Seven Tips for Creating Effective Explainer Videos
The popularity of explainer videos has skyrocketed over the past few years. And no wonder: they are proven to rank better in search engines, they increase your website traffic, and they help your audience retain information 30% more than static text does.
Having created dozens of explainer videos over the past 8+ years, I have
gained a lot of insight into avoiding pitfalls and developing effective videos.
If you are considering investing in a marketing video in 2017, read these
useful tips for creating a video that can help you drive more sales.
you need help with your email, web site, video, or other presentation
to promote your company, product, or service, please give me a call at
440-519-1500 or e-mail me at email@example.com.
1. Keep It Short
Think of your explainer videos as your company's elevator pitch. That
concept comes from the studio heydays of Hollywood, when a screenwriter would
catch an executive on an elevator ride. The screenwriter would then
"pitch" an idea to the decision-maker in 30-60 seconds. And that
length is the sweet spot for capturing your audience's attention, we've found.
In fact, the shorter the video, the more likely your audience will continue watching
it. Moreover, if you don't capture viewers' attention within the first 10
seconds, you'll immediately lose 20% of your audience.
Tip: When writing a video
script, keep in mind that 150 words equals roughly a minute of voiceover (VO).
2. The Script
Without a well-written script, you won't have a solid foundation for your
In my experience, it's almost always better to hire a scriptwriter. Some
companies like to try to write their own scripts, but if you're not familiar
with the process you can wind up wasting time and effort. Using a writer allows
you to be direct and to the point, and to stay on track.
The first few seconds are the most important part of a video, and a
scriptwriter can help you create a hook to grab the viewer's attention.
Scriptwriters also have a good sense for how much time to allow for pauses and
breaks, leaving breathing room so the message can be easily retained.
Tip: When reading a script,
allow for pauses—a few seconds for an interaction and a few seconds for the
call to action. If you don't account for this time in the scriptwriting stage,
the video will likely require additional budget.
A storyboard is a key element in video creation. A storyboard is a series of
slides with text descriptions to define the look and feel and animation style
of the video. For a 1-2-minute explainer video, the storyboard might include
roughly 24 still images with text descriptions. This process will help you
better visualize the entire video and save you time in the animation stage.
Tip: When creating the
storyboard, try to be as detailed as possible to ensure less backtracking later
4. Use a Professional Voiceover Artist
The right voice will help keep your video interesting and fill any dead
spaces or pauses in your video.
Voiceover artists record themselves in a soundproof room and use equipment
to edit out any irregular sounds. If you were to try to record the script
yourself, you'd most likely end up with irregular tones, pops in the audio, and
background noise. Unless you are a professional VO artist with a soundproof
room, there's no need to record it on your own.
Years ago, it would cost a few thousand dollars to hire a professional
voiceover artist, but today there are various online options, with costs
ranging from under $100 to just a few hundred dollars. It's as easy as going
online and picking the right VO for your video.
Here are a couple of websites we like to use for our audio:
5. Grab Your Audience's Attention
You've noticed the running theme about keeping your video short. And, as
I've already noted, it's important to grab the viewer's attention as early as
possible. You can do that, and keep their attention, in several ways:
6. Live Action Isn't Necessarily Better
- Use teasers: If you're
selling a product or service, you can mention that a particular piece of
info will be revealed later in the video.
- Use simple language: Try
not to get too crazy with the professional lingo. Keep it conversational.
The goal is to explain your product or service as quickly and clearly as
- Use typography: Even if
your video includes voiceover, it's good to back that up with some
overlaying text that points out the major points of your product or
- Keep the video moving: My
biggest pet peeve, and the reason most whiteboard animations don't work,
is the absence of movement. Your audience will surely drop out if they are
looking at the same old graphic, or a repetition of animation, throughout
your video. Keep changing things up to keep the video interesting.
One of the biggest misconceptions when creating a video is that it's very
expensive. But explainer videos don't have to be; in our experience, most fall
within the $2,500-$5,000 range.
Many people think of video as live footage, but around 90% of our video work
is graphics and animation. By using typography, photos, and illustrations, you
will achieve the same effect as a live video—and save yourself thousands of
It's amazing how background music can bring an entire explainer video to
life. Music helps fill in any pauses in the VO or animation and keeps your
video interesting from beginning to end. It also sets the mood for your video,
so choose carefully! Is your video funny? Serious? Is it for a corporate
presentation? Picking the right music will help hook your audience. These are
some of our favorite music sites:
When using music with VO, keep the volume very low so it doesn't interfere with
the voiceover. Listen to the VO and music with and without headphones so you
can better determine the correct audio balance.
X2 Media can help you target your content and get your message to the audience in a way that it is not only seen and heard, but remembered.
Until next month….remember, “you don’t get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression”. Always make it a good one!
From X2Media I would like to thank you for your time.
John E. Hornyak