Video Marketing

The Marketer’s Guide To Writing Powerful Explainer Video Script

Learn to write powerful explainer video scripts. Find the steps on the script structure we use at Vidico and explainer video scripting formulas.

Laura Chaves
June 15, 2022

The State of Video in 2024

A script is the chronological summary of the scenes, actions, and lines of voice that you want to appear in your explainer video.

This is where you anchor your unique communication techniques and marketing acumen to create an explainer video that appeals to your target audience and gets them to buy or learn more about your product.

That said, writing a script requires a meticulous approach and a lot of thought. In fact, according to HubSpot, 38% of marketers state that ideation, script writing, and casting are the most time-consuming steps in the video creation process. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

In this article, you’ll learn to write a powerful script that drives killer explainer videos. We’ll build the steps on the script structure we use at Vidico.

We’ll also share the best explainer video scripting formulas and the best tips and practices you need to implement for success.

So, you’re in for some good stuff.

Note: Here is a tried and proven explainer video script template you can download to get things going. Download Free Template


    3 Proven Explainer Video Script Formulas

    Before you learn how to write effective explainer video scripts, you need to know which script writing formulas bring the best results in terms of marketing. Here are the top script writing formulas for explainer videos and how they work.

    Explainer Video Script Formula 1: The Meet Bob

    The Meet Bob formula is a character-driven script writing formula. You could replace Bob with any person or protagonist in your story.

    Essentially, you give your viewers a protagonist with the same traits and pain points as them and share their story with the product—both pre and post-product integration.

    This formula is effective because it easily connects your audience with your product. It gives the audience a character they can identify with and tells a story they can relate to. Here is how the “Meet Bob formula works:

    • Opening: Meet Bob (or any other friendly common name)
    • Problems: What paint points Bob had
    • Solution: How Bob came across your product
    • How it works: How Bob used your product and what it did for them
    • Results: How using your product impacted and improved Bob’s life
    • Ending: Tagline and CTA

    Explainer Video Script Formula 2: Cut To The Chase

    This is the most popular formula marketers use to create explainer videos. You will find it in explainer videos, TV commercials, and many other short marketing videos.

    As the name suggests, this formula indicates that you write a quick, punchy, and concise script without any writing styles or further details.

    The key to success with this formula is how you unveil your solution and position it to solve your audience’s pain points. After that, what matters is how you detail why it works and the results viewers should expect. Here’s how the Cut To The Chase formula works.

    • Problem: The pain points and issues your target audience is facing
    • Secret sauce: How your product is specifically designed to solve those pain points
    • Why it works: Benefits and results from product integration
    • Ending: Tagline and CTA

    Explainer Video Script Formula 3: The Cookie Cutter 

    The Cookie Cutter formula for writing an explainer video script is concise and short. It also requires you to generalize the subject and works best for products aimed at the general public.

    Here is how it works:

    • General opening: Opening with a statement addressing the broad audience regarding your solution.
    • Problems: Issues and pain points your audience is facing.
    • Solution: How your product or service fits into their pain points
    • How it works: The best features and how they work for the audience.
    • Results: What users or customers should expect from the benefits.
    • Ending: Tagline and CTA

    Here is a tried and proven explainer video script template you can download to get things going. Download Free Template

    8 Steps To Write Killer Explainer Video Scripts

    Keep in mind that all steps are interlinked and should be implemented in the suggested order for optimal and easy script writing.

    First things first: do the pre-writing work and figure things out.

    Here are a few things you need to figure out before jumping into writing your script. Note that all the following elements will drive how to write the script and what results you should expect.

    • What is your goal with the explainer video: What do you hope to accomplish with the video? Do you see the explainer video as part of your total video marketing strategy? What metrics will you use to measure its success?
    • Who is your target audience: Who are the people you’re trying to target with your explainer? How would you describe them? Why is your product or service relevant to them, and what can you do to help them? Are they experts? What type of language do they understand or prefer? Technical? Distilled, human level?
    • What explainer video style you want: Considering your goal and your audience, what explainer video type will best work for you? Do you want an animated explainer video or a live-action one?
    • What explainer video formula you want: Do you want your explainer video to be story-based, character-based, or do you simply wish to showcase the value of your product or service?

    Step 1: Understand your product and provide a context

    Understanding your product may seem inherent to you, but it’s essential to take another approach to how you view your product to break it down into a script. This allows you to establish a solid foundation for setting the topic and context for the video. In other words, you’ll know exactly what you need to talk about.

    When writing a script for a product you built, you may feel like you have a lot of valuable information, and you may be itching to give it all. The truth is that if you don’t choose the specific information you’re going to include in your video, you’ll end up talking about everything and nothing at the same time.

    Before you start writing a script for your explainer video, take a few minutes and ask yourself:

    • What is my product about?
    • What do I want to talk about in particular in this video?
    • What do I want viewers to know about my product?
    • What vertical or landscape should I adopt for my script?
    • What do I need the audience to retain from my video?

    The earlier you establish this, the easier it will be to engage the target market. We recommend one sentence for this, two at most.

    Step 2: Outline current problems and pain-points

    Once the context is set, outline the problems and pain points your target audience faces. We recommend one to three sentences for this, four tops.

    When writing a script for an explainer video, always think about your target audience by asking yourself: what is their life like before discovering your product, and what sucks about it? In other words, you need to determine what’s wrong with the way things are currently done that your product fixes.

    It can either be a massive, overly familiar problem or a list of issues your audience often encounters. By outlining and describing these problems and pain points, you’ll establish a baseline that will allow your audience to understand your product and what change it will make to their lives.

    Plus, if you do it right, your product will come in as the next logical step in your script and plot, which brings us to the next step.

    Step 3: Make your offering/product a hero

    After laying out the problems and highlighting to your viewers anything that could be improved in their current situation, it’s time to introduce your product or solution. The key to writing a powerful script here is to take the concrete instances where the problems occur and explain how you solve them with your product or solution.

    Don’t go into the details of each solution right away; the goal here is only to make them understand that their problems can be solved. That’s why we recommend one sentence for this, two at most. You can also add what your product is designed to do. Ideally, don’t be too problem-oriented unless your script is story-driven.

    Step 4: Identify your target market and state it

    What is your target market? Who is your product for? No need to get fancy: you can’t sell accounting software to marketers. A single sentence or a few bullet points listing the market profiles will do just fine. Next, make sure the audience knows that your product is geared toward them.

    Step 5: Expand on the benefits of your offering/product.

    This is the meaty part of your script; it is where you demonstrate how your product is specific to the needs of your target market and why they should be interested in it. The best way to do this is to highlight the top features of your product or service and explain how they will benefit the end user.

    You don’t need to talk about every feature of your product. That would make the section long, and the video would look like aggressive marketing material. Instead, make a short list of the 3 or 4 most valuable features related to your target audience’s pain points and show them the value they will get from these features.

    Also, you will have to stand out from the competition in your market. For this, you can, for example, quickly give an idea of the benefits and competitive advantages of your solution, product, or service.

    We recommend that you rank the features in order of relevance and significance to the problem they solve. This is the most significant part of your script copy; keep it around the edges of 4 to 6 sentences.

    Step 6: Emphasize and paint the outcome 

    The one question you need to answer here is how all the features and benefits you talked about earlier will impact your target audience’s life. Think about answering questions like:

    • What do all these benefits mean to your audience?
    • What lifestyle should they expect after becoming fully integrated with your product?

    You can include a quick case study or share a customer experience here. It’ll contribute to proving the value of your product or service to the viewers, and you’ll easily crush the competition.

    Keep in mind that it is more important to show than tell in this specific stage. So, we suggest a one-line explainer or summary of the new lifestyle users or consumers will enjoy with your product or service. But make sure you show them in the final explainer video.

    Step 7: Make it memorable (with a tagline)

    By “making your video memorable,” we mean giving your viewers a tagline to remember after watching your video. This is important because the tagline will hold your viewers’ attention, and they will come back to your brand.

    So include a short, catchy, memorable tagline that communicates your unique value proposition and brand. Think of a creative tagline that relates to your name, solution, or vertical. If you can get all three in one tagline, it’s the jackpot.

    You can use tactics like alliteration and syllable repetition to come up with beautiful taglines. You can also test several different hook phrases with your colleagues or friends. Keep it brief and think outside the box.

    Step 8: End with a call to action (CTA)

    At the end of your explainer video, direct your viewers to the next step towards doing business with you through your CTA. Consider the following questions:

    • What do you want people to do at the end of the video?
    • What action should they take?

    Place a call to action on what you want the audience to do. It could be to sign up for a newsletter, download an ebook, download an app, access training, buy a product, contact you, share on social networks, visit your ecommerce store or blog, etc.

    Make sure that it is a conversion action you can track or measure. A good strategy is to add time frames to your CTA’s like “today” or “now”. This way, viewers will know what action to take and when.

    Here is a tried and proven explainer video script template you can download to get things going. Download Free Template

    8 Explainer Video Script Best Practices And Tips

    Here are some tips to consider to get a successful and high-quality result on your explainer video script. Keep in mind that the practices you implement to improve your script can differentiate a good and a viral explainer video. 

    • Have a strong hook. 

    This is one of the most important parts of writing the script and producing your explainer video altogether. The hook will determine whether the viewer stays or bounces. Its length is no longer than the first 10 seconds of the video, but it is decisive. Ideally, you need to give viewers a persuasive reason to stay in the video as quickly as possible. Here are a few effective hooks for explainer videos:

    • Begin with a character-driven story
    • Start with the problem your product or service solves
    • Lead a controversial comment on current products or solutions your audience is using
    • Start with a fascinating fact about the way currently audience currently does things
    • Open with a joke
    • Hint at a widely known story
    • Etc.
    • Be empathetic.

    Your audience does not have the same experience of your industry and your product as you do. They don’t have the same understanding of the product as you do. So you need to keep that in mind and keep your audience at the heart of your script writing to create something approachable.

    Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think about what you would want to know about your product if you didn’t know anything about it, and write your script from that perspective. Avoid jargon and make sure the vocabulary used to describe the product is understandable to everyone. Also, anticipate your audience’s potential doubts and objections and include their responses in your script.

    • Use emotion and humor.

    Humor will make your explainer video appealing to your viewers, and emotion will help you get an instant reaction from them. The perfect combo will entice them to watch your video from start to finish and take immediate action, potentially buying the product in question or learning more about it. However, it’s important to know when and how to use them, as not all topics lend themselves to emotion and humor.

    • Make short sentences 

    The idea is to be precise and concrete. Avoid repetition and paraphrasing. A message can only be clear if it is simple and concise. The fewer words a sentence contains, the more it will be understood and retained. Set the bar for the number of words per sentence at 12 words. This threshold will ensure complete retention with succinct, clear, one-line sentences. 

    • Use conversational language.

    The last thing you want is your explainer video to feel like marketing. That’s why you need to use conversational language that makes it sound natural. Using a conversational tone will make your video engaging and easy to understand. Moreover, viewers will be able to relate to your brand easily. 

    • Show, don’t tell. 

    Creating a good explainer video also means knowing when to cut the text and let the camera do the talking. Lavishing your viewers with all the spoken details only can be jarring. So don’t just put every new concept in your message. Consider what can be shown rather than told. 

    • Be clear and unambiguous.

    As a rule, avoid using and saying abstract terms that everyone can interpret in their own way. If you want to say something, say it as directly as possible. Don’t use contours, hidden assumptions, or innuendos. The target audience may not understand, and you will have wasted time and resources on information that will not be understood.

    • Clean the script 

    In an explainer video, your time is precious; don’t waste it repeating the same information. Repetition in the script will force you to repeat the visual element that corresponds to it and weaken the video’s flow.

    Also, make sure to cut the fluff. Ditch all the boring language. Let go of the technical jargon. Viewers don’t care that you’re an expert. They only need to understand, so speak like a human.

    Finally, take the time to read it aloud and listen to yourself speak. You’ll uncover potential issues you wouldn’t otherwise know existed, and you can improve your script.

    Here is a tried and proven explainer video script template you can download to get things going. Download Free Template

    Explainer Video Script FAQs

    How long should an explainer video script be?

    The shorter the script, the better. You should aim to have a 2-minute + video script, 3 minutes tops. Here is a translation of the word count on screen to guide you:

    140 Words = 60 seconds

    210 Words = 90 seconds

    280 Words = 120 seconds

    420 Words = 180 seconds

    What makes a good explainer video script?

    The key to writing an effective explainer video script is to take an approach that ensures you break your product or service into a few words your audience can understand. You should be able to distill your concepts, tell a relatable story and deliver a strong takeaway. Also, the script formula must align with your product, audience, and brand for optimal results.

    What must an effective explainer video script include?

    Most explainer video scripts include the following components: the audience, the problem, the solution, how it works, the best features, the benefits and their outcome, and lastly, the call to action (CTA).

    How much does an explainer video script cost?

    Hiring a freelancer to write your explainer video script will cost you anywhere around the edges of $70 and $300.

    Here is a tried and proven explainer video script template you can download to get things going. Download Free Template

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