The Definitive Explainer Scriptwriting Guide 2020

Explainer videos are everywhere.

Nice, short and engaging. Straight to the point, no fluff. Effective.

But at the heart of any explainer video, there’s always a script

A script that can make or break your video.

So in this guide, I will share with you everything that I know about writing explainer video scripts. All the tips and tricks that I personally used to write hundreds of explainer video scripts for clients all over the world.

So buckle up, this is gonna be a long one!

PART 1

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

First things first. Before we even write a single word of our script, we need to do some detective work. 

You need to stalk your audience online.

Not in a creepy way, of course.

But you need to find out as many things as possible about them!

Let’s see.

Despite what many gurus would like you to believe, copywriting isn’t actually that hard.

Let me tell you a secret!

The trick to copywriting is knowing your audience. Who you’re talking to. Because 50% of the entire work is using the same words and phrases that they use.

But how do you find that out?

There are a few ways.

1) You stalk them online.

See where they hang out and how they talk. This can be on community websites, forums, Reddit, Quora, blogs. It’s impossible nowadays NOT to find a website about any topic you can think of.

Alternatively, you can “stalk them” offline. For example, if you’re selling a vegan bar, you can go to vegan restaurants, events, etc. Get creative!

2) Ask them directly!

The good old market research. If you have a list of subscribers, you can get in touch to find out directly from the source. They’d be happy to tell you all their problems about a specific topic.

This is literally a gold mine of copywriting.

Now, let’s say for example you sell vegan bars. They tend to use a lot of words such as: organic, whole foods, unprocessed, raw, environmentally friendly, non-GMO, and so on.

Common values they might share are: the desire to stay healthy, longevity, protecting animals, protecting the environment.

Knowing all of these things is gonna help you sell better. Because when you understand your audience and speak like them, they can relate better. This makes your message much more targeted and makes your audience much likely to purchase whatever you’re selling!

PART 2

THE STRUCTURE OF AN EXPLAINER SCRIPT

You don’t just want to start writing randomly.

I mean you could, but probably not gonna be a good script.

Almost all of the great explainer videos out there follow what I call “the classic explainer script writing formula

Let’s explore it!

Don’t be confused though. It’s not called “classic” because it’s outdated. In fact, it’s the most effective way to structure your explainer video script.

Click the link to watch a video I made about it.

So the basic structure includes 4 parts:

  1. Problem
  2. Solution
  3. How it works
  4. Call to action

Anywhere you look online, you’ll find a variation of something like this. Whether it’s explainer videos, ads, TV commercials, you name it!

#1 Problem

This is where knowing your audience comes in handy.

What are the main problems your target audience is dealing with that your product is solving?

What is wrong with all the other solutions to the problem?

This is where you have to take the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster and emphasize all the pain points.

Because after all this negative part, you bring in the…

#2 Solution

If you do everything right, you want to make it feel as if your product is the only solution to their problems. Not one in 10 other things that do the same thing, but THE ONLY solution.

A powerful way to introduce this is for example: “What if there was a way to achieve X, without all the Y? Introducing…”

#3 How it works

At this point, people are pretty interested. They know it’s about them, but they’re not entirely sold yet.

They want to know how you will solve their problems. How your solution works.

A good idea is to boil it down to just 3 steps. For whatever reason, people love 3 steps! Doesn’t matter if what you do is incredibly complex a has 12 steps. At this point, you want to assure people that your solution offers them simplicity and peace of mind.

Remember, the purpose of the video is to create interest so they find out more about you.

#4 Call to Action

People miss this all the time! But it’s a crucial part of an explainer video!

You can’t just expect people to act on their own. You need to subtly guide them towards your desired action.

At the same time, you can’t go for a direct hard sale at the end of the video. After all, it’s a 1-2 minute explainer video. Most likely the customer’s first contact with your brand.

You don’t just ask a girl to marry you on the first date. You need to keep building that relationship.

What you can do instead is use a softer call to action, such as:

  • Scroll below this video to find out more!
  • Click the button below this video to schedule a free consultation
  • Get in touch to schedule a demo!
  • Download our free whitepaper

PART 3

ACTIONABLE TIPS WHEN WRITING YOUR SCRIPT

Now that you know how to structure your script, it’s time to give you a few very important tips when writing it.

Things that you can implement right away to improve your script even further.

#1 All about the viewer

I’ve seen so many videos where all they talk about is we, us, our, but nothing about you.

“We do this, our company does that” and so on. It’s not a surprise that people are selfish, so they wanna know what’s in it for them, they don’t care about you at this point, which is completely normal.

You want to frame as much as possible around your potential buyer, not around your company. 

And it’s perfectly fine if you mention your company a couple of times, but even then, try to include the viewer somehow. For example “we worked hard to make the process incredibly easy, so that YOU don’t have to worry about anything!”, OR “Our SEO firm has been awarded this and that, which means YOU are in good hands!”

#2 Read it out loud

It might sound slightly ridiculous, but this is extremely powerful! The truth is, the way we write is different than the way we speak.

And there’s no better example for this than Hollywood films with poor dialogue; it just sounds fake and annoying.

And the same is true for your explainer video script. You want it to sound like a real conversation between you and your viewer, not some corporate generic gibberish.

So give it a try. If something doesn’t sound good, you’ll just feel it’s not right and change it.

#3 Sleep over it

This one is pretty simple!

Don’t try to push yourself to make a great script on your first draft. Just put some words on paper or in the Word document and get started and work with that!

No great copywriter, Hollywood scriptwriter or novel writer ever gets it right the first time.

It’s all in the editing and improving your drafts. And if you spend a significant amount of time working on your explainer script, you might get so absorbed that you miss a few things.

And there’s nothing better than leaving your script for the day and having a look at it the next morning, with fresh eyes.

It makes a huge difference!

#4 Ask questions

Did you know that…?

What if there was a solution that…

What if you could do that, without X problem…

Questions are extremely powerful! First of all, because they engage the user to think or imagine things. And second, because you can use an extremely powerful NLP or sales technique called “Future Pacing”, where you ask someone to imagine him or herself in the future in a given desired situation. And of course, connect that with how your solution can help them reach that desired situation.

You see how that works? Very powerful stuff!

#5 Deal with emotions, not facts

One of the most well known philosophers of our times, Alain de Botton said it best:

“At the heart of successful entrepreneurship is an accurate insight into the causes of human unhappiness. To be an entrepreneur means essentially to become an expert in the things that make life difficult for people”

That’s very profound.

You have to understand that most of the time, people’s emotions are what influence them to make a purchase. Sure, logical facts have a place, but it’s emotions are more powerful.

Just think about it for a second! We all know someone who purchases the latest iPhone every time a new one comes out! Do you really think that person needs a phone that is 14% slimmer with a battery that lasts 19% longer and has a 12% faster processor? Do you really think that last year’s phone just doesn’t work well enough anymore?

It’s all about how the new phone makes him feel. It’s that feeling of novelty, of exciting variety and significance; and maybe even how his social circle looks at him.

Often, we do things for emotional reasons and later justify them with rationalizations.

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you learned a lot of things from this guide that will make your scripts 10 times better!

Now, I’d like to hear from you!

Which is your favorite new thing that you learned today?

Is it the classic 4-step script writing formula?

Or some of the smaller tips you can apply right away?

Either way, please let me know by leaving a comment below right now!

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