Marketing-wise, great explainer videos are the bomb! Short, usually animated pieces that rather than going for a sales pitch, focus on addressing a specific pain point and presenting your solution to it.
Marketers love them because they allow brands to convey their message and highlight benefits and features in compelling ways. But, even though they can be fantastic marketing pieces, they rely on solid storytelling to work.
Even with gorgeous and eye-catching visuals, without a top-notch script, your explainer will fall short of expectations!
But what exactly makes for an outstanding explainer video script? Well, that’s what we are here to talk about today. The secret narrative formula that will set your piece apart from the competition’s, going over essential tips and do’s, and dont’s for the scripting phase.
Grab your quill & parchment, typewriter, or Ipad, and let’s get to work!
Simply put, the script is the foundation on which everything else in your video is built. It’s what helps you transform that flat message you need to get across into a compelling story that grabs your audience’s attention.
But let’s take a step back and see why that is.
In marketing, everything revolves around your message. If you tell the right story, in the right way, you can shape how your customers see and feel about your business. However, all too often companies struggle with introducing themselves to a new audience, communicate their value proposition, or explain why their product or service rocks!
Explainers avoid those traps altogether by following a series of design cues meant to reach audiences, inform them, and connect with them emotionally. The core of all those cues? You guessed it, it’s in your script – even if all other audiovisual elements will make them come to life.
The script is the foundation of the hook that will capture a viewer’s interest. It’s the fuel that will drive your message forward, and create the parallels with the viewers’ needs. And it is the scaffolding around your CTA at the end, subtly-but-effectively prompting viewers into action.
It all stems from a great script.
While no two video productions are the same, this guide will take a page from the playbook of some of the best explainer video companies in the business. Hopefully, it will help you develop a sense of what a great script generally needs. Check it out!
Beyond being an entity trying to provide a solution – aka, selling a product, – each company has its own history. A brand built on unique values and identity. Your explainer video script should most certainly reflect those things
So, when you are in the process of brainstorming ideas for your piece, rather than immediately going for hard facts or boring definitions, find ways of telling a story that:
A good exercise that can be really helpful to define your story is to answer some basic questions like, What do you want your viewer to take from your video? What value is it providing? What non-obvious benefits do your product deliver?
Once you have a couple of answers, think of how that message would look following one of these approaches:
This beautiful Bottledrop animated explainer video perfectly illustrates a problem-solution type of script:
Check out the following explainer video developed by Stitch Fix to see what a process overview approach looks like:
This structure is implemented in most explainer videos for a reason: it’s effective. Answering these questions helps you organize your information and present your story effectively.
The very first question you need to tackle is the “what”. That is, what’s the audience problem you are set to solve? Starting this way helps viewers engage with your piece and feel represented, and creates a nice opening to introduce your solution later on.
Once you’ve acknowledged the problem, you have to tell your audience “how” your product or service solves it. It’s key to explain it simply and provide a clear outline here, avoiding unnecessarily elaborate explanations or going into too much detail (more on this in a bit.)
Finally, you need to tell your audience “why” they should choose your solution and not your competition’s. You don’t do this overtly though, that’d be too sales-y for the format. Instead, you keep the focus on your product’s benefits and advantages here.
The best explainer videos out there are engaging, fun, and easy to digest. Their ultimate goal is to deliver information in a simple way, especially when covering complex topics.
For that to happen, you need to write your script by breaking down ideas into understandable bits! By all means, use a straightforward and confident voice, but avoid getting too involved with your definitions. This is not a Wikipedia entry. The last thing you want is to confuse or bore your audience and lose them midway.
Keep your sentences short and try to write them as if you were talking to someone you know, like a friend or a member of your family. This will reinforce the casual tone and make your audience feel as if you are talking directly to them. And on that note…
If you write a script that’s targeted to an audience, that feels relevant to them, they won’t have another option other than to pay attention.
Your script (and story) should put your “ideal customer” as the protagonist. To show that you care about their problems and are committed to helping them solve them. To do that effectively, you really need to get to know them!
Ask yourself: What do they like and dislike? What do they need? How do they talk and express themselves?
From a practical standpoint, you should also interpellate the viewer. Use personal pronouns like “you” or “your”, and speak their language. By doing so, you are going to connect faster and on a more personal level with them.
These days, the average online attention span is about 8 seconds long. This means that within the first 10 seconds, you have to impress your audience… or risk being dropped off.
Your marketing videos should never be too long. Most people aren’t willing to take 25 minutes to understand how a new product works – You need to tell your audience everything they need to know, in the quickest possible way.
The good news is that the explainer video format has evolved with that in mind, and is designed to be both effective and short. A well-written explainer script is set to last anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long. Elegantly condensing important information.
As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that the average explainer video script (about 90 seconds in length) sits around the 240 words mark.
Pro Tip: To make sure that your message gets across and your audience knows what to pay attention to, reduce it to a sentence and put it in the first 30 seconds of your explainer video script.
The great thing about explainers is precisely that our brains process video content a whole lot faster than text – 60,000 times faster! So, as you work on your script, keep in mind that you don’t need to describe with words things you can visually show. Especially when we talk about animated videos.
The beauty of animation is that you have endless visual styles at your disposal. Motion graphics, kinetic typography, data visualization, character animations, the list goes on. Each bringing much-needed dynamism to your piece.
Use that to help you make leaner scripts, and keep only the truly essential information that will be later complemented with visuals.
Once you finish writing the script, you have to run a couple of tests to make sure it works before moving deeper into the production process. Share it with people, like coworkers or friends, and see how they react. You can also ask some questions to verify it’s on the right track, such as:
Whether you use these questions or not, we highly recommend you test your script before considering it finished and moving on to the next phase. Remember, the script is the foundation of everything that comes after! It’ll be far easier to try and fix any potential problems now than it will be later on.
So now you know – writing a memorable and outstanding script is tricky and takes a lot of work. But it will pay off nicely when done right! Believe us, nothing can beat an explainer video that combines gorgeous visuals with a tight, efficient script!
Hopefully, after reading this, you are far better equipped – and motivated! – to give that video script you’ve been mulling over a shot. So go, and start working on a piece that not only tells a great story, but also conveys your message, reflects your brand, and brings you closer to your marketing goals!
And if you’d like some help with that, don’t hesitate to reach out and tell us about the project you have in mind. Our expert writers will most certainly have a thing or two to say about making your product sound awesome in one of our vids!