You’ve probably seen many explainer videos. Maybe even in the last week. In the world of product videos, they’re turned(?) to whenever the need comes to explain a product, a new startup, a software platform, or well, just about anything that needs explaining.
When it comes to getting vital information across to your audience, videos are the preferred form of content for the majority of people online. Likewise, 61% of those viewers intentionally seek video content that is informative and educational.
For marketers and content creators alike, the avenue of explainer videos seems a promising one to follow. But where does one start? And what if my company and product don’t seem ‘interesting’ enough for a cool explainer video?
Falling anywhere between 30 and 90 seconds in length, explainer videos thrive from their simplicity and accessibility. Basically, the goal is to introduce your topic, inform the viewer on the essentials, and point them in the direction of further information. While it may sound easy, making an effective explainer video requires a nuanced approach. So, here’s a few basic steps on how to make an explainer video that actually works:
Start with the Big Questions
Spoiler alert: every great video starts with a brainstorming session. The crux of the session is gathering fresh perspectives. With explainer videos, it’s important to make sure you have an understanding of all the different people who may be seeking out your video. You want to answer the most general questions while also providing enough hard-hitting details to make an impact.
Before you start outlining your script you want to keep in mind: Who is your intended audience? What makes them excited? How much do they currently know about your topic? What is the most important detail you want them to walk away with? What action do you want them to take with your information provided? –Once you have a sense of what your audience is looking for, you’re ready to start outlining your story.
Know What Story You Are Telling
Every video tells a story, and explainer videos are most certainly reliant on a narrative to have a powerful impact on its viewers.
Remember in middle school when you learn the basic shape of a narrative plot: with an introduction, rising action, climax, falling and resolution? Well, explainer videos take a similar form. Central to the shape of an explainer script are the problem, the solution, and the explanation, all sandwiched between an amazing attention grabber and a memorable call-to-action.
In an explainer video, you want the story to be relatable. So when approaching the script, have a clear idea of the perspective that your story will be targeted to.
The most effective explainer videos are the ones that carry the viewer somewhere new, in one smooth motion. When heading into the scripting phase, be mindful of who this viewer is and what information they need to know before they’re comfortable taking the next action step.
Nailing The Script
Cute, fun, and flashy animations can really sell an explainer video. However, it’s the script that lays the scaffolding for the rest of the video to take shape. Given that we’re looking at a video no longer than 90-seconds; the odds are the final script is going to come in at 200 words of less. That’s why every word matters when scripting an explainer video. Making sure your script written well is key to your audience’s reaction.
Be Professional, But Relatable
Oftentimes, companies get a little too carried away when making an explainer video. They treat it like a full-on sales pitch: with industry-specific jargon and all. Cramming your script full of sales-y language is a sure fire way to alienate audiences and lose track of your goal, which is to educate and drive action! Look over your language, and make sure your script is clear of redundancies and to the point.
Don’t Get Too Technical
When scripting an explainer video, it’s important to remember that you’re describing function, and not form. If anyone is overtaken with curiosity, they’ll click on further links to gather more information. For the sake of an explainer video, keep it rudimentary.
For example, if you’re making an explainer about an iPhone, you can mention the processor and how it improves your phone’s speed, but you don’t need to get into the make and model of the chip that it uses. Explainers don’t need to get into specs, that’s why spec videos exist.
It’s Time for the Flashy Stuff
Once you’ve got your script and story down pat, you’re ready to begin work on the fun stuff: music and animations.
Animated Explainer Videos
Thanks to the influx of animation software, creating an animated explainer is easier and more affordable than ever. Be careful though, since you still want your animations to match your video’s tone. When you’re looking for animators, take a look at their portfolio of work and see if it’s a good fit with your brand’s identity.
Music for Explainer Videos
As with animations, you want to make sure the tone of the music fits with what it is that you’re explaining. The most important thing for music in explainer videos to not distract. While upbeat music is great, words, or constant pattern changes can interfere with the flow of your story. It’s best to keep it cool and simple.
Sites like Premium Beat, HookSounds, and many others offer endless selections of royalty free music that hits on any mood or atmosphere that you’re looking for.
Getting Eyes on Your Explainer Videos
Congrats! Your explainer video is complete. It’s got a friendly and concise script, a swift storyline, and a call to action that is bound to drive click-throughs to your other web pages. But how do you make sure all your effort doesn’t go to waste, and people actually see your video?
“When scripting an explainer video, it’s important to remember that you’re describing function, and not form.”
Social Media Repurposing
Everyone’s on social media. And once you know how to find your target audience via sites like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, you’re a step closer to getting all the right eyes on your video. Social media cuts of 15, 30, and 60-seconds are other great ways to get more value out of your videos by leading viewers to seek out the full-length content.
Video Hosts Galore
If you thought YouTube was the only video host worth investing time in, think again. Specialty sites such as Wistia, Vimeo, SproutVideo, Uscreen, and others are taking YouTube’s services to new levels, specializing in online video sales, branded content, and in-depth video analytics. Finding the right video host for your audience can go a long way in maximizing the ROI of your explainer video.
Integrating Your Video On Your Website
At last, there’s always your website. It doesn’t seem like it needs mentioning, but you’d be surprised how many companies don’t think to display their video content directly on their website. But, considering that your website is where you’re bound to be conducting most of online business, it’s the best place for potential leads to be. Having a beautiful, accessible explainer video on your homepage or landing page is a great way to welcome visitors and invite them to explore your site more in depth.
All in all, explainer videos are wildly simple and effective ways to open your doors up to prospective clients. Their short and sweet nature are a great use of the ‘soft sell’, and their click-ability makes them poised to rack up big engagement numbers when done right!