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How To Write An Explainer Video Script

With the ability to boost sales by up to 73%, and increase your Google search ranking by around 53%, an explainer video is one of the most important assets in your sales and marketing tool kit. However, in explainer film land, when it comes to creating a quality explainer that will garner real, tangible results, your script is everything. We’d even go as far as to say the entire success of the video hinges on it. Even if your visuals are on point, a weak script will sink the ship every time.

While that may seem intimidating, don’t sweat it – we’ve got you! Here are our top tips on how to write an effective explainer video script.

But first, let’s take a look at explainer video types
Your script will likely fall into one of two main explainer film categories

  • Problem-Solution Method: this is the typical formula when creating an explainer film script. For the purpose of this article, we’ll largely be referencing this video type. In a nutshell, it’s identifying the problem(s) that your product/service is solving for your customer. First we start by setting up the problem in a clear, relatable way, then we land your company/product as the solution. Keep the problem brief (try for under 10 or max 15 seconds, so we can introduce your product as quickly as possible in the edit.
  • Process/Product Overview: This explainer video type is typically used when doing a product/service walk-through or how-to. This type differs from the above as there is no specific problem to ‘solve’ and its primary purpose is to educate on product use. With this video type, you’re going to want to make sure your narrative is clear, succinct and communicated in basic language (forgo the frilly stuff and stick to the point). 

OK, so let’s get started. But before we dive right into the word wizardry side of things, let’s start with the most important step…

Tip 1: Do your homework (boring, but important)

While you might be buzzing with a bunch of initial ideas and want to jump right into the creative zone – don’t. A great idea is one thing, but if it’s irrelevant to your particular audience, or where they’re at in the sales funnel, it ain’t such a great idea after all.

First, we want to identify our audience. Drill down into your customer profile. Who are they? What language do they use? What matters to them? This will ensure your content resonates with them and keeps their interest all the way to the CTA (call to action).

Then, you’re going to want to identify a goal for your video. As in, what’s the point of all of this? This is where you’ll think about things like: where will your viewers watch the video? What stage in the marketing funnel are they at when they see it? What do you want them to do next? You’ll also want to identify some key performance indicators to measure the success of the video. This will help you to reiterate later down the road if your video doesn’t perform as well as hoped.

Tip 2: Present a relevant character persona, and the problem.

Say your customer is a small business owner running a brick and mortar operation – show them a small business owner that looks just like them. Whether you’re using live-action or animation, our character(s) must be visually representative of your customer, and they must be struggling with the same things your customers do. You’ll even want to use their vocab and way of speaking in the scripting. Remember, relatability is everything. If the content resonates with your viewer on every level (the problem, the persona, the solution) it’ll be a smashing success.

Remember: keep the following in mind throughout your scriptwriting process: All your viewers really care about is ‘how will this make my life better?’  

Tip 3: Explain the how and why (and why there’s nothing else quite like it)

Once you’ve presented your character, set up the problem and landed your company as the solution, now it is time to explain the how and why. This should be the longest section of your video, and also factor in why your product is superior or different to competitors on the market.

Tip 4: Land your CTA

Keeping the content engaging so viewers stay tuned till the end is one thing, but providing clear actionable next steps in your video is key. This is where you’ll ask the viewer to ‘do something’ whether that be placing an order or providing contact information so you can convert them into a qualified lead later. If your primary goals are a little varied, we suggest switching up your CTAs to test performance by A/B testing varying endplate CTAs.

Tip 5: Keep the language simple

Look, we admire beautifully crafted sentences as much as the next person, however when scripting an explainer video, now is not the time for literary excellence. In other words: write it how you would say it. Write in short simple sentences (basically as if you’re explaining your product or service to a five-year-old – it’s literally that simple). Of course, while still in keeping with your brand’s tone of voice/style guides where relevant.

Tip 6: Keep the length short

Respect your viewers’ time. Explainer video and product video length is usually between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, however the longer the script, the less impact it will have. Something we often explain to our clients, during the script ideation phase – while it’s tempting to want to cram every single thing that’s great about your business into the script, unfortunately, more words don’t = a better final edit, no matter which way you cut it.

In terms of word count: 130-150 words per minute is ideal. This will create a nice, comfortable pace when it comes to reading out your script.

When it comes to read time: read your script out loud, while running a timer. This will give you a gauge of the total read time, however, remember, you’ll likely read it faster than a voice-over artist would, and then you’ve also got to factor in front and back end space for visuals and CTAs, so don’t rely solely on this method. To get a more accurate gauge of your script length, you can use online script word counting tools like this one:

Tip 7: Show, don’t tell

Remember, the great thing is your script doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to video. You’ll likely have other additional visual tools on hand too, like animation or motion graphics. Use and abuse these visual components when it comes to telling your story, so you can focus on keeping your script concise.

Once you’ve got the bare bones of your script, it helps to create a table of key visuals that you imagine will fit alongside each part of your scripted dialogue. These don’t have to be entirely figured out just yet, however visualising information will help you both to save on word count and explain concepts more effectively.

Tip 8: Humour isn’t always a hit

Sure, some of the greatest explainers are the comedic ones because they’re fresh and dynamic and engaging. But not always. If you’re interested in going down the humour route, carefully assess your product and your audience first to make sure it’s appropriate.

Also, bear in mind not all audiences want to be amused when learning about your product or service, and if the joke falls flat, or you haven’t enlisted a video agency professional who is skilled in comedic scripting, it could be a very costly exercise for your brand.

And that’s it from us. We hope you found these tips useful when it comes to crafting your own explainer video / product video script. Need more assistance from the pros? We’d be happy to help you bring your script to life. Get in touch with our Sydney video production agency We Know Video via the Contact us button.