Even though explainers make for great additions to most marketing strategies in terms of increasing conversion rates, the truth is that not every explainer video hits the spot.
Behind every effective explainer, there is an essential formula and many production elements that make it so. Elements that, if you are doing it right, should be felt but mostly go unnoticed on the final product.
Like the ingredients in a delicious marketing pie!
From researching your buyers’ personas to the intricacies of working with animation, every step has its secrets and challenges. So today, we’ll go over some critical aspects of the explainer video production process and give you some pro insights and tips to help you ensure your brand’s explainers deliver on your expectations.
1 – Address Your Explainers to the Right Audience
When making an explainer video, you have to make sure that it’s speaking to the people you want to reach out to. Your initial goal is to capture the viewer’s attention right away, and to accomplish that, you have to understand your target audience, their pain points and interests, and how your message relates to those things.
Start every explainer video production process by doing the proper research so you can hit your audience right in the feels. Even before you start worrying about scripts or storyboards, you should be able to answer key questions like What do your viewers want? What do they need? How are you going to solve their problem?
These questions are essential to help you tailor your message for its intended audience.
Explainers & Buyer Personas
A great way to help you figure these things out is to build your target audience’s buyer persona: a sort of profile that describes your ideal customers (and thus, your explainer’s audience) not only in terms of demographic information but also their motivations, wants, and goals.
The more you know about your audience, the better equipped you’ll be later down the production road.
Buyers personas attempt to describe what prospective customers are thinking and doing as they make their way through the buyer’s journey. So once you establish your target audience, look for opportunities to make the narrative personally relevant and relatable to them. Do it right, and your explainer will be that much more compelling and appealing right off the bat.
2 – Write a Killer Script
Easy peasy, right?
Jokes aside, a great place to start here is to remember that explainers follow a structure meant to present a product or service simply and entertainingly while focusing on making the viewer’s life easier. And the best way to do that in a short amount of time is to tell a compelling story that they can identify with.
A well-written script is a crucial component of any professional-level explainer, as it will work as the backbone of the work.
Sticking to the classic explainer video structure is the wisest choice here: establish your characters and circumstances, present their problem, and finally describe why your product is the ideal solution.
Now, that’s all well and good as a general outline, but we promised you some pro tips, so here are a few things to keep in mind as you develop your video’s script:
• Keep it short: brevity is key when writing an explainer. Remember that most explainers should ideally last 90 sec or less. We recommend watching your word count and keeping it between 120 and 150 words per minute.
• Keep it simple: even if your piece is meant for a highly educated audience, an effective explainer delivers its message in the simplest, most straightforward way possible. You must keep your script exciting and thorough but easy to digest.
• Don’t spend more time on the problem than the solution: you want to amaze them with your product or service, not overwhelm them with their problems.
• Anticipate your audience questions: make sure they’re addressed in the story.
• Show, don’t tell: avoid over-explaining with words what you can simply show on the screen. Take advantage of the visual medium you are using and know visuals, graphics, and animations will complement your script.
• Be straightforward: your crucial value proposition should be introduced within the first 30 seconds.
• Speak directly to your audience: write in a 2nd person voice. Look for opportunities to turn your viewer into the main character.
• Keep in mind the tone you want for your explainer video: most videos opt for a casual and conversational tone.
• Try a touch of humor: videos with at least some subtle laughs tend to be more enjoyable, but don’t force it. Keeping in tune with your overall branding voice is more important.
3 – Leverage Storyboarding for a Smooth Production Experience
Building a detailed storyboard is the next step to creating an explainer that works. At its core, a storyboard is a simplified visual representation of how your video will unfold. It works as an organizer for your thoughts by using visual sketches that help you create a ‘draft’ for a video.
The purpose of making a storyboard is to help you pre-visualize how your video will look once it’s finished, allowing you to polish, switch around, and fix potential issues with these elements before moving into production (where tweaking and fixing become more complex and expensive!)
As you work with your video’s storyboard, here are a few significant factors to keep in mind:
• Plan your video scene by scene: developing a detailed storyboard helps you spot any potential problems or gaps in your script, which lets you address them before you invest more resources. You get to see your ideas being visualized instead of jumping in blindly towards the production stage.
• But don’t overdo it: your storyboard is not your video, though, so don’t try to do a complete, frame-by-frame account of the visuals. Stick to significant scenes (or keyframes) paired to your script and let the full scope of the details for later.
• Keep your time in mind: remember, you are trying to keep your explainers as short as possible for better results, and a storyboard should also help you allot your available time to the visuals that will accompany your script, including how long a given scene should last, on when transitions might kick in.
• Keep everyone on the same page: when working with a team, a storyboard provides an excellent framework for colleagues to provide feedback and contribute to the work before moving to production.
• Be creative: one of the best things about storyboards is that they allow you to explore your imagination and creativity through a visual medium without necessitating a significant commitment of time and resources. Suppose you have ideas on special visuals, transitions, or graphics you want to include at certain stages of your video during editing. In that case, the storyboard gives you the perfect opportunity to feel them out and see how they might work with each other.
4 – Utilize the Full Power of Animation
When it comes to marketing, it is a well-known fact that visuals are far more powerful than words alone. Visually presenting information helps you save on word count and time and explain concepts more effectively. When we are talking explainers, you have many visual tools at your disposal: animation, motion graphics, data visualization, kinetic text… so don’t be afraid to use them!
Now that you’ve dealt with the script and the storyboard is time to get into the production stage. For this, head back to your planning to remind yourself what style you want for your piece. Will it be a motion graphics animation, a whiteboard video, a live-action piece, or a combination of different styles?
Whatever route you decide to go, it’s rare to find an explainer nowadays that doesn’t at least include animated assets due to their versatility. So, even though an entirely live-action explainer can theoretically work, we’ll take a closer look at some animation styles you’ll find in most explainers and see what they can do to improve your content:
• 2D animation: the classic and most popular style of animation you’ll see on most explainer videos. It consists of 2D drawn assets animated into motion (like most of us remember from old Disney movies or Saturday morning cartoons!). Flexibility and creativity are the names of the game here; as with animated assets, the sky’s the limit as far as what you can portray on the screen.
• Whiteboard animation: this one refers to a particular, visually distinctive animation style that simulates assets being hand-drawn and erased on a whiteboard. It has become popular due to its simplicity and versatility to convey information succinctly and thoroughly.
• Motion graphics animation: this style uses abstractions, fonts, and shapes to illustrate complex concepts and ideas with precision while keeping a dynamism that keeps viewers engaged. It works really well with the explainer formula of describing processes and introducing solutions without overloading viewers with too much visual information to keep track of.
• 3D animation: much like 2D animation, but with computer-generated 3D assets. While visually distinctive, developing 3D assets is more time and cost-intensive than its 2D counterpart.
5 – Brand Your Content Adequately
You want your brand to be instantly recognizable by your viewers, so you have to craft videos in a style and format that directly communicates to your audience that this explainer is yours.
An effective branding strategy is key to developing a particular style and format to implement into your explainer videos. Start by exploring your company’s existing color palette, typography, and visual and sound effects (like jingles) and look for sensible opportunities to make those elements part of your explainer. Keep those elements consistent.
If you are using your brand’s typography on the videos’ images, keep it consistent throughout the piece. This way, you’ll create a distinctive-yet-familiar style for all your videos.
Your brand’s voice and tone are other important factors to consider. Essentially, these reflect your brand’s personality and values, and they should be present in your piece.
You have to turn your brand into a friend, nurturing an emotional bond with viewers if you want your explainer to remain in viewers’ minds long after watching. Your voice actor has to sound familiar and easygoing to accomplish that, so don’t forget that pace and tone are as important as what you are saying.
Keep these things in mind when selecting voice talent and music accompaniments for your piece, as the audio design of your explainer will have a massive impact on how the whole work is received.
A well-developed business video strategy can make a huge difference in how many “potential buyers” end up becoming customers, but the only way to make that happen is by crafting your content like a pro.
Don’t take for granted the Explainer videos’ purported effectiveness, and remember that to reach the style’s full potential, their production requires research, planning, and a lot of insight to hit the right marks that make them effective.
Hopefully, these tips will help you do just that so that you don’t leave any details at the chance!