Storytelling the Lent Festival

Why and how we helped the biggest Slovenian Festival connect with their online audience. Through stories. How else. 

At Edgar we would skip an almost perfect Chai Latte for a chance to get a good story. And when Marko Brumen, one of the producers of the biggest Slovenian Music & Arts festival, invited us to collaborate with them, we smelled stories. And we were in. Of course.

Even though we’re focusing all our efforts in building our Marketplace for stories, we decided to lend the guys at the Lent Festival our help. Especially in capturing the conversations and interactions happening during the 2 intense weeks in Maribor, Slovenia. With more than 50 stages it was impossible to catch all the interesting moments. But each year there’s more people documenting with their cameras and mobiles, posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Though the organisers were super busy, and they didn’t want to have only one person monitoring the social media and collaborating with the visitors. Therefore a lot of potential conversations faded away before they even begun.

StoryFeed — collaborative real-time storytelling

A perfect opportunity to showcase our newest storytelling tool, the StoryFeed. The tool is a complement to our existing tools and services and is meant for small brands to leverage online activity of their existing customers and users. And here’s what we did for the Festival guys.

Live feed for 20 days

The StoryFeed is a self-served tool to visualize the content aggregated from various streams. At the moment we support Edgar, Twitter and Instagram. Which proved to be just the right combination for the festival. The challenge with StoryFeed alternatives is that you pay a premium fee for the live feed, that is if you want the content to appear real-time. We’re talking from 250$/day for a live feed plus a fixed one-time fee. That’s why those feeds are usually good for short-time events and not for festivals.

As Edgar is primarily aimed at makers, crafters and small brands to monitor engagement across longer timespans, we had no issues with the festival spanning over 20 days. The feed was live and we’re proud we had zero downtime.

Another challenge we successfully addressed is the complexity of the content. Meaning, the feed was populated with content from various hashtags.

(Partly) Curated experience

Similarly to our friends at Postano or Chute we enable multiple administrator accounts who can moderate and curate the feed. Because we love our users, all the curation happens straight from the live feed itself. All wysiwyg style. Easy peasy. Like proper control freaks the admins can block certain users, posts or hashtags. They can “Pin to top” their favourite content or choose their “Editor’s pick.” Of course they can also add their own brand colours and the logo. Or even create a custom header image. Edgar is all about visuals and looking good wherever you put it.

We also enable administrators to emphasize and splash certain posts that then appear bigger than the rest. And this is something users miss with the StoryFeed alternatives. Thus it makes us really proud.

Multiple display options. To rule them all.

Festivals are lively and hectic events. People buzzing up and down. People on their mobiles checking the program, on the web searching for their pretty faces in the press photos and checking for their tweet to appear on the big screen during the firework. There’s no one screen, but a cross-channel experience with multiple touch points.

It’s complicated but this is why we love it. Because this is how true transmedia storytelling is made. Our StoryFeed works not seamless but seam-full across different channels. During the Lent Festival there were several StoryFeed widgets: on the official home page, the whole feed on a sub-page and a full screen feed ready for the big screens. The best thing about it? No extra effort needed. The organizers got different URLs for different display options. Almost magical.

Challenge & Engage the Community

Everybody likes being challenged, right? Right. If the challenge is right, people respond to it, often for fame and glory, not so much for award. That’s why we created a “challenges” space in our StoryFeed, where the festival organisers addressed the visitors to share their stories.

People could post the usual suspects: their Instagram and Twitter moments by using the official hashtag (#festivallent). But we also introduce a way to tell more profound stories, by using the Edgar StoryCrafter tool. People could still use their existing social media content, but weave it into meaningful short stories. At the end of the day, what is an Instagram photo stripped out of the context compared to a story built around that one photo? Right.

Mobile reporters

Our team also lend some of our own storytellers to run around the festival and catch some of the more interesting stories. They crafted them with Edgar and posted them in the beautifully crafted feed. A little push is always welcome. And that’s where experienced people come in.

The results are in

So, the festival organizers did their number counting. And we did ours. Here’s the statistics in an Edgar story. And here’s them numbers.

More important than the numbers are the satisfied organizers. Even more so the excited visitors who found their stories in the StoryFeed. With the help of the StoryFeed, not a single moment, not a single conversation was lost in the big white space called the Internet. Organizers got an overview and a dashboard to spot key content and reward most engaged users, while the community got a visual recap of each day and the whole festival.

Lessons learned for Edgar

A story well done. And a story that gave us some great insight. For the first time we tested the full capacity of the StoryFeed tool that was designed out of the need of our existing users and clients. Lent Festival was just the right scale for us to test the tool.

Already during the festival we implemented some minor changes, such as custom content aggregation. For example, the organizers needed to pull content connected with the performing band. But the content was relevant only a day before and a day after the concert. We also did some minor fixes, mainly on the visualization side.

Another important thing for us was the ability to deploy our own storytellers and to validate some important hypothesis regarding the Marketplace for stories. We’ve seen what is the demand on the organizer side, while getting some crucial insight about the content production process. We engaged our remote storytellers as well, to see if and how they could help out. There were some individuals that especially stood out, like Syndi who will for sure remain in our storytellers network.

The “experiment” also taught us some hard truths. Guess what, delivering the service is way more demanding than the product. Obvious, I know, but still. It is a challenge to secure a high level of quality while also being up to speed. Yet on the other hand this is the key promise of our Marketplace model. A promise we keep, even if it means to get personally involved. Something we love doing but is harder to scale and therefore needs much more attention from the core team.

But as our dear friend Stefan from Stepsss says: Hard does not mean impossible. And we’re 190% sure Edgar will succeed in no time. And it is with the tools like the StoryFeed that we can deliver that extra punch that wins people over. As it is because you go that extra mile for every single customer, that people love you. Love of course comes in many forms. One of them being them paying the fees. But the rest are equally important if you want your story to be more powerful than the ones from J.K Rowling.

And if you still think stories are for children only… Get in touch with me and you’ll get some Edgar storytellers flying your way. Asap.

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