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6 min read

CHECK LIST for Marketer to Make the Perfect Explainer Video in 2022

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Creating an explainer video can be a complicated process, which is why we've created a convenient explainer video checklist to serve as your guide.

Every explainer video is actually a combination of different elements edited together to work as one. If you’re preparing to create your first explainer video, it’s best to be aware of this from the start.

Mapping out each stage of the creation process can be a helpful way to avoid nasty surprises along the way. It can also help you formulate a plan of attack regarding who to hire and what questions to ask potential candidates. 

How To Make an Explainer Video

Unless you are an experienced explainer video creator yourself, one of the first and most important decisions you will make is who to hire to create your video. 

Your primary options include:

  • Marketing video production companies 

  • An in-house content marketing creator 

  • Freelancers 

Which option is best for you will largely depend on how involved you want to be in your video’s creation.  

Marketing production companies tend to be the most expensive option. But a good one will also take care of most of the concerns we’re about to address. If you choose to go this route, then use this checklist as a guide when interviewing different companies. Finding out which services are (and aren’t) covered in each company’s prices can give you a good idea of which ones truly offer the best value. 

If you decide to hire an in-house creator, then this checklist can serve as a great guide to get them started.   

If you choose to hire freelancers, this explainer video checklist may prove the key to getting through the process with your sanity intact. Rest assured, there are many great freelancers out there, most of whom will work for much cheaper than full-service production companies. The tradeoff is that you’ll probably need to hire more than one to cover different aspects of your video’s creation. You should also be prepared to provide much more guidance and take an active role in making sure everything comes together. 

What Does an Explainer Video Require?

Next, we'll break down all the elements needed to create the explainer video of your dreams. We'll also cover considerations to keep in mind for each. 

Explainer Video Scripts 

Scripts are the foundations that all great explainer videos are built on, so it's vital to get your's right. Whether you write the script yourself or hire a professional writer, there are several important things it should include. 

The first is your unique brand of messaging. Messaging refers to a level of brand communication that goes beyond mere wording. What emotions do you want your viewers to feel as they watch your video? Do you want to use humour to make them laugh? Or do you want to inspire them by demonstrating how your product could make their lives better? 

Your script should also revolve around a specific structure. The job of a great explainer video is to do two basic things: introduce a problem your viewers may or may not realise they have and explain how your product is the best possible solution.  

Last but not least, your explainer video should include an integrated CTA or "Call to Action." This simply refers to what you want your viewers to do after discovering they need your product in their lives. Do you want them to contact you for a free trial or consultation? Purchase your software by clicking a link? Be sure to let them know. 

With all these things in mind, put your explainer video script to the following test:

  • Does the script tell viewers why your product or service is the perfect solution to their problem?

  • What type of messaging does it use to hook and communicate with your audience? 

  • Does it include an integrated CTA that clearly explains what you want your viewers to do?  

  • If you wrote it yourself, should you run it by a professional writer?

Explainer Video Voiceovers

If your script uses a voiceover, then it’s time to find someone with a silky voice to record it. Many production companies and some freelancer videographers or animators may include voiceovers in their pricing. 

That said, make sure to ask for a sample from the actual voiceover artist they’ll be using. This is particularly important when it comes to freelancers. Just because a freelance animator’s ad enthusiastically announces that your voiceover will be free doesn’t mean it will be a good one. 

There’s nothing worse than receiving a "completed" explainer video with a computer-generated voiceover or one that features the freelancer’s cousin who has a thick foreign accent. 

The voiceover artist you choose should speak clearly and articulately. If they have a regional accent, it should be easy for your customer base to understand. 

  • Is a voiceover artist included in your explainer video package, or do you need to hire one independently?  

  • Have you listened to samples from the voiceover artist? 

  • Does the voiceover artist speak clearly and in a dialect that will be easy for your customer base to understand? 

  • If you hire an independent voiceover artist, do they have their equipment? Or will you need to book a voiceover studio for them to use? 

Explainer Video Background Music and Sound Effects 

While it shouldn’t be loud enough to distract from the voiceover, background music is an essential part of setting an explainer video's mood. When used well, background music can make your video feel shorter and more active, especially during technical or less exciting parts. 

During the hiring process, make sure that each candidate is good at associating appropriate tunes with different images and branding. Beware that pretty much all of them will assure you that they are. But it's only by watching samples of other explainer videos they've worked on that you'll discover which ones understand how far great background music can go. 

If possible, try watching their videos both with and without music and you'll quickly see what we mean. When considering any music or sound effects you want to use, also consider the following:

  • Is music included in the video package you purchased? 
  • Will you use stock music or supply your own jingle or promotional music? 

  • Do you want to purchase the rights to a specific song or sound effect to use in your explainer video? 

Live-Action vs. Animated Explainer Videos

Whether to make a live-action or animation explainer video is another crucial decision you’ll need to make. This choice is so important that we’ve dedicated a whole separate article to it.   

Live-action footage can feel more personal and make it easier to show off your product, while animation can make it easier to illustrate complex or abstract ideas.  

Some of the things you’ll want to consider include: 

  • Do you want to use live-action footage, animation, or a mixture of both? 

  • Which will make it easier to accomplish the purpose of your explainer video? 

  • If you use live-action footage, do you want to film original footage or use stock video? 

  • If you use animation, what style will you use? 

Explainer Video Editor

While editing is a standard part of an explainer video package, it's important to understand the level of editing that's included. Here are some questions it's important to ask upfront: 

  • Are video elements like lighting, sound, and colour calibration included?   
  • Do you need an intro and an outro that can be used for several videos? If so, check to see if it’s included in the offer.

  • Are any pop-up stickers or sound effects included? 

  • What kind of transitions does the editor offer? Do you need something a bit fancier and, if so, is it included?

  • Where do you plan to display your video, and what sizing dimensions will work best? 

  • How many different formats does your editor’s price include? Each social media platform has unique formatting requirements, so it’s unlikely that a single cut will work for all of them. 

Legal Considerations for Explainer Videos

No matter who you hire to create your explainer video, there are several things you’ll want to establish upfront. These technical considerations will help protect you both financially and legally.  

Revision Requests 

Upon receiving the first draft of your video, voiceover, or script, there may be a few changes you’d like to make. That’s why it’s vital to be clear about how many free revision requests are allowed. You should also know how much it will cost to get additional revision requests if needed. 

In the case of animation, it’s always a good idea to request storyboards before your animator begins the video itself. This can be a big help as far as avoiding major revisions down the line.  

Budgeting 

No matter who you’re considering hiring, it’s essential to understand exactly what their price does and doesn’t include. Once you reach an agreement, get it in writing. Having a signed contract will protect you from the risk of a creator suddenly deciding to charge more halfway through the process.   

Deadlines 

Your contract should also specify exactly when the project is due. Creators often work with multiple clients, many of whom set firm deadlines. If you don’t, there’s a risk of your project being shuffled to the end of the line. Additionally, you should specify whether or not there will be penalties for delays.  

Copyrights

It's impossible to overstate the importance of making sure you secure the legal right to use every single element in your explainer video. If you hire actors, make sure their contracts grant you the right to use their image. If you have animations made, ensure that they become your intellectual property. 

The same considerations apply to music and sound effects. Many social media sites can now detect copyrighted songs. They may flag or mute your video until you can prove that you purchased the right to use any songs it features. 

Legal Protection 

Copyright infringement of any sort, even if it’s accidental, can have legal implications. Ask whether your creator’s terms and conditions cover accidental licensing mistakes. Even if they do, it’s a good idea to check whether your liability insurance will cover them also.  

Explainer Video Distribution  

Don’t get so caught up in the explainer video creation process that you forget the importance of getting it in front of your viewers. It’s always a good idea to begin the process of making your explainer video with a solid plan for distribution. You’ll need to consider:  

  • Where will your video be posted? Do you plan to post it on your website, social media sites, or a combination of both?  

  • Who will ensure that your posts have proper SEO optimisation to attract viewers? 

  • How will you measure your success? Do you know how to analyse video metrics, or will you need to hire someone to do it for you?  

Each of these factors plays a vital role in ensuring a worthwhile ROI and in learning how you can optimise the success of future videos.  

We hope that this explainer video checklist will prove to be a useful tool that will help guide you through the process. By checking off each item along the way, you can avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes down the line. 



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