Video Marketing for Small Business: Why Vs What-Based Stories

3 min read
Featured Image

Two key storytelling approaches in small business video marketing can elevate your strategy: why-focused and what-focused narratives.

Understanding these differences is crucial for your small business communications strategy, guiding when and how to use each method for maximum impact.

What-Based Stories in Video Marketing

A playlist of what-based video storytelling examples

A what story emphasizes sharing the facts, including the details of who, what, when, and where. This approach is similar to how televised news is communicated. These stories lead with the facts and focus on them, often informing an audience on a specific topic.

One company that excels at this is Vox Media. Their video marketing uses mixed media and is creative and visually appealing. Vox's stories are entertaining and educational, presenting information in a digestible manner.

When to use what stories?

It's best to use what-focused stories, such as explainers or process videos, when sharing information. Animated or live-action videos pair well with "what stories," where hard facts are the main storytelling approach.

Small Business Video Marketing Examples of What-based Stories

  • Explainer videos about your products or services.
  • Business process overviews.
  • Event recaps.
  • Topical educational explainers.

Why-Based Stories in Video Marketing

A playlist of why-based video storytelling examples

Why-based stories combine facts with compelling narratives that focus on a person, their desires, and their journey. Why-based excavates the surface, revealing emotion.

Rather than facts driving the narrative, the character's journey takes center stage. These stories are inherently emotional, resonating deeply due to their focus on human experiences, desires, and challenges.

The key to a successful why story in your small business video marketing strategy is a character with a strong motivation. This motivation is their reason for pursuing their desire or your business's existence.

When to use why stories?

When you want to connect with your audience on a deeper level, it's best to use why-based stories. Live-action works great with these stories because they're human-centered. The heart of the character is the storytelling approach here.

Small Business Video Marketing Examples of Why-based Stories:

  • Employee profiles.
  • Your nonprofit's origin or transformation story
  • Volunteer journey stories.
  • Impact stories show your values in action.

Conclusion: Tailoring Your Approach for Your Small Business

Are you aiming to boost sales or explain a complex product feature? Your goal will steer you towards a what or a why approach, with potential overlaps. Your desired outcome is the guiding star in choosing the right storytelling approach for your video marketing strategy.

In our experience, why-based stories often hold an edge in small business video marketing, especially when the goal is to move people to action. They do more than inform; they build empathy and inspire. When we touch people's hearts, we can move them to act.

Fact sharing isn't storytelling. 

Telling a story is sharing a significant emotional experience (S.E.E.). As Annette Simmons says, share your S.E.E. so that others see your perspective. Facts alone do not help people experience another person's perspective. Facts inform, but they don't connect.

Speaking of connecting, do you want to connect deeply with your audience? Learn how to create video stories that don't bore your viewers.


No Comments.

Leave a replyReply to


We're a storyfirst film and video production company, based in Minnesota, specializing in emotive stories that elevate empathy, community, and funding. 

Receive monthly storytelling tips in your inbox.