Whiteboard Videos Make Drawn Out Concepts Easy to Understand

For most of history, humans have used simple pictures to tell stories … think prehistoric cave drawings and hieroglyphics. Today, as scientific and technological concepts are becoming exponentially more complex, there is a definite trend toward using increasingly simple pictures to describe them. At the crest of this wave you’ll find whiteboard videos.

A subset of the broader “explainer video” category, whiteboard videos came rolling into our collective marketing conscious with an innovative UPS TV campaign in 2007, followed by the viral video that introduced the world to Dropbox. Simultaneously, YouTube was making a big splash as the world’s first free video marketing resource available to small business.

YouTube made video marketing a viable option for companies and organizations without big budgets for production or media buys. And it wasn’t just for-profit companies making use of this trend. Historically, The RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) and TED Talks have been two of the most successful non-profit YouTube channels known for the innovative use of whiteboard videos.

Clearly, this need to explain things simply came together with the broad reach and affordability of YouTube to create an ideal climate for an explosion of whiteboard videos. Soon the whiteboard could be seen everywhere on YouTube, websites, TV, Facebook, Twitter in corporate training rooms and at schools. Now, more than a decade later, it continues to be one of the most popular, effective and likeable video marketing formats.

The whiteboard format works well for many communication and marketing initiatives. There are countless things to think about when attempting to create the perfect whiteboard, but if you believe your organization would benefit from one—and wonder how to get started—this short list is key to producing a killer end-product:

  • Content—Think of your content is terms of telling a fun, interesting story as well as educating. Make sure you have something compelling to say so your audience will feel it’s worth their time to watch. Please don’t use the format to just list features of your product or give a sales pitch.
  • Graphics—The best whiteboard videos tell a story in a way that allows the accompanying graphics to flow and work together. This is more interesting and holds attention better than stand-alone elements. The illustration style should be clear, likeable and interesting. Ideally the graphics should make the audience smile!
  • Script/Voiceover—Once you’re sure the script holds all the information you need to communicate, read it out loud to ensure it is conversational and has enough personality to match the graphics. Go ahead and include humor, puns and quirky words as long as the jokes are respectful of your subject matter. Finally, and this is vitally important, make certain your voiceover talent is a professional who is also a good match for your content.

One last caveat … because a whiteboard video is so simple, production quality is essential. There is nothing to distract a viewer from bad quality and it will reflect poorly on your organization and brand!

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