Written by: Tony Agent 009
Here’s the situation, you want to tell potential clients all about your new cool product but want to be approachable and real. Oh and put it up on the interwebs so it can be social and stuff! Alright slow down there. You might miss a few keys steps to creating a specialized video that walks-n-talks while bathing your company in the best light. We are talkingExplainer Videos!The concept of an explainer video is not overly new, but the term is. Luckily for us, it’s pretty self-explanatory (I think that was a pun). An explainer video is designed to get your message out to a potential audience in the most effective way possible. You’ve seem them as whiteboard animations, motion graphic tutorials, video promos, or sometimes called talkie videos (I like that one).
Being on both sides of the voice over glass in my career, I have a unique perceptive on explainer videos. I’ve wrote, conceptualized, agonized, fought, pondered, spec’d, and storyboarded a few in the last 15 years. Now a days, I’m more on the explainer video voice talent end, but I do still dabble as a creative director from time to time. There are certain themes in developing an explainer video that have been consistent. Great ways to make your life easier when creating an explainer video that carry over to either side of the glass!
Here are a few tips I like on creating a great explainer video:
- Be real and authentic. This is a harder concept to pull off then you might think. Creating an explainer video gives you the chance to showcase something quickly. Don’t get caught up in static. Be honest and approachable. You’ll never know who will see this and who might become a new client. Think of it this way…how would you tell your mother about your new product or service?
- Don’t try and catch up with the Joneses. Just because you saw something cool with one company doesn’t mean you have to copy it. In fact, doing a mock explainer video of something you liked, does a complete disservice to your brand. Whiteboard explainer videos are all the rage. And while they’re a great concept, it might not be right for your audience. Think of the audience, your message, and how you want people to perceive you. Let that drive your visual design.
- Hire a professional creative agency. This one is going to be part 1 of my soap box. Please don’t skimp on this. Please don’t just make an explainer video for the sake of making it. I have seen time and time again the pitfall of companies wanting an explainer video simply because. That’s it. No other reason. And when that happens, they start to trim away at the production leaving nothing for development. Hire a good agency to guide you through the process. They will be honest with you on what works and what doesn’t. You’re doing your brand a disservice if you don’t hire professionals. Oh and they’ll be the bad guy and tell your boss not to include a 5 minute company history on the founders (which should never be done). Creative agencies are good like that. They got your back!
- Hire a professional voice talent. Ok part 2 of the soap box. Yes I am bias on this one, but I am just as bias as the previous point. If you’ve come this far to be real, honest, authentic, and hired an agency, don’t think Debbie from Accounting is the best one to voice this. She might have a nice voice, but she doesn’t represent the proverbial “voice” of your brand. I love being a voice talent for explainer videos. They are my favorite projects. They can also be a disaster when not executed properly. Get a voice actor who understands how to connect with a message. Not to mention someone that has the technical knowledge to make sure your audio is top notch! You’ll thank me later.
- Explainer videos are not sales videos. Get your point across in 90 seconds or less. There is an important distinction between explainer videos vs sales videos. A sales video (although now a bit archaic of a term), comes with it a certain air of…oh…cheesy. Someone on a green screen stage telling you about all the benefits of a new product or service. It has the air similar to of 8 hours in an HR office doing “training”. Which is like dental work without the fun gas. Look, you are producing an explainer video for the masses whether you like that or not. Sales videos, elearning’s, product trainings; are for new clients or at the least, a much smaller segment. Don’t get weighed down thinking you need to tell ALL the benefits in an explainer video. Because you don’t. Trust me. Leave the viewer with a feeling or emotion; don’t try and get them to understand how to process payroll. See the difference?
As a voice actor on explainer videos, I have a unique perspective. I normally come in at the end, after all the storyboarding, script edits, and in-fighting has been done. I have a fresh take on the project and sometimes I like to give insight into what I’m seeing. It helps me connect with the read. Remember as a voice actor, you are still the audience of an explainer video. You may not be buying payroll software, but it will be out in the websphere for everyone (including you) to see. And if it’s a cool video, you’ll connect…even if payroll is not your thing.