In the past decade, I have been involved in the creation of over 500 explainer videos for my clients. Coming from a variety of industry verticals, while the creation of videos may have been a different and unique process with everyone, the factors that drove their success always remained the same.
Obviously not every video created by my team started ranking on the first page of SERPs right off the bat. These were, however, the times we learned what works when it comes to explainer videos.
Here are the five most important things I learned while creating over 500 videos:
Have a Plan in Place
Whether you are creating a video in house, or taking help from experts, having a plan in place will always help in getting things done efficiently.
When you are creating your video in house, make sure you follow a step-by-step process. For us at Crackitt, the following process has proven itself efficient and streamlined:
Conceptualisation > Script Creation > Storyboard Creation > Animation > Sound Effects / Voiceover
It is important to trust the process, even on the days it takes more time and effort than you expect. When the process is rushed, it usually results in much more time-consuming blunders in the later stages.
On the other hand, when businesses are outsourcing the video creation, they assume that the plan will be created and executed by the studio they have hired.
While there is nothing wrong with the previous statement, it is essential for businesses to have a clear objective in mind before they start working with a studio.
When you know what you want to achieve with a video, what the video will be highlighting about your product/service, and even have a possible narrative in mind, your brief to the agency will be extremely detailed.
This will help you get them on the same page quickly, and they will be able to execute the production process without too many revisions.
The Magic Lies in the Script
Sure, many production studios boast their superb ability to produce breathtaking graphics and while they definitely help, they are not what makes a video stand out.
Just like a blog post, an explainer video (or any marketing video for that matter) is a piece of content that, in order to drive success, needs to deliver real value.
Moreover, great graphics will surely help you present your product in a positive light, but it is the script that will describe what problems you are solving with your product. If you cannot get the latter right, chances are, even with the most appealing graphics, your video will crash and burn.
With that said, many businesses insist on creating their own script, arguing that they know their product best. While such an argument is pretty much flawless, unless you have an in house script-writer, your time and efforts are better spent in creating a descriptive brief for the video production studio you hire.
Instead of insisting to create the script yourself, work closely with the production team to ensure they fully understand your vision, and are able to realise it in the script.
The video below is a great example of a poorly planned script. It fails to explain what the product does, or what the main benefits of using the product are. The animation and large text boxes in the video aren’t helping either.
If the script had been planned well, these blunders could have been easily avoided.
Pro Voice Talent is Critical to Success
When it comes to videos, small businesses face several budget related challenges. For this reason, many businesses try to take the DIY route to create their business videos.
There is nothing wrong with that. However, there are certain aspects of your video that require professional attention, and the voiceover definitely tops this list.
The voiceover of your explainer video is responsible for setting the tone, communicating emotions, and building credibility for your brand. After all, the “explainer” part of your explainer video is being executed by the voice over.
A professional voiceover fulfills a number of pre-requisites for a compelling explainer video:
- Adds Emotions: Most of us have heard some version of the famous marketing advice “products don’t sell, emotions sell”. A professional voiceover artist will know which words to emphasize, and will be able to deliver the right tone of presentation, both of which will help introduce the right emotions to your video.
- Adds Credibility: Professional voiceover artists don’t just have the required skills to deliver a thought-provoking voiceover, they (in most cases) also have access to top of the line recording equipment. The right skills, combined with the right resources, will add the credibility your video needs to be successful.
Finally, if you are producing the video for a specific geographic location, keep in mind the importance of having a native voice over artist. The audiences will not only be able to understand your message better, but will also be able to trust a native voice with ease.
The CTA is as Important as the Script
As mentioned in the first point, you must always have a clear objective behind creating a video. Whether it is getting more traffic to your website, or simply making more sales, your goal should be clear to you, and the user, after they have watched the whole video.
In other words, an explainer video is as good as useless if it doesn’t have a strong, distinctive call-to-action (CTA). Want more traffic? Make sure your video tells the viewer to explore your website. Want to make a sale? Make sure that after the video talks about the benefits of using your product and tells the user to try it (or buy it, or sign up to your service).
Have a Bulletproof Promotion Plan, But Don’t Expect to Go Viral
Creating a fantastic video is only half the battle won. If nobody knows about your video, it’s no good. So tell the World about your great video, but do it systematically. Make a comprehensive marketing plan.
Will you be promoting it through your newsletter? Will you depend on paid social and search engine ads? Are you going to mention it in your guest posts? The list of options is long, and having a plan will ensure you are able to take advantage of every opportunity.
While a solid marketing plan is indispensable, it is not a surefire guarantee of success either.
Many businesses are inspired by the viral success of other explainer videos. They set out to work on a similar concept, with hopes of achieving similar success. However, since everyone knows about the potential of videos, there are a lot of videos being created these days.
This means your awesome video will probably be competing with several other, equally awesome videos, for the attention of the same user.
While a great marketing plan will certainly help you get considerable attention to your video, the chances of your video going viral, in most cases, are slim.
However, business owners and marketers should not let this stop them from creating videos. Bleak chances of your video going viral are still better than not having ANY chances of going viral. Moreover, even the videos that don’t go viral have immense potential to contribute to your business goals.
Creating an explainer video that performs, and then ensuring that it performs, is no easy task. With that said, when done right, explainer videos do have the kind of potential that makes the process worthwhile.
Before wrapping up, my final advice is that if you’re not already considering a video for your brand, it is high time you started, but make sure there is due diligence involved at every step.