How to Write a Kickass Explainer Video Script That Delivers Results
The script is the backbone of every explainer video – it gives it a subject and a tone, and it drives the narrative and the animation. Depending on the goals, the brand, and the target audience, each explainer video is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the script. That being said, there are some common elements that we need to cover when writing any explainer video script. Read on to see how you too can write a killer script!
1. It’s the Thought That Counts
Before you start writing, you need to think about your goals. And I don’t mean in general, but rather what you want to achieve with this particular explainer animation. Keep in mind that being specific is key here. The goal is best defined when you finish this sentence: “Ideally, after releasing this video, I want to see [insert your goal here].” This can be an increase in traffic, more conversions, five-star customer reviews, email opens, etc. Pick one main goal of the video. Having more than one might confuse the viewers on the next steps and on the message you’re trying to convey. Besides goals, your explainer also has to have a particular purpose. To help you pinpoint the purpose, let’s talk about the three main categories of videos in terms of intent:
Educational – these videos serve to explain something relevant to your business, without mentioning your business at all. Say you work with cryptocurrency and you want to spark the interest of people who don’t even know what a blockchain is.
You can use this type of educational animation to introduce people to your general area of expertise before you dive into the details of your particular business.
Spreading the word – the purpose is to increase brand awareness and introduce your product or service to untapped audiences. You can include things like what inspired you in the beginning, how many years of expertise you have, where you operate, and what sets you apart. Think of it as an about us page, mission statement, and “why us” – all in one catchy explainer video.
Selling – this is basically an animated advertisement where you are entirely focused on the product and its main selling points. You want people to be stoked about what you’re offering, so shine the spotlight on the most attractive features of your business.
Most explainer videos are not strictly in one category or another, but rather in a mix of two or all three to a certain extent. Still, understanding what your primary goal and purpose are will help you determine the main focus of the script you’re crafting.
2. You Talkin’ to Me?
Establish your target audience. The more detailed image you have for who is going to see the video, the better you can pinpoint the right tone for your script. Try to picture your viewer – their age, occupation, mindset, how they talk. This will help you write a script that speaks directly to them. Like this video we did, aimed at college students, who find it hard to study for math exams (but then again, who doesn’t):
Another important aspect of getting to know your target avatar is to find out where they spend the majority of their time. This will help you determine the best spot for your video.
3. Location, Location, Location!
An often overlooked aspect of the script-writing process is clarifying where the explainer video would be used. This is directly connected to our previous point – you want to put your animation where the people it’s intended for will see it. Think of your explainer video as a billboard that you need to decide where to place in order for it to have the biggest impact. Your first instinct might be to put your billboard in the center of Times Square where millions of people would be seeing it every day. But what if you sell fertilizer to rural farmers? I don’t think there are many of those on Times Square on a daily basis. Same with explainer videos – don’t look for the most eyes – look for the right eyes.
Another thing that would help you determine the location of your animation is its goals and purposes. If your goal is to raise awareness and generate brand-new leads, probably placing your video on your website is not ideal.
4.Video size matters
The goals, purposes, and location of the video will determine another important aspect of the script – its length. Deciding on how long the video should be is tricky: make it too short – you risk missing important information; make it too long – people might stop watching before they’ve even reached the important information.
Generally, when we talk about explainer videos on websites or newsletters, 120 seconds needs to be the absolute maximum for the entire video – people just get bored after the two-minute mark.
However, if you’re writing a script for social media, the recommended length drops down to 30 seconds. In any case, do your best to trim all the filler and just bring out the essential information your target audience needs to hear. Here is how to approximately determine the length of the video by counting the words:
30 seconds – 80-90 words
45 seconds – 110-120 words
60 seconds – 160-180 words
90 seconds – 200-210 words
120 seconds- 250-260 words
Please, keep in mind that these are rough numbers – some words are longer, and voice-over artists speak at various speeds. So the best way to be sure how long your video would be is to read your script out loud and at a normal pace.
Getting it done
Once you’ve gone through the preliminary stage of the scriptwriting process, you’re all ready to go into the actual writing. I strongly advise that you start by creating an outline of your text. You can use the following questions to do that:
- Who are you talking to? What’s the language your target audience uses?
- What is the best thing that can happen after the video is published? Pinpoint the one takeaway that you want your target audience to get after watching it.
- Which specific problem that your target audience has, are you solving? How are you solving it?
- What is the value you provide to your customers?
- Why should people trust you? Back up your claims with proof, such as case studies, portfolio, reviews, or your experience in this field?
2. The Five Elements
As with every creative endeavor, there is no wrong way to go about developing your script. But if you are not an experienced copywriter, I would strongly advise you to follow this basic structure:
Regardless of its goal, each explainer video deals with a particular “problem” – identify what problem you want to solve with the video or the service it is about. Put yourself in the shoes of your listener – understand what keeps them up at night. The more you know about your target audience for this particular video, the better understanding you have of their pain points. Do not hesitate to name the problems head-on. Remember: if people don’t feel engaged in the first second of the video, they will click away. So make sure that you grab their attention right away with something that interests them personally. Another great tip is to address your target audience directly. For instance: “Hey there, restaurant owner! Are your profit margins shrinking?”. Or if you prefer the more subtle approach, you can start with something like “Owning a restaurant is a tough job. Especially in a time when profit margins are shrinking.” Whatever you choose, make sure the people it’s intended for understand that you’re talking to them.
Now that you know what’s bothering your viewer, it’s time to put their worries at rest. This can be your product or action they can take, or finding out that your business exists. Let them know that what you offer is just the medicine they need to relieve the symptoms mentioned above. This section of the script can be quite tricky. A lot of clients consider this to be the time for ad talk. While it is very important to sell your viewer on your product or service, refrain from going overboard with the superlatives. Instead, focus on those aspects that provide a solution to the exact issues your clients have (as mentioned in the first part).
How it works
You’ve made your big claims, now it’s time to back them up with actual facts. Give the viewer an insight into the mechanics of what you do. You don’t have to bore them with unnecessary details – be short and to the point. Your audience wants to know the basics of how things work, not prepare for a test. Knowing your target persona will come in handy here, as well – are they in your industry or a novice; are they young or old; what is their skill level, etc.
Tell people how they can benefit from what you’re talking about. Remember that people are most interested in what’s in it for them – not how awesome you are. You might offer the best product or service on the planet, but your viewers need to see it as a life-changer for them. Back it up with some proof – add a case study, reviews, or how many years of experience you have. It is easy to offer a solution. The hard part is to make people believe it is the correct one. The best way to do so is to offer them proof.
Call to action
Sum it all up with a CTA – a call to action, prompting your viewer to do something. This can be the company slogan, a mention of the site, an option to click somewhere or to simply try something first-hand. The CTA gives the video a good conclusion and it delicately (hopefully) pushes the audience in the right direction. Make sure you refer people to a logical next step. If your goal is to increase your website traffic – let them know that they can find more information on your website. If your goal is to increase conversions, let them know how they can book a call, demo, or where to buy your product.
Although the methods mentioned above are tried and tested, nothing is set in stone. For your unique video, you can always choose a different route. For example, you can do brand awareness, without even mentioning your brand:
or you can rely entirely on the power of animation and not include a single spoken word:
I hope this article has helped you get an idea of what you need to do in order to write an effective script. Even if you’re a beginner, you can use the steps outlined above to craft your own text. Alternatively, you can also have a script written by our seasoned professionals. Kashu’s awesome team can create a wide variety of scripts, tailored to your brand, goals, and target viewers. If you want to save yourself time and hassle, simply drop us a line to schedule a free discovery call.