Explainers Explained: How to Write a Great Product Explainer Video Script
It’s no secret that if you want to show the world what you do (and how you do it) creating an engaging explainer video is one of the best ways to get your point across.
But any great video needs an equally great script written to guide the production, so it’s important to nail that down before you get ahead of yourself and start putting the paper before the pen so to speak.
Let’s talk a little about how to get started writing.
The Proof is in the Planning
Before you start writing, think about the answers to these questions:
- What is your product/service and what does it do?
- What problem in the world does it solve?
- Who is your target market and what tone would appeal to them?
- How can you effectively call them to action?
When you have clear answers to these beginning questions, you will have a strong foundation upon which you can start crafting your script. Go a step further and make a general outline for the structure. Any organization of this basic information will make things much easier when writing the content.
Now it’s time to turn up the creative side of your brain! What style of video will you write for? There are a couple of options. You could go with a live-action video, an animated production, or a blend of the two. All three are great options.
An interesting side note about animated videos and the use of a voice-over: according to the Dual Coding Theory, the human brain is essentially maximized for learning and retaining more information if you simultaneously use visual and auditory messaging. Separately, each channel is less effective at processing new information. But working together in tandem, auditory and visual receptors can take in a lot more.
This is why you should seriously consider including the use of a voice-over in your script. By showing the audience one thing on the screen while also telling them something similar or related over the speakers, you can increase the amount of information about your product/service that they can retain in their minds. Simply put, voice-overs really help your message stick the landing.
Once you decide what direction you’re going to take with your video, it’s time to start putting down ink and cranking out some good ideas! Remember, that not everyone has a way with words. If you’ve got great creative vision for your explainer video but you’re not a master wordsmith then consider hiring a writer or outsourcing the next steps instead.
Write, Right, Write!
Alfred Hitchcock once commented about the importance of the script in filmmaking (the explainer videos’ bigger, older, more long-winded sibling): “To make a great film you need three things—the script, the script, and the script.”
The same notion applies to the work your doing. While writing out your script, keep the following tenets in mind.
1. I Shall Not Make This Video Unbearably Long
A good length for your video is about 90 seconds. You only have so much time before your audience’s attention span will fade, so keep your messaging snappy and keep it short.
2. I Shall Tell an Interesting and Engaging Story
Don’t bore your viewers to death. Show and tell them something that they will remember. Inject some meaningful emotion into your story. For instance, being funny is a good way to stick your message to the audience’s brain. Just remember who your audience is and what they find funny, and maybe more importantly, what they don’t find funny.
3. I Shall Keep It Simple
Be careful not to overburden your script with too much information. People as a mass entity tend to prefer broken down, simpler communications, especially when it comes to advertising. Choose simpler terminology and phrasing. Be clear and straightforward. Use a more informal tone, like if you were talking with a friend.
4. I Shall “Show It, Not Blow It”
The golden rule of visual storytelling is to, well, keep it visual. Psychological studies have long indicated that our brains process visual information at an insanely higher rate than written text. Show, don’t tell.
5. I Shall Use These Big Brains
Most importantly, make sure you take every opportunity to establish yourself as THE authority on what your story (and product) is about. The ultimate goal here is to convince the potential customer watching your video that you know what you’re talking about and that they should trust you and the products/services you offer.
Now that you’ve written your first draft, there is still more work to do. You’ll need to coordinate with your production team, taking feedback to make your revisions, edits, and rewrites.
But after running your fledgling script through the gauntlet a few times, you should come out at the end with something special and effective. If you keep it fun and don’t try to force it, you’ll make some truly inspired advertising.