Why Startup Explainer Videos Need a Killer Script

Think of movies like Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Truman Show, and Ocean’s Eleven.

They stand out, don’t they? These cinematic masterpieces did a great job of stirring viewers with excitement and curiosity.

And while great cinematography, direction, and acting all played a major role in making these movies hits, it’s worth remembering that it all started with an excellent script.

So, you might be thinking, but I’m not a filmmaker, I just need a good explainer video for my business.

That may be the case, but the fact remains that even when it comes to an explainer video, a solid script lays the foundation for everything that comes next.

Because when you watch an expertly crafted animated video online, you should know that before you get to see all the cool characters, animation, and the works, there is a lot that needs to happen first.

Most of the previous stages of explainer video production involve multiple brainstorming sessions and correspondences with clients.

But it starts with a great script that tells a compelling story.

When we connect with our clients for the first time, our initial discussions rely only on one thing, what story they have to tell and how do they want to tell it. This is then captured in the script.

This part of the explainer video production is crucial and like most explainer video agencies out there, we get our clients to lock in the script before proceeding further. The reason is quite simple:

The script determines the direction, tone, and feel of the video, along with the style of animation, character design, etc.

If you are looking for a funny video, then a suitable script will have to be drafted, if you are looking for a serious one, for a social cause, for instance, the script must reflect that.

Without an engaging script, your explainer video may fall short of delivering the message to viewers in an effective manner.

‘Engaging’ is a word that repeatedly pops up when it comes to describing explainer videos that click and stick with viewers.

So, how can you create a short and memorable script for your explainer?

Read on to find out!  

How to Write an Engaging Explainer Video Script

Our survey found that 91% of people say that they decide if they’re going to continue watching a video within the first 10 seconds.

That’s a pretty big deal. This means that the opening of your explainer video has to really stick, and there are plenty of ways you can try to achieve this.

If you don’t describe yourself as a ‘creative’ person, and think that writing an engaging script will be a challenge, here are some principles from the book Made to Stick that’ll help you.

Six principles of sticky ideas

1. Simplicity

An effective explainer video script is one that is simple and concise.

Ideally, your explainer video should be between 60-90 seconds.

Here are some tips on how to make your script simple and short:

  • Outline your script and limit yourself to just 5 lines
  • Keep it simple and avoid jargons
  • Don’t use abstract concepts or analogies in the script to explain your product or service

As a general rule of thumb:

150 words of script = 1 minute of audio

So, if you’re looking to keep your video between 60-90 sec, then the script length should be between 150–225 words

This is indeed a very short amount of time to explain something, but a survey we conducted recently showed that 80% of people believe a product/service explainer video shouldn’t be longer than 60 seconds.

So, it’s what the people want.

Writing a short script can be hard to pull off, though. You’ll realize this once you start to write your ideas down and then have to condense everything.

This process may take some time and brainstorming, but commit to it.

A well-thought-out script will put you on the right track to creating a winning explainer video.

So far, we’ve talked about how important it is to have a simple and concise script, now let’s get into the why.

Why does an explainer video script have to be short?

With a world gone digital, people are doused with content from every angle. And because content is abundant, people have become super vigilant of what they give their attention to—as they should.

Audiences are not only picky but have also become accustomed to consuming bite-sized content that’s value-packed.

The modern consumer has an insatiable appetite for stimulating content and a short attention span.

This dynamic is why content creators and marketers are focusing their efforts on creating short content, especially when it’s directed to a cold or luke-warm audience.

Keeping all of the above in perspective, you can see why an explainer video script needs to be short and simple.

It’s all about keeping your viewer hooked.

2. Unexpectedness

To get people’s attention, you need to shatter their expectations. Engage people’s curiosity by systematically opening gaps in their knowledge. Once they’re invested, you can start to fill in those gaps.

You may have noticed advertisers using this principle in their commercials. It’s a smart move and can drive your point home.

3. Concreteness

Since you don’t have the luxury of taking an extended amount of time to explain your product or service, it’s best to make sure your explainer video script is concrete.

Don’t use vague analogies or references your target audience may not understand.

Here’s an explainer video that uses concrete examples in the script to drive their point home:

4. Credibility

To make your script seem credible, it must carry its own credentials.

Try to find a way for people to test your idea themselves. Mention some relevant statistics in your script, too.

5. Emotions

If you want people to care about what you’re trying to say, you’ve got to make them feel something.

Trigger emotions in your audience and be mindful of which emotion(s) you decide to evoke.

6. Stories

Stories act as a mental flight simulator. You could incorporate the problem-solution story format into your script to help your audience visualize how your product or service is the answer they’ve been looking for all along.

Here’s an explainer video where we tell Tina’s story and how Skedaddle helped take the worry out of her big day.

Keep these tidbits in your back pocket and remember the principles with the acronym SUCCESs. You’ll find these useful for other creative projects, too.

Now that you’re equipped with ideas on how to approach your scriptwriting, let’s take a look at some best practices that you can keep in mind:

Best Practices for Writing a Great Script

1. Use the first 30 seconds

You need to bring the message of your explainer video into one line and share it in the first 30 seconds of your script. This will help your audience know what they have to pay attention to.

You can direct their attention to your unique selling proposition right from the beginning and continue building on it throughout your video.

2. Are you talking to me?

Your audience should have a De Niro moment while watching your explainer video; so address them and keep that in mind while writing your script. Write as though you’re talking to one person in particular.

Imagine your ideal buyer persona for this and get going! Use second-person pronouns to make the whole thing sound personalized.

Using ‘you’ or ‘your’ helps create a bond and allows your viewer to relate to what you’re saying, which is always a good thing.

You may have noticed how we’ve incorporated ‘you’ and ‘your’ language in this post as well.

Another important thing to note here is that when you’re creating an audience-centric script, you shouldn’t heavily mention your product’s/service’s features.

As a startup, you need to share the benefits in your explainer video that will make the difference for the intended audiences.

Your script should, for instance, share examples like “is your existing service charging you more?” or “do you want to improve your bottom-line?”

Basically, make it about them and not about you.

3. Call to action

Any explainer video, whether it’s for a big brand or a budding startup, needs to have a strong call to action (CTA).

A strong CTA comes around at the end to ensure that viewers will take the desired action.

From downloading an e-book to getting them to sign up for a webinar, a call to action should be included in the script after a brief gap and with precise wording.

The Bottom Line

Explainer videos can be game changers for startups. As a business, you can share the perfect story about your idea with your investors and customers. However, sharing your story in 60-90 seconds can be tough.

After all, you can’t just cram information in a video and hope that there will be conversions.  This is why you need a killer script.

Your explainer video can attract, engage, and convert once you figure out how to share the idea with your audience in a coherent manner.

If you’d like to talk more about strategy and want an explainer video yourself, hit us up! Our video junkies will be happy to guide you.

So, there you have it. Put your creative cap on; start wordsmithing, and let the games begin!

Read more: How to Produce an Explainer Video for a $1,000

Posted by MotionCue

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