. Thus igniting the transmedia impulse to move towards more story consumption.

If you are a transmedia storyteller, remembering your audience as you craft your story experience is crucial. Being a good storyteller is only the first part of a successful transmedia property, you also need to understand what ignites the transmedia impulse in the hearts and minds of your audience so they will be moved to continue to seek your storyworld across platforms.

Article Resources:

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin 117(3), 497-529.

Bruner, J. (2004). Life as narrative. Social Research, 71(3: Fall), 691-710.

Campbell, J. (1949). The hero with a thousand faces. Novato, California: New World Library.

Green, M. C., Brock, T. C., & Kaufman, G. F. (2004). Understanding media enjoyment: The role of transportation into narrative worlds. Communication Theory, 4(November), 311-327.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.