Explaining a complex product or service is hard. Add in creating an engaging story that gets people to buy enthusiastically — all under 90 seconds — and it’s damn near impossible.
Take for example a SaaS company that sells renters insurance. How do you quickly explain the inner workings of insurance while simultaneously making it appealing to millennials?
The answer is impeccable insight and a really good explainer video script.
Look, we get it—when you’re putting together a video marketing campaign, it can feel extremely daunting. But don’t get discouraged, Colormatics creates dozens per year—and because we want you to be successful (and tell your friends where you got all these great tips), we are sharing the right way to write an explainer video script.
If at any point you have questions, hit that pink chatbot in the bottom right corner and a Colormatics’ team member will be happy to help.
Before we dive in, let’s make sure we are on the same page by quickly defining what an explainer video script is.
What is an Explainer Video Script?
An explainer video script is defined as the voiceover text for the narrator of an explainer video. Animation designers will refer to the script when creating the characters for the video.
If you need to write an explainer video script, follow our step-by-step guide, below.
How to Write an Explainer Video Script Step-by-Step
Every writer has their own unique style, so there’s not one specific process for writing an explainer video script. After all, video is creative content – so you shouldn't be bound by any hard rules. Where’s the fun in that?
The most important aspect is understanding the fundamentals of script writing, so you can be free to get creative.
In order to ensure your video will have a solid foundation follow this step-by-step on how to write an explainer video script.
1. Simplify Your Story
Have you seen an explainer video where the message is all over the place? Where it is trying to fit in so much information, that it never seems to get to the point?
When there is too much going on it can be distracting and ultimately do more harm than if there was no explainer video at all.
Do not make this mistake. Imagine the explainer video script is a children’s book - but for adults. It needs to be interesting, engaging and as simple as possible.
To simplify your story, first know who you are speaking to and what they want from the video. Ask yourself, “why will people care?”
2. Grab Attention from the Beginning
The digital landscape has limited space that everyone and their uncle is vying for. If you don’t engage your viewer from the very beginning, you risk losing their attention to your competition.
Grab attention from the very beginning by hooking your target audience in the first 3 seconds. It is in this brief window of time that you must say something that makes them go, “oh, it’s me!”
3. Poke the Wound and Show that it Hurts
The product or service you are offering should solve some sort of problem or “pain point” that the target audience is experiencing.
After you have made an initial connection with your audience and you know you have their full attention, you want to poke the wound, so to speak. Reminding them of their problem will naturally make them more appreciative of the solution you're about to offer.
Ask yourself, What is the problem? Why is it important? How does it negatively affect your audience?
4. Competing Alternatives
A lot of marketers miss this step - or choose to ignore it because they don’t want to advertise their competition.
The thing is, if you don’t mention your competition, your audience is more likely to search for alternative solutions. And, you do not want that to happen.
By mentioning competing solutions in your video script, your audience will naturally feel like they’ve already done their research and will be less likely to look up alternatives.
5. Solve the Problem
Be careful not to pitch too early. When your audience hears the narration of an explainer video, they shouldn’t immediately recognize an underlying motive.
We’re not saying don’t include a CTA (call to action, or what you’d like the audience to do), by all means you should have a clear pitch, what we’re saying is—do not throw too early. You need to disarm your audience first.
For ideas on how to disarm your audience, check out the psychology of writing an explainer video script below.
6. Check Your Length
The recommended explainer video length is between 60 - 180 seconds long. And you don’t have to be a mathematician to know that’s not a ton of time, so your script needs to be clear and concise.
For reference 300 words equates to approximately 2 minutes voiceover, so keep this average in mind. You can also check your script’s reading time with a voice over estimate tool.
7. Test Your Script
Ultimately you need your script to actually resonate with real people. Make sure it works before investing in production by running it by real people. This doesn’t have to be super formal, simply send a recording to a colleague or peer for review will be a great way to gauge its effectiveness.
Psychology of Writing an Explainer Video Script (with examples)
Now that we have tackled the fundamentals of writing a video script, it’s time to talk about what makes just another explainer video vs what effectively communicates the message into a memorable story.
In order to make an explainer video memorable, we need to dig into the psychology of writing an explainer video script.
1. Use People Instead of Percentages
Providing statistics is highly encouraged because it supports your claims. The more specific your data is, the stronger your claims will be.
Just be sensitive when it comes to using human subjects. When people are the subject of a statistic be sure to bring the focus to the human element more so than the percentage. This slight alteration will make the statistic more impactful.
For example, rather than saying “74% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube.” You would say “7 out of 10 adults in the U.S. use YouTube.”
2. Glass Half-Full
Despite its frequent use in natural language, negative sentences are not ideal. We use more mental resources to process negative sentences, resulting in increased reaction times and reduced comprehension.
Simply put, write your script with a “glass half-full” lens.
3. Freedom to Choose
Another method of reducing negativity, thus improving comprehension, is to frame sentences with the freedom to choose.
With greater liberty, your audience actually develops a stronger desire to complete your call to action.
Rather than “buy our product because it's more effective,” you would say “decide for yourself if this app meets your needs based on its effectiveness.”
4. Let the Visuals do the Heavy Lifting
Last but certainly not least is the golden rule of writing, do not explain what you can show.
Explainer videos have so many visual tools at their disposal: animation, motion graphics, data visualization, kinetic text, etc. Use these elements to your advantage!
By using these video script writing tips, you'll create an engaging explainer video that gets people buying and talking about your product or service, enthusiastically.
Colormatics consists of professional script-writers and animators working together to create stunning explainer videos. Hit the chat box in the bottom right hand corner to take your video marketing campaign to the next level.