The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Writing Explainer Video Scripts
Internet marketing has been revolutionized by video.
It is now official that video is the ruler of internet marketing. Although text certainly has its place, video is the king of content.
Check out the below statistics.
- According to both Alexa and SimilarWeb, YouTube is the second most popular website globally after Google.
- 59% of senior executives said that they preferred video to text.
- Almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.
- Video traffic is estimated by Cisco to account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022.
With such records, you would be at a loss if you ignored the power of videos.
There are many types of videos used to pass information. In this article, we will look at one of the more common ones: the explainer video.
Explainer videos are used by brands to help customers or prospects understand what those businesses do. They can also be used to explain an aspect of the business, or a product which is somehow difficult to understand.
Simply put, they are a great way of educating people about your business.
From education institutions and not-for profit organizations to large corporations, explainer videos are being widely used.
But what’s really the big deal about them anyway?
WHY EXPLAINER VIDEOS WORK
First of all, all video content works. And just for clarity purposes, “work” here means generating leads and helping to make conversions.
If all videos work, then why all the hype about explainer videos in particular?
Below are some reasons to help you understand the situation.
They are fun to create.
When you talk to artists, graphic designers and video producers, they will tell you that one of the most important things in their jobs is creativity. And being creative is fun.
Rarely will you get tired or bored while being creative.
When you have a product to describe and are free to use simple language to pass the message, that is fun. You get to speak the natural language with no need for technical information.
Much of the fun is on the creation of characters and how to illustrate the story being told.
The copy to be used can either come from the client or be written by the producers. This happens after they have understood the goals of the video. This is the way one of the top video producers does it.
They are fun to watch.
Going by the number of explainer videos out there, it would be safe to assume that you have watched at least a few. When you did, what went through your mind especially when you watched the first one?
Explainer videos have a way of reminding you of the good old days of simple yet funny cartoons.
Today, cartoons look and feel very different due to all the technological advancement.
With more computing power and sophisticated graphic design software, more life-like cartoons are being created.
This is however not a bad thing at all since there are 3D explainer videos which serve their purpose well. They actually rank very highly with big companies since they are very engaging.
They also give a realistic, almost life-like feel to the created characters.
When you are looking for information and you get an explainer video, you can be sure of enjoying it.
One thing that explainer videos do very well is entertain, even as they help you understand what a product does.
Generate more conversions.
While videos generally attract more traffic to websites, explainer videos are proving to do it in a seemingly special way. Or bigger way. The sheer interest in them plays a big role in this.
It all comes down to the quality and effectiveness of these videos.
Since these videos are produced as high quality visuals, they do the job they are supposed to very well.
One sure way to experience such benefits is to include video in your landing page. The page that receives the traffic from your ads can really be a good place to start.
Whether you are asking your site visitors to subscribe, order, register etc, you will experience better results with video.
The simplicity of the message and entertaining aspect of it combine to form a powerful tool ready to help your business grow.
If these videos are fun to watch and easily get clicked on, then they already have a place reserved for them in the minds of many.
Psychologically speaking, the expectation to enjoy a video creates an excitement and the mind is assured that it’s going to have a good experience. This is similar to what happens when people sign up to watch comedians.
They buy tickets knowing for sure that they are going to enjoy the show. As such, it just happens that there is excitement building up even before the comedian shows up on stage. This makes the job of the comedian easier.
It is a similar case with these videos. Since they have already created a good name for themselves, it becomes easier to attract new fans. More and more people will be drawn towards them.
But how do they become more memorable?
Assuming you have created an unquestionably helpful video, the mind first registers excitement in anticipation to watching it.
Once the video is on, entertainment and learning starts happening.
After the video is over, the mind is happy and informed.
Because learning in a fun environment ensures retention. This has been proven by studies. And if you want personal evidence, just go back to the days of practical learning in school.
Theoretic learning in class was quite boring. But anything learned by experimenting in the lab easily stuck in memory.
The environment always impacts learning and retention. Therefore, an expectation to enjoy and be informed makes it easy to remember the information passed.
Easy to share.
It is the hope of the marketing team that whatever content they release will be shared. Especially on social media where it can go viral.
But just what determines the level of sharing?
Among many other reasons, there are two things which make content shareable.
The first is that it has to be practically helpful. The second is that it has to be funny. Or at least entertaining in some way.
If you were to keenly check the kind of advertising videos being released of late, you will notice a trend. These videos are not necessarily showcasing the brand all over the video. They are just telling a story.
These stories are what make the videos acceptable and shareable. The videos themselves are, in all honesty, not very helpful in terms of providing information about the product or brand.
This is because marketing is an emotional affair.
Well, explainer videos also touch on emotions but then they are a bit different. And the difference is so clear that it’s shown in their name—explainer video.
These videos are truly helpful. They offer explanations as to why a product is better or can do what you expect it to do. It is not just about showing you how you can have a good experience.
Consider, for example, the whiteboard animation explainer video.
You basically have characters being drawn in front of your eyes. The characters, as narrated by the voice, are doing something you can identify with.
You see the character struggling with the same challenge you do then he suddenly gets a solution to help him out of the situation.
This approach will lead you to fully understand the solution being presented.
And seeing the helpful nature of the video, you will naturally want to share with your friends and connections.
HOW TO WRITE EXPLAINER VIDEO SCRIPTS
For any marketer, these are not benefits which can be ignored.
You certainly understand that these will automatically lead to the one thing you are after—increased conversions.
But then, how do you go about creating them? How do you develop the concept and come up with a winning masterpiece?
The goal of this article is to help you be able to utilize this trend for your brand.
In case you are someone who desires to get into the business of making explainer videos for clients, then you will also benefit from this article.
We have broken the whole process into a simple step by step procedure.
Know Your Audience
This is really the first step in everything. As long as you are looking to communicate something, you definitely have to know who you are talking to. This helps you craft your message accordingly.
In seeking to know your audience, you have to understand their lifestyles.
Know what they like, dislike, prefer, what kind of options they generally look for etc. You have to know what makes them choose what they choose and why they reject other options.
Unless you are in the same category as the people you are trying to reach, you will have to do some research at this stage.
Having this knowledge will go a long way in making your script powerful.
Remember that it is the script that determines the illustrations and ultimately, the whole story.
It is then this story that determines the success of the video.
Know Your Product
This is another critical part of the script writing project. If you are the marketer writing your own scripts, then this might be easier.
You will simply use the knowledge available from your colleagues who developed the product.
If you are a script writer intending to write for these videos, then you should be a researcher. Whether naturally gifted or self-trained, you need to know how to get information.
When discussing with the client about the product you are to write a script for, ensure you have as much information as possible. Always be attentive and ask questions when communicating.
In some cases, your clients will be very general with what they tell you. You will however need to go deeper than the general. Keep in mind that you are supposed to differentiate this product from the competitor’s.
Also consider the fact that the people you will be communicating with are possible users of the competitor’s product.
It is therefore necessary to know the points which you will emphasize.
Define the Problem
You are offering a solution. Meaning that there is a problem.
In many cases, the viewers know that there is a problem but they haven’t actively identified it.
What usually happens is that you are a user of a certain product. That product may not be perfect but you have chosen it over others for a particular reason.
In your mind, you are convinced that you got the best deal. All the same, this best deal still falls short. But because it is the best deal at the moment, you tend to overlook the shortcomings.
Therefore, as much as the product isn’t satisfying all your needs, and is probably inconveniencing you, you hardly actively think about it.
This is the situation you need to understand as the scriptwriter.
You have to know why people are using the solutions they are using. With that knowledge, then you are able to show how that apparent solution is actually not a solution at all.
You should show how the current solution is actually creating another problem which no-one is really recognizing.
The trick here is to paint a picture of how serious the situation is.
In defining the problem, it is important that you touch on emotions. Emotions are, and will always remain to be, the triggers behind decisions.
So get to those emotions.
Show how much pain is caused by using what viewers are using.
Defining the problem will not do it by itself. You have to capture the wider picture. People will normally want to know that they are indeed in a bad situation.
Statistics will help you achieve this. All the stats you use must paint a negative picture.
Let’s say you are writing about a safer car. You will be better of giving stats about accidents.
For example, you can tell the viewers that 250 people have died in road accidents in the past 6 months alone. This was caused by brake failures happening at least once per month in 8 out of 10 vehicles.
Notice the mention of people being victims and the cause of it.
For you to be successful with the use of stats, you have to show how they affect human life.
Remember that people generally want to live better lives and anything which interferes with that is frowned upon.
This stage is meant to strengthen your case to make the problem you defined be seen as a real possibility which could happen to anyone.
Use Positive Language
This is where your story starts turning towards being a copy.
Always keep in mind that you are presenting a solution. As such, you have to show the viewers that despite the problem being experienced, there is hope. This hope is what you are bringing to them.
Having built up their emotions towards the avoidance of pain and dissatisfaction, you should now start soothing that pain. Speak positively and show them that you have done some homework to bring them the best solution.
Do not fail to mention some of the efforts made to come up with the solution. At this point, you are subtly endearing them to your product without directly pitching.
Use Illustratable Words
As you write, choose your words wisely. Every word you write will be used to come up with an image.
Your script is what helps the video creators show the story as it is being read. It is therefore essential that they be able to come up with the appropriate graphics.
Although any skilled and creative designer can illustrate almost anything, making it difficult will only increase the cost of the project. Moreover, the message may become complicated.
Even worse, the words being read may not coincide very well with the graphics. These will only cost you more and make success difficult to achieve.
When writing your own script, it is advisable to stay open-minded during its discussion. If you are the scriptwriter as well as video creator, engage your client and advise on what would be best.
Mention the Competition
As you build towards the climax of the video, do not be ignorant of the competition.
Doing so will only make you sound like the traditional salesperson who seems oblivious to the fact that his product isn’t the only one in the market.
Your viewers are well aware of the options available.
Apart from mentioning the competition, try to give some information you are sure not many people know.
Take note not to badmouth your competitors.
Do not make accusations or seek to tarnish their name. You are not on a smear campaign. You are just showing the lack of ingenuity on their side while showing how customer-focused you are.
This is to make the viewer doubt his current choice.
Show the Uniqueness of Your Solution
After that, bring in your hero product and show how it works better than all others. Mention that it is a product in the same category (e.g. a car) but different with unique features.
From your knowledge of the product, pick at least three features lacking in the products currently in the market.
Touching on emotions, show how those features will make the life of users more comfortable. Watch the below video to learn how to touch on emotions and successfully sell anything. And by the way, the video is a type of explainer video.
If the product is a productivity tool, show how it will help create more time for family and friends. Show how it will lead to less stress and enough rest time.
Using our initial example of a car, mention features which make the car more safe. Paint a picture of a family traveling in the car safely to a picnic site and back home.
You can also mention the strength of the engine and show the car helping pull a friend’s car out of the mud.
Whichever way you communicate the features, keep it within the context of human benefits.
Imply Freedom to Choose
Coming towards the close of your copy, make it clear that you are providing a choice. Don’t let the script sound as though you are pushing people to choose you.
If the whole project is a good job, they will definitely buy.
Come up with a way of communicating freedom while at the same time subtly directing them to choose your product.
This is a balance you have to create.
As you give them the opportunity to make a choice, you are also directing them towards the best choice. In the minds of those you are pitching, they have been on a journey with you as the guide.
As such, they have already trusted you to direct them in the right path. So coming to this fork in the road, as much as they are the ones to decide, they will likely consider choosing you.
Make It Short
Explainer videos are often short. In most cases, they will rarely be more than 6 minutes. However, the length of your video depends on many factors.
Although there is data indicating that short (2 minutes) is better, context matters a lot. It also matters who is watching and the purpose of the video.
For instance, can you imagine a 2-minute video about an engineering concept?
Unless you are an engineer with an understanding of the basics, that won’t work.
Taking all things into perspective, ensure you provide relevant information. But just to ensure you maintain people’s engagement, you can stay within 5 minutes.
In this duration, you should have achieved maximum engagement and convinced everyone watching that your product is the best.
Since you are writing a script, it would only be practical for us to advice on the number of words.
On average, people speak 135 words per minute. Therefore, a 2-minute script would be around 270 words. Keep in mind that it also matters who will be reading it.
Different people read at different paces.
It also depends on the kind of story being told as the tone to be used will differ.
Since the story is narrated, you also need to factor in pauses between the sentences and paragraphs.
The story must sound natural just as though someone was talking to the viewers.
After writing, it will be wise to practically track the length by reading it with a timer running to establish the length.
To check whether your speed is okay, read it to a colleague or a friend. Ensure you explain to them what you are testing for so they can be helpful with their response.
Once the script is delivered to the video creators, editing may still be needed. That means your availability is still crucial.
You are now well equipped to write explainer video scripts and nothing should hold you back.
You can also write some sample scripts for practice so as to build your confidence before the main job.
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