Explainer videos are an incredibly powerful tool for business to introduce themselves, their products, services and the solutions they offer to clients.
Here are five of the most important elements for developing an explainer video script with impact.
1. One clear message
What’s the one thing you want the audience to remember a week after they watched the video?
This is a really useful question to ask to help remove any clutter from the video.
Too often we see people trying to cram too much into their explainer videos. Leave all the intricate details for your website and use the video as a breadcrumb to lead people to your landing page. If you have one clear message that resonates with your target audience they will click trough to learn more. Content tells and copy sells, so keep your content clear and concise.
You may choose to use repetition in the dialogue or text on screen to underline the one key message.
Once the script has been written and you move onto planning the visuals, we recommend underlining the one clear message in the imagery as well.
2. Hook them in
Nowadays you need to hook people in from the start. So you can use a hook line. That could be in the form of a question. Or you can ask the audience to imagine something. Or set a scene…
Setting a scene is a powerful storytelling technique that can be used to activate a prospect’s imagination. You can give them the incentive to put themselves in the shoes of a character… “Early one Monday morning, after a hectic weekend, Jane got into the office early. Imagine her surprise when…”
Whilst writing the script, think about how to hook the audience in with a great opener. This might be as simple as telling the viewers what they’re going to learn. If the video is targeted correctly then they’ll be willing to sit to the end to get that nugget of information.
Summarise The Content at the start
In order to allow the viewer to decide whether they want to watch the video, it can be useful to summarise the content within the first fifteen seconds.
This serves two purposes. Firstly the viewer can decide whether they want to watch the rest of the content and don’t feel like they have had their time wasted. The other benefit is that even if the viewer clicks away after fifteen seconds your core message will still have been delivered.
3. Speak Directly To The Audience.
Your tone of voice is a reflection of your brand persona, so decide whether you want your dialogue to come across with a comical tone, a friendly tone, a caring tone or a regal tone, depending on what suits your brand.
Use personal pronouns like “you” and “your” to speak to your audience one-on-one. Give them what they need to know about you that will help them to trust you, and to take the action you want them to take.
e.g. We can help you to …
4. Leave lots of pauses for the audience to absorb information
Keep dialogue to between 125 and 150 words a minute.
Keep in mind that the voiceover needs time to breathe, allowing viewers to absorb what you’re saying. Videos are way more memorable when the audience is given short bursts of key information, with plenty of time to take on board the information.
5. Problems and solutions
One way to explain your core offering is to introduce a problem faced by your audience and then explain how your product solves that problem.
In this type of video, you pose your brand as the one who comes to the assistance of your audience.
First, you establish the audience’s goals, and then you identify the barrier to those goals. Make this clear and relatable, but don’t spend too much time on this part of the script because you want to move onto the solution and dwell on that for as long as possible.
You then introduce your brand as the catalyst for change, the helper who enables them to get over their barriers and achieve their goals. This is a classic story arc that will feel familiar to the viewer. By the end of the video, they should have a clear understanding that your brand is there to make their lives easier.
We recommend thinking of the audience as the hero and your brand as the helper – you are the Obi Wan Kenobi to their Luke Skywalker.
6. Process Overview
This is an alternative approach to the problem and solution script. A process overview may not mention the problem at all. It just presents a process as a means to making life easier. The audience may not know that a problem exists or there may not be a problem but your brand may just do things faster, better, of higher quality, and make things simpler for the viewer. If so, then bullet point the service offering in a way that’s clean and concise and move onto the call to action.
7. Don’t Try To Sell With The Script
Your audience has been exposed to marketing messages since the day that they were born. This has created a generation of sales saturated, media savvy consumers who aren’t going to sit through a sales pitch if it doesn’t offer any value to them.
Yes, the script should list the features and benefits of what you have to offer. But these can be detailed in a straightforward way, which doesn’t insult the intelligence of your viewer or condescend them.
It’s about giving the viewer the information that they need to make an informed purchasing decision.
8. Leave time for a Call To Action
The shorter your video is, the more you show respect for your viewer’s time so don’t try to cram too much in there and leave time to get to the call to action. Often the success of the CTA is the KPI which your video will be measured against. If the viewer doesn’t even get to the KPI you have little chance of succeeding.
Have your voice over artist read a call to action to tell the audience what you want them to do and back it up with onscreen text.
I believe the above video is a good example of a mixture between an introductory video and a solutions video.
It starts off by introducing the company’s goal: “A few years ago we set out to find…”
It establishes the problem: “We couldn’t find one.”
Then introduces their solution: “So we built Thirst”
It mentions the features and benefits: “helpful, intuitive, cloud-based etc.”
It has a strong Call To Action.
It’s a good length. Any longer and people would start to lose interest and would not remember the details.
Specific tips for Introductory Videos
Tell them what they are going to learn about your brand.
For example: We are Brand X and we exist to help make people’s lives simpler.
About the company
The below is a list of suggestions rather than a list of things you have to mention:
- Why you do what you do?
- Why should people care about what you do?
- How can you make their lives easier?
- How did the company start? / Where did you come from?
- Who is involved?
- What service do you provide?
Specific tips for Solutions based Videos
Pose the problem that your product solves:
e.g. Managing your business can be time-consuming and difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.
Introduce your product as the solution (add the logo on screen at this point).
e.g. Brand X is a software product that makes managing your business simple.
Explain what your product does and why it’s different to the competition.
Keep this concise. You just want to make people aware that your product exists and it can help them.
Show how the product has worked for others:
Written testimonials on screen or a quick comment from a client can work well but are not essential.
Add a call to action to tell people what to do next.
Another approach is to tell it like a story about a character
Set the scene. Introduce a character and their goals:
e.g. Mary runs a busy small business. She wants to service her clients to the best of her ability.
Inciting incident. A barrier to your character’s Goal:
Something happens to make Mary change.
e.g. One day she double booked an appointment.
The hero gets a helping hand:
Introduce how your product was there to help.
e.g. Mary found Brand X and thought she would give it a try
The Main Event: How your product helps the hero
e.g. Now booking appointments is quick and simple and the integrated software allows her to….
The resolution: Your product has helped and now the hero is free to help others.
e.g. Mary can now focus on her business and help more people.
Capitalise on the Full Capabilities of Video
They say that a picture tells a thousand words. This is something that no one who is writing a corporate video script should forget.
Sound and visual elements can be used to tell the story in often a much more effective way than with words. The amount of exposition in the script is often a sign of a poorly created video script.
Reward Your Viewer For Their Attention
Before you begin writing a word of your explainer video script you need to carefully consider your intended audience.
The old way of writing an explainer script was to think foremost about the message the business wanted to express. Whether the audience wished to receive this message or not was given far less consideration.
This old-style of interruption marketing no longer works because consumers now have much greater control of the content that they consume.
Viewers can choose which videos that they want to watch on YouTube and for how long. If content doesn’t provide value, in the form of entertainment, education or inspiration, then they will quickly click away.
In order to gain and keep the viewer’s attention, it is essential that they are rewarded for their time.
If you need any help with writing a video script or you feel that working with a video agency is the best way to go, take a look at our post about how to write a comprehensive brief for a video and feel free to get in touch if you think we could help you with your video requirements.