Case Study: How to Create a Killer Explainer Video

Case Study: How to Create a Killer Explainer Video

How many times have you seen an awesome explainer video and said to yourself… “Wow, that was awesome! I should get an explainer video done for my site!” — probably quote a few times. Unfortunately, the process of creating an explainer video is quite complicated and can cost you a lot of money in the process. While there are many methods out there for creating these types of videos, it seems like the options are either too complicating, too time consuming to figure out, or just way too expensive!

Before we jump into “how” to create a killer explainer video, first we need to appreciate why explainer videos work so well and why they seem to be all over the place. In today’s world of fast paced content and social media, you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention and the best way to do this is with video — especially explainer videos. They tell a story, keep you engaged and get you to take action. You can see some of the top digital based products on ClickBank and how they are using video to convert their audience into customers through the use of video in this post.

If you already know the importance of an explainer video and have always one to create one of your own, but still sitting on the sidelines for any of the reasons mentioned above, this will be a great article for you.

My Journey to Create the Perfect Explainer Video

I recently wanted to get an explainer video created for my site at Blogging.org. I had an idea in mind and looked at a few different options. I could have created the video myself with some of the whiteboard explainer video platforms out there, but many of them look cheesy, and when everyone is using the same concept, it’s even cheesier! The other option was to have a design team to create it for me, this was a good choice, but time and time again I was getting quotes in the several thousands range (which might be fine for huge agencies and mega businesses, but not something I wanted to shell out for a new project.)

Low and behold… one day while I was on Facebook, I saw an ad for video creation from a service called WizMotions. I looked through their site, watched their videos and then followed up with the team on how I could have a video created for my site. The quality was awesome, the creation experience was smooth and swift, and the price was very competitive as well — at just under $500.

Here’s the completed video for the site — then I will walk you through the process of how it was created.

How I Created My Explainer Video with WizMotions

First thing first, I got to talk with the WizMotions team and decide upon what type of video I would like to have created, and I also read up on the video creation process as well and how long it should take. Looking back at the project now, it was very seamless and tool little effort on my part besides coming up with the script idea and approving the ad copy and drawings.

Once placing my order with WizMotions, I was setup with a lead project manager (Carol) and another manager for my campaign progress as well (Christina). All of the interaction is done through Basecamp so everyone can interact and respond with each other in one area — which I thought was nice.

Video Creation and Concept

The first thing on my list was to fill out the creative brief, send over a copy of my site logo. The creative brief is all of your video ideas and details you would like the design team to know about. You can see a sample of this document below.

WizMotions_Video_Creation_Agenda

After completing the brief and having a better idea for myself of what I want my explainer to be about, I sent over the document and logo to the WizMotions team. During this process I also had to come up with a few lines for my script, what my video focus is about and the type of video I would like created. Once you send over the details for your write up / video idea, WizMotions will then send you a follow up script with suggested animation ideas as well. You can see a screenshot below of this as well.

WizMotions_Draft_Writeup

For the video creation process, I had to choose the type of video and if it would be in black and white, or in color. You can see a portfolio of different design concepts from WizMotions in their portfolio or through the screenshot below. The different type of videos available are Whiteboard Videos, 2D Animation, Kinetic Typography or a mix of each.

Best_Whiteboard_Scribing_Videos_Animation

In addition to choosing the video type, you also get to choose the character styles as well, which broken down into one of the follow.

  • “CARTOON STYLE” FOR WHITEBOARD VIDEO
  • “REALISTIC STYLE” FOR WHITEBOARD VIDEO
  • “STICK-FIGURE STYLE” FOR WHITEBOARD VIDEO

I went with the “Cartoon Style” for my video shown at the top of the page.

Cartoon Style for Explainer Videos

While going through the design process, WizMotions would send me draft mock ups of how the video was going to look. These were basically still shots of my video for approval. During this process I also requested they used a picture of my dog Foxy for their inspiration for the dog in the video. They happily obliged.

Foxy_in_Blogging_Explainer_Video

You can see Foxy throughout the video above, and in the screenshot below.

How_to_Start_a_Blog_Explainer_Video

With the video design, concept, art work and detailed brief all completed, the next step of the process was to work on the actual script, voice and music for the video.

Video Script, Audio and Design Process

After working with the WizMotions teams and the data I pulled together for my creative brief, a 60 second script was drafted for my video.

It’s important to focus a lot of effort on the wording of your script to make sure you get your message across within the specified time for your video. Obviously my ending script was the one heard through the video at the top of the page… however that wasn’t the whole decision process. I also had to decide if I wanted to be the voice for the video, or if I should have someone from the WizMotions team bring my audio to life.

Even though I do my own podcasting and audio work for my own sites, I wanted to bring a fresh and new voice to this site. No matter what type of voice talent you are looking for, WizMotions has an awesome page full of different voice artists and examples for you to listen to right from their site. For my video I went with Male Voice #10 (WM-M10).

Pick_A_Voice-Over_Talent_For_Your_Video

For my video I went with Male Voice #10 (WM-M10), and it was perfect in the first file received.

The last step in the process was for the WizMotions team to pull everything together, created the video, animated and color it, then send it on over!

The whole process was quick, easy and painless. After receiving my video (through Dropbox), the WizMotions team sent over a few questions about their service and the design process. Here are those questions along with my responses.

What was your biggest challenge/fear before hiring wizMotions?
– Making sure the quality of work and flow process was up to par — and it was!

What, specifically, was your favorite part of your video production experience, and why?
– The preview of the cartoon work was the most exciting. It gave a real glimpse of what to expect for the final outcome.

If you were to recommend us to your best friend, what would you say?
– If you want to get a professional video created, while working with a great team that understands how to fit your needs, wizmotions is a great option.

With all of that said… it was great to work with WizMotions and I love the turn out of the video.

Cost to Create a Custom Explainer Video

The final cost of my explainer video was about $500. I went with the wizDoodle video option, which included unlimited storyboard revisions, original artwork and 100% hand drawn and also added a voice over, which is an additional $99 per minute. The wizMotional package is available for anyone interested in Typography videos or the larger wizToon 2D package is for animation and cartoon videos in full color.

WizMotions_Low_Cost_Pricing

Save 10% WizMotions Coupon

If you would like to create an explainer video of your own, I highly recommend working with the team over at WizMotions. You will get to walk through the same simple and detailed process I did to create your video, and you also won’t have to break the bank in the process. As mentioned earlier, the WizMotions team will set you up with a Basecamp account to work directly with you to create the best video possible.

While talking with WizMotions, I was also able to negotiate a nice 10% discount for all of my blog readers — which can add up to some decent savings when creating your own custom explainer video. Click here to get started, and be sure to use coupon code ZACFANS.

WizMotions_Button

How to Create an Awesome Office Space for Your Business

How to Create an Awesome Office Space for Your Business

One of the many perks of running your own business or being an entrepreneur is that you actually get to work from the comfort of your own home. Even if you aren’t working from home, you probably still have an awesome office that was set up to your liking.

Since I first started making money online back in the mid-90s, I’ve always had a separate room for running the day to day operations. You can see one of my first office rooms in the picture below.

Zac_Johnson_Original_Home_Office

You can see a recent updated version of what my office today. Yes, I still like to collect things… but it’s actually a lot cleaner and minimalist in it’s latest setup (which I’ll update with a picture soon).

And yes… I even ran my business from a small kitchen desk while relocated for six months during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy — truely defining the concept of living a laptop lifestyle!

My Temporary Office

To view other office spaces and desks from other top bloggers and entrepreneurs, you can refer to my previous article on this here.

Quick Tips for Creating a Better Office Space

Whether you work in a corporate office building or your own home office, small work spaces can cut into your productivity if not dealt with properly. With these design tips, your office space can become a location of complete practicality and efficiency, with a little touch of designer elegance. If you’re ready to make a cramped space look more expansive and become more productive, follow these guidelines.

Cut Down on Clutter

If you’re working with a small space, you simply can’t afford to be disorganized. Every day, take five or ten minutes out of your afternoon to clear up your space before you finish working. Take advantage of occasional purges, getting rid of items you no longer need or have simply never had use for.

Cut down on your reliance on paper. While tangible, paper copies are essential for certain items, cutting down on unnecessary piles of paper receipts and documents will get rid of the need for bulky storage filing systems, making for a cleaner, tidier space. This directly translates into more room and a more expansive appearance. If you’ve got cables wiring in and around your office, it’s high time to get with the program and go wireless. If this is an impossibility, consider wire-hiding solutions that will quickly and effectively disguise any computer cables, lighting wires, or other cluttered cords. 

If all else fails… be sure to check out this user guide from LifeHacker on getting out from under all of your office crap!

The_End-All_Guide_to_Getting_Out_From_Under_Your_Office_Crap

Decorations

While it’s necessary to get rid of clutter, you don’t want to go so far as to create a stark environment. Well-sourced art pieces and desk adornments can do well for both visual appearances and mental stimuli. Pick visual or cognitive objects that will stimulate thought or reminders for your work.

Touch_of_Modern_Home_Office

Try modern art pieces from a site like www.touchofmodern.com. Whether it’s concrete and metal-infused wall décor or high-tech desk gadgets that provide style and practicality, keeping your décor modern will help you create a cohesive space.

Motivational_Posters_Zac_Johnson_Office

It also couldn’t hurt to add some motivational posters to your walls for those days that you need an extra work ethic pick-me-up.

Be Symmetric

When you mix décor themes and differing furniture designs, the eye is forced to flit from object to object without a sense of cohesion or balance. Keep a similar theme throughout your office, as this will create a better sense of balance and remain easy on the eye. It’s easier for us to take in complementing pieces, and a direct side effect of this ease is a more expansive looking room.

Need some inspiration for how to create a symmetric office? These 9 designs from Office Snapshots should help.

9_Inspirational_Open_Office_Workspaces_-_Office_Snapshots

Consider Color

Don’t underestimate the power of color. If you’d like to make your office look bigger, try a neutral color palette on the walls and within your decorations. While white is a classic choice, and for good reason as it is the most expansive looking, it can be a bit boring and lead to a sterile, hospital-like vibe. Light greys and beiges are the way to go, with a pop of accent color here and there.

Colors and Emotions

HuffingtonPost has a great article on the many different colors that should be considered when painting an office — some interesting stats to back each of them up as well!

The Power of Mirrors

One powerful investment with a wonderful return is a good mirror or two. You’ve no doubt heard that mirrors can make a small place look bigger, but why exactly is that? Mirrors reflect the present surface space, along with natural and artificial lighting, essentially doubling the space your eye takes in. Line an empty wall space with a large hanging mirror, and use mirrored materials on shelving. 

Before heading out and grabbing the first mirror you can find, be sure to check out these article from WikiHow for ideas on where to place them to improve room space and openness.

A Smaller Desk

Avoid an expansive desk that takes up too much space. Focus on finding a smaller desk made with modern materials, such as glass or industrial metal. These provide the practical working space given by traditional wooden office desks with an up-to-date feel. Be discerning with your desk placement. While natural inclination is to place it in the center of the room, this completely cuts your office in half—a huge mistake for those of us working with little space. You would do better to have a wall-installed desk to clear up as much floor space as possible.

No matter the current setup or size of your office, Amazon has hundreds of desks to choose from — in a wide range of sizes, styles and prices.

Amazon_com__Home_Office_Desks__Home___Kitchen

Vertical Virtuoso

If you’re wanting to create more space without sacrificing practicality, think vertically, especially when it comes to your storage solutions. Vertical shelving units, wall planters, and wall hooks can be surprisingly versatile, and create more space than you might expect.

15_Creative_Bookshelf_IdeasShelving saves space and brings creativity! (source)

Whether you are looking for space saving shelves or to simply get creative, this article (with pictures) is a great resource for different ideas and concepts for placing shelves within your office or around the home.

Building the Perfect Office for Yourself

At the end of the day, your office is where you are going to be spending most of your time. Make sure it’s somewhere that you want to be. This means creating and designing it the way you like, and not loading it up with expensive stuff you don’t like just to impress people!

By combining these techniques, you can easily make your office space look more expansive than it is, improving your productivity and overall business impression.

Create a Privacy Policy in Minutes with Website Policies

Create a Privacy Policy in Minutes with Website Policies

Having a website is a lot like having a business. It’s something you own, build with time and care for like it was your only child. At the same time, a website can also come with the liabilities and frustrations of a real business — especially if you are selling products or services through your site or making money.

Just like many businesses have policies in place, you site should have them as well. However, most site owners have no idea what policies they need, how to create them and how to make sure they match with the content and purpose of their site. Another frustration is that if you want to hire a lawyer to create a professional iron clad and customized policy written up for your site. This in itself could cost thousands of dollars!

Good news! There are better alternatives when it comes to creating necessary policies for your site, and I’m not talking about going to your favorite site and stealing theirs! While this may work for some sites and never become an issue, should anything arise in the future you will want to make sure your policies line up with the same practices that are happening when someone visits your site.

Website Policies is an easy to use service that creates free and customized policies for your site. Best of all, you can set one up for your site in just a few minutes time and it’s dead simple/

Website Policies – How to Create a Site Policy in Minutes

Rarely do we find websites or online services that actually back up their statements and offer what they say they will, or come with the ease that anyone can use it. That is what you will get with Website Policies, as it’s a simple series of questions built around the structure of your site and how user information is accessed. After pulling all of this information together, Website Policies will then provide you with a downloadable site policy that you can post to your site right away.

As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to visit one of your top competitor sites and steal their policies. Theoretically, all you would need to do is replace their site name and information with yours. However, as I also mentioned, this really isn’t going to work if you want to protect your site should an issue arise in the future. Every site collects and uses user data differently, which is why most policies are created in the first place.

With Website Policies it’s easy to create a policy for your site that matches up with your site practices because each user is walked through a questionnaire, which breaks down the fine details of your site. Depending on the policy you are creating, these questions will vary. The important thing is that you answer them all to your best of knowledge so you policy well repents your site.

To get started, let’s cover each of the policies offered through WebsitePolicies.com.

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is one of the most common policies that you will need to have on your site. Such policies are required on any website or blog that “gathers, uses, discloses and manages a customer or client’s data.”. Not only does Google look at your site want to see a privacy policy in place, most sites are also required by law to protect the privacy of your customer or client. Even if your site isn’t selling anything, a site visitor still falls under the same guidelines.

To get started with the process of creating a privacy policy, all you need to do is visit the Website Policies site, click Privacy Policy and start walking through their site policy questionnaire.

The beginning process of each policy wizard will start off with your basic site information (such as location, site name and URL) and if your site is used for commercial purposes

The next set of questions to create your privacy policy will be more focused on the content and data collection on your site, such as if users can create accounts, which advertisers are on your site, how cookie data is collected… and more.

The good news is that the process will only take a few minutes time and once you are done with the process, you likely won’t need to create or update your policies for quite a while.

After finishing the questionnaire, you will then be able to create an account with Website Policies and download your policy for use on your own site. The policy can be downloaded in HTML code, plain text or even hosted through WebsitePolicies.com for a quick reference.

Terms of Service Policy

Terms of Service policies are in place to describe the rules a site visitor much follow should they wish to continue using your site. Nearly every website you visit will have one of these policies in place, and by continuing to use that website, you are in agreement with their TOS policy. A Terms of Service policy is also in place to legally protect both the website and the website user by clearly outlining those rules.

As for creating a Terms of Service policy, the process is nearly identical to the one above. The main difference is that you will have a unique set of questions to answer to help create a TOS policy to match your site.

Such questions asking during the Terms of Service policy creation process are whether users are allowed to create and publish content to your site or if your content has an age restriction. Another difference is the ability to add multiple disclaimers within your policy. This option might be used if you have different areas to your site or if you want to include statements about indemnification, dispute resolution, intellectual property rights and prohibited uses.

Refund Policy

A Refund policy should be in place for all e-commerce driven site or if you sell any products or service. This would also be true for online marketers and bloggers who might be selling consulting services, ebooks, guides, courses or anything where a transaction takes place. Even if your “transaction provider” (like Paypal) has policies on their sites, you will still want to have these for your own site as well.

Not only will having a Refund policy on your site keep it legally compliant, it will also allow your audiences and customers to better understand how, why and when a customer may request a refund. For example, most online stores have a 30 or 60-day money back guarantee, however, without a Refund policy in place you would never know that. Within the Refund policy you will also find information about money back guarantees, transaction fees, shipping costs and customer service.

Again, Website Policies makes the process amazingly simple, as they provide all of the questions and you simply need to select the right answer that matches your site.

The Cost to Create a Website Policy

Every website needs to have a privacy, terms of service and refund policy (if selling) in place. The only question is how each site will generate a policy to represent their site.

For websites that are for informational or personal use, you can create your website policies through WebsitePolicies.com for free. Visit their site, walk through the policy creation process, add it to your site and then you are done! Each policy comes with a free license and all that’s required of you is to leave the credit backlink to WebsitePolicies.com in place.

For commercial websites there is a $14.95 one-time fee for creating site policies and obtaining a commercial license. Any site that sells products or services would fall under being commercial. If you are unsure if your site is commercial, the policy wizard on the site will let you know.

You never know when an unexpected disaster may strike! Take the time to create a professional policy for your site today.