Transmedia storytelling is one of the widest used forms of storytelling today; from movies to drink companies, it is one of the most effective ways to garner longterm fan interest. The concept is simple: different parts of a story or story world are revealed across several different media platforms, such as videos, articles, movies, books, and blogs; in addition, fans are encouraged to participate. With this method of marketing steadily gaining speed, here’s 5 things you should know about transmedia storytelling:

1. User participation is key. Fans want to be able to participate in the story worlds that transmedia storytelling creates, whether it means influencing the future outcome, inspiring viral videos, playing interactive games, or having direct control over what happens next. From user participation in everything from entertainment franchises like Star Wars to corporate commercials such as Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” it’s clear that consumers are eager to be engaged with content.

2. It’s not linear. When you engage in transmedia storytelling, you have to let go of some of your conceptions about how storytelling, whether in marketing or in fiction, works. Transmedia storytelling is more serial than linear.

3. It’s immersive. While transmedia storytelling will of course be ineffective if you don’t have a good story to tell, one of the biggest ways to connect with consumers is through how immersive it is. Building an intricate, believable world to explore is key; you should have a large number of characters, stories, and places.

4. It needs to keep up with technology. Like all marketing, transmedia storytelling must continually adjust to new technological trends. For example, mobile consumption of content grows ever more common, and companies must seek to reach their mobile audience just as much as desktop audiences. Similarly, you should be on the lookout for new trends in social media websites.

5. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Yes, doing things like designing an online game can be costly, but transmedia storytelling doesn’t have to be pricey; there are many free or cheap tools, such as Twitter, that you shouldn’t hesitate to use.

With these 5 things you should know about transmedia storytelling, you have a good basis for what users are looking for, as well as the tools that are available to perform this type of marketing. While the details must be tailored to each individual’s campaign’s needs, some things hold true across all campaigns.