During our ongoing Video Marketing University webinar series, one of the themes we’ve emphasized over and over again is the importance of planning and preparation. And when it comes to video marketing content, one of the most basic ways to prep is to put together a script.
Scriptwriting for online videos isn’t meant to be difficult. It simply allows you to have a roadmap for the content you are putting together, whether it involves voice-over narration, talking head interviews, acted out scenes, or some other format.
With that in mind, here are a few pointers for putting effective scripts together – faster.
#1. Start with an outline. If you’ve never written a script for an online video before, where do you start? The first thing I recommend is to create an outline that highlights the different areas you need to cover. For promotional videos, this can be something simple like:
- Introduction – Sets up the video for your target audience
- Challenge – Presents the problem your product/service solves
- Solution – Introduces the value of your product/service
- Features – Briefly details key features, etc.
- Call to Action – Highlights the next step you want viewers to take
- Outro – Brands your company
How hard was that? You can now easily fill in the details to complete the script, which will then inform visual and graphic ideas during the storyboarding process.
Brainshark video presentations are especially well-suited for simple outlines like these, since they are automatically separated into individual PowerPoint slides and other media. Here is an example of a script outline template I’ve used in the past.
#2. Know the format. Of course, not every type of video will fit neatly into the sample outline I posted above. Humorous content is ideal for video marketing, but typically calls for a bit more creativity. Product demos and talking heads may not be the best fit for a carefully worded script, but can still benefit from outlines highlighting key talking points. Then there are Q&As, which require the questions to be pre-written and thought over ahead of time, even if the answers have some wiggle room.
If you’ve already planned out the purpose of your content and the type of video you want to make, the scripting process will go a lot smoother.
#3. Keep it short and succinct. While the prospect of writing a full script for your online videos might be intimidating to some, the truth is that you’re much more likely to end up cutting portions out before it’s all said and done. In general, two-to-three minutes is the sweet spot for online videos before retention starts to drop off, so there’s no need to worry about rambling on in your scripts.
Once you’ve completed your outline and filled out your first draft, you should then read through the whole thing for flow and timing. Are there areas that don’t work as well as you want them to? Are you investing three lines in a point that could be made in one? Video is your chance to engage with your audiences – not bore them with fluff. When writing your script, remember that less can often be more. Keep the script tight, stick to your key points, and let the visuals do the rest.
#4. Get it approved. Finally, make sure everyone is on board with the script or outline before moving on to next steps. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are scheduling shooting days and working on graphics for a script that is still in flux. If things change because a senior team member wants to make script changes, all of that work could be wasted.
This is still marketing content, remember, so make sure all the right people have signed off on the messaging of your script first. It will save you a lot of headaches later on.
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