An explainer video is a fantastic communication tool with the power to tell a convincing story in a very short span of time. While amazing visuals and beautiful animation immediately jump to mind, the true foundation of an awesome explainer video is a well-written, engaging script. The power of high speed connectivity and proliferation of smart phones have granted easy mobility to video. Unfortunately, this also means that a badly made video can turn customers away from your brand. And it all starts with the script. So here are some key points to keep in mind for creating a strong, engaging script for an explainer video.
As with any endeavour, it is important to plan out the scripting process. We start out with answering a few questions that can serve as a creative brief for the script. Consider these questions: What is your elevator pitch? Who is your target audience? What problem are you solving? What are the benefits you would like to highlight? How does your product or service work? What tone would you like the video to have? What is your call to action?
Focus on your audience
It is imperative to engage the audience with what they care about. Instead of trying to tell them something they already know or attempting to sell something, it is better to make your audience understand how you can help them. This will not only help build trust but also aid them in the decision making process. Finally, make it a point to talk directly to your audience instead of talking down to them or over their heads.
Less is more
The ideal duration of an explainer video should be somewhere between 60 seconds to 120 seconds. If your video goes above the upper limit, it will very likely lead to loss of interest. According to research, a significant percentage of viewers abandon videos that go beyond 120 seconds. So the idea is to write a script that provides sufficient time to explain your product or service but isn’t so long that your viewer isn’t able to sit through the entire video.
Simplicity works best
Along with keeping the script short, it is also essential to keep it simple. The idea of an explainer video is not to cover everything about your company, product or service. Instead, focus on the important things that you must include in the video. Keep the writing simple as well; avoid complicated words, try and write the way we speak, steer clear of long sentences. A simple script also greatly enhances the animation quality.
Pace the content
A typical explainer video takes about 120 to 130 words a minute for voiceover. Now you may be able to rattle off 200 words a minute, but it won’t do you any good if your audience doesn’t understand anything. Worse still, the animation will be so quick that it will leave the viewer disappointed. So whenever there is dialogue, keep track of the word count to ensure a comfortable pace for the speakers and a proper flow for the animation.
When creating a script, keep in mind that the ultimate output is going to be audio-visual. It therefore makes sense to map out your ideas using various visual tools as you write the script. One of the golden rules of writing is ‘show, don’t tell’. In case of an explainer video, it is literally true since the script has to be converted into a video. So think visually to save on word count and explain concepts in a more lucid manner.
Tell a story
While the role of an explainer video is to present a problem, introduce a solution and drive viewers to action, companies can use the power of stories to engage viewers better rather than going with a boring data and definition driven experience. Although your video will typically be a problem-solution or process walkthrough, it will be much more enjoyable if you weave an interesting story through the narrative.
One of the key elements that define the success of any video is whether it can elicit an emotional response from the viewer. You may want to make them laugh or have them shed tears, inspire them or enrage them; the important thing is to form an emotional connect with your audience. If the explainer video lacks an emotional quotient, the experience will be an utterly forgettable one for the viewers.
Talk about benefits
When it comes to explainer videos, companies are usually excited about showing off as many features of their product or service as possible. This is one of the biggest mistakes. Customers are not interested in features. They want to know how the product is going to make their lives easier or better. So it is critically important that you cover the benefits you offer while also keeping in mind you need to focus on only a few key ones.
It’s always important to add that little extra something to your explainer video to make it different and help it stand out. It could be a dash of humour or a surprise or something crazy. Whatever it is, it should grab your viewer’s attention and help them form a bond with your brand. However, please keep in mind that whatever you decide to incorporate, it should fit seamlessly into your script and should not be misplaced or poorly timed.
Clear call to action
It is not sufficient for your explainer video to only simplify a concept or offer a solution. There must be a call to action at the end. Otherwise, your explainer video cannot meet its communication objective. Ultimately, the purpose of an explainer video is to drive the viewer to a specific action such as downloading an e-book, sharing on social media, making a purchase etc. Do make sure your call to action is clear and direct.
Here is a simple format you can use to write your next script:
Each row ideally corresponds to one shot.
In the second column marked as Voice over, you enter the text that will be spoken by the voiceover artist(s).
In the third column marked as On-screen Text, you enter the text that will appear on the screen for the corresponding shot.
In the fourth column marked as Action, you enter the action that will occur for the corresponding shot.
If you follow these simple tips, you will be able to write amazing scripts for explainer videos in no time!