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Russ Law designs animated explainer videos for his clients. PowToon is a free online software for making your own animated explainer videos.. You can make your-own animated videos using Powtoon or have Russ make one for you.
PowToon is excited to announce several new features in our latest update. Now You Can add sound to your Explainer video clips. The new dual track audio manager allows you to add a voiceover on top of music and toggle the volume for each of the tracks. Now you can make awesome animated explainer clips, in any language!
Read it out loud! Especially if a script is intended for narration (vs. on-screen text), reading the voice-over out loud ensures it has a natural flow and easily fits within the necessary video timeframe.
Look up samples of videos similar in tone, energy, and content to the one you want to write. This will not only help put you in the proper writing mindset, but will also help you avoid ripping off other scripts (accidentally or otherwise).
Stick to a consistent format. Find a simple, basic, script-writing format and use it for all your drafts. This way you aren’t starting from scratch whenever you begin a new script, and your clients will also become familiar with that format and can more quickly review and adapt each script you deliver.
Make every script element as clear as possible. Note what parts are voice-overs. Note which parts are meant to be visual pieces. Note fade-ins, transitions, fade-outs. This can help eliminate confusion during the final video production.
Establish clear client expectations. Have a detailed conversation discussing your client’s goals for the script, including the main message they want to convey and the primary actions they want viewers to take after the video ends.
Know what to avoid at all costs. Knowing what phrases, images, or other content should never be included in the script is just as important as trying to figure out what to put in. Plus, it can help you avoid extensive re-writes.
Start with an outline. You don’t need to create a fully realized script in a single draft. Try outlining the main points the video should hit first, and then go back through and flesh them out to make sure you aren’t missing any major parts of the message.
Remember your audience. Unless you’re scripting a video that you’re never going to show anyone else, keep your audience in mind at all times. Be honest and ask yourself: Are you writing a script just for you…or one your target audience would find just as engaging?
Include that call-to-action! You can have a wonderfully snazzy, jazzy video script with all sorts of clever phrases and imagery—but if you get to the end and the audience doesn’t have any idea of what to do next, then what’s the point? Give them clear guidance or info on the follow-up steps they should take.
Choose a single, powerful image. If you try to cram in too many metaphors or visual allegories into your script, it can be confusing and lose impact. Select a single example that best conveys your message and stick with it throughout the script.
Focus. A video script that tries to accomplish too many things at once isn’t going to be nearly as effective as a script committed to a focused message and goal. What one thing should this script achieve? Figure that out and hold to it.
No essays, please. Videos are often best when short and simple. Audiences enjoy messages that get to the point, rather than meandering or following lots of little mental rabbit trails. Pare down to the essentials and try to make as an big impact with as brief a script as possible.
Josh Vogt writes dynamic content that gives you a standout image and compels your audience into action! With 7+ years in copywriting, sales, marketing, branding, and web journalism, he remains dedicated to quality, creativity, and his clients’ complete satisfaction. Find his freelance services at Write-Strong.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest blog by Sharon Sznitman – Co-founder at GradTrain andLecturer School of Public Health University of Haifa
Have you ever received information in a text-heavy and non-user-friendly way? Sure – we all do every day. Whether it is at the doctor’s office receiving medical information, at the bank when signing up for a student loan, or at work, when a business presentations take up dozens of text oriented slides. Is this really necessary?
Especially in the globalized and information-heavy world we live in, where language barriers abound, using graphics and effects to convey a message makes a lot of sense. That is how our team at GradTrain connected with PowToon.
It became clear to us that a video with cartoon images as well as accompanying text and/or sound is a powerful way to get messages across, whether it be for doctors to give advice about health behaviors, or for a startup company like ours, that is aiming to get prospective international graduate students from around the globe excited about the new services we are offering – in a clear and impactful way.
Reaching an international audience
At GradTrain we aim to reach a diverse group of people, with different nationalities, backgrounds and interests, who speak different languages. Indeed, we are trying to reach every single prospective international student in the entire world. Not a small project we know, but reaching for the sky is what we are all about at GradTrain. We want to reach prospective international students so that they can hear about how we can help make the international university application process much easier and a lot more successful.
Applying to a graduate university program abroad is a daunting task, that requires not only good academic credentials, but also skillful and strategic decision-making, such as targeting schools and programs, preparing an effective application package, planning course load, securing funding, preparing for arrival and adjusting to a new culture and language. Studies have shown that prospective international students feel that they do not have enough information to make informed decisions about the application process, that communicating and receiving information about the institution they wish to apply to is a major problem, that getting course credits from their home institution accepted was somewhat of a problem, and that getting a study permit is a problem.
Our 2 simple messages
We created a PowToon video in order to tell prospective international graduate students three things:
(1) We know about, understand and recognize the problems you are facing, including: lack of information, high-priced placement agents and the cultural fears of leaving home and travelling to another country.
(2) We can help you overcome these problems by connecting you with people like yourself who have been through the process successfully and with the right information to support your decision making process.
(3) Come join us!
PowToon’s video animation platform allowed us to get these messages across in a manner that is great for an international audience. First of all, while the text is in English in the current version, it can easily be translated into other languages. Second, since it is a cartoon, the ethnicity/nationality/age features of the persons depicted are implicit which is great for our purpose as we want all international prospective students to identify with our video, regardless of where they are from, the color of the skin, their age, the language that they speak, their gender, or economic background.
We hope you like the PowToon video we created and that it encourages you to visit our website and take advantage of our information and services. Also, if you know of anyone else who is considering applying to university programs abroad, please send this post to them so that they too can benefit from GradTrain’s services. And if you have been or are currently a graduate student studying abroad, why not join us as a GradTrain coach? You can send us a message through our homepage.
Videos are powerful advertising tools and for a good reason. They’re easier on the eyes than walls of text, and they are generally more entertaining. Using great video tools like PowToons and the abundance of video tutorials available online also makes video creation easier than before. Add the fact that videos are now easier to share over the Web and you have a great way to market your products. As of 2011, more than half of B2B marketers in the United States have invested in video advertisements, and there’s no sign of that figure going down.
While many videos find varying degrees of success when targeting local markets, things get a lot trickier when taking things to an international scale. A lot of businesses have made the mistake of creating a video that generates way less views than they expected, thanks to the language barrier. Fortunately, you can break the barrier without having to break your bank by adding subtitles to your videos.
There are many reasons why subtitles are surprisingly effective at increasing the amount of views your videos can get, but here are some of the more important ones.
Not everyone understands English
You often see foreigners from all over the world speak English, but only 70% of the Internet population consider English as their primary language. Creating a great-looking video with PowToons is highly recommended to tap in to the market, and adding translated subtitles to your video is a perfect way to get more views from people who would otherwise give it a pass.
People are more interested if they know you care about them
Adding subtitles does more than just break the language barrier. By actually putting effort to making your video more appealing to foreign viewers, you’re basically acknowledging their existence and showing that you care. The rest is simple logic: If you were to choose between two videos, would you pick the one that acknowledges you or one that doesn’t care at all? Showing a little respect goes a long way, and your viewers will definitely appreciate you for that.
People prefer established names
There’s a good reason why products from big companies sell better than those created by smaller ones; brand preference. The more prominent your brand is, the more likely people will choose you over your competitor. The same thing goes for videos, adding subtitles to your videos gives the impression that you’re trying to get views on an international scale. Viewers will be more likely to watch your international-level videos. As an added bonus, foreign viewers who have already watched your previous videos will be more likely to watch your more recent works.
Adding subtitles to videos takes less time and resources than recording voiceovers, and you also get to preserve the original audio of your video. You can use PowToons to create great animated videos and add subtitles to it to expand your audience and let yourself be known across the globe!
Guest Post written by Laura Roberts – Instructional Designer at Synergis Education, Inc.
“I am an instructional designer for Synergis Education, Inc., a company that partners with various higher education institutions across the nation to deliver solutions that serve 21st Century students. As part of my job I am always looking for new tools that will enhance the content I create with subject matter experts. A few months ago I came across the PowToons website when I was searching for a free or relatively inexpensive tool to animate content lectures. I found the price for educators reasonable and their tag line–claiming that it “brings awesomeness to your presentations”–intrigued me.
After going through the demo of their software and seeing some sample presentations I was excited to give it try. I instantly saw how it could enrich the learning experience in higher education as well as in the K–12 environment. I pitched the software to the folks I was working with at a school of business and they were willing to give it a try.
My first presentation took longer than I anticipated, but the end product was well received by the faculty and my fellow instructional designers. Overall, this felt like a more organic process of presentation creation then PowerPoint development because the main focus is the gallery of graphics. I didn’t think about using text unless it was to call out important words or phrases, and it was easier than I thought it would be to find visuals to match the lecture. I will definitely be using this again to make lectures more engaging. In fact, I have already created a second one, and I’m working on my third!”
Tom Evans is a BBC-trained broadcast engineer turned author and writer’s mentor. He specialised in clearing creative blocks and teaches simple techniques on how to tap into unlimited creativity. He has written six non-fiction books and two short works of fiction. Visit www.tomevans.co for more information.
A guest Post by Yan Kirby – General Manager and co-founder of Desired Ranking
If you have an e-commerce website, chances are you are also making use of professional SEO services to generate more traffic, leads and of course conversion. Most likely, your SEO provider encourages you to come up with high-quality content that can help build your links around the web, and content does not just revolve around articles (blogs, PDF files and the like) and photographs, videos also count as one of them.
If done right, videos do not just benefit your business but it also benefits your target market. Unlike articles wherein you have to make them long and detailed enough to pass as “high-quality”, the good news with videos is that they don’t really need to be lengthy, documentary-type videos; they can be simple, short, informative and as straight to the point as you want them to be. But like articles, videos also need to be incorporated with the right keywords to make them easier to find in search queries and search engines.
How effective are they?
124 million consumers use YouTube every month for an average of 1 hour and 57 minutes (Nielsen, January 2013).
52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their online purchase decision. When a video is information-intensive, 66% of consumers will watch the video two or more times (Internet Retailer, 2012).
More than 3 out of 5 consumers will spend at least 2 minutes watching a video that educates them about a product they plan to purchase. 37% of those will watch three videos for more than 3 minutes (MarketingCharts.com, 2012).
Like every kind of content, video presentations also need to be well-thought off before it is uploaded in websites. Making a video that is informative and worth-watching is just the first part, optimizing it is another thing but it’s simple, really.
All you need to do is to determine which keywords are right to use and are actually relevant to your video presentation and incorporate them in your title, descriptive texts and tags.
Video Title Creation- make sure you choose a title that sums up everything of what your video was all about. At the same time, think how your target market would think, what words would they enter a search box if they are looking for your particular services?
Video Description- you don’t have to make it lengthy. Just write a short summary about your video but don’t reveal too much! Remember that the video is made to do all the talking. It is important too that you still use the right keywords that pretty sums up the overall subject of your video so that search engines can “pick-up” what your video is all about and show you to users who enters a similar query in their results page.
Video Tags- use them liberally! Again, they should be related to what your video is all about. Make sure that they are still the kind of words that your target audience would type in a search box.
How do videos benefit your audience?
In the World Wide Web wherein a user’s attention span is significantly lower, videos are a great way to show a chunk of information in a matter of seconds and minutes. Because videos are not composed of words, the audience doesn’t need to spend so much time reading and comprehending the long list of written stuff in their monitors but instead, they just watch and listen to the video presentation and get all the basic product and company information they need in a matter of seconds.
Most of all, the graphics and moving elements in videos have a higher entertaining value which makes it easier for the audience to digest and remember most of the information they have gotten from it.
So ultimately, how does it affect your e-commerce website?
In a nutshell, making use of video presentations has the following benefits for an e-commerce website:
Link Generation- because videos are highly shareable, there’s a higher chance for you to acquire more quality links from clients and other potential customers. These links help your site gain “credibility” which in turn improves your website ranking in major search engines.
Raise Brand Exposure and Awareness- on the marketing side, this is always a plus. People get to recognize and affiliate your brand with a certain product, material or feeling.
Increases Website Activity- search engines love websites that are active. Adding videos and other content constantly tells search engines that a certain website is still “active”. More so, if your content gets a lot of shares and discussions, the more it looks “active” for search engines and this contributing factor will help you stay on top-rank.
Last Words of Wisdom:
Just because search engines can’t “read” the exact content of your video (search engines are only limited to words), it doesn’t have to be an excuse for you to make mediocre and spammy ones. Search engines are also constantly updating their algorithms so if you don’t want your video content to be negatively affected in the next Google update, make them update-proof by producing quality and informative videos which are audience-targeted and engaging.
Yan Kirby is the General Manager and co-founder of Desired Ranking- a premiere provider of SEO and Digital Marketing services. Being an industry resource for 6 years, he helped hundreds of clients leverage online marketing through ideal SEO techniques and Inbound Marketing. Stay in touch with him @YanKirby and Google+.
This is a guest post by Yaniv Nizan who is the CEO and Co-Founder of The SOOMLA Project, the platform for Creating In-App Purchase Stores for Mobile Games. Yaniv’s is also a writer with articles featured in blogs such as: Gamasutra, Codenameone UX Motel and blog.soom.la and a speaker in different industry events. You can follow yaniv at @y_nizan.
When I started The SOOMLA Project less than a year ago I thought raising money will be a piece of cake. My previous startup is relatively successful and as a strong team targeting the rapidly growing market of mobile apps with a fresh product that fits the market like a glove it should be easy right? Well, my 2 co-founders and I soon discovered that raising money is never easy and especially these days where there are so many startups out there and it seems like no talented engineer wants to be an employee anymore.
Following advice from Dave Mcclure, Naval Ravikant and others I realized that the only way to get our promising startup noticed and be fundable is to have traction. How much traction? The opinions vary between 1 million users to 10 million users and as a B2B2C company that means end users.
Eventually we did get to 1 million end users and 2 months after we closed our seed round. I must admit that there was a drastic change in the responses we received when we had the numbers to back up our story. I’m not saying it was easy. It never is. However, there was suddenly interest to hear our story and investors had time to meet me the next day.
Ok, well, getting to millions of users is not a piece of cake either. If you have the marketing dollars then maybe but this is a yet to be funded startup we are talking about. How did we do it?
I guess one thing is to have a product that your customers really love. If you don’t have that it’s almost impossible to get so many users to use your product which is probably one of the reasons why investors insist on this validation in the first place. Assuming you do have a product-market fit, how do you get the word out with no marketing dollars?
We used a combination of Open Code Samples, Content Marketing and Tools that can produce a nearly professional outcome at a fraction of the price. I’ll give an example in each one of the categories.
Open Code Samples
We opened 4 main open source projects on Github – https://github.com/soomla. I then started answering questions in forums such as Stack Overflow, Gamedev, Unity Forums and many others using code pieces from the open projects and linking back to them. Using this method, we were able to get very targeted audience to the code projects. These days, every third visit to our project pages turns into an SDK download.
I identified a knowledge gap among mobile game developers about how to use the power of In-App Purchase and virtual economies in their games. Bringing my knowledge from online monetization, video advertising and e-commerce and extending it by interviewing leading game designers and reading about the subject I was able to create a massive amount of useful content about the subject and started sharing it through our Blog and Facebook Page. The result was a base of thousands of fans and established authority in the subject.
Cost Saving Tools
Among many other online tools, the one that saved us the most amount of money was PowToon – Our intro video was less than $100 while others can cost $3,000 and even more. I tried to create a video that will be fun to watch and will convey the problem and product in a way that anyone can understand so it will be highly sharable. Making a ‘talking cartoon’ video was the way to go and Powtoon does exactly that. It’s not as good as using professional tools like After Effects and 3d illustrators but it’s about 50 times more affordable and it allowed us to get the point across. I found a voice artist was on Fiverr so it was about 20 times cheaper than a professional one and it was just as good.