Crafting a great explainer video takes time, dedication, and a good script. But what if you never wrote scripts before? Don’t worry, here’s a tutorial with only twenty steps that will help you write an awesome explainer video script.
1. Determine Your Topic
The first step is to determine your topic. If you don’t know what you will be making a video about, you can’t possibly make it comprehensible. You need to have a clear message with every point you want to make structured one after the other with logical connections between them. After all, you don’t want it to look like a mess of different thought thrown together.
Think of such things as the problem you will be solving and the methods you will be using to solve it. Outline the process that will take place as you will have to give your viewers an overview of this process.
2. Create an Outline
Once you know your topic, you have to create an outline for your video. This outline will help you stick to the more organized structure rather than stumbling onward until you reach the end. You should have different sections in your script just like in an article. Think of your video as a how-to guide just in a different format.
You want to know how long your video will be so that you can make the sections in your video of appropriate lengths. Think through the main points you want to cover. Maybe you will want to go more in-depth with some of the subtopics.
3. Find Your Tone
You must find your tone early on so that you don’t get lost later. The tone you use in your video should be similar to the one you use in your articles (if you write those) so that it can correspond to your overall brand image or personality. It’s a part of the storytelling process so you have to pay close attention to this aspect of creating your explainer video.
Think of what kind of vibe you want your video to have. Maybe you want to sound like a strict college professor or maybe you want to be a laid-back high-school teacher. Whatever you choose, you have to be satisfied with it and stick to the “formula” till the end.
4. Lead with a Hook
When you sit down to write your explainer video script, what is the first element you will be working on? Right, the hook. The introduction to your video must be so captivating that nobody will want to click away. You must grab the attention of your viewers and make them want to continue watching.
A hook in a video works similarly to the one you use in articles:
- Introduce a situation or topic that you will be discussing.
- Voice the problem that your audience is currently dealing with.
- Say that you have a solution to this particular problem.
- Lead on by explaining that you will teach your audience how to solve the matter.
5. Include the Message Early On
The message of your entire video must be introduced very early on. Otherwise, your viewers may get uninterested and click away. The message does not necessarily have to be in the hook, but it must be voiced during the first 30 seconds of your video. This will tell your audience about what they must pay attention to in the video.
Your message is like the destination of your video. It’s somewhat of a conclusion to your long explanation that sums everything up at the very beginning. Your audience wants to know where you are headed. While your title and hook may give that out a bit, you should still include it separately as a message.
6. Keep It Short
Don’t make your video too long. If you check YouTube, you will see that the majority of video content ranges from 5 to 25 minutes. The ideal time, of course, is more in the middle being about 7-15 minutes. If your video is longer than that, your viewers may not watch it till the end due to several reasons:
- They don’t have time and have more important matters than watching videos.
- They got bored because your video is too long and you diluted your content.
- They realized that they saw a different video in the search results that was twice shorter.
7. Tell a Story
As mentioned earlier, storytelling is extremely important for your brand. Finding your personal tone is a part of this technique, but there is actually so much more to it. Storytelling could be summed up by the four steps you should use in your introduction. But unlike with the introduction, your story will stretch these four steps out into a whole script.
You must first introduce a problem. A good idea would be to add some extra challenges and minor issues that you can also solve. Then, you should talk about the solution explaining the process in great detail step by step. In the end, you must drive your viewers to action with a great conclusion.
8. Remember Your Goals
Don’t forget about your goals! Just like your script outline, your goals serve as an orienteer for you to stay focused on what you want the result to be. Your primary aim and additional objectives influence your technical and non-technical decisions along the way. For example, if you want your viewers to follow you on social media, you may want to mention your accounts.
To determine your goals, ask yourself such questions:
- Why am I telling this story?
- What is my perspective on it?
- Who will be my audience?
- Why will they care?
- What should they conclude?
- Will this be valuable for them?
9. Speak To the Audience
Speaking to your audience will create a feeling that you are talking to them directly in-person. You want to connect with your viewers so this is an essential feature your explainer video must possess.
The easiest way to do this, of course, is to use the pronouns “you” and “yours”. In addition to that, you can show them the things that they care about. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on them and their problems. Don’t tell them what they already know and don’t waste their time. But most importantly, never talk down to your audience.
10. Set up Things and Then Pay Them Off
This is one of the most important rules every writer and screenwriter should know. Setting up things and then paying them off later is one of the most basic parts of storytelling that is often forgotten, overlooked, or even underestimated. Nevertheless, this is actually the reason why stories are so satisfying,
You want your viewer to feel invested, so there should be a really strong takeaway in the end. Your viewers want to know what happens next, where the story goes, how the issue is resolved. You can set up something even by simply telling your viewers a riddle at the beginning and saying the answer only at the end of the video as long as it is related to your topic.
11. Remain Focused On Your Message
The goals you set yourself, the outline of the script you made, the tone you determined for yourself – all of these will help you stay focused on your core idea. You must never forget your message. After all, you announced it yourself at the very beginning of your own video! If you diverge from it, viewers will notice.
Don’t get into topics that can be or already have been discussed in other videos of yours. You don’t want to confuse your viewer. They are smart enough to figure out minor details. You want every aspect of your video from the music to the setting to reinforce your message.
12. Use Humor Where Appropriate
Neightan White, the content writer for IsAccurate, mentions that “people usually watch explainer videos in their free time. Therefore, they don’t like to lose their precious time on something which doesn’t make them smile, solve their problem, and is easy to follow.”
Humor is great as long as you don’t overuse it. Too much humor can lead to your video losing value, become overly diluted, or even plainly awkward. The humor you use must still reinforce and support your idea. The message should be clear.
At the same time, don’t use any jokes that may be offensive to someone. Light humor is okay. If you were improvising while shooting the video and there happened to be an inappropriate joke, make sure that you cut that out.
13. Provide Context
Complex ideas and data need to have the context to be understandable. If you don’t provide context, your viewers will simply get confused and you won’t get through to them.
Whenever you use statistics, remember to explain what they are about and what each element means. This goes for everything from diagrams to pie charts to infographics. Research and study results should also be explained.
14. Set Your Pace
Setting your pace will help you maintain a steady rhythm and use the tone you chose appropriately. Rapid talking overwhelms viewers and they quickly lose interest.
You want your dialogue to be around 125-150 words a minute. You may be able to speak at the speed of 200 words a minute or even more, but that will just sound like you are spewing out words as if you are a machine. Relax and let your audience process what you are saying.
15. Get a Different Perspective
A different perspective can make your video seem more interesting and variable. If you get the perspective of an experienced professional or a satisfied customer, you can even improve your reputation and trustworthiness this way.
It’s a good idea to have two people talking in your video. Maybe they can be discussing something together or explaining the different aspects of one topic.
16. Include Art Direction
There’s way more to your video than what you are going to say. There’s also what kind of effects you will be using and what music will be playing in the background as well as many other things.
When writing your explainer video script, consider including some stage directions, sound and special effects, settings, music, and other art direction. It will liven up your text and make your script more easily visualized or imagined.
17. Read It Out Loud
When you finish writing the main body of your explainer video script, read it out loud to yourself and ask such questions:
- Does it feel natural?
- Do all of the words work?
- Is this everything I expected?
- Is there anything worth changing?
Record yourself and listen to how the dialogue sounds. Some things read well when you are pronouncing them in your mind, but once you hear them out loud, they are terrible.
18. Get Feedback
You may be dreading this moment but it would have come at some point. Getting feedback on what you just wrote will help you understand which parts have to be improved. After all, you can’t possibly know everything.
Something that seemed fine to you will turn out to be not that effective to your colleague. Get several perspectives, collect the feedback, analyze it, and change what has to be improved.
19. Cut the Unnecessary Parts
Every creative piece demands sacrifices and explainer video scripts are not an exception. You will have to cut the unnecessary parts that were taking up the duration of your video.
Think of the bits that diverge from your main focus. You might have missed the fact that this or that particular sentence could actually be simplified or cut out completely. It’s better to do this now so you don’t have to do it while editing the video later.
20. End with a Call To Action
Last but not least, end with a call to action that will encourage your viewers to start acting. You need them to do something afterward such as like the video, subscribe to your channel, share your creation, subscribe to the newsletter, follow your social media, and so on. Determine what this action is and write your CTA.
All in all, writing explainer video scripts may seem scary at the beginning but once you sit down and figure it out, it’s not that bad. Follow the steps outlined in this article and you will be on your way to success.