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Today’s customers are harder to reach. Not only are modern products significantly more complex and difficult to explain, but the modern consumer faces continual bombardment from hundreds of brands every waking hour. How can you cut through the fray and make those elusive sales? Enter stage right: the explainer video

Video content is actually favored by search engines. It often gets higher page ranking than other types of content, like blogs and landing pages. According to YouTube, explainer videos also result in as much as 80 percent improvements in conversion rates, because videos keep your visitors engaged longer, resulting in more sales.

Here’s what you need to know to create and deliver an explainer video that rules the land.

What’s an Explainer Video & Why Does My Company Need One?

An explainer video is a brief 30-second to 3-minute video explaining how a product meets a particular need or solves a common problem. Though delivered in a fun, breezy fashion, these videos are clear, concise, and packed with information. Considering you only have about 500 or fewer words to work within a 3-minute video script, it’s more about leaving stuff out than what to put in. It’s essential that explainer videos entertain the viewer because online shoppers exhibit notoriously short attention spans. Bore them and they’re outta there.

How Can We Get Started?

Pre-production script writing and conceptualizing the video design – A newbie might jump straight into writing a script, but there’s a lot of pre-production discovery work that makes the entire production process, as well as the end product, much better. The absolute first step is evaluating your customer persona, because that’s who you’ll speak to in the video. Are they hipsters? Create an edgy, innovative video. Are they stiff-shirted business types? Well, leave out the NSFW jokes and hit ’em hard with facts and figures. One of our writers last year also wrote a similar post here: http://attackmotiondesign.com/choosing-video-style-best-fits-brand/

Choosing a video style – There are four types of explainer videos to choose from (or you can work with us to come up with something wholly your own):

  • The Screencast – This style is ideal for explaining new software and apps. It’s a walkthrough of your product, featuring carefully-chosen screen shots and a sleek voiceover. Great for customers that like to try before they buy.
  • The Cartoon – A short cartoon walking the viewer through how your product meets their need or solves their problem. It’s all about storytelling. The characters in your video represent your target audience or customer personas, so you need to know these like old friends before starting to put together your video. It’s great for putting a face on your brand and building trust.
  • The Animated Whiteboard – When you have some pretty complicated information to present, the animated whiteboard is ideal. It lets you explain your complex concepts in a straightforward fashion. These are also visually engaging because the viewer actually watches as the content gets created on their screen. Whiteboards are overused by low-rent marketing schemes so you may want to avoid this style unless it’s extremely well done or offers a new twist.
  • The Motion Graphics Video – This style incorporates the elements of a typical PowerPoint presentation into an engaging, entertaining video presentation. Think infographics and data visualizations. Examples are pie charts, bar graphs, and line drawings, presented with a slick, knowledgeable voiceover, and highlighted with music and sound design.

What are the Next Steps?

Begin with an outline — the basic progression of the story the video tells. It’s sometimes helpful to write out everything you want to say, then clip and cull until it’s precise and concise. The real art in scripting is to make complicated ideas easy to understand, using minimal words and strong visual techniques.

Art meets science when the script is ready and it’s time to put the design elements into practice frame by frame to create a story or plot for your video. We need to develop the style board and storyboard. The style board comes first. Style boards define the tone and “feel” of the explainer video. It includes the color scheme, basic layout, and overall design concepts. The storyboard is a natural follow-up. That’s when the design concepts become actual frame-by-frame bites of the video. We like to pair the imagery to script at this stage to make sure everything makes sense. A board-o-matic is a quick video of your storyboard stills with a scratch voice-over and music. This gives us an idea about timings and any holes in the script or imagery. It’s a good place to see what needs work.

Remember, it’s impossible to set the script in stone until you’ve created all the boards and get ready for voiceover. Until then, you need to remain flexible as the pieces fall into place. Think of all the elements as fluid until you get it right.

Production: editing, motion tests and animation. The difference in a so-so explainer video and an extraordinary video that catapults your brand name from obscurity to widespread recognition is in the animation and the final details. Take the time to work with your video production team to assure that the video is as short and concise as possible. Make sure that it makes your key value proposition clear. Leave out anything that isn’t critical to your message. Remember, your sales team can make a more thorough pitch and answer deeper questions once the customer is ready to talk terms.

Bells and whistles: the voiceover – During this process, there are many other elements to decide on, like the sound effects and musical score. These little details play as large a role in the inevitable success of a sleek video as do the major components, like the script and plot.

Like the graphic style of your video, the voiceover helps set the mood and tone of the explainer video. Viewers know instantly whether they’re watching something funny or serious or educational or simply bizarre just based on the voice, so choose carefully! A professional voice talent is available for most any tone you’d like to set for your explainer video.

It’s critical to note that you can’t swipe your favorite tune off the current Top 40 list and set your explainer video to it. Music companies are serious when it comes to protecting their copyrights. Your options are: paying for an original score or ponying up for another artist’s track. Your experts at Attack Motion Design can walk you through the pros and cons of each option.

Finally, check that the video is smooth, features seamless transitions, and is easy to follow and understand. A professional video producer also takes the time to properly compress and encode your video so that it loads fast. You don’t want it to buffer or freeze up while a potential customer is watching. The compression and encoding you need depend on the places you’ll place the video (your website, YouTube channel, social media, your mobile app, etc.). Work with a production crew that’s experienced and knowledgeable about these things.

How Can We Get the Video in Front of Our Target Audiences?

The best explainer video ever produced sits and listens to the crickets chirp without the right promotion. After putting up your video, it needs SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. This involves endowing it with the most relevant and common search terms, as well as proper handling of the metadata (meta tags and descriptions, etc.).

Once your video has the right SEO elements, it’s time to promote it! Think banner ads, Google AdWords, PPC, and social media marketing — all the standard practices of smart online marketing.

See our previous posts: http://attackmotiondesign.com/increase-video-views-client-guide-part-1/ and http://attackmotiondesign.com/increase-video-views-youtube-facebook-client-guide/ for additional information.

What are you waiting for? Lights …. Camera … Action!

 

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