The phrase ‘easier said than done’ comes to mind when writing copy for explainer videos.
It doesn’t feel like you’re watching Shakespeare when you watch them. It’s simple stuff; information in bite-size chunks.
But a lot of work goes into them, trust us. You’re taking complex problems and solutions and making them accessible. There’s a skill to this work.
We want to empower you with that skill. That’s why we’ve made this ultimate guide to writing copy for explainer videos. So get reading and enjoy!
#1. Why Explainer Videos Matter
Put simply, an explainer video is a short video that explains what your company does or a product it sells.
They’re usually designed to live on landing pages, home pages, product pages, and social media feeds. They might seem like an unnecessary extra in your operation. However, research shows that:
- 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
- According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year.
- 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
And if that doesn’t convince you, consider that 87% of online marketers are currently using video content in their digital marketing strategies. In other words, there is a very good chance your competitors are using explainer videos. So fight back!
If you’re interested in learning more about why explainer videos are worthwhile, check out our article on why you should use videos in your social media strategy.
#2. Start From A Strong Base
Identify and Know Your Audience: Understanding your audience is good practice in any industry. Particularly in marketing and particularly in explainer videos. Who your audience defines the video you make.
Knowing this crucial information will help you along every step of the way. If you want to learn more about this fascinating topic, you have to understand your target audience.
Build a Brief: State Your Problem and Solution: Before you write a single word, you need to figure out what this explainer video is about. This will give you clarity throughout the process. It’s a reference point to keep you right.
The problem-solution question is a classic. And it might seem like overstating the obvious, but it’s essential.
- Problem: first, state it in its simplest form. Later on, you’ll give it a narrative element to make it relevant to your audience. But for now, state in watered-down terms. What is the problem?
- Solution: Again, as simple as possible, write down the solution. How does your product or service fix the problem?
If you’ve done this, you’ve effectively written a script. You’ve said everything you have to. Now your goal is to flesh it out into something special.
#3. What The Best Explainer Videos do
Grab Attention From the Start: The best novels and films start with a memorable line, and there is a whole range of techniques to grab your viewer’s attention right from the start. Here are some examples:
- Revealing Personal Information
- Mirroring the Reader’s Pain
- Asking the Reader a Question
- Shock the Reader
- Intrigue the Reader
- Lead with a Bold Claim
- Be Empathetic and Honest
- Invite the Reader In
As for which one is right for you? Well, you have three variables to weigh up:
- the tone of your brand.
- Your understanding of your target audience.
- The essence of what you’re trying to sell.
After analysing where you stand regarding your variables, let your creative side take control and start writing!
Describe Their Problem Better Than They Can Themselves: When you describe your audience’s problem more accurately than they can, they will trust you more and buy into your solution.
This is where stating your problem before you start writing is so crucial. It’s a foundation that allows you to flesh out depth you wouldn’t have been able to before.
Appeal to Story & Emotion: The best stories – and explainer videos – appeal to our emotions. Research shows that emotion in communication is associated with higher levels of:
- Decision making
So, in short, if you can build an explainer video that appeals to your audience’s emotion, with humour, or any other means, it’s going to lead to greater retention and conversions.
This is where knowing your target audience comes in handy. How can you make it relevant to their lived experience? What do they care about? What media do they consume?
Call to Action: A call to action is a staple in almost all marketing. It’s a command of sorts.
A word to the wise, though, be careful to find the right pitch in your CTA’s. Always be authoritative, but don’t be too forceful. Check out these classic call to action examples for some inspiration!
Let The Visuals Speak: A picture says a thousand words, as they say. So let your animation do some of the heavy lifting for you.
It’s a case of show don’t tell. Our brains process videos 60,000 times faster than text. That’s why it’s crucial to visualise essential statistics that can’t be missed.
To learn more about the benefits of Illustration and animation for your content, check out this article.
Keep it Short: Think about your user experience when you’re online. How many times have you been put off watching a video because it’s been too long?
The stats back up the argument for shorter videos: 58% of viewers watch a business-related video all the way through if it’s less than 60 seconds. Only 24% will finish a video longer than 20 minutes.
Facebook recommends that small businesses keep videos to around 15 seconds as much as possible. They shared that 47% of the value in a video is delivered in the first 3 seconds.
Anticipate Viewer’s Questions: Always take a moment to imagine yourself as a viewer who does not know your product. Brainstorm what questions they would have about what’s going on in your video. If you do this effectively, you can avoid them leaving your video feeling confused. And that’s going to lead to more conversions!
#4. Nail the Tone
Pretend You’re Explaining to a 5-Year-Old: Research shows that people are less likely to believe statements if they’re written in overly complicated language. You should focus on being friendly and clear like you’re explaining it to a 5-year-old.
Be Your Brand: By the time you come to make an explainer video, you will already have put a lot of effort into creating a brand identity. Now is your chance to celebrate it and let it sing.
Avoid Overt Sales Jargon: Consumers are naturally suspicious of sales language. Remember, the sale is the subtext. All you’re doing is telling the story of a problem and a solution.
Rhythm: Your explainer video should have a natural pace where it’s quick enough not to drag on but not too quick that the viewer can’t keep up with it. So write with rhythm!
#5. Fine-Tune to Explainer Perfection
Test: One of the best pieces of editing advice for writers has always been to reread your work out loud. Sometimes words written down – even words written well – sound clunky when said aloud. Given its narrative element, reading aloud before passing it on to your team is vital for explainer videos.
Kill Your Darlings: It hurts when you write something you resonate with personally but has to be cut for the greater good of the piece. It takes a good writer to spot and a braver one to follow through with it. But don’t worry, you’ll think of more great lines in the future!
Don’t Use Dictionary Words: As we mentioned, research shows straightforward language is better for convincing strangers of your arguments. So don’t show off with big fancy words.
There’s no need. Your video will race ahead while they’re still trying to figure out what your impressive word means. So not only will they miss the core message of your content, they’ll feel insulted by you shoving a word in their face they don’t understand.
So there you have it, our ultimate guide to writing copy for explainer videos. We hope we’ve made this task clearer and more exciting for yourself.
Author: Francesca Pinder from SpaceHuntr