Media Guru Sees Bigger Role for Digital Storytelling

For Liz Giorgi, pictures tell a story-and in a pandemic-impacted society, the need for connections through digital storytelling is becoming more important.

Giorgi is an Emmy award-winning media entrepreneur who has founded two successful digital marketing and content companies, and she will bring that expertise to bear as a featured speaker at the 4Front Conference June 15–16, 2021, in Denver, Colorado. In a recent 4Front podcast, she talked about her views on content creation and the need for humans to tell stories.

Her own story is one of evolution. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Giorgi dove into a successful career in media production and strategy before deciding to strike out on her own, with a focus on content geared for smaller screens. She founded , a production company that specializes in Internet video advertising. But after 5 years, she found herself looking for the next wave of change, and with business partner Hayley Anderson she hit upon the idea of “fast casual” content production. After 18 months of software development, Giorgi and Anderson launched soona, a company that offers businesses a quick and affordable way to develop images and videos to better tell their story to potential customers.

Such stories are becoming more sophisticated, spurred in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Giorgi points to a trend toward longer-format content such as podcasts and video features, as consumers confined to the home look online for entertainment and information.

“We’re finding that the folks who are investing in 8-minute, 9-minute, 11-minute pieces of content are seeing a much higher lift in contrast to those who are doing just the traditional 30- and 60-second pieces of content,” Giorgi says.

In fact, a recent Pew Research Center found that the average YouTube video has expanded to about 12 minutes. The research also noted that for users who spend more time browsing content, YouTube’s video recommendations algorithm tends to suggest increasingly longer videos, lengthening on average about 5 minutes during a typical viewing session. Moreover, the study found that about 73 percent of U.S. adults say they use YouTube, and about 81 percent of YouTube users watch videos suggested by the platform’s recommendation algorithm.

Giorgi attributes this longer-format video trend to Internet information overload and the fact that browser algorithms are getting better at serving up content that will interest online viewers. So when choosing from a greatly expanded list of suggested content, “you are even more committed to it,” she says. “There’s a psychological commitment that you make.”

But at the same time, there’s even more of a need for the content to tell the story in a way that makes the production process disappear.

“When you’re sitting in a movie theater watching an incredible, magical story about a faraway land, there isn’t any friction for you,” she says. “You aren’t thinking, ‘Oh, I wonder what visual effects they used,’ or ‘I wonder if that was on a green screen or they used a different technology.’ You’re immersed, and it feels easy-and that’s what’s so magical.”

Originally published at on October 8, 2020.



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