Few things in the world are as daunting as a blank page.
Yes, you need a script for your marketing videos but you don’t have to be a professional writer to pull it off. Even for those who write marketing copy all day long, video scripts might be totally new (and scary) territory.
Like any task, the key to writing a video marketing script is breaking it down into manageable, unitimating pieces.
Use these 15 simple tips to make your script writing as painless as possible:
1. Start with an Outline
Before you begin writing, outline your script. Think about how long you want it to be, your goal and the main points you want to cover. Then, break that down into a clear introduction, middle and conclusion. A good rule of thumb for this type of outline is to use your intro to sum up what you’re going to talk about, actually discuss it, then sum up what you talked about.
2. Get to the Point (in 30 Seconds or Less)
People don’t just get into vehicles without a destination in mind. Videos are kind of like that. We want to know where you’re headed before we decide to go along for the ride. In the first 10 seconds of your video, explain who you are. In the next 20 seconds, tell people why you’re on camera. The trick here, is to focus on how the purpose of your video will help them or solve a problem. Whatever you do, and however you phrase it, don’t say you’re here to sell something.
3. Lead with a Hook
Anything that captures our attention right away does so using a “hook”, a device designed to make the reader or viewer stop and divert their full attention to what you’re saying. What’s the most interesting thing you could say about your topic? Why does it matter to your viewer? Why should we stop what we’re doing and listen to you? Lead with that!
4. Be Conversational
The reason we like videos so much is because they’re more personal. We can look you in the face, listen to what you have to say and decide what to think with a clarity that reading doesn’t always provide. So when you’re writing your script, talk it out and make sure it sounds human. Anything we write down before saying out loud runs the risk of sounding like a book report, especially for people who don’t make marketing videos every day.
5. Include Art Direction
There’s more to a script than what you’re going to say because there’s more to most videos than audio. When you’re writing a script, consider including stage direction, sound effects, special effects, tone, music and other art direction. Differentiate this instruction from the speaking script by using italics, bold, brackets or all caps.
6. Shorten Those Sentences
It’s incredibly hard turning run-on sentences into captivating on-camera dialog. Avoid them altogether. Read and reread your script aloud until you’ve sliced, diced and chopped it down to only the bare minimum word count.
7. Slow it Down
Again, it’s crucial to read your script aloud over and over until it’s perfect. One big reason for this strategy is that people usually read much faster than they can talk. You’re probably aiming to stay below a specific number of minutes or seconds for your video. No problem! Just don’t try to say more than fits comfortably in that time frame. Remember: even if you’re the only one talking, it’s still a conversation. Stay at a conversational pace.
8. Short and Sweet
Not every marketing video has to be extremely short, but don’t make them longer than is absolutely necessary. People choose to watch videos for a few reasons, one of which is how quickly we can get the information we want, compared to other mediums.
9. Start with a Goal, End with a Call to Action
If you’re taking the time to film a video and write a script, you’d better have a goal. What do you want your audience to do? Set a clear goal and keep it in mind throughout your writing to stay focused on track. As you write, keep asking yourself if everything you’re saying is still driving toward your goal. End your video by driving visitors to take action, visiting a sight, clicking a link and of course, subscribing to your video channel.
10. Repurpose or Supplement a Blog
Just because you’re writing a script, doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Break a blog down and repurpose it into a video script. Strip out everything but the main points, then rework it into a conversational script by imagining you have to explain the main points to a friend. Or, for a sweet SEO boost to your written blogs, add a short video introducing the written content, as a gateway to the blog in your social sharing.
11. Match the Tone to Your Buyer Persona
Your tone doesn’t necessarily have to match the tone of your subject, it just has to be effective for communicating your message. For example, humor can sometimes be a great way to bring attention to dark or sensitive subjects. Just make sure that whatever tone you’re using will be appreciated and respected by your buyer personas. After all, they’re who you’re filming this message for. Make sure they’ll want to watch it.
12. Don’t Memorize or Improvise, Read
A video marketing script is not the same as an outline of key points. Even if you stray away from your script and make mistakes, you’ll avoid the awkward pauses and “ums” that happen when you opt for a loosely structured outline instead. So get a full script with full sentences together. Then, read it on camera. Do not try to memorize it. Lots of free apps and options are available to turn your iphone, ipad or laptop into a mobile teleprompter.
13. Read it Aloud Until You Get it Right
By reading your script aloud, you can time yourself, play with your pacing and easily spot awkward phrasing. In fact, reading and revising should take almost as much time as writing did.
14. Don’t Focus on Selling
Never, ever start your video (or any of your marketing) with a hard sell. That’s breaking inbound marketing commandment #1. Solve a problem, be helpful, share information, educate, entertain, etc. There’s a lot of ways to market your brand, services and products, but the worst is “selling”.
15. Relax and Make Mistakes
Just because you wrote a script, doesn’t mean you have to say it perfectly. That’s OK. In fact, you’ll probably come across as more authentic if you don’t sound perfect. Video humanizes brands and tiny flaws or slip-ups are essentially what make us human. So don’t freak out if your hair is less than perfect, if you’re sweaty or if you stumble over your words. That little thing you’re hung up on might be exactly what viewers relate to when they watch your video.
That’s a Wrap!
Video marketing is an absolutely essential piece of your modern marketing, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Just like we’ve broken down scriptwriting here, you can simplify and tackle each part of video production until it becomes a natural part of your business marketing. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing for more simple ways to tackle our corner of the video-powered marketing world.