5 key elements of effective whiteboard videos
Whiteboard animation offers a compelling medium to promote and position yourself in the market. Few video marketing styles do a better job of helping your brand or message to resonate with an audience.
However, ask any experienced video company, and they’ll all agree that you need to nail some key fundamentals from the get-go, or your whiteboard video won’t work.
Let’s examine these fundamental elements as we share insider tips on using the style to make your brand and message shine.
1. Put the basics in place
Before jumping in, it’s essential to understand the basic elements of a whiteboard video and why the style can be so effective in a promotional and communication context.
Do you remember your primary school teacher writing and drawing on a whiteboard while explaining new things? Whiteboard videos follow the same basic premise.
The style’s hallmark is an actively drawing hand illustrating key story elements on a white background. At the same time, a narrator voices what’s going on using storytelling to convey your message (more on this in a bit!).
It’s an ideal way to convey complex ideas easily, simply and engagingly because:
Fluid animations and visually detailed images engage audiences from start to finish.
It creates a visual environment that’s easy to follow, thanks to the style’s use of black lines sketched on a white background that minimizes distractions—so your audience can focus on the video’s information while the story unravels.
Audiovisual aids are more engaging and compelling than written text or static images, generating a mnemonic device that helps viewers retain relevant information.
Include these basic, distinctive elements in your whiteboard video, and you’ll have the making of a memorable piece of content!
2. Craft an engaging story
Storytelling is at the core of whiteboard videos. Your message will impact the video’s illustration, tone, style and characterization. It’s the story you weave that brings those elements together.
While crafting a compelling tale for your video may sound daunting, you only need to watch a few pro-level whiteboard videos to realize that experts rely on a few key elements to write a successful script:
The concept: Decide what you want to communicate to the audience and use that to inform your script.
A gripping beginning: Hook your audience with a familiar scenario and relatable characters. Showcase the challenges they face or the problem they need to solve at the start, and you’ll pique their interest.
The problem-solver: Your product, brand or message. As the story develops, clearly state what you want viewers to take away. Whether it’s why your brand is the perfect solution instead of competitors or simply a key piece of information, state the takeaway clearly in your script.
A happy ending: Show how characters’ lives/situations improve after trying your product or utilizing the information you’ve provided.
3. Create compelling characters
Your audience must identify with your characters, their personalities, tastes, problems and objectives. Characters are the soul of the party, and they are responsible for leading the audience into the journey you want them to take.
Tailor your whiteboard video characters to reflect your audience. Not only should they look similar aesthetically, but they should also portray common interests and face similar problems.
To that end, your whiteboard video’s protagonist should match your audience in a few ways:
Their particular age group and demographic
They should have a name and personality. It shouldn’t be a random, nameless avatar.
Share similar interests and aspirations
Share the same area of expertise
Characters like these will help viewers connect with your message. If they feel you are addressing them directly, they will be more open to hearing what you have to say.
4. Use bits of color (but don’t get carried away!)
A whiteboard video’s aesthetic is black and white. But that alone can make it difficult for your audience to differentiate your brand from dozens of other animated videos and styles. So, what can you do to make your whiteboard videos feel unmistakably yours?
It’s simple. Every element of your animated whiteboard video can and should be customized to showcase the brand’s identity. By adding a bit of color to some aspects of your whiteboard animation, your brand will stand out and draw your audience’s attention where you want it most!
A tried-and-true technique is to add your logo—colors and everything—and introduce it at a crucial point in the video. Another popular trend is to use your company’s color palette to accentuate some of the graphics throughout the video (extra points if you use them to reinforce elements of the narrative!)
However you go about it, remember that the style is called “whiteboard” for a reason. Don’t overdo it with color, or you’ll stop having an actual whiteboard video (and its benefits) in your hands.
5. Choose memorable elements
If you want viewers to pay attention to your message, your whiteboard video must be both appealing and memorable. The core idea is to captivate the audience through well-told storytelling, wise use of your brand’s color palette, and suitable character design. But if your viewers forget your video 30 seconds after watching it, you’ve accomplished little.
Use these critical elements to make your whiteboard videos more memorable:
Choose a catchy song that fits the tone of your video. It’s paramount to immerse your audience in the animated video with catchy sound design. Avoid loud or annoying sound effects that startle viewers — that’s not what you want to be remembered for.
Use a narrator’s voice that fits your video’s tone and is appealing—a voice they’d like to keep hearing.
Consider video length carefully. Whiteboard pieces can last longer than the average marketing videos but never overstay your welcome. Stay within the two-minute mark if possible.
Whiteboard videos have changed the way marketers, brands, and content creators convey complex messages to just about anyone. Their distinctive characteristics make them stand out from other video types and are perfectly suited to get your message across.
Done right, you’ll create an excellent piece of content that will showcase your brand in the best possible light.
Contributed to EO by Victor Blasco, an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video production company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.