Perhaps you’ve thought about making an explainer video but do you know how to write an explainer video script?
This is the absolute backbone of your video campaign, as without it, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
You need to know exactly what you’re going to talk about to ensure you cover all of the key points, otherwise you’ll end up going off on a tangent. It’s very easy to lose your trail of thought as soon as the camera starts rolling.
And the chances are, you’re going to end up talking about things which aren’t of any interest or relevance to your audience.
The whole point of your explainer video is to encourage customers to buy your product or service, which is only going to be achieved if you communicate the right message.
Also lots of ‘erms’ and ‘ahs’ as you try to remember what you want to say, is going to look very unprofessional. Again, this isn’t the kind of message you want to be sending your audience as you want to instill a sense of confidence and credibility.
This is what makes your explainer video script so important as it helps you to stay focussed and ensures you have conveyed the right level of information. In this blog post we’re going to walk you through the entire process so that before you get in front of the camera, you grab your pen and paper first.
As the saying goes:
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
What is an Explainer Video?
In the most simplest of terms, an explainer video is a short marketing video used to explain a product or service to the end user.
This type of video aims to break down how something works so that customers feel encouraged to buy it. The concept relies on the fact that if your audience doesn’t understand your offering, then they’re not going to invest in it.
They need to truly understand how your product or service can benefit them otherwise they’ll be disengaged. It’s all about educating your consumer, which is an important part of any content marketing campaign.
Customers need to know the benefits for themselves which is made possible by showing them an explainer video. This also creates a stronger connection between you and your target audience as you’re inviting them into your business and showing them how something works.
Understanding is key to engagement, as we all know how easy it is to switch off when you’re confused. If your audience is confused by your product or service then they will not invest in it.
It’s as simple as that.
Why is an Explainer Video Script Important?
An explainer video script helps you maintain focus.
As we’ve discussed, it’s very easy to go off track when you’re standing in front of a camera and you can forget what you’re trying to say.
Some explainer videos will be quite complex, especially if you’re working in the IT or Saas Sector. You might be trying to promote a very technical product which has a whole range of fancy features and functionality.
Covering all of this information off the cuff would be highly impressive!
Also, you have to make sure that each part of the technical specification is correct and accurate. Even a slight slip up in product size or dimensions will make a huge difference, and means the entire video has to be recorded all over again. This is highly costly in terms of both time and money, which are two things no marketer has in abundance.
An explainer video script helps to mitigate these issues. By planning what you’re going to say and what key points need to be covered, you can be confident that you’ve created a winning video campaign.
Where Would I Use an Explainer Video?
An explainer video usually sits on a landing page, your homepage, or on relevant product pages. The positioning of your explainer video is key, as it’s a tool which encourages users to make a purchase.
Therefore make sure it sits beside products and services which it is helping to promote.
You should also make sure that you upload your explainer video to YouTube. After all, this is the second biggest search engine after Google meaning you can showcase your video to over 2 billion people globally.
In terms of promotion, social media is a fantastic place to start sharing your explainer video. Because it’s only short (60-90 seconds) this format works great on different social channels and will capture the attention of your audience as they scroll.
Top tip:Make sure your explainer video is eye-catching even without sound. By default, social media channels don’t play audio automatically so you need to make sure your video is visually appealing.
Explainer Video Example
Now that you know what an explainer video is and why it is important, let’s take a look at an example.
The below video is for Amazon Go, a chain of cashierless, partially automated convenience stores operated by Amazon. Customers simply go in, get the items they want, and walk out.
Amazon calls it a ‘just walk out’ shopping experience as no physical transaction ever takes place.
Before watching the video, I had zero idea about how Amazon Go worked and was quite sceptical about the idea.
I mean the thought of people wandering into a shop, filling their bag up with all of their favourite goods, then simply walking back out again seemed really bazaar. After all, how does it all work and how does Amazon know what items have been purchased?
However, after watching the above video, it all makes sense.
It shows you several people going through the process of scanning their Amazon app on arrival, picking up the items they need, and then leaving the store. It also shows you what happens if you pick up an item and then change your mind – something I was very curious about!
The video breaks down quite a confusing concept and makes it sound very straightforward. Also at only 90 seconds long, it kept my attention for the whole time and I watched from start to finish.
I want to go to an Amazon store now!
No queues or cashiers to deal with?
Sign me up!
Key considerations before Writing Your Explainer Video Script
Before you start putting pen to paper, there are a few things you should consider first. Below are some explainer video best practices to help you craft a successful video campaign:
- Your key message value proposition should be clear in the first 30 seconds of your video. Don’t keep your audience guessing as they’ll get bored.
- Speak in second person and use words such as ‘you’ and ‘your’. This helps to personalise your content and makes your audience feel like you’re speaking to them directly.
- Use language that your audience will understand. You’re trying to explain something to them so don’t use industry terms or jargon.
- Inject a little humour if appropriate. Audiences tend to engage more when a video is fun and enjoyable to watch. Obviously this depends on the product/ service you’re promoting.
- Emphasise the benefits of the product/ service to the end user, not the available features. Your audience doesn’t care about how high spec something is unless it benefits them in some sort of way.
By keeping the above points in mind, it will make the script writing process much easier.
You don’t want to waste precious time making lots of edits and amends because you jumped straight into it.
How to Write a Killer Explainer Video Script
Now we’re into the meat of it – how to write a killer explainer video script.
Not just any video script, but the kind that is going to bring you closer to your target audience and encourage them to invest.
Knowing your product inside-out is one thing. Knowing how to communicate it to a mass audience is another. You’ve got a lot to think about from telling an engaging story, to showing off your brand personality, to including a strong call-to-action.
It can be a headache trying to wrap your head around everything and tick every box. Well, don’t panic! By following this step-by-step process you can be confident that you’ve written a killer explainer video script that hits the mark.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
One more thing…
Be sure to check out our post on how to write a video brief once you’re done here if you’re looking for third-party assistance but don’t know how to ask.
Tell your story
All too often, brands end up going totally off point when creating their explainer video.
They spend the first 60 seconds going on and on about the fancy features and functionality that they actually miss the purpose of the video- how is the product or service of value to the end user?
It can take them ages to get to this point, and usually, they’ve already lost the attention of their audience. In this scenario, an explainer video can actually do more harm than good as people are even more disinterested in the offering than they were before.
Your job is to tell the story in a clear and concise way. No one wants a load of drivel.
The story you use will fall into one of two categories: problem-solution or process walk through.
Whichever format you decide on, you need to know how to craft a strong explainer video script.
This involves presenting the problem that your audience has, and then explaining how your product or services solves the problem.
It’s an easy way to position yourself as the hero, sweeping in to save the day!
For this to work, there needs to be a very real and obvious problem that you’re helping to resolve. You then use the story to transition to the solution which gives you the space to talk about how your product works.
Make sure you spend the bulk of your time on the solution – not the problem. You want people to come away thinking about how great your product is, not spending their time stewing over the problem they have.
This format can be used for a service video or a ‘how-to’ style video. If you’re using this approach then this is no problem to identify. You simply have to guide your audience from one point to another.
Regardless of how you choose to tell your story the same principles apply. You need to be straightforward and confident, and you also need to ensure that you’ve covered any question that your audience might have.
If you’re struggling to come up with your story then the below questions might help:
- What is the purpose of the story?
- Why do people care about what I am promoting?
- What’s my angle?
- What value am I providing to customers?
- What can my audience take away from the video?
Simplify your story
Reddit has a really interesting subreddit called ‘Explain Like I’m Five’ which is basically what it says on the tin.
It involves people answering questions as though they were speaking to a 5 year old as this removes the need for any overly complicated information.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of over-explaining and over-complicating things when we speak to one another. However, when we speak to children (such as a 5 year old) we communicate very simply and clearly.
This is exactly what your explainer video needs to do.
Regardless of how educated your audience is, the whole point of an explainer video is to communicate your message in a succinct way.
However, there is a fine line as you don’t want to come across as patronising as this will immediately disengage your audience. It’s a balancing act between being interesting, engaging, and easy to digest. Nail these three points and you’re onto a winner!
Below are two ways you can simplify your explainer video script:
- Try to write your story in 5 sentences. This will keep your story focussed and also means you can’t overcomplicate it with lots of unnecessary information.
- Writing your explainer video script as though you were speaking to a friend or family member. We speak more colloquially than we type so it can be helpful to write from this perspective.
Relate your story back to the viewer
All your audience wants to know is how they can benefit from your products or services.
Whilst this might seem really obvious to you (because you know your product and industry really well) the benefit to your audience might not be clear.
It’s your job to rectify that.
For example, take your business back to basics. Let’s say you were the owner of HelloFresh, delivering fresh ingredients and recipes to your customers’ front door.
Think about how this truly benefits your end user.
A few examples of consumer benefits are outlined below:
- Saves people time as they don’t need to do the food shop after work.
- It saves people the hassle of thinking about what they will eat as all of the ingredients are provided.
- It lets your customers try new meals and delicacies with ease as they can change what meals they order.
- It provides customers with lots of choice as they can pick different meals from a large, varied catalogue.
- It caters for a range of dietary requirements, and there is something for everyone.
All of these are direct benefits to the consumer.
Stuff like ‘we’re the only brand providing this service in this area’ isn’t going to cut the mustard.
Your audience doesn’t care about that; they care about their time and money. Your explainer video needs to place your audience at the forefront.
Therefore, when writing your video script make sure you speak directly to them. Going back to our earlier top tips, use a second person voice when writing your explainer video script and include words such as ‘you’ and ‘yourself’.
Whether you want to make your audience laugh, cry, or take a moment to think, evoking emotion is a great way to get them engaged. You want to attract your audience from the very start, and emotion is a very powerful marketing tool.
From the language you use, to the soundtrack you include, this all helps to create a certain mood. However, make sure the emotion is appropriate for the purpose of the video.
For example if you were explaining how your funeral service works then adding some humour in is totally inappropriate and actually, really odd. The tone has to suit the subject so make sure you consider the first.
On the other hand if you were launching a dating app, then a bit of humour would be totally fitting and people would probably relate to it better.
Always cast your mind back to the purpose of your video and the story you’re trying to tell. This should form the foundation of any strategy you employ as the whole point is to encourage people to get on board.
When used correctly, emotion is a great way of building a strong connection with your audience and adding a more human touch to your brand.
Keep it short
Short and sweet is the perfect combo for your explainer video script.
You’re not creating a full length movie! The last thing you want to do is bore your audience, as you want them to stay tuned long enough for you to explain your product/ service. This isn’t going to happen if you’re harping on for 5 minutes.
People simply don’t have the time.
The ideal length for an explainer video is between 60 and 90 seconds. This gives you enough time to cover the key information without losing the attention of the viewer. You should also make sure to cover your key message and value proposition in the first 30 seconds.
You want to hook people in and you shouldn’t keep them wondering.
In terms of your explainer video script, you need to keep an eye on your word count. As an estimate, 130-150 words is a comfortable pace. You should also record yourself reading your explainer video script out loud to see how long it takes.
Remember though, this isn’t the most accurate way to measure the length of your video. Different people read at different speeds, and the more you read the information, the faster you’ll be.
Therefore, it’s wise to leave yourself an extra 5-10 seconds just in case your voiceover takes a little longer. You don’t want them to sound breathless or rushed in any way as this isn’t enjoyable to listen to.
Adjust your writing style to suit
Writing for video is different to writing for other types of content marketing such as blog posts or press releases.
The language you use needs to roll off the tongue.
Because you have such a short window to captivate your audience (60-90 seconds), you need to get straight to the point.
Sometimes, your explainer video script might sound too simple, but simplicity in this case is key.
For starters you should avoid complicated words at all costs, especially if they are industry-specific. Not only will these words confuse your audience, but it will also make it more difficult for your voiceover.
Regardless of whether you’re using someone in-house or hiring a professional, you want your explainer video script to be easy to read. This makes for a much more smooth and professional delivery.
The Heminway Editor is a great tool which can help you write an effective explainer video script. It also checks for any grammatical errors which could affect readability. This is just one of many great contention creation tools that can help make a marketers life much easier!
Don’t explain what you can show
If you can use visuals rather than words to explain how something works, then you absolutely should.
You could be the best script writer on the planet, yet you still can’t beat visualisation. As humans, we retain information so much better through a visual means whether that’s animation, infographics, or motion graphics.
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
There are so many tools for you to take advantage of too so you’ve got no excuse!
Visualisation will also help you save on word count which is a big advantage when you’ve only got around 150 words to play with!
This tactic is golden in terms of breaking down complex pieces of information and helping you explain concepts much more effectively.
Include a strong CTA
If your viewer has made it to the end of your explainer video then you’ve done something right.
They’ve watched the entirety of your video and they’re interested in finding out more about your product or service.
However, in terms of choosing a CTA, what you say here is crucial. You don’t want to choose something weak that is going to cause you to lose their attention. After all, they’ve made it this far!
That’s why your CTA needs to be strong and it needs to motivate them to click through. Sometimes offering a promotion can be a great idea so using something along the lines of ‘click here and get 10% off while it lasts!’
This is a great way to instill a sense of urgency as who wants to miss out on a 10% discount? You should also make sure that your CTA is positioned correctly and that it’s large enough for people to click through.
Your audience might be tuning in from their mobile phone so your button needs to be optimised for this format.
How to Write a Killer Explainer Video Script that Converts Customers
When you’re writing an explainer video script you need to keep it clear and concise.
The whole aim of this type of video is to explain to your customer how something works in the hope that they will buy it. When writing your script, always put the needs of your customer at the forefront, and make sure every single point relates back to how it can benefit them.
Your customers are only interested in understanding how something works and the value they can gain from it. That’s why getting this message across is vital to maintaining their attention, otherwise they will drift off and there goes your chance of making a sale.
A successful, profitable explainer video is only achieved by writing a compelling explainer video script. This ensures that your message is focussed and prevents your dialogue from going on and on about irrelevant points that don’t benefit your audience.
However to achieve things you need to tick lots of boxes, as not only do you need to convey the benefits to the consumer, you also need to present your brand personality, values, and a strong CTA.
There’s a lot to get right here, so why don’t you leave it up to the experts?
At Canny Creative, we know what it takes to make a compelling explainer video that catches the attention of your consumer and makes them want to buy. It all starts with a killer explainer video script that nails down exactly what you’re trying to say so that you can be confident all bases are covered.
Get in touch with our team of experts and start converting more leads into customers.