4 ways to enhance writing with multimedia

The 1919 Marquette University School of Journalism, the pre-multimedia era

I remember the days when cut and paste actually meant physically cutting and pasting. In my high school graphic arts class, we cut out words with a knife and glued them on a paper sheet to print on a printing press after a painstakingly slow process that included developing a negative in a smelly, chemical-laden darkroom.

Today, if I want to cut and paste something I hit Command-X Command-V and then hit a digital button that says “Publish.”

The ease of digital publishing leaves a lot of free time to work on other aspects of production, like designing multimedia. New digital storytelling techniques like video, GIFs, and audio don’t replace writing, but can complement it and help tell your story.

There’s an old saying that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. In other words, for some subjects there’s only so much you can explain with words alone.

But with digital multimedia storytelling, you don’t have to dance about architecture. You can show it.

In order to enhance your writing with these new digital tools, here are 4 ways to turn your writing into multimedia storytelling.

1) Add sound

Bumpers, SoundCloud and Anchor make it quick and easy to to record and upload an audio clip on your phone, and then embed the file in Medium by pasting the link. This can share relevant details like the sound of a voice or of ambient sounds like a crowd at a stadium after a winning shot.

2) Embed a GIF

The GIPHY cam app lets you turn your surroundings into looping scenes (RIP Vine) on your phone, or create your own GIFs out of photos and videos here. GIFs can be helpful for sports highlights or tutorial videos like cooking.

3) Share a 360 degree photo

Photo via Facebook Design

If there’s a wide-angle spectacular scene like a sunset, you don’t have to just post a rectacle photo. You can post a 360-degree photo.

4) Create augmented reality

The emerging technology of augmented reality (AR) allows you to point a camera at a scene, and insert a 3D photo or video of a personal, animal or thing. This can personalize a scene and make it feel more dynamic.

These are just a few methods, and if history has taught us anything there will continually be more multimedia storytelling tools in the future. What tool is your favorite right now? Why?

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