We have no shortage of reports and metrics showing that video content dominates in terms of appeal, so it should come as no surprise that so many brands continue to use explainer videos as vital pieces in their strategies.
However, as versatile and effective as the explainer formula can be, sometimes it’s easy to forget that it is only so when your video stems from a flawless script!
This way, you can rest assured that the next explainer your company works on will deliver on your expectations and more!
Identify Your Story Type
Storytelling is integral to the explainer formula. So, if you want to convey your message effectively, you first need to identify what kind of story it is to then select the appropriate narrative elements to go with it.
More often than not, your explainer video’s story will fall into one of the following two categories: problem-solution or process walkthrough.
The problem-solution storyline allows you to pose your product or service as your customers’ savior. You start by presenting the problem your audience shares within the first few seconds of the video. Then, the story arc will make a natural transition to the solution you propose.
Since the focus of the story should always be on the solution rather than on the problem, make sure you're devoting more time to it. Your goal is to leave your viewers interested in your product or service, not worried or frustrated about the problem they already have.
The process walkthrough type of story explains the ‘how-to' of a product or gives an overview of your service.
Unlike the problem-solution structure, the process walkthrough doesn’t present a problem but follows a linear journey focused exclusively on the solution and its application instead. In this self-contained story, your character uses your product or service to successfully complete a task.
Choose the Right Kind of Explainer for Your Story
Now that you know the type of story you want to tell, it’s time to select the kind of explainer video that best goes with it.
Some of the most popular options to showcase your story include animated, whiteboard, live-action, and screencast explainer videos.
Animated explainer video
Animated explainer videos are probably the most widely used type of explainer because it’s your best option for explaining services or intangible products that don’t have physical features, such as a piece of software.
These videos allow for more creativity and flexibility thanks to the engaging graphics and attractive visuals.
Whiteboard explainer video
Whiteboard explainers use a specific - and very distinctive - style of animation that, as the name suggests, shows a story and its characters as if being hand-drawn on a whiteboard. These elements are animated and play from each other to build a sense of fluidity that carries the story forward smoothly until the end, making it entertaining to watch.
Live-action explainer video
Live-action explainer videos are a great alternative when you feel like your story can benefit from that extra human touch by showing real people performing a task or explaining a process. These videos might also include some animation and motion graphics to keep things visually interesting.
This type of explainer is a good choice for people-oriented products and services, such as those related to the healthcare industry.
Screencast explainer video
Screencast explainers are typically the style favored by software companies, given that it can help show their users what it looks like to use their product.
These videos incorporate imagery from a screen showing a website, piece of software, or application is in use to demonstrate its key features. In essence, screencast explainer videos seek to show how your product functions and how to interact with it.
Follow the Three-Act Story Structure
The three-act structure template works really well not only for narrative fiction and movies but for two-minute explainer video scripts as well!
By building your story around this structure, you can break down your video into smaller, easily recognizable sections that make writing the script a smoother experience. Moreover, a structured story can help the viewer follow your story from setup to conclusion, understand it, and remember it clearly long after they’re done watching your video.
Every story must have, quite obviously, a beginning, a middle, and an end. Well, the three-act story structure follows the same principle:
- Act 1 (What?): In the first act, you have to clearly show your viewers what the problem is. Here’s where you take one of their pain points and present it to them in a way that makes it relatable.
- Act 2 (How?): In the middle of your script, you have to introduce yourself and demonstrate how your product or service can solve the problem presented in the first act.
- Act 3 (Why?): Lastly, sell yourself. Explain why the audience should choose your product or service instead of other options in the market and what makes your solution unique.
Trust me, framing your story into these three sections will make planning your script much easier!
Inject Emotion into Your Story
The best stories are those that elicit an emotional response in the viewers, and that’s what the script of your explainer video should aim at. Building a connection with your audience through emotions is the best way to ensure you’re remembered, so try to tug on their heartstrings if you can.
Mind you; you don't necessarily need to make them cry. You can also create emotion by showing empathy in your storytelling and demonstrating that you understand your audience and the pain points or hardships they might be experiencing.
Some great ways of doing this can be making reference to any thoughts and feelings they might have when thinking about their problem and finally finding the solution, or going into detail about the impact said the problem has in their lives.
Show Your Sense of Humor
Including a touch of humor in your script is another useful technique to make your content memorable and grab your viewers’ attention early on. People are usually bombarded with overtly promotional video content, so humor can help them feel more at ease and overcome that stigma.
Your audience will be more receptive to your offer if your script has a funny opening, but it can be tricky to decide when and how much is necessary. In fact, misplaced humor is so easily noticeable that it can actually make your video look bad in the eyes of your prospects.
Learn from seasoned agencies and try to show your sense of humor through the animations in your video rather than putting it all over your script to keep your message clear.
Keep an Eye on the Pacing and Length of your Script
Two of the most appealing aspects of explainer videos are that they’re short and easy to digest. So, how long (or short!) should your video be? The answer to that will depend entirely on the topic and content you’re covering.
Most explainer scripts range from 1 up to 3 minutes in length; more than that is inadvisable because people start to lose interest. If you can’t explain your product or service adequately within that time frame, then you should probably rethink your script.
Sometimes the solution can be as simple as being more straightforward and simplifying word choices and arrangement.
As regards the pacing of your scrips, the voice-over should be around 125 and 150 words per minute to get your message across effectively. We don’t recommend stuffing more than 160 words a minute because you can easily overwhelm your viewers, which will ultimately lead to them dropping your video.
Write a draft of your script and record yourself as you read it out loud. Listen for anything that sounds difficult to understand, such as overly long sentences, for example.
Include CTA at the End of Your Script
If a prospect has watched your video to the end, then all the hard work you’ve put into your script has paid off! Well, almost. They’re most likely already interested in your offer, but you need to give them that last nudge into action.
You can (and should) tell them what to do next by including a succinct call to action (CTA) at the end of the piece. These elements can make or break the sale or conversion you are going for, so make sure you have at least one CTA and that it's short and straightforward.
About ten seconds should be enough if you’re giving clear and specific instructions on what you want your viewers to do after watching. It might not sound like much, but you can easily use those few last seconds to display a short text like “Click on the button to get a free demo” together with a working button that directs the user to the page where they can access the demo.
Spotting a good script can be difficult, but catching a bad one is incredibly easy. For an explainer video to positively impact your business, it needs to have a well-thought script.
It’s not an easy task, and it certainly can’t be done overnight. However, we’ve broken down some of the most important elements that you have to keep in mind while planning your explainer to set it up for success.
Hopefully, our tips and suggestions have inspired you, so you can start designing great explainer videos right away!
Bio Victor Blasco:
Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video production company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.