TBV Insights

Write a better explainer video script with help from Microsoft Office

explainer video script
The scariest moment in explainer video script development is when the page is blank. The visualization technique suggested here can help you get going and keep you on track.

An explainer video script for a technology solution is an “elevator pitch.” It says what needs to be said in a way calculated to win over a prospect in the course of an imagined elevator ride to the executive suite.

“SmartArt” is not as dumb as I thought it was

explainer video script
Forget about what this looks like. No one else need ever see it. This simple visualization can help you structure your script and make sure you tick all the right boxes. Here’s a tutorial (which I needed) on using Office SmartArt.

I’ve been ignoring this clip-arty feature for years, but I’ve recently discovered a use for the “Smart Art Graphic” selection in the Microsoft Office “Insert” menu.  Turns out, It can be very helpful in constructing explainer video scripts for marketing technology solutions.

There’s certainly no aspect of “Art” in what I do with Smart Art. The eyesore shown here represents my best-looking result to date 🙂 But I don’t care what it looks like in general. The untidy layout doesn’t matter. (Microsoft has not made it easy to be neat.)  I don’t need to show this to anyone outside our company.

Visualizing what goes into the explainer video script

What’s important is that we can see the arguments we’ll be presenting. At the top, is the one thing, expressed in very few words, the viewer should take away. That’s our five- second elevator pitch.

Below that, in different shades of unlovely colors, are boxes containing what we would say if we had a little more time in the elevator. Below that are boxes listing key pieces of evidence for our top claims. In the end, we don’t want to bring out our points in this PowerPoint-y structure. The explainer video script itself needs to come across as an interesting story. But we will make sure the story ticks all these boxes.

The white box that ended up at the bottom of the diagram is significant.  It says “look at this great report” and refers to a user interface screen we want to build up to as early as possible in the video because it’s something prospects are known to respond to with interest.

What matters is the discipline used to present your technology solution

explainer video script
You get very few options in this interface. And that’s all to the good because it forces you to be definitive and concise about what goes into your explainer video script.

Microsoft’s interface for constructing this type of diagram — obviously intended for organization charts — severely limits your creative options. That’s a good thing because it forces you to keep things simple and short. Basically it amounts to listing your points just as you might in Word or PowerPoint outline view. You can promote or demote items, move them up or down. That’s about it.

But when you see it as a tree diagram, it becomes powerfully precise. You can question whether these are the best pieces of evidence to support your claims — and start to think about how they can be visualized. Again, it’s not a plot outline. But, as you jump from box to box in the course of constructing the best linear story you can, you’ll be sure to cover every important piece of evidence that will make your solution — and your explainer video — stand out from the crowd.

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