5 Tips for writing killer video marketing scripts
Video marketing isn’t all about what your audience is seeing. Often times you'll find that words can make or break your video.
Hundreds of ads run everyday with poor messaging, boring voiceovers or campy dialogue that have a profound influence on their effectiveness.
I've been there too when it comes to scripting marketing videos. I’ve thought I was really clever when I wasn't, minimalistic when I had to go deeper, and well spoken when I had to scale back. Learning that words matter is an important step to developing better content. Here's 5 tips to keep in mind the next time you're writing or reviewing a video marketing script.
TIP 1: Concise Copy
Compound sentences need not apply here. Your audience isn’t going to sit down and read your script like a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. They’re going to hear it and see it. It’s a different form of comprehension with a shorter attention span in today’s rapid paced media market.
Keep your focus on the reason for the video in the first place. You’re articulating a specific message for a company in an engaging way. Be specific. Keep it simple. Keep it sharp. Thinking this way will leave room for entertaining visuals and save you from making a ridiculously long video no one will see the end of.
TIP 2: Time Yourself Reading The Script
It's easy to say you're aiming for a 60 second video. But have you ever put a stopwatch to that scrabble killing script you wrote? Every written word you expect to make the final cut costs time. Time is everything in video marketing. If you haven't captivated your audience by the first 10 seconds of your video, you lose.
Time your script. You don't even need to buy a stopwatch anymore. If you're smart there's one on your phone already. And don't play that game where you read the script faster than humanly possible to say it can be read in 30 seconds or less. Read it as if you're having a deep conversation with somebody you're trying to connect with. You're pattern of speech will have a more natural pace. Knowing how long your script reads will not only give your editor less grief, it’ll help you trim the fat around the most important thing you write.
Tip 3: The Brand Message Is Most Important
If you can't sum this up in one sentence you’re not ready to make a video. It’s your thesis statement. It's the reason you're making a video in the first place!
If the audience misses the message of the video you might as well hang up your call to action.
One sentence may seem like a tall task. But this is the part of a video marketing script you should spend the most time on. What is that one identifiable take away you want your audience to remember?
Think of it the same way you would define a film or TV show logline. That one little blurb intrigues people enough to tune in. Video marketing is no different. Except you may not always have that sick CGI robot battle or A-list actor to carry the load. Staying on message while finding an entertaining way to present it is another challenge.
Tip 4: Be Careful With Comedy
It’s hard to write comedy and not everybody can do it. What's funny to you may not be funny to somebody else. Inside jokes are the worst. We’ve all seen those company videos where you know they’re trying too hard. It’s cringeworthy. You have to accept that most people will not understand your inside jokes because they’re based on your personalities and experience. You have context you can't possibly convey to others.
And if you have that writer or employee that thinks they’re the next Judd Apatow or Tina Fey, chances are they aren't. Don't always hedge your company's messaging on them.
Yes you want to make an entertaining video. But laughs might not always be the way to go.
Sometimes “funny” is misconstrued for entertaining. Define what funny is for your video. Is funny laugh out loud? Is it a light chuckle? Is it clever and engaging? Identifying the reaction you’re trying to achieve will pave the way for a clearer writing path. You may just find a joke or two along the way.
Tip 5: Visualize While Writing
Descriptions may seem like a formality. In film or TV scripts descriptions are kept pretty light so the director and other department heads can explore and create their vision. But you’re not selling your video marketing script to JJ Abrams. You’re selling it to a client.
Some people just can’t visualize a scene after reading it. Storyboards and visual references are helpful. But it’s also important to be clear when you’re describing a scene on paper. You know what you mean, but will others? Will the client? Don’t assume that those words on the page mean the same thing to everybody. Focus on what the scene looks like in your head and take the time to write it down in detail. If you see…
“shafts of sunlight pouring through the open window of a Victorian style bedroom”
… don’t just write…
“An old school bedroom is well lit”
There’s a bit of a difference isn’t there?
Video marketing scripts have a very specific purpose. Every line is conveying important information to various groups of people whether it be the crew, the client, or the target audience. The actual video content still has to look amazing. But from the early stages of pre production, the words you choose to use in the script matter.Have a question or need consulting on this topic?
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