Brands are embracing video marketing, now, more than ever! And if you’re creating, or thinking about creating your first marketing video - there’s no time like the present to start.

Whether you are planning on making a tutorial, a corporate movie, or a company video podcast, you should be aiming to create a video that is engaging - in order to capture the attention of your target audience.

However, you may not be sure where to begin when it comes to crafting a brand message that will stick with your viewers. Don’t fret - we’re here to help.

how to write a video script

Let’s start with the basics: making a video should always start with writing a good script—yes, just like a professional scriptwriter. A well-crafted script will make it easier for you to define:

  • Content such as voiceover, dialogs, etc. that will be included in your company video
  • The visual content that will be included in your video (list of actions, descriptions of each scene, etc.)
  • Filming instructions (from what angle should each scene be filmed, what lighting should you use, etc.)
  • Editing instructions (subtitles, sound design, special effects, etc.)

This handy planning tool will help you make sure your message is delivered in a clear, structured way. This in turn means that the result will be an engaging and solid video.

Wondering what steps you should take to write a proper and efficient video script? Keep reading to find out what the 9 tips success are.

Why you should write video scripts 👀

Before we get started, let’s take a moment to go through the benefits of writing a video script.

A video script can be defined as a text-based storyboard and is a document that will allow you to:

  • Spark your imagination: Feel free to add notes, draw sketches, and try things out. We recommend writing with good, old-fashioned, pen and paper and taking the time to gather all your best ideas.
  • Ensure your message is delivered efficiently: Think of it as the guiding thread of your video. It will help you structure your message better.
  • Showcase your brand identity: By including the keywords and other consistent brand messaging elements, you can ensure the final result will truly reflect your brand’s image and personality.
  • Save time during editing: Your video script will also include all visual and audio elements that the final video should contain: such as illustrations, animations, motion graphics, and more. This means the editor will have plenty to work with.
  • Make recording video interviews easier: Writing a script is especially helpful when preparing for video interviews. This allows you to share it with your interviewee ahead of recording to give them a chance to structure their thoughts better.
  • Optimize the length of your video as well as your overall budget: Lastly, know that writing a script will make it easier to avoid recording useless sequences you will not end up using. In turn, this will keep your budget in check too.

5 questions you should ask yourself before writing a script 🧠

Now that we’ve convinced you of the benefits of writing a video script, you might be eager to get started. Hold on!

There are some extra steps you should take before working on the actual script to make sure your video resonates with your target audience. Answer the following questions to unlock the next level👇

Who is your target audience?

As a marketer or comms professional, you already know that creating good content implies that you know your target audience well. Keep this in mind when making a video and writing its script too.

Does your video ad aim to target business owners, students, or working parents? Obviously the tone of voice, and look and feel of your video will differ depending on this—which is why defining your target audience is key.

The more you get to know your audience, the easier it will be to write a script that fits their needs. So have a think… Who’s your ideal customer here?

What does your target audience need?

Now that your target audience has been defined, it is time to step in their shoes.

The idea is to use empathy to identify their needs and provide them with solutions using your script.

💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip

Using a notebook or a Google Doc file, you should start by making a list of all the issues your target audience might be facing—relating to your product or service of course. Once your list is ready, choose the biggest issue, and write a script that focuses on solving this issue.

Let’s say you sell men’s shoes. Your potential clients might be facing the following issues:

  • They can’t find men’s shoes under size 6
  • They can’t find brand footwear that is affordable
  • They don’t have time to shop for shoes

These 3 issues (size, price, and time) are unrelated, so we recommend picking one and building your script around it 💡

What message do you want to send?

Now that you’ve got your target audience and their issues covered, it’s time to come up with the message you will be sending to them—thanks to your script.

What is your solution to their problem? What is your brand promise? What is your USP? Most importantly: what is the one thing about your brand that should be remembered?

If we stick to the men’s shoes example, a potential message could be: “We are the only men’s shoe brand that focuses on small sizes.”

Remember, this will be your guiding light through the video-making process, starting with your script and all the way to the editing stage.

What emotions do you want to convey?

You’ve got a strong message now, so let’s move on to the emotions your script and your video should convey.

Whether it is joy, admiration, fear, pride, gratitude, anger, or hope, you should always define the psychological impact that your content should have.

💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip

We recommend going back and forth between positive and more negative emotions to make sure your audience keeps waiting.

Check out this video by Coca Cola, which starts by showing frustrating images before showing more positive images to make a lasting impact on viewers.

What action should your audience perform after watching the video?

The last question you should ask yourself is essential as it aims to make your viewers take action once they’re done watching. Again, make sure you figure out what your call to action will be before getting started with your script.

For example, you could encourage viewers to:

  • Book an appointment online
  • Sign up for your newsletter
  • Visit your blog or your e-shop
  • Download your app
  • Get in touch via email or phone

The key to a successful video script 🔑

After all this preliminary work, it’s finally time to get started. Here are the 9 rules you should follow to write a script that will result in an engaging video.

video script people keep watching

1. Structure your ideas in a logical way

We’ve mentioned earlier that the aim of a video script is getting a clearer vision. However, make sure your script goes through all of your ideas in a logical way—always start with an introduction, then dive into the heart of your content and finish with a solid conclusion.

A successful script should go through these 3 steps:

  • Step 1: Introducing your audience’s issue or need. You should tell your audience that you understand them at the very beginning of your video, so your script should start with that too.
  • Step 2: Showing how your product or service solves that issue. This is when you should show your audience how you can help them. Showcase your expertise and what makes you different. You could absolutely rely on data here. Time to convince your target audience that your brand is the ultimate solution to their problems.
  • Step 3: Finish with a call to action. Your script should end with a strong CTA, such as encouraging your viewers to sign up for your newsletter, download an ebook or share your video on social media.

This will help you deliver the right message at the right time 🙌

💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip

There are two options when it comes to gathering your ideas in a structured way:

  • Writing a very detailed script, which will prevent you from missing any detail
  • Putting together a list of bullet points, which will give you a good overview and will allow for more creativity from the editor.

Both options are valid and your choice will depend on your specific project, your objectives, and your own way of working. If you are working on a video interview, bullet points will probably be easier and can be shared with your interviewee.

2. Pay attention to your opening sequence

Did you know you only have 3 seconds to catch your viewer’s attention before they keep scrolling? This means you should give a lot of thought to the opening scene of your video.

Here are some of your options when it comes to making your audience want to keep watching:

  • Start with an intriguing intro: In this Google commercial, for example, the brand makes viewers go past the first 3 seconds by showing the beginning of a Google search. Curiosity will make them keep watching!
  • Ask viewers a question, such as “Did you know that…”
  • Begin with a reaction sound, like “uh oh…”
  • State an interesting fact in a catchy way: “3. That’s how many seconds you’ve got before a social media user keeps scrolling.”

Don’t be afraid to try different things!

3. Perfect your storytelling

Remember your script should make viewers want to keep watching all while being easy to remember. This is where storytelling—the easiest way to create memorable content—comes into play.

According to Jennifer Aaker, who’s a Marketing Professor at Stanford University, stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone: “When telling a story, you take the listener on a journey, moving them from one perspective to another. In this way, story is a powerful tool for engendering confidence in you and your vision.” Interesting, right? 😉

Here are some storytelling tips to help you write a script that will be remembered:

  • Rely on suspense. Even if your video aims to highlight all the benefits of your product or service, don’t go into too much detail from the get-go. Surprise your audience and structure your video in a way that will keep them engaged.
  • Trigger imagination. Keeping your audience interested can be as easy as relying on the fact that they’ve been told stories their whole life. Add references to books and movies as well as metaphors to transport and move them.
  • Amplify emotions. The words you use will have an impact on your video. Don’t just say a character is happy. Say they are thrilled or ecstatic!
  • Personalize your message. The main character of your video should be able to identify with your video easily. Give them a name and use it, as your audience will relate more easily to what a specific person thinks, as opposed to a statement like “our customers think that…”

4. Use colloquial speech

When making a video targeted towards a broad audience, avoid using technical jargon at all costs as this will prevent your message from being easily understood—and remembered.

While you shouldn’t compromise on your messaging itself, make sure it follows these simple rules:

  • Use simple words that anyone can understand. Avoid excessively long and complicated words.
  • Explain any complex term if needed.
  • Use the present tense to make your video easier to understand.
  • Avoid being too wordy.

5. Keep it short

According to a Microsoft study, the average attention span of a human being is just 8 seconds. Yup, that’s less than a goldfish. Oops. 🐟

Since your end goal is capturing and maintaining the attention of your target audience, make sure your script is as straightforward as possible.

Here are some tips to help you achieve that:

  • Remember that each script should be tied to a single idea. You should focus on solving one specific issue with one single solution to make your message easier to remember. If you need to address several issues, just write a different script for each of them.
  • Keep your sentences to 15 to 20 words long. By going above that limit, you might make your message harder to understand and remember.
  • Check your script for unnecessary repetitions and wordy sentences. Repeating yourself is a no-go as it will both bore your audience, and make your video longer for no valid reason.

6. Think visually

Of course, a script is a written document, but it will ultimately become a visual piece of content.

In fact, did you know that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound? This also applies to any videos that are watched online.

Throughout your script, make sure to include information about the visual aspects of your video as well as its text.

Here is an example of a script for an animated video.

TEXT:

Sarah is always hungry as a wolf. Especially when it comes to ice cream.
(Include an image of a wolf eating ice cream)

Actually, Sarah could eat ice cream all day.
(Show Sarah eating different ice cream flavors throughout the day)

But things get complicated at night.
(Show Sarah tossing and turning in bed crying because her tummy hurts)

But today’s her lucky day. Here’s a solution that will finally let her sleep soundly at night.
(Sarah gets a glass of water and swallows a pill before sighing and smiling)

Aside from making your script easier to read, this will definitely make the editor’s job much easier!

7. End your video with a clear call to action

Congrats, your video script is almost finished! But wait… that next step is essential!

Remember that both your script and your video should end with a call to action that will be easy to understand. Of course, the specific call to action you will choose depends on your current marketing objective.

For example, you could tell your viewers to:

  • Visit your website to increase traffic
  • Download a white paper to highlight your expertise
  • Book an appointment online to generate leads
  • Buy your product to boost sales

The idea here is to guide viewers throughout the video and to remind them why you wanted them to watch your video.

8. Time yourself while reading your script out loud

Time to fine-tune your script! This also means optimizing the length of your future video.

Just use your phone to time yourself while reading your script out loud at a normal pace. To give you an idea, one minute of video usually equals 160 to 220 words, provided there are no pauses.

If your text is too long, just remove any word that isn’t essential to get straight to the point.

9. Find someone to proofread your script

Even the best script writers and directors work with a team, so why not do the same?

Before you start shooting and editing your video, we recommend showing its script to someone who has not been working on it.

The benefits of doing so are as follow:

  • Making sure that your script is easy to understand
  • Correcting any mistakes
  • Ensuring that your messaging and tone of voice really fit your company objectives.

Over to you

And it’s a wrap! You now know everything there is to know about writing the perfect video script to produce high-quality video content.

Ready, steady, write 📝🎥