Understanding the Process of Creating a Truly Effective Explainer Video

DT_Website_ProjectThumbs-ExplainerVideosVideo is big in the world of content marketing and thanks to the growth of Facebook video, which is challenging the mighty YouTube for market dominance it is only likely to get bigger. For a retail business, one based online or off, explainer videos are a hot marketing commodity right now and for good reason; they allow you to deliver a large amount of information in a ‘bite sized’ format, the perfect medium for attracting the interest of those whose attention span has been shortened by living in an Internet fueled world (which these days is most of us.) They are a great way to introduce a new product or to promote existing offerings as well as a good way to engage with your target market.


An explainer video is only effective if it is well done though. A poorly thought out and executed explainer will just confuse and disappoint people. Therefore it’s crucial you get it right.

Although the process will vary slightly for everyone, the following is a brief guide to the basics that almost any explainer video – and its creator – will go through on the way to a finished product.

The Script

The script really is probably the most important element of any explainer video so it is very important to take the time to get it right. As is the case for any sales related copy, it will need to do several things, and in a rather short time as the optimum length for an explainer video is, at most, two minutes. You do not need to be a professional copywriter to draft a great script and we covered the actual process of doing so here*, if you need a refresher. But in a nutshell it should be concise, to the point and upbeat.

Recording the Voiceover

Once you have a great script it is time to record the voiceover. At this point, you need three very important things; a great microphone, a quiet space and the right voice.

Some people are very surprised by just how different the recorded sound of their own voice is to the way they hear it when they speak in an everyday situation. Accents can often appear more pronounced and even the tone and timbre of your voice can sound very different. It will be up to you, and perhaps a select audience of peers, to determine whether or not such things are good things in relation to this explainer video project or not or whether you may need to consider drafting in outside voice talent. You may also want to source music and sound effects to add a little more interest.

The Visuals

Before you begin even trying to come up with the visual assets needed to create your video you should sketch out a basic storyboard. It does not need to be a work of art but it should contain all the elements you wish to use.

Ideally the visual assets for an explainer video should be hand created in a program such as Adobe Illustrator, but as that is rather complex software with a rather steep learning curve many people simply do not have the skills to do so. If that is the case for you there are a few ‘back to basics’ softwares and services you can make use of that do not require the high level of skill that traditional graphics programs do as well as other avenues for accessing ‘readymade’ imagery for use in your video.

For example, if you are interested in using animation, Powtoon is an option that is not hard to use and you do of course always have the option of using live footage which can later be edited using a resource such as Screenflow, iVideo or even PowerPoint.

Publishing the Video

Whatever the program used to put together and edit your explainer video, you will usually be given the option to output it in a number of different formats. For the best results however make sure you will be outputting in MPEG-4 format and, if possible, in HD (1280 x 720 is ideal) Why? Because in this format you can easily upload the video straight to YouTube or Facebook – some are choosing to upload videos directly to FB rather than linking via YouTube as that does (even FB admit) give them a bit of a reach advantage – or, if you’re smart, both.

Optimizing Your Video

The chances that you can publish your explainer video anywhere and that it will get attention simply based on its own merits are slim. Therefore optimizing it properly is a crucial step as well.

A great title is a must. Some experts say if possible it should include the brand name (even if that brand name is simply your own) but more importantly a value statement that will immediately catch the average web surfer’s eye. For example, let’s imagine your explainer video ultimately promotes a new line of skincare. Adding its name and description alone is at this point rather unhelpful as no one knows what it is. However “How to Prevent Wrinkles in Three Easy Steps” offers its value statement and encourages a click.

You also have the option to add tags on both YouTube and Facebook. Before doing so take the time to do some keyword research. A utility like SEM Rush will show you the most popular keywords across a number of platforms in real time.

Promote, Promote, Promote!

The final step is promoting your video. Use the embed code to add it to your website. Share across as many social networks as you can. And keep track of how it is doing. Both YouTube and Facebook have very effective analytics systems and by monitoring these, as well as making use of your regular analytics tools, you will be able to determine if this explainer video is doing what you wanted it to do or whether you may need to think again and take a different approach to making the very best explainer video possible.

Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at KoehlerHomeDecor.com and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.

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