Creating an explainer video script - Tips & tricks.

Posted: 2nd Sep 2015

I recently worked with the very lovely Orman Clark to create the new Dunked explainer video. My job was to script the voiceover and it turned out just lovely.

Creating a great explainer video can be a tough exercise. There’s some great ones out there (Bigcartel for one) but there’s also some overly-wordy, feature-heavy attempts. Want to produce a succinct, characterful explainer script? Here’s a few tips.

Define your ethos words.

An explainer video isn’t just about selling the ease of use or relevance of a service. It’s just as much about creating a deeper philosophy and character. Select some keywords that represent the brand and its vision - creativity, inspiration, community, passion etc. Use these words to sculpt the tone and feel as well as the narrative points.

Keep it short and simple.

A good explainer video ensures that imagery and explanation compliment each other in an engaging, useful way. Don’t be afraid of pauses and be sure to pace yourself at around 120 words per minute max. Get your main message in there early, around the 30 sec mark.

Think story and benefits, not features and strict structure.

Of course you need to present the problem, offer a solution and establish a CTA but it doesn’t need to be so stale and uniform. What’s the story behind your product or company? What tone and style best tells it? What can people relate to and make their own? The How is important in an explainer video but you don’t need to run over a list of steps or reasons. Get more conceptual and create a culture around what you’re presenting. By establishing the Why, the How will become more human and defined.

Write naturally.

Be sure to read your script out loud. It needs to sound natural to be easy to follow and effective. When I create explainer scripts I draft up two formats - a flow draft (just the script in prose form) and a timed draft (script structured to the second/minute of the film). This means I can make sure I’m hitting both the functional and emotional points of the video.

Tone is king.

This keeps consistency and clarity at the top of the list. Take time to develop a tone for the video. Don’t take research you have to hand as gospel, embark on your own digging and really get to grips with how an audience identifies with the bigger brand. Tone can be the most memorable and effective tool you have in creating an explainer video so don’t just adopt what others have.

Connection is about clarity, directness and character. A good explainer video should embody all three.

Simple and swift ways to advocate the wonders of great content.

Posted: 4th Sep 2015

This is not just a mission for writers and strategists.

It’s one that every agency head, designer, developer, project manager etc should embrace wholeheartedly. If you care about quality experiences and results, you can’t afford to shy away from the importance of content. It’s that simple.

This post isn’t about how to create content — it’s about how to foster a company culture that actively appreciates the role that content plays everyday. Make a decision today to champion the content cause, be that advocate that your team, clients and audiences desperately need.

This advocation doesn’t mean you need to get on your soapbox and start slamming content-lazy competitors. And it certainly doesn’t mean demanding that your team become killer content creators themselves. Instead look at how you talk about content, the people you feature in that conversation and the company-wide attitude to this illusive asset.

Uncover the knowledge/interest status quo.

The best advocates feel things out before they start spreading the word. If you’re thinking of fighting the good fight you first need to scope out your team’s attitude to content. What’s their knowledge level when it comes to content creation, editing, strategy? Do they see content as a necessity, influence or burden to their ability to do a good job?

Tap into the general content consensus and cater your championing approach to your potential followers. Don’t advocate blindly.

Get back to basics.

Good content can’t exist without solid foundations. Stellar research skills, consistent collaboration, usable internal systems, all directly influence the effectiveness of content. There’s no point getting serious about re-approaching your culture’s relationship with content if you don’t have the understanding and resources in place to support that shift.

Fostering a content-loving culture takes time and proper commitment so don’t stint momentum by having lacklustre resources in place.


You’d be surprised how many see their knowledge as their property. When it comes to shaping or enhancing a culture you can’t be greedy. Remember, culture goes beyond what happens under your roof. If you can influence a sector and community, you can tap into that wealth of experience and insight to further your own value.

Writing isn’t a talent reserved for a special few, with the right knowledge and context anyone can create functional content. This doesn’t mean the copywriter (me) becomes replaceable, it just means that there’s a more succinct understanding of meaning, messages and audience experiences out there in the world. Feed into the ‘good content’ community, share your resources and expertise with fellow studios, industries, employees and all.

Personal and then internal.

As an advocate, get personal with the content cause. Practice what you preach on a personal level before you try to roll it out across a team. Do you as an individual have a blog where you speak honestly and passionately about this subject? Do you go out of your way to really get to grips with new ways to inject content’s importance into your culture? Do you network with other writers, agencies, creatives in the same boat? If you can illustrate a passion and conviction personally then you can breed more enthusiasm when it comes to introducing it internally.

Feedback training.

How do your team engage with content? Do they know what makes content relevant and effective? Content needs to be critiqued, reviewed, edited, adapted on a loop and this doesn’t need to/shouldn’t be the responsibility of one sole person. Train your team on how to study and improve content. Show them what usable content feedback looks like and actively illustrate how those changes are implemented. Offering feedback shouldn’t be an exclusive task, everyone on your team should engage with as much content as possible.

Essentially it’s about educating and empowering. Make content a consistent deliverable across the team board. Learning as a group is the best way to really advocate that change, be open and tell your fellow students that this will be a long-term culture project.