How to write explainer video scripts – tips & tricks!

3 min read

Part of a Voice123 scriptwriting series written and compiled to provide tips, ideas, and examples

Are you struggling to write explainer video scripts? If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone — and that’s why we’re here to help you get started!

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

While content, style, and tone get dictated by purpose, the key to top-notch scriptwriting is always storytelling. If you have time on your side, do take a look at our posts on commercial, documentary, video game trailer, and promotional scriptwriting as well.

Explainer video scripts

While ‘explainer’ and ‘short’ might seem a contradiction in terms, it’s always a good idea to keep the average viewer’s attention span in mind when writing an explainer script. These days, attention spans are short and getting shorter — so it’ll be worthwhile to keep your script under two minutes — depending on your purpose, of course! As a matter of fact, around half that would be even better but let the importance (as well as the size) of the content be your guide.

Disciplining yourself to be incisive when writing will force you to get to the point sooner. A well-written, concise and compelling script lies at core of a memorable (and therefore successful) explainer video. To reiterate:

  • Tell a story and keep it short.
  • Get to the point quickly (within the first 30 seconds would be great) so the viewer knows what to look out for in your explainer video.

In addition:

  • Know your audience and speak to the viewers directly.
  • Pace it well, so the voice actor doesn’t have to race through the script.
  • Humor always works — but be careful!
  • Include a call-to-action.

Let’s consider these last four bullet points more closely. 

Know your audience and speak to the viewer directly

image of woman writing explainer video script
Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

Your target audience will prescribe your approach to writing your explainer video scripts. Consequently, the best way to determine tone and style is to have a vivid mental picture of who your audience is. Are you talking to kids? Millennials? Moms? Dads? Seniors? Businessfolk? Beware that you don’t tell them something they already know; it’s the surest way to make them lose interest. 

Engage your audience by using personal pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘your’. Another good way to reel them in is by touching on issues that matter to them. Come across as both believable and trustworthy. Don’t patronize them on the one hand, or talk over their heads on the other. Keep what you’re saying real and relatable. Make contact at eye-level.

Pace it well

While you’re likely to find the perfect voice actor to narrate your explainer video scripts on Voice123, even the top professionals on the platform won’t be able to do the voice over justice if you expect them to read too many words in too short a time-frame. If you’re uncertain how to determine length by word count, use the guidelines suggested in this article as a rule of thumb.

Keep in mind that the voice actor needs time to breathe, and the viewers need time to absorb what you’re telling them in the script. Nothing overwhelms a viewer as quickly as a crammed, rapid-fire stream of words. 

Humor always works — but be careful!

When it comes to storytelling, humor can be incredibly useful. One of the best examples of this we’ve seen in a long time is an introductory explainer video produced by the Dollar Shave Club.

Just make sure your humor fits in seamlessly with your narrative and be careful. Misplaced humor can not only completely ruin what you’re trying to do, but actually offend your viewers. The very last thing you can afford to do is upsetting or putting off your potential customers. Beware!

Include a call-to-action (CTA)

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Ultimately, you’ll want your viewers to do something and your writing will need to become persuasive towards the end of your script. You need to extend an invitation so your viewers will do what you’d like them to do. The type of CTA will depend on the ultimate purpose. 

  • Do you want your viewer to subscribe? 
  • Are you trying to sell them something?

Once you know what kind of action you’d like your viewers to perform, you can work on figuring out the best way to get them to do it. Remember that the most functional call-to-action phrases are brief and use strong verbs. Consider something like:

  • Check out the full course!
  • Join our community!
  • Book your next adventure now!
  • Discover more!

And so on. Address your viewer upfront and face-to-face. Focus your CTA on the goal you’re trying to achieve.

Explainer video script examples:

Rather than providing you with text examples of explainer scripts, showing you some examples of complete explainer videos we think are excellent may be more beneficial when it comes to inspiration. Apart from the Dollar Shave Club video mentioned above, have a look at these:

Unroll.Me

Spotify, and

Tech Insider’s How deep is the ocean?

You’ll find a whole lot more examples in this post on Hubspot, so take a look if you need more motivation.

And with that, we wish you every success with your explainer video scriptwriting!

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