DIY Tools to Help Boost Your Business
Business owners can now become experts in the day to day management of their businesses with a vast array of online DIY tools that will boost their businesses. Let’s examine a handful of the DIY tools available today:
Project Management: Trello
Trello is a great productivity tool that will keep everyone in your team up to date. Trello provides you with an online board that enables you to organise information & tasks, and to keep track of what has been completed, what is in progress, and what still needs to be tackled. The Trello board is made up of lists that can be used as steps in a workflow or as categories for keeping track of your project. In addition, you can add cards to the lists to keep track of everything you need to do. Click on a card to add more detail (e.g. due dates or checklists). To keep everyone in the loop boards can be shared with all relevant parties, whether co-workers, family or friends. With Trello everyone in your team can know who is doing what, and what still needs to get done!
Video Creation: Mysimpleshow
Creating videos for training purposes, marketing content or mere advertising purposes cannot be easier done than with mysimpleshow. Create professional animated explainer videos using this online tool’s templates to write your own script. (A wide variety of templates, relevant to the business world, are provided – from “explaining your business”, to “pitch to investors” to “communicate corporate change” and much more.) Each template provides you with textboxes, plus examples of the type ofcontent that is needed. Or, use the option to simply import a PowerPoint document to serve as the script for your video. Once you have the script in place mysimpleshow reads it, selects key words and provides suggested images (or scribbles) to create an animated video. With easy editing tools you can choose which images you want to use and position them in each video scene, as you desire. You can even upload your own images! Then choose an audio narration for your script, choose background music, click “finalize video” and before you know it you have a professional animated video to suit your business needs.
Canva is just the tool that you need for designing company documents, like annual reports, project proposals, company brochures, or even promotional postcards. Canva provides various templates that make design fun, yet professional. Canva can also help you to enhance social media posts with innovative ideas for photos, infographics or other visuals.
The design quality of your business card, brochure, social media feed or website is important, as it gives the first impression of your business. Impressive design makes your company look good and trustworthy. Fortunately, there is no need for complicated and expensive software – with Canva you can accomplish most of the graphic design that your business needs. Use this tool to guide you when creating impressive designs for your business.
Customer Service: SurveyMonkey
SurveyMonkey makes it easier for businesses to collect data and insights that will boost performance. It is a web-based survey tool with various options for helping your business to get the feedback needed from customers, employees and targets. It is easy and quick to create a survey: simply type your survey questions and add in your answer choices. SurveyMonkey also allows you to personalize the survey with different colours, a specific theme or by adding a company logo. Once the survey has been created you can preview it and also get recommendations for improving the survey, if necessary. All that still needs to be done is to send the survey to participants, by means of a link in an email or on social media platforms!
Social Media: Hootsuite
Social media provides a versatile vehicle for small businesses to use in their marketing campaign. However, managing social media accounts may be a time-consuming if not daunting task. This is where Hootsuite comes in. Hootsuite provides you with one easy-to-use platform. It allows you to schedule content in advance and see what’s working across the social networks that your customers use.
Hootsuite also allows you to track trends in order to create popular content. It allows you to create content from a variety of sources and stock images. Moreover, Hootsuite reports enable you to see the results of your social activity in one easy-to-understand report. You can then automatically share your most popular posts with a wider audience. Therefore, Hootsuite helps you to share marketing content, meet new customers, and expand your business.
Designing Your Webpage Around Video Content
Video is an essential online communication tool. Text and images alone are no longer good enough. However, designing your webpage around video content needs to be done right.
How the video appears on your website is important. Videos that form an integral part of your webpages are far more appealing than YouTube links. Innovative video embedding techniques can make your webpage captivating and showcase your brand in pleasantly effective ways.
For example, an interesting way to use a video is to have a clip that is initially still, but starts to play (with no audio) after a few seconds, to surprise the visitor. If you prefer to launch the video in a more subtle way you can make use of “watch now” play buttons with the video link imbedded behind it. When clicked, the video starts playing in a pop up box. Alternatively, a still image from the video can be used as a placeholder on your web page, with a ‘play’ button. When clicked, the video box expands and starts playing (without a pop up box).
A video can also start playing by scrolling over an image with the video starting to play (preferably in mute) as a surprise feature. In other words, the video begins to play when the mouse hovers over what seems to be a still image. By activating a video with a mouse-over effect a visitor spontaneously pays attention. If the video is intriguing visitors will unmute it and continue to watch. This method allows for an unbroken integration of video into the webpage.
Types of video to show
Do not add a video just for the sake of having it. Think carefully about the type of video that needs to be included to add value to your webpage:
- Background videos are used to make a great first impression.
- An introductory video gives visitors the opportunity to determine if it can benefit their needs.
- About us videos help visitors to see and hear what you are all about.
- Behind-the-scenes videos familiarize viewers with your company.
- How-to videos clarify aspects about your product / service.
- Story videos create emotional connections with visitors.
- Advertising videos explain products / services to influence the decision to buy.
A few more tips
Video content on your webpages does not have to be film footage – do not overlook the potential of animation. Animated explainer videos can be used to grab the visitor’s attention. Animation adds a touch of motion and encourages viewers to stick around a little longer. They also have the additional advantage of being excellent vehicles for simple explanations about your product / service, or giving more information about your company (e.g. telling your company’s story).
Series of videos in your webpage design can help to highlight specific aspects related to your brand. Visitors can digest bite-sized pieces of information without being overwhelmed. As such, a series of short videos allows visitors to choose which clips they want or need to watch – they can watch those that they feel will truly benefit them.
Call to Action
It is important to suggest to visitors where to go next. Make sure that you include a call to action that prompts visitors to click and visit another page on your website where they will get more relevant information. Webpage navigation options can open opportunities for visitors to subscribe to your blog, request a quote, contact you, or even to watch another useful related video.
The video needs to be of high quality, must look good and work fast. Poor quality video on your webpage is a definite no-no! Video draws attention and is used to impress. Therefore the quality of the video needs to be excellent. The video also needs to play effortlessly. If the video struggles to load or continually buffers it is not good for your brand image!
The power of video in webpages is undisputed. We process images and videos much faster than we do text. Video can therefore engage a visitor instantly and, if done in the correct way, hold their attention. Video is an indispensable element of modern website design. So make sure to incorporate it in your webpage design to optimize your visitor’s experience.
Complete Guide To Promote Your YouTube Video
People may have different reasons for wanting to know how to promote YouTube videos online. Some people might want to promote YouTube video to promote their product or website online. We will outline the best ways to understand the methods of marketing your videos online and try to get the most views out of it. You can also find the promotion of visual clips privately in a group of 50 people if you don’t want the whole world to watch it.
The main intention of anybody posting a video on YouTube is because they want the whole world to see their video. YouTube does provide the appropriate Crowd Writer tools and necessary support to ensure that the video can be shared easily. But unless and until somebody does promote your YouTube video, it is very unlikely that it will go viral anytime soon. Let’s look at what it takes to make a video go viral.
Importance of Video Title & Description
To boost the video successfully after recording it, you need to assign an attractive video title. According to Alexa’s global traffic ranking, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, second only to Google. YouTube also gives you the option to associate a video description for your video as well. The title will be used to refer to the video in YouTube’s vast library of videos by the person who uploaded it, in addition to all the people who are viewing it. 80% of audiences share the YT stuff using the same title.
1. Optimizing the Video Title:
What is the first thing that you notice when you are intently searching for a specific video on YouTube? It is the title. To understand how to promote YouTube videos online, it is necessary that the title contain target keywords. The title needs to be within 70 characters (including spaces) with both compelling and keywords. Use only letters and numbers in the title and avoid the Academist Help of special characters. It is highly unlikely that viewers will use symbols like “™ © ®” to look for a file. Instead of naming your file “final_video.mp4” or “final_video.avi”, make sure that you rename the video including the same keywords. The file name will be an indicator for search engines describing the contents of your file.
2. Video Description:
YouTube provides users the option to add a description for the uploaded video. It is one of the effective point helpful in promotion. You can use more than 157 characters to explain the contents of the video. A maximum of 5,000 characters (including spaces) can be used. Search engines will only display the first 157 characters of the content description along with the title in the search results. Provide as much information using the entire character limit of the description. This will make it easier for YouTube to classify the contents of the video to enhance the search.
Using a Custom Thumbnail and a Call To Action
If you have a personal or company website, you can use your YouTube video to promote your website. Incorporate a call to action in the beginning and end of your videos to increase traffic to your site. You can use graphics to display your company logo with a simple message “this video is brought you by” followed by the logo. The same thing at the end of the video, “this video was powered by” followed by your personal website.
To skillfully promote your video, you need to have a custom thumbnail. There are some songs which we can recognize simply by looking at their thumbnail without even having to look at the title. The ideal thumbnail size is 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall, with a minimum width of 640 pixels. Use an aspect ratio of 16:9 as this is the file type and size YouTube prefers. The image’s file size needs to be less than 2MB.
Introducing YouTube’s Creator Academy
YouTube Creator Academy is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) which gives users inside information on how to promote your YouTube video. The Academy delivers short 2-10 minute videos with high presentation value. Detailed information follows below the video regarding the lesson in the video. Users can even evaluate their knowledge retention of the information provided in the videos. New videos are added regularly. The Academy is a very effective way of learning the latest trends and employing the most up-to-date YouTube features. The Academy can help users in selecting topics, building an audience and becoming a brand on YouTube.
Sharing the Video with People You Know
You can share your visual stuff online with friends, family, and coworkers. YouTube provides several different options to share your videos. The first way is to simply copy the URL and paste it in a chat room or conversation. Another way to market a YouTube video is to, pause the video at a specific spot. Once the video is paused, right click on the video to reveal the option “Copy video URL at current time”. When you share this URL, the viewers will begin to watch the video from this specific point.
YouTube also provides the share button just below each video. Once users click on the share button, it will open the tab to share the video on social media. In the share tab, you can choose exactly where to start the video from. The share button also gives users the option to embed their video. It is one of the appealing feature for the video promotion.
Using Social Media to Share Your Video
Successful brands need to be discoverable on multiple social media platforms. Not only do they need to be discoverable successful brands also need to be active on all social media platforms. For YouTube video promotion, you should at least have a Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook profile. In addition to these social media platforms, it is also advisable to have an Instagram, Snap Chat, and Pinterest profile.
One of the best ways to get noticed across multiple social media platforms is to add a watermark to your videos. The watermark gives you an option to share YT visual and brand, if you have one, at the same time. Alternatively, you can also use the subscribe button as a watermark on all of your videos. This will help to bring in more subscribers from numerous different social media platforms. At the same time, it will increase cross-platform recognition.
Create a Blog for Your YouTube Channel
If your online productivity has anything to do remotely with digital marketing, you need to build a personal brand to market your YouTube video. Once you achieve cross-platform recognition, it is imperative that you try to establish a personal brand. The personal brand will not only help you to popularize a particular video, but it will also help to accomplish viewer loyalty with your subscribers. Viewer loyalty is the key to establishing a monumental following and boosting viewer satisfaction.
Creating a blog is the best way to diversify your approach to digital marketing. The blog provides an opportunity to discuss issues and subjects which might be connected to the main subject of your videos. It also gives you the chance to pursue cross-platform advertising. Creating a blog means becoming active some or all of the following websites:
- Google Plus
These are just some of the social media sites where you can pursue your blog. The other social media sites will be depending on the niche of your product or service.
Using Email to Promote Your Videos
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your YouTube video online. There are countless researches which have verified that simply having the word video in the subject line of the email boosts open rates and deters followers from unsubscribing. Videos can also be used as a tool to drive traffic to your main website. By showing viewers a teaser of a much-anticipated video, you can easily direct them to your main page.
The author: Stella Lincoln
Stella Lincoln is a Marketing Executive at Australian Masters and owns a blog at Educator House. She is a single mom and has previous working experience as a Writing Consultant with HarperCollins Publishers.
5 Examples on How to Use Explainer Videos in Marketing
Most people are visual learners which makes videos the new marketing gold mines because they help them absorb information easily and in a very short time. Using videos in your marketing materials can help boost their effectiveness. While including the word “video” in your email subject line can increase open rates by 19%, explainer videos on landing pages can increase conversions by as much as 80 percent.
Why is that? Simply because more and more consumers prefer watching a short video to learn more about a product than waste a few minutes reading about it. A good explainer video is supremely shareable and can help with branding and awareness.
Read on to find out the best 5 examples on how to use explainer videos in marketing your company.
Explainer videos for product awareness or differentiation are probably the most common use of explainer videos for marketing. Using explainer videos for product awareness isn’t about telling your audience that your product is the best solution for their problems but rather about showing them how it works and how it can fix a problem they are facing.
A series of videos on your website to guide potential customers to purchase is essential because today’s customers go through more than half of the buying process on their own. Most companies use explainer videos on their landing pages to influence their visitors to stay longer on their website leading to an increased possibility of making a purchase.
Explainer videos that describe products have appeared as a solution to the hesitation of consumers to purchase products or services online. There is nothing to judge about their hesitation because not having a clear idea of how a product looks and works could lead to making a purchase that will make them waste their money.
Thus, by including a product explainer video, describing the features, and showing consumers exactly what it does, it will result in urging the customers to make the purchase. This video from MuleSoft is a great example of how an explainer video can help buyers learn for themselves how the company’s product works.
An explainer video is a great way of showing consumers and prospective employees the culture of your business and what kind of people work for your company. Within your video, you can show how the average workday goes and attract both consumers and skilled employees that will empathize with your brand.
Company culture explainer videos are ideal to be placed on your “About us” page of your website. All visitors will get a quick idea about your brand and feel more engaged to find out more about your products or services. Also, explainer videos can translate the corporate culture to new or prospective hires more easily and make them relate with your company straight away.
Telling your story to the world, showing views who is the team behind your projects and how you bring your products to life is one of the best ways to boost trust and position yourself as an expert in your industry. Your viewers will see that you’re not just another corporate entity, but a team of actual human beings who they can relate to.
Explainer videos for training employees are a unique and engaging way to make sure that your employees retain the information they need for working more efficiently. It seems that using animated or whiteboard explainer videos as a tool for training employees is nothing new. They are used by companies worldwide that understand the importance of helping their employees get closer to their corporate culture, obtain new skills, and stay informed about the latest trends.
Instead of the classic instruction manuals and face-to-face seminars that may bore the employees, explainer videos can be tailored to the employees’ rhythm and their entertaining style will catch their interest making the learning process more efficient. There is a multitude of studies that support the memory effectiveness of visualizing the message rather than just hearing it. Apart from displaying the message, explainer videos add a plus of entertainment, thus helping employees retain nearly 50% of the information while watching the video.
Explainer videos for training employees effectively can also lead to reduced costs for your company. Your company will no longer have to organize new training sessions every time you hire a new employee or when procedures change. Internal training videos can be updated easily and your company won’t have to provide your employees with an expert to pass on the information to the staff.
Videos in Social Media
Every social media platform uses videos today and you should ride the wave for your own benefit. Consumers can be reached a lot easier via social media and if you go video, they are going to watch it for sure.
The social media platform Facebook announced that they will be focusing their efforts on creating more meaningful social interactions through video experiences. A report published by Digiday showed that nearly 85 percent of all videos existing on Facebook are viewed without sound. Moreover, Facebook’s own research showed that 80 percent of users react negatively when loud videos take them by surprise and that captioned video ads increase view time by an average of 12%.
Thus, you may now understand that since you have only a few seconds to engage your consumers before scrolling down to another post, it is vital to add video
captions to connect with your audience and make them watch your explainer videos. Dina Indelicato, a translator from PickWriters, explains that “Translation options are also a new golden rule for captioning the interest of the consumers if you are marketing your brand to a wider, international audience.”
Although every explainer video should be viewed with the sound switched on because voiceovers with the right inflection and tone can build trust, humanize your brand and persuade viewers to take action, social media habits show that video captions may be a better approach.
The FAQ pages on every business website aim to manage effectively customer feedback and questions. Explainer videos for answering the questions of your customers are a more engaging way to address customer queries.
Maintaining existing customer relations and properly informing your potential customers are essential for any company. As consumers want to feel valued and you have to provide them with a personalized experience with your brand, you need to address their experiences with your company whether they were negative or positive. For example, Drift company has come up with a great idea of answering customer queries every Friday through a video.
Taking the time and effort to answer your customers’ questions through explainer videos will make them feel special and valued.
Visual media generates interest for your brand in a way that words cannot by answering questions like “who?”, “what?”, and “why?” within a short amount of time through motion, information, and entertainment. There is no doubt that video is an integral component of brand marketing strategy. Moreover, with the rise of mobile video viewership and the rise of platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, explainer videos can be used to effectively drive conversions.
The author: Elisa Abbott
Elisa Abbot completed a degree in Computer Science. She finished her study last year but is already a true expert when it comes to presenting a text in a creative and understandable manner. She regularly writes blogs for TranslationClientZone. Elisa is thirsty for knowledge and is always on the lookout for tips to share with her readers.
Ways to be Productive during your Downtime at Work
From time to time, it is good to have a bit of downtime at work, to get to those things that are semi-essential but are not necessarily a priority. However, downtime for some can be a frustrating time, especially if it happens unexpectedly. Do not allow it to get the better of you. Make the most of the time and even enjoy the change in routine! View downtime, whether planned or unplanned, as positive and turn it into a productive period from which you can benefit.
1. Organized Space
Improved organization means increased productivity at work! Make use of downtime to organize your office space. A cleared tidy space helps to make one feel more energized about work and, no doubt, also helps one to think clearly! Clean out drawers and cupboards and sort out files and paperwork. Make sure that you give everything a home. Determine what is no longer needed, what needs to be archived and what needs to be within easy reach. Also tidy cables by tying them together, so that they are not noticeable or in the way. It seems that when the space around you is clean and clear, your mind is also clean and clear to function optimally, and productivity is consequently boosted.
2. Organized IT
In today’s tech world you may not have filing cabinets to sort out, but you may need to sort out electronic files. Downtime is just the right time to get on with this job. For quick and easy access create some priority folders by adding a number to folders’ names, so that they will appear at the top of your list of folders. Create folders and sub-folders for documents that have not yet been saved in a specific place. Make backups where necessary. Remove what is no longer of importance. Then tackle online calendars. Add upcoming deadlines and meetings. Make to-do-lists and work through them systematically to get ahead with tasks.
3. Career Development
Use downtime for career development or for self-improvement. Depending on how much time you have on your hands, look for relevant online courses to build or strengthen your personal skills or career skills, or to polish your IT skills. Or, simply watch short video tutorials on the subject of interest. Also consider talking to an expert or reading material that will benefit your career. Alternatively, simply use the time to get on-top of industry news, so that you know what is happening in your field.
4. Management Planning
If you are in a management position, make plans that can benefit your team. Downtime can be used to focus on creative tasks or projects that can benefit your colleagues and their professional development. Perhaps consider organising a team-building activity or a short career development session. Consider how your employees can benefit from watching training videos or self-improvement videos. Find suitable online ones relevant to your field. Or, even better, create them yourself. Consider exactly what knowledge you want your team to gain and communicate that in the form of a short explainer video. You can create these, quite effortlessly, with an online video making tool like mysimpleshow!
Get yourself a coffee and sit back and relax while watching a documentary that will increase your knowledge. It can be work-related, or simply for self-improvement. By watching a documentary in your field, you can relax and at the same time be “passively productive”! Consider other leisure events as well. Use the time for team-building activities. These may be work related, or could simply be fun activities (like taking your team ten-pin bowling for the afternoon)! You will all have a great time while getting to know each other better (and consequently build better work relationships).
Whether your downtime is planned or comes out of the blue, be prepared and ready to make the most of your time. When having more time on your hands do not waste it. Instead, use the time to do work-related activities that are not vital, but that you will enjoy. Moreover, downtime provides you with time to get those things that are important, but not necessarily urgent, out of the way. So, make the most of your downtime at work!
The Link Between Effective Explanation and Design Thinking
Design Thinking, in essence, is to think like a designer. When designers have to solve complex problems and come up with innovative solutions they employ Design Thinking. So, how does a designer think and why should this be relevant to those who are not designers?
Designers are deliberately sensitive to the needs of people and empathize with their subjects before attempting to design an object. They also clearly define the issue before starting an ideation process to come up with solutions that will meet their subjects’ needs.
There is a definite link between effective explanation and Design Thinking. Design Thinking can help us think differently about how we explain ideas and maximize the effectiveness of our explanations.
An effective explanation is engaging and ultimately gives understanding to the recipient. Whether it is in a classroom situation, an executive meeting, or a product presentation effective explanation skills are essential if you want to have the desired impact on the target audience.
Phases of Design Thinking
The first phase of Design Thinking involves empathy – the designer communicates with those who experience the problem, in order to get a full understanding of the issue. In order to truly understand, the designer avoids making assumptions, and instead gathers real insights into the issue.
Great explainers also need to have an excellent knowledge of their audience. No assumptions can be made, because what may be perfectly clear to the explainer may be perplexing to others. Just like the designer empathizes with the subject, the explainer needs to know the difficulties that the audience face, because the explanation should be matched to the audience: it must not be too complex, nor too simple.
In the second phase the problem is formulated in clear terms. Once this is done, the designer can start working on ideas and solutions. Similarly, an explanation cannot be offered until a real problem area has been identified. In order to define the issues that the audience may have with a topic, questions need to be asked. It is not only about what the audience already knows, but also about what they need to know next.
The third phase involves the finding of potential solutions. The designer comes up with as many ideas as possible to solve the problem. This may involve brainstorming, mind-mapping, and even role-play. Ideas are then refined and narrowed down to those that are most feasible.
When it comes to effective explanation, there is a host of ways to explain concepts. It is just a matter of finding the most suitable way – the way that will best suit the target audience. Humor can be used to engage the audience; stories can create interest, enhance meaning and spark empathy. Analogies, metaphors, comparisons and images can clarify information. Characters can be incorporated, or info-graphics, videos or diagrams can be used. And so, Design Thinking ideation can be applied to find compelling and effective ways to explain concepts.
In the fourth phase of Design Thinking feasible ideas are being put to the test. Potential solutions are examined in more detail to identify constraints or flaws. As part of this process, ideas are accepted or rejected, improved or re-designed. Effectiveness of explanations can be examined in a similar way. Ask questions to test which explanation styles may suit the target audience best. By asking relevant questions crucial modifications may be made to explanation styles generated during the ideation stage.
The fifth phase involves testing that may provide further insights for refining or improvement. (Design Thinking is not necessarily a linear process. Re-thinking, re-defining and more ideation are part of the process.) Equally, the effectiveness of an explanation needs testing. An assessment of the recipient’s understanding will be necessary to ascertain the success of the explanation. Only if there is engagement and enlightenment can we say that the explanation is effective. And, like designer products, great explanations can repeatedly be polished and improved.
The purpose of Design Thinking is to improve outcomes by analyzing the needs of those involved. This is also a fundamental part of effective explanation. Once designers know the real issue they do not immediately offer a solution. Instead, they stop to consider a wide range of potential solutions. This is necessary in effective explanations too: a careful consideration of various ways by which a concept can be explained to perfectly meet the needs of the target audience. So, by making use of Design Thinking, explanations can be designed to be truly effective.
mysimpleshow’s Top Tips for Using Humor in Explainer Videos (Part 2)
When it comes to humor there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Humor can transform an average explainer video into a compelling memorable experience. Laughter increases endorphins, which makes the viewer feel good, relaxed and in a better frame of mind for receiving and processing information. However, humor will only be effective if it has been appropriately applied.
Three do’s and one don’t:
ONE: Do not just use any old joke!
There are some pitfalls when using humor in your explainer video… If humor is not used correctly, it can have an adverse effect! Do not just throw in any joke that you recently heard. It will, in all likelihood, be completely out of place and distract from your main message. The humor used in your explainer video script needs to fit in with the topic. For example, if your explainer video is about financial planning the humor should probably involve money or financial services, and not just any random topic. If you cannot come up with a related joke, rather do not include humor in your script, as it will serve no real purpose.
TWO: Use humorous stories.
People tend to remember better when an explainer video makes effective use of humorous real life stories. For example, when explaining properties of solids one expert cleverly made use of a silly, yet amusing scenario where one geek wanted to propose marriage to another geek. The discussion that followed was based around chemical principles: in the story the geek carefully considered whether to give his geek partner a ring with a diamond or with graphite, because one is more kinetically stable and one is more thermodynamically stable…! (The humor in choosing the best ring will, of course, only appeal to scientists – the wit used in an explainer video needs to appeal to the target audience.) As such, humorous stories engage viewers and enhance memory retention. So, include amusing stories that relate to the topic of your explainer video.
THREE: Use dry humor.
Using dry humor in your explainer video script may be challenging, but it can be very effective. Dry humor involves a deliberate display of a lack of emotion. When no emotion is shown in a ridiculous situation it can be quite hilarious. Comedian Elayne Boosler once said “I’ve never been married, but I tell people I’m divorced so they won’t think something is wrong with me.” This is a seemingly sincere delivery without much expression, and is a good example of dry humor. Dry humor appears to be unintentional. To incorporate dry humor in your explainer video allow your main character, or narrator to deliver humorous lines in a very straight-forward and frank way, as if what is said is not funny at all, but very serious indeed.
FOUR: Use unrealistic exaggeration.
Incorporate unrealistic over-the-top exaggeration into your explainer video’s script. This makes scripts compelling and interesting. Unrealistic exaggeration is not meant to be taken literally and is therefore humorous, and ultimately engaging. (For example, if you want to explain the solution to a problem, over-exaggerate the problem to such an extreme that it becomes hilarious. Then explain how the problem can be solved with ease.) Unrealistic exaggeration, as with any other form of humor, needs to fit in with what you want to communicate with your explainer video. To put a smile on the viewer’s face, the exaggerated situation needs to be directly linked to the topic.
Humor is an important tool in the making of explainer videos. Humor and laughter have a number of benefits. It decreases anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and stimulates the release of endorphins. So, if an explainer video is really entertaining it can greatly transform an average explanation. Especially if the topic is complicated (or even a bit dull) the explanation can be made exciting with a touch of humor. So, use humor to turn your next explainer video into a compelling memorable viewing experience! (Have you read Part 1 of this series?)
Research tips for script writing
The foundation of a great explainer video script lies in its research. Unless you are already an expert in the field, explaining a complex or detailed topic needs thorough research. A carefully researched script enhances the quality of the video and determines the success of the explainer video, but the challenge is to write a script that is clear and concise. So, what is needed in order to do effective research for a great explainer video script?
Choosing research material
Viewers will watch your explainer video primarily because they want to learn about the topic that you explain. For this reason your video needs to include the necessary knowledge to clarify the topic sufficiently. Those who watch your explainer video will expect you to know what you are talking about – so, if you want to make a professional explainer video it is paramount that you conduct thorough research. Even the smallest mistake can make a big difference to the credibility of your explainer video. Make sure that you use reliable sources of information. Do not just assume that all online material is reliable. And, if you come across contradictory information, investigate further to establish the correct information.
Save all your resources together in one place so you can easily find them later. Create a research document for “original research material”. Then organize research material in such a way that you can find information quickly. The best way is to number articles / sources and to highlight relevant information in each text. Make sure to also put a reference at the end of each source of information, in case you want to revisit the website. When you come across a key piece of information, copy the relevant text (and its link) and paste it into your research document, so that you can easily revisit it.
Remember to be concise – so, right from the start, cut down to only the essential information. As you read through your research document, highlight information that you will definitely use in one color and information that you need to revisit in another color. Copy the highlighted texts and save them as “Draft 1”. Then start to re-write the information in your own words. Once completed, save this document as “Draft 2”. Edit “Draft 2” and save it as a new document, called “Draft 3”. Now begin to set the information as part of a story. Once completed, save the document as “Draft 4”… Numerous drafts may be needed, but continue to edit and improve your script until you are satisfied with the outcome. (Use different colors to highlight areas in your drafts that you need to come back to. E.g. use different colors for double-checking, additional research, or re-wording.)
Use time wisely
The aim is to carry out comprehensive research in as little time as possible. Look for articles that are concise and to the point. Keep your research focused on the key factors of the topic. Brief overviews are often very useful. If well-written, these should give you the essential bits of information needed for a short explainer video script. Of course, the amount of research time needed will vary, depending on your existing knowledge of the topic. However, make sure that you do not overburden yourself with too much research material. For a short explainer video a maximum of 3 sources should be sufficient for the writing of the script. Preliminary research, that gives you a general feel for the topic, may include more reading material and videos, but set a time limit for yourself to work through the materials.
Thorough research for an explainer video script is a fundamental step in video creation. You may find that 20% of your efforts count for 80% of the video’s success! The more effort you put in at the research stage, the better the script will be. With the necessary research conducted successfully, your explainer video script will have depth and authority. It will have the potential to become a great explainer video that is a legitimate and valued source of information.
Ways to spark your creativity
You are about to make an explainer video, but still need that creative spark to come up with some outstanding ideas for the script writing and, of course, for the making of the video clips. So, where does creative inspiration come from? How can creativity be boosted, so that you can produce an exceptional explainer video? Let’s consider a few practical ways to spark creativity.
A relaxed state of mind is a prerequisite for creativity. When relaxed you start to think freely. If you struggle to relax, purposefully engage in activities that make you feel relaxed. For example, play your favourite video game. It will encourage a positive relaxed mood and boost creativity. Or, take your work to the coffee shop and order your favourite drink. Soon you will feel relaxed and ready to come up with ingenious ideas. The welcoming smell of the coffee plus the moderate level noise in the background will aid relaxation and encourage creativity. Time and time again it all comes down to relaxation – it helps us to think more freely and boost creative productivity.
Another true and tested way to enhance creativity is walking. It provides one with “thinking time”. And during “thinking time”, one generates ideas without even trying to do so. Writers, artists, and philosophers often follow very specific routines that, time and again, involve walking. Take German philosopher Nietzsche, for example: he walked for several hours per day and used this time to conceive great ideas! Walking somehow makes it easier for the mind to operate on a creative level. So, go for a walk to relax and to generate creative ideas. Make sure to take your mobile with you and use it to record ideas – either make a voice recording or type a quick note of your ideas.
This may seem to be a complete contradiction, but if you want to be optimally creative and productive you need to allow time for doing nothing. To be creative one needs time to daydream. We are more inclined to be creative when our minds are wandering. After all, creativity and innovation stem from our ability to use our imagination. When you daydream you visualize… when you visualize you paint a picture with your thoughts. Allow yourself time for doing nothing, in order to give your mind space to be creative.
Make use of a whiteboard to display relevant ideas that come to mind. (Use a blue or green marker on the whiteboard, as those colours tend to enhance cognitive performance!) Display your ideas in the form of mind-maps, or even as storyboards. Storyboards are useful when you are visualising a process, whereas mind-maps are more useful when you are generating initial ideas for your project. Mind-mapping also allows for a topic to be further developed by adding more and more idea-layers to the mind-map, each time breaking down key terms into their comprising parts. This guides the brain to unravel the topic into many relating ideas and triggers creative thought.
5. Creative Corner
A suitable environment will boost creativity. Therefore, create a space where you can be optimally creative. Make your “creative corner” relaxing and inviting, but also practical, complete with white board, music dock and comfortable chair! The idea of a designated space for creative purposes conditions the brain to get into the habit of being creative specifically in that area. In this space you can play music, close your eyes, daydream, and jot down ideas on the board – all is at hand… Or, you may want to stand at the whiteboard and consider your options. People are most creative in pleasing environments. Therefore, create a space that will positively affect your mood, work ethic, and creativity.
So, we have established that relaxation is essential to creativity. However, one cannot truly be relaxed if you have not had enough sleep. Therefore, if you struggle to come up with new ideas, “sleep on it”. While sleeping, restructuring takes placed in the brain, which allows one to look at possibilities in a new ways. Even just a short nap can do the trick, as the brain gets refreshed and stimulated anew. Then, get back to your creative corner, or go for a relaxing walk to spark your creativity!
mysimpleshow’s Top Tips for Using Humor in Explainer Videos – Part 1
Humor can transform an average explainer video into a powerful explanation that will be remembered for a long time to come by the target audience. A good joke or a humorous story can spice up a dull topic. Humor reduces anxiety, facilitates learning and improves performance. It is, therefore, an ideal tool to use in an explainer video! But, you need to know what you are doing. Humor needs to be used with a lot of forethought.
Four do’s and one don’t:
ONE – Do not use potentially offensive humor!
There are some definite no-no’s when using humor in your explainer video. One of these involves distastefulness – offensive humor should not be used. Consider the target audience very carefully when you create the humor for the explainer video script. Avoid sensitive topics. Humor that has a racist, sexist, or obscene tone may be offensive to viewers and alienate rather than engage your target audience. The same can be said for humor that involves religion or politics. So, when incorporating humor in your explainer video make sure that it does not to have a humiliating or derogatory affect that will only serve to push viewers away.
TWO – Use Wordplay.
Wordplay can be used very effectively to put that twinkle in the eye and make your explainer video humorous. Some words sound alike but have different meanings. When wordplay is used in an explainer video a joke can be made that exploits the different possible meanings of a word. So, think of words that you will need to use when explaining your topic. Then identify some that may have double meanings. Use these as inspiration to add humor to your explainer video script. Clever wordplay can successfully insert humorous moments into an explainer video.
THREE – Imitate, with realistic exaggeration.
Exaggerate situations slightly to get a humorous effect. In literature terms this is called parody – i.e. an imitation of a familiar situation, but with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect. This can be achieved by poking fun at typical situations. How? By imitating and overstressing noticeable features. For example, you can achieve a humorous effect in your explainer video by using a situation that most people are familiar with, like a birthday party. Then make fun of the situation by adding in things that go wrong at the party. Or use a well known movie as inspiration. Make fun of it in your explainer video by making your characters similar to some well known characters from the movie; or make your video’s storyline similar to that of the movie, but slightly exaggerated and, of course, much, much shorter. (Remember, explainer videos need to be short and to the point!)
FOUR – Use self-disparaging Humor.
Humor can work very well if it is at your expense. Self-disparaging humor can be used effectively to connect with the audience, provided that the viewer is laughing with you. So, an easy way to incorporate self-disparaging humor in an explainer video is to create a problematic situation and a character that the audience can laugh with. Self-disparaging characters know their own weaknesses and shortcomings and are not afraid to point them out in a humorous way. A shortcoming, that could potentially be embarrassing, is consequently portrayed in a comical humoristic way. This makes the character vulnerable and therefore the viewer is inclined to listen to what he / she has to say, with extra attention. The character thus becomes more relatable to the audience. It is about finding the funny in life’s challenging moments and incorporating that in your explainer video, in order to connect with the audience.
When used effectively in explainer videos humor boosts levels of interest and increases the motivation to learn. However, humor must not be over-used; it needs to be incorporated into the explainer video script with the necessary forethought. If the humor succeeds the explainer video will truly engage viewers, increase understanding and enhance memory retention. So, use humor to make your explainer video topic engaging from the get-go, by nurturing a relationship with the target audience.