7 Premium features to up your visual storytelling

From more customization options for creating and sharing new content to fewer restrictions when managing your existing content, this blog post covers some of the exclusive Premium features offered by StoryMaps.

Want to try it out yourself? Sign up for StoryMaps and your 1-month free trial of the Premium plan will start automatically.

Already have an account? Even better. Upgrade to Premium today for unlimited access to these amazing features.

If you already are subscribed to Premium, hooray! This post is exactly what you need to make the most of your StoryMaps Premium plan.

Now, let’s dive in.

1. Create unlimited content

Accounts with a Basic plan or the free trial are allowed to have at most 10 stories and 5 collections, published or not. This means that if you hit the max limit and still wish to create more, you’ll have to delete one or two old ones to continue your storytelling journey.

Rest assured that no such restriction will stop you from telling more stories if you have a Premium subscription. When you have the Premium plan, you can create as many stories and collections as you need.

As long as your account is active, there is no expiration date on any of the content you create with StoryMaps. Whenever you have a story to tell, StoryMaps is ready to host your content, provide you with all the top-notch storytelling tools, and assist in sharing your content with your selected audience.

2. Control access to your published content

Before you’re ready to share your story with everyone, you may want to publish it privately to review it as a reader or share its link with a couple of friends and get some feedback. Also, for some of the more private stories of yours, you may want to keep them unlisted.

We got you! You can choose one of these three visibility levels when you publish your content:

  • Just me: The story can only be viewed by yourself after you sign into your account
  • Anyone with link: The story can be viewed by anyone who has the link. It’s a pretty unique link, so you’ll probably need to share it in the first place. And it’s unlisted, so the story won’t be found in search engine results or on your StoryMaps profile page.
  • Everyone: The story is accessible to the public, can be found by search, and will be shown on your StoryMaps profile page as well.

Obviously, the first two options give you much more control over who can find and read your content. They are only available if you have a Premium plan or have some time left in your free trial.  

3. Enable web analytics for more insight

Despite the fact that StoryMaps keeps track of basic engagement metrics such as the number of views and likes, there’s much more you can do with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.

With a Premium plan, you can quickly enable analytics in story settings, so you can dive deeper into how your story performs and how readers are interacting with it.

4. Design a distinctive look and feel with custom themes

With the theme creator in StoryMaps, you can choose literally any color you like for the various components in your stories. You may also be surprised by the wide range of font choices StoryMaps has to offer. Moreover, there are different options for the look and feel of your buttons, links, separators, quotes, and even the default basemap.

Of course, we’ve prepared some good reading materials for you to help make your themes more visually appealing, including a step-by-step walkthrough of how themes work, some tips on how to pair your fonts, and a guide on how to ensure that your theme is accessible.

If your account is on the Basic plan, you can still choose from the five out-of-the-box themes that our team has put together. Unfortunately, you will miss out on the great opportunity to publish content with custom themes you’ve made with the powerful theme creator.

If you’ve been using StoryMaps for a while, you know that we’re continuously refining the tools and adding more exciting features. Same with the theme creator for sure! The StoryMaps team recently added a new “Premium theme” gallery section where you can apply some of the best themes created by others.

5. Keep all the brand elements personalized

Now that we’ve talked about the theme creator, let’s delve further into personalizing StoryMaps.

When stories are published from an account on the Basic plan, StoryMaps displays a footer which reads “Easily create stories just like this with StoryMaps” (a.k.a. the StoryMaps branding footer). Visually, it’s subtle, and who wouldn’t want to spread the word about this fantastic storytelling platform?

However, when a story is published from an account with a Premium subscription, we remove the StoryMaps branding footer for you. Nobody will see it anymore when reading your content, whether they’re signed-in or not. At the end of the day, it’s your story to tell, and we would love to make the experience as personalized as possible for you.

When it comes to StoryMaps personalization, another important feature is displaying your own logo. The logo will appear in the top left corner of a story’s header or above a collection’s title. You can also add a hyperlink to it that points to your own website! You can upload your logo from the design panel. You can also add it in a custom theme and apply that theme to as many items as you want. We’re talking about personalization, so it’s all up to you!

6. Bundle a lot more than just stories in your collections

Collections allow you to combine related items together for easier sharing. Whether it’s a bundle of all your travelogues from the year 2022, or a wedding album consisting of several chapters from getting ready to the send-off, collections help you create a curated experience for your readers and make it easy for them to access everything in one place.

What if you’ve created a few vlogs of your trips, or have a beautiful video of the wedding ceremony to share? With the Premium subscription, you can add not only your stories, but also any image, video, embed or PDF as individual items in a collection.

7. Enjoy the flexibility of advanced layout options

In StoryMaps, the only thing better than having all kinds of media and immersive blocks to tell a story is having a variety of layout options for each of them.

If you’re a Premium subscriber, you’ll enjoy more layout options, such as:

  • When you add a timeline to your story, you can go with the basic “Waterfall” layout or choose between “Single side” and “Condensed” layouts. For example, in the story about Southeast Asian Noodles, the author creatively uses the “Condensed” layout to display language translation in a side-by-side, easy-to-digest format.
  • After you create an image gallery, you can go ahead and change its layout from the basic “Dynamic squares” to “Jigsaw” or “Filmstrip”. While reading about European Spring, you may notice that you can navigate through the pictures in the galleries horizontally. The “Filmstrip” layout adds more fun to the reading experience.
  • If you are planning to create a map tour, in addition to a “Guided” tour, you can experiment with the “Explorer” option. “Explorer” layout presents an overview of all tour stops first, allowing readers to jump in and explore in whatever order they prefer.

That’s not all! There are even more Premium layout options available to help you create the perfect visual presentation for your stories and your collections.

We do hope that you have the chance to try StoryMap’s Premium features, regardless of whether you’ve upgraded your account or not. Therefore, if you are on a Basic plan, you can still play around with most of the Premium features. The only thing is – you will need to upgrade to the Premium plan before you can publish your content with any Premium features added.

This blog only introduces seven Premium features in StoryMaps, and there are loads more than that. For more details about the Premium experience, you can visit the StoryMaps Pricing page to see a side-by-side comparison of what’s available in the Basic and Premium plans. To get your questions answered around which plan is the right one for you, please check out our blog post on How to pick a StoryMaps plan. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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