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Do Your Videos Need Narration?

More show, less tell

Have you given any thought to how much video these days gets watched without audio? More than you think, probably, because LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube all autoplay videos with no audio by default.  Now consider the videos you’ve created to explain and promote your products and services. If the viewer doesn’t listen to the voice track, how much of your message is getting across?

Social media viewers have become accustomed to being carried along by animations and imagery supported by subtitles, headlines, and other text elements. They’re happy to watch entire videos without the need for sound, as long as they get something out of it. Publishers are crafting more and more videos to work without audio.

Consumers have long relied on videos to see how to use a product, how it’s put together, and what people are doing with it. B2B buyers, on the other hand, often get their information from videos based on messaging documents that are not primarily visual. In today’s environment, B2B videos that emphasize “show” over “tell” can gain a competitive advantage.  

Rethinking the script

In a typical explainer video, the story is built around those problems that can only be overcome with your company’s solution. But if you want to get the most value out of video production, construct the script to be broken out into pieces.

For example, if the story revolves around “a day in the life” of troubled characters presented with several problems during the day, a short video can show how a single problem was solved. It requires editing and the addition of text — but it doesn’t require new narration.

In some cases, rather than make two-minute videos to summarize complex solutions, it is more efficient to craft longer, more deep-dive, explainer videos scripted to be broken down into snackable, “silent” segments for social media.

And, if you create appealing characters to tell the complex story, you can re-use them as animated gifs and spokespeople to extend your brand’s reach in social media.

Better digital selling

Another reason to create a library of short videos is that discrete feature-benefit stories can be used to enliven online meetings without seeming to “take over” from the live presenter. And, because the video works without sound, the presenter can choose to talk over it. In any case, with or without narration, video is always preferable to PowerPoint.

Bruce McKenzie

A writer with a background in public broadcasting and corporate marketing communications, Bruce McKenzie pioneered the “2-Minute Explainer®” brand video for technology businesses in 2004. Customers have included numerous enterprise technology companies (Cisco, IBM, BMC, Brocade/Broadcom, Software AG, CA Technologies, CompuCom) as well as B2B startups. Rebranded “Technology Business Video” in 2017, the company today produces a variety of “tactical” videos to reach buying team members throughout the sales cycle. We take everything marketers want to say and transform it into short videos that communicate stuff buyers want to know. It’s basically what good writers do, made visual. Visit to learn more or set up a chat about tactical videos with the Technology Business Video professionals.

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