When someone asks you what something is, they are really asking why it matters.
I’ve been making “explainer videos” for Epipheo for five years now, and the biggest thing I’ve learned from my time here is that when people want me to explain what something is, it is better to explain why it matters. There is a big difference.
“What is it?” is a boring question. Your product has a lot of technical details, a long history, a new version coming out, and probably a decent amount of features. And nobody cares.
“Why does it matter?” is a different question altogether. And answering this question will make you great at explanation.
How does explanation become matterful? Great question (horrible English). Something matters when it makes my story better. That’s it. That means the best type of explanation clearly shows me how your product changes my story.
It also means that you aren’t the main character in your explainer video. I am. Sorry about that; I love limelight. Actually, by “I am” I really mean “we are” — all of us who are going to spend two minutes of our short existence on this earth watching your video.
It also means you need to leave out a lot of details that feel important to you but are not relevant to me. This is going to be hard to do. You are really close to your own product, and everything seems impossible to leave out.
Go take a look at your About page. Do you have a lot of jargon on there that is meaningful to you but irrelevant to me? Are you flooding me with details? Are you making me search around to find something that helps me understand why your product matters to me?
The power of an explainer video isn’t that it takes every detail of your product and slams it into an animated smorgasbord. The power of an explainer video, when done right, is that it quickly and delightfully tells me why I should care.
Written by Jon Collins, Epipheo Founding Partner
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