You’d heard about explainer video clips, and if you end up in this blog, you probably are thinking about making one. Then you start reading more about them on the internet and learn that it’s not about how smooth the animation is or how realistic the characters are. It’s basically about how the quality of the script you use to direct your explainer video.
The script is the cornerstone of a quality explainer clip. A good script can make a simple video perform better and easier for viewers to watch. But there are very few (if any) guidelines to making animated video scripts the right way.
It’s not easy because the video script should be unique for every explainer, not templated. Thus, it’s quite hard to make the Holy Book (or rule book, if you prefer) of writing scripts for animated videos.
We wrote a list of tips for writing a great explainer video; it’s worth a read in addition to this article.
Producing more than 2,000 explainers has given us insight into the fundamentals of a quality video script.
1. How long should it be?
An explainer clip is most effective if it’s anywhere between 60 to 120 seconds. It’s not too short of a period for showing the main features of your product/company/service, and it’s not long enough to bore people. Or, as I like to say it: fun duration.
2. But how do I count 60 to 120 seconds in words?
Given the normal speed of reading from your voice-over, a 1-minute explainer is approximately 140-160 words in English.
That means a 2-minute clip has around 320 words. But don’t rely on word count alone: Try reading your script aloud and measure how much time you need to finish it all.
In case you feel like writing scripts for initial briefs, we created an online app called WordsTimer to get a near-exact measurement. Give it a try when you write your next explainer script.
In addition, check out our article on how many words a 60-second explainer video needs for a broader view.
For what it’s worth, the best way to write a piece of copy (yes, writing an animated video script is copywriting) is by writing it down as a whole, re-reading it, and taking out the fluff. Rinse and repeat until you get the shortest, clearest version of what you’re trying to explain.
3. What should I write?
The key advice to write script 1: You should write about your product/service/company to share knowledge and value instead of up-front advertising.
These key elements are essential to getting the word about your products out to your audience:
The main problem(s):
To create a feeling of relatability in your audience and to give the impression that they could have such a problem right now or in the future.
The solution you offer to solve the problem(s):
The part where you introduce your product as the problem solver.
How you are going to solve the problem(s):
Where the visual part plays a big role. What you can say with a thousand words, you can show it in a single slide in your explainer.
People will not come to your house party unless you invite them. The concept is the same when doing a video campaign. No matter how you plan to tell your stories with your explainer, you should always include a call-to-action.
Those are the essential features people would want to see in your animated clip. How you execute it to be as interesting as possible is the real challenge.
4. Are there different styles in writing script?
Not every product serves the same purpose. That’s why not every video script should be written the same way.
Some ways will be very effective; others will be less effective. Here is the short guide version of different ways to convey your valuable message to your audience.
- Storytelling: Self-explanatory. You tell a story that leads up to your product/service/company as the ending.
- Showing off: Basically, you focus on showing your audience how good and useful your product is in a specific situation. The situation should be relatable and likely to happen in real life.
- Educational: You are going to inform and educate them about an issue they may not yet be aware of. The message is still related to your product or service, of course, but your main goal is not selling or acquiring but increasing awareness. Information conveyed through videos is more engaging and easier to remember.
- Intro-tutorial: The public needs an impressive introduction and guidance whenever they encounter topics involving a brand-new product (usually coming from a startup). An intro tutorial is the go-to type of explainer video script for startups.
5. Where can I find script-writing services?
On a scale from 1-10, the importance of an explainer script is an 8. It’s crucial to keep in mind that if you decide to write one yourself for your video, it may not turn out as you expect.
It takes a lot of experience and training to be able to write a quality explainer script, so you might want to spend a little extra to get more for your script.
– WriterAccess and Upwork: they are the best marketplaces where quality freelancers provide a writing service at affordable prices. These websites have exceptional features that help both customers and freelancers get better deals. If you’re only getting started, go to these websites.
They provide information about the freelancers such as sales made, customers’ review, and portfolios. This makes it easier for customers to make the right decision.
The difference is in Writer Access, they provide specifically writing services, while Upwork has freelancers from various industries.
– Explainer Video Production Studios: Most video production companies offer packages with the script-writing process included. So, if you’re not on a tight budget, you might as well invest more for a better quality animated video.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how experienced writers are —they still need information about your target audience and the core idea you want them to understand.
- A 1-minute explainer video script consists of 140-160 words, depending on the reading speed.
- Scripting should be done by professionals. If you’re on a budget, go to Upwork or WriterAccess for $25-$50.
- Here’s a proven storytelling method that works almost all the time to increase your conversion:
b. Introduction to your product (a.k.a the solution)
c. How it works
d. Call to action
So, how would you like to write your explainer video script? In-house or outsourcing from the pros? Let me know in the comments.
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).