Three Steps to a Compelling Explainer Video


How-To’s Describing Your Vision


I just joined up with an awesome social good company with an innovative model for the community to help out local charities. The problem: well, its an innovative model: its new…so people don’t really understand it.

The best way to explain new concepts is with an “explainer video.” You’ve probably seen these short, 1-2 minute videos like this one, this one, or this one – they explain the nuts and bolts of a company in a simple and delightful way.

An Explainer Video is a quick – usually less than 2 minute – video that explains how a company, organization, or anything else, really, does. You can find some examples (find some examples).

Unless you happen to have an animator on your team, the final animation tends to be done by an outside agency, so they can get pretty expensive for a start-up. One super important way to save time and money: have a clear, well thought-out understanding of what you want before you talk to an animation agency (no script writer knows your company better than you do).

As for me, I really want our video to a success, so before we start approaching the fancy animation companies, I want to make sure I – and the CEO of my company, Mark – that it will really help our customers understand our business. Lets get started!


Three Easy Steps

I’ll follow three steps to get to the first draft of my explainer video. None of these steps require any skill or special tools, just knowledge of the subject you want to explain:1_threesteps

  1. Writing the Script
    1. We’ll take a structured approach to Writing the script based on storytelling best practices.
  2. Storyboards
    1. Once we have a script, we’ll make some quick storyboards to visually show our idea (no drawing experience required!)
  3. Making a Simple Video
    1. We’ll use a smart phone to make a quick video combining our script and storyboard to get feedback.
  4. Gathering Feedback
    1. 3 quick tips for gathering good feedback.


The key is to adopt the prototyping mindset: this means we’re not trying to make a work of art, we’re making the first iteration so we can gather feedback. In the case of an explainer video, we’re successful if someone watches it and understands what we’re trying to explain to them.

Get started Writing the Script!


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