Do you struggle to write video scripts? Would you like to write better scripts? Here’s the approach we take that has worked for us over the last decade.
Before setting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) you need to know what it is you are writing. Take the time to plan your video and surrounding campaign properly. Make sure you ask the 5 magic questions as this will help you work out the style and tone you are going for when writing.
It is important as part of any brief to make sure to decide clearly on a style and tone. Your business may have a set (house) style and way of writing, which makes this easy, but if not you need to decide how friendly, how corporate, how humorous or how simple to make the script.
Just a piece of advice – make it as simple as you can, make it as friendly as you can (your customers are always human especially in B2b).
Writing the script
The hardest part when writing any script is find a good idea to hang your script / video on. If you ever struggle to come up with ideas here are two techniques to help you get started. Even if you don’t have trouble coming up with ideas these techniques can help structure your script to make sure it is as clear and high-performing as possible.
The Question Technique
This technique for script writing uses a series of questions to structure your thinking and ensure you include the necessary content.
Imagine you were your customer. Think about the questions they are likely to have when they first see the thumbnail of the video and write them down in the order they would be asked. Remember that each question will ultimately follow your answer and that the answer might inspire the next question.
- “Is there a solution to this specific problem?”
- “Is there a way to reduce costs?”
- “What is this video all about?”
- “How does it work?”
- “How is does it benefit me?”
- “How do I know it really works?”
Then write your answers. This will form the title (potentially the thumbnail) and the structure of your video.
If you have something creative to hang everything together great go back and add it in (include some humour… I dare you!). If you don’t have a creative idea that naturally fits you still have a well structured script that includes the right information.
The Journey Technique
Think about your customer or prospective customer. Ask yourself how they feel and what they are thinking about when they first come across your video e.g. uncertain, they need to solve a problem, angry, disappointed, excited at possibilities etc.
Now ask yourself how you want them to feel when you get to the end of the video e.g. hopeful, focussed, confident in your ability to help etc.
The ‘Journey Technique’ is all about focussing on the customer’s mental state and taking them on a journey. How can you take them from the first state to the second? Ask yourself what would you need to hear (be honest) if you were feeling one way in order to get to the other?
Then write it down. Sometimes it might require a description of a product to put you at ease; other times you just need to hear that someone can help; on other occasions it might require proof.
This technique requires a detailed knowledge and understanding of your target audience but can produce powerful, emotive and creative scripts.
Just a quick note to point out that the two techniques can be combined. Obvious I know but always worth mentioning.
Convert visual elements
Once you have written your script there is a step that a lot of people forget. Remember that a script is equally about you see as what you hear (or read).
Go through your script again and ask yourself whether a piece of content is best heard, read, visually demonstrated or all of the above. Separate these out into a different column alongside the accompanying audio.
The value you gain here is immense. You shorten the script, you ensure necessary content is displayed and remembered by your audience and you cut unnecessary items.
Video is a visual medium and should be treated as such.
Don’t forget to proof read. Obviously spelling and grammar is important. If your script is going to be read by a voiceover artist then this is more important than ever. The voiceover artist will infer meaning, intonation and pacing from how your script is punctuated so getting it right will make the whole process easier and avoid mistakes.
Read your script out loud, record it and listen back to it… or if you really hate the sound of your own voice, ask a colleague or a friend.
When you listen back to it imagine you are the customer hearing it for the first time? Does it answer your questions? Does it take you from your initial question and feeling to the one you want your customer to have?
For more information about Smarter Video take a look here.
Please get in touch and let me know what you would like to learn or read about.