TBV Insights

Explainer video scriptwriting, in chapters

explainer video scriptwritingIn fiction, everyone in the audience starts out knowing little or nothing of the story — and looks forward to the telling. Effective commercials tell stories. Most technology marketing videos tell the story of characters (e.g., the CXO) overcoming difficulties (e.g., bad data, poor performance) with new technology solutions. This article will discuss approaches to explainer video scriptwriting in chapters.

The case for chapterization

But a good case can be made for “fragmented” storytelling in marketing videos — loosely connected chapters that can stand on their own. For one thing, buyers today are doing their own research, so they already know some of your story — and you don’t know exactly how much they know.

Consider these cases:

  • You are trying to grow your business with an existing customer in departments or operations where you’ve had limited (or no) contact. They may only be interested in specific applications, or certain product features.
  • You’re one of only a few well-established players competing to sell an enterprise solution into a given market. You need videos that convey what’s different about your solution.
  • Your content marketing strategy calls for drip emails to segmented lists. You need quantities of segmented videos to help those emails get opened and clicked-on.
  • Your account penetration depends on your messages’ being shared — so you need videos that appeal to very specific interests.
  • Your content marketing strategy is to use a variety of the usual tactics such as white papers, blog posts alongside your videos. You need those videos to help make the other media more communicative, or to entice people to spend time on it.
  • Your sales nurturing campaign needs a variety of items salespeople can use to increase engagement
  • The buyer’s journey is really a buyer’s team journey. Inbound marketing content needs be designed for a team of buyers, and you’re not sure how much they know or what their specific interests are.
  • Some answers to your Frequently Asked Questions are best communicated with visuals.
  • Your solution’s components can be purchased separately, or “as needed.”

In any of these situations, a concise video with a single compelling argument or story to tell is likely have more uses in more different channels than a video with a beginning, middle, and end that tells how a problem is solved and who benefits.

The marketing case for chapterizing your explainer video scriptwriting

This is not to say that video should only be produced in fragments. Video is great at telling stories and summarizing content that needs to be studied in depth and discussed at length.

But marketers should consider the value of making overview videos that can be divided into standalone segments.  If you make a 90-second video that summarizes 5 key differentiators, or 4 reasons CXO’s love your solution, each enumerated subject can be broken out into a separate video that can be used in different campaigns and venues. If you make two such overview videos and split those into standalone segments, your salespeople and supporters within a customer account gain many, many more options for engaging customers and colleagues.

The economic case

There are economic advantages to this approach, too. For professional-quality marketing video, a large part of the cost is up front — learning the subject, writing and editing the script, developing the look and feel, developing storyboards, recording the narration, etc.  The first 30 seconds of a 2- or 3-minute video cost significantly more than what follows. And, because characters, text-animations, and other graphical structures can be re-used or repurposed, the cost difference between a video one minute long, and, say, four videos on the same subject amounting to four minutes in all, is far less than 4X.

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