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7 Steps to Creating a Storyboard for Explainer Videos

Originally published   ·  Updated
7 Steps to Creating a Storyboard for Explainer Videos

65% more information is retained through viewing images than through hearing information.

A video is seen as the marketing tool with the best ROI.

Two solid facts which prove the video is essential to your marketing success. There are many more reasons why you should invest more in videos.

Are these enough motivation? But how do you do so while staying within your budget?

It’s actually easy thanks to online software and the excellent images our smartphones can capture.

But visual aspects don’t guarantee quality videos. The planning process determines the eventual impact on your audience. And this is why you need a storyboard for your video. Don’t know where to start? I’ll show you.

1. Understand the Importance

Don’t simply draw a few pictures and think you’re helping your business.

Storyboards for videos aren’t only to help a production team create your videos. This is where you share your vision and see whether your videos will work.

If they don’t impact the people in your boardroom they probably won’t impact your audience.

This means storyboarding for a video can save you unnecessary production costs.

It’s also how you help a team work together. A detailed storyboard incorporates everyone’s ideas, shows production members what to do and ensures a smooth process so you can stick to marketing timelines.

Once again this can save you time and money.

The time you take with your video storyboard is a long-term investment.

2. Understand the Process

Realize from the start that not everyone will like your storyboard. See it as a working document that your entire team has the right to change.

Only when the majority is happy is it wise to move ahead with production. The discussions and changes prevent future problems.

3. Determine Your Goals

Do you know what you want to say? Yes, you can communicate more with a video than using a wall of text. But that doesn’t mean you can share all the details of your business in one video. Get focused.


You and your team must brainstorm together and find a specific message for the video. This message must be told in a graphic way or through a story.

If you’re simply reciting facts you’re wasting your video because no one will watch it. Think about interesting scenes that will communicate your message.


Marketing is about matching your offer to people’s needs. Do you know who your target audience is and what they’re looking for?

Type of Video

Knowing your message and the audience will help you pick the right video type. Do you need live footage regarding your products or can you share your message with a whiteboard explainer video?

Also, decide where you’ll show the video. A video on your blog may be longer than one featured on Facebook.

Time and Timeline

Yes, people love watching videos but they have limited attention spans.

Firstly you have to capture their interest within eight seconds. If you don’t they’ll stop watching.

Studies show people watch marketing videos whether they’re 30 seconds long or a full two minutes. But any time longer than this and you’ll start losing viewers.

Remember, every second of your video will cost you something. The faster you can share your message the less you’ll pay for the video.


Your entire project is determined by your budget. Luckily creating video is versatile. Cut costs in one area to help realize a goal elsewhere.

Hiring a voice artist and using animation can be more affordable than hiring actors and you’ll still reach your initial goal.

4. Create a Script

What do you want to say? Now use this to formulate a catchy video script.

You already have the main points after brainstorming. Add them together in a story that makes sense. Write the necessary dialogue.

Can you say what’s important in the minimum number of words? Videos aren’t about saying a lot. It’s about showing your audience instead of telling them.

For marketing videos, it’s wise to add a call to action at the end.

5. Start Drawing

Now it’s time to discover how your message will be shown. And it’s possible even if you’re new at this and not an artist.

Some definitions to help you understand the process:

  • Shots: This is a certain scene or clip in the video. It can be recorded or an animated image.
  • Cuts: These are the ends of all shots where you leave your audience with certain messages and entice them to keep watching.
  • Storyboard template: Create pictures of your planned shots on templates. Draw a thumbnail of each shot and add the script and notes underneath.
  • Shot list: A shot list tells a videographer what shots are needed and describes them in detail.

Not sure you can draw thumbnails? Simply draw stick figures or use storyboarding tools online. You don’t have to use color, though it can help add some realism.

Make it easy for the production team to grasp your idea by adding enough detail:

  • What time of day do scenes take place?
  • What location are the characters in?
  • Where are characters in relation to each other? You must think from a 3D perspective.
  • Are there any props needed?
  • Where do you need animated text?
  • Create a shot list so your videographer knows exactly what’s expected.

Your drawn or created thumbnails can then be placed on large boards to present to others.

6. Present and Modify

Your first draft will rarely be your last. You need to discuss your video storyboard with the entire team. Yes, the entire team.

Your marketing team must agree with how you present the facts. Your production team must tell you whether what you suggest is possible.

They can make suggestions and it’s your responsibility to incorporate the best ones into the final product.

Pro Tip: Use the backs of your boards to write down everyone’s opinions so you don’t forget anything.

7. Focus on Technical Details

As mentioned, storyboarding for a video is vital to marketing success. If you don’t incorporate technical details from the start your team can’t create what you envision. Here’s what they need from you:

  • Use 4:3 or 16:9 thumbnail aspect ratios so you can see whether all your elements (characters, text, and background) will really fit into the screen.
  • What camera angle do you want? Show when you need close-ups or tracking shots. These may require unique equipment.
  • Do you want special effects? Make sure your team can handle it or it may require hiring professionals.

Getting excited about your next video?

It’s not as complicated as you think. You can also looking for a white label partnership animation. Remember, every decision you make with the storyboard for your video impacts your production team, your timeline and eventually your audience.

Use it as motivation to keep on sharpening your skills so your videos will improve over time.


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