It’s 2019 and video rules the internet. If you’ve ever considered crafting custom explainer videos for your company, you aren’t alone. These content pieces can serve a variety or purposes and, when made correctly, engage and entertain viewers in ways other content types can’t.
In this article, we’ll outline what an explainer video is and how to create your own, from scratch, without having to hire an expensive video production company. Let’s get started!
To make sure that we’re on the same page, for this article, we’ll define and explainer video as any video (live action or animated) that engages viewers and effectively explains a topic in a quick, compelling way.
Admittedly, that’s a broad definition. But that’s the beauty of explainer videos! They are very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways and for a variety of different purposes. But all good explainer videos share these traits in common:
The potential benefits of explainer videos for your company are numerous and include an increase in conversions, boosted online visibility, and better brand awareness.
There are four main types of explainer videos that you need to be aware of: how to videos, benefits videos, demo videos, and FAQ videos. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
In all likelihood, the explainer videos you create will fall into one of these categories. If you do happen to create custom explainer videos of a different nature, the above rules still apply. Do your best to keep them short, focused, and engaging.
No matter which of the above four explainer videos you decide to create, the following five steps will help ensure that the final product is professional and effective.
Just about every great explainer video starts with this question: what am I trying to achieve? Do you plan to embed it on a landing page in the hopes that it boosts conversions? Will you distribute it internally as a way to train new hires? Maybe you plan to post it on social media.
Explainer videos work for all of these purposes. You just have to determine what your goals are at the very beginning so that you can properly craft your video script. Speaking of scripts…
This is arguably the most important part of your explainer video. Without a quality script, you don’t really have anything. If you’ve ever gone to the theater and seen a big budget Hollywood blockbuster, full of top acting talent and special effects, only to leave disappointed afterwards, you know this to be true.
Special effects and quality voiceovers won’t be able to hide a subpar explainer video script. Fortunately, if you apply these tips to your videos, you won’t have to hide anything! Here are two bulletproof script templates you can use:
But what if you goal isn’t to sell but to educate? This script can be modified for in-house training videos as well that explain company processes:
These scripts can probably be adapted for other purposes as well. The key is to get creative and structure your video is a way that makes sense. As long as your explainer videos are short, focused, and engaging (like we mentioned earlier) you should be just fine.
At this point, you should know what the purpose of your explainer video is and have written a quality script for it. Now it’s time to actually starting shooting your video!
There are A LOT of ways to do this. For instance, you could grab your smartphone and shoot a quick video of yourself in your backyard explaining the benefits of your company’s product. You could then upload the footage to YouTube and hope for the best.
Or you could take a more professional approach (recommended!) and use a software program to help you craft a beautiful explainer video. You worked hard on the script right? You might as well get the rest of your video right as well.
The explainer video software you use will depend on whether you want to craft an animated or live action video. Let’s look at software for each.
Animated explainer videos are fun and can help a company stand out from competitors. They’re also a great option if you and your team aren’t comfortable being on camera. Here are the best software apps for making animated explainer videos:
If animated videos don’t suit your brand, or you’re looking to create explainer videos that demo a product, a live-action video is your best bet. These two software tools will help you get the job done:
When the footage has been shot, you can then edit it with annotations to quickly make your points clear to viewers and share it internally or online. For live-action explainer videos, consider using what major companies like Uber, Salesforce and Adobe use.
These apps generally require advanced video editing knowledge and may not be the best option for complete beginners. But, if you do decide to invest your time and money into one of these tools, you can definitely produce amazing results!
Once the main footage for your explainer video has been shot (or animated) it’s time to add a few engagement elements to help your final product stand out.
This is especially important if you’re working on an animated explainer video. Without a quality voiceover, your video will just be a collection of graphics, text, and background music — which can work really well and is generally cost effective.
But a great voice over will help engage your viewers. There are a couple of ways you can get one:
Without music and the right sound effects, you’ll have a hard time getting anyone to watch your explainer video. Fortunately, adding these elements to your creations is pretty simple. There are plenty of sites that offer access to cheap and/or free royalty-free music.
Checkout: Free Sound, Audio Jungle, and YouTube. If none of these sites have what you’re looking for, take to Google. Just remember to read the fine print before using any audio in your explainer videos.
Pro Tip: Tools like Biteable (mentioned earlier) usually have a library of royalty-free music available to use.
Congratulations, your explainer video is done! Now it’s time to market and distribute your masterpiece to the world. So upload it to your company’s website, share it on YouTube and Facebook, or add it to your internal training library. Use the video for its intended use.
But don’t forget to measure its performance! If your explainer video was created for the public, measure engagement (views, watch time, click throughs, etc.) and assess what’s working well and what isn’t. You can use this information to either improve your current video or to help you create more effective videos in the future.
If your explainer video was created for internal use (i.e. it’s a training video, for example) get feedback from your viewers. Does it convey information in a clear way? Is there anything you can do to improve the video? Again, use this information to make any necessary changes.
The following three explainer videos are some of the best we’ve seen. Watch them, study them, and use them as inspiration for your own creations.
This explainer video is hilarious and perfectly crafted for the Dollar Shave Club target audience. The video creators also did a great job structuring their script. It starts with a product overview, addresses the problem their product solves, and then positions their offering as the ideal solution.
This animated explainer video from Crazy Egg does a great job of showing the company’s product in action and hammering home its benefits. While it’s longer that we would normally recommend, it’s engaging and keeps the viewers interest. It also does a great job of including a call to action.
This last explainer video from Unroll.Me is short and sweet. It does a great job of exacerbating the problem Unroll.Me solves and because it features actual users (at least that’s what the viewer is led to believe), it seems very credible.
You now know everything you need to craft exceptional explainer videos that move your company forward! Just remember, every explainer video you create should be short, focused, and engaging. Follow these three “golden” rules and you can’t go wrong. Good luck!
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