How to write a video script for your company (that people will actually watch)

Video content is a great way to capture attention and share valuable information with your audience. The combination of audio and visual content can help create an unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re demonstrating a new product, sharing a customer testimonial, or launching a company rebrand, here are four steps to creating an effective video for your organization.

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1. Understand the why of your video.

The first step in creating a video script is answering the question: What do you want the video to do?

This question includes a few others:

  • How should the video be used?
  • What results do you want to see from it?
  • What actions should the viewer take after watching?
  • Who is this video for?

For example, you might increase your website traffic with an entertaining and informative video about a common problem your audience faces. You might want to improve sales by releasing a customer testimonial. Offering a how-to video in exchange for contact information can help generate leads.

2. Create a brief, then outline.

Once you know the purpose of your video, and so what kind of video it will be, it’s time to write a brief. This should be a short, one-paragraph summary of the video’s main purpose, audience, and takeaways. You might include who should appear in or narrate the video. Refer to this brief if someone on your team wants to make drastic changes.

That brief can be used to create an outline for the video. This outline should include the video’s main points, in the order they’ll be discussed. Include an introduction and conclusion. If you are going to include products or multiple locations, note where in the script the products will appear or the locations will change.

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3. Write the thing!

Start writing your video script, section by section, based on the outline you’ve created.

Determine the “main character” of your video, who will be on screen for most of the time. (Alternatively, this is the person who will narrate your video, or voice an animated character.) If you are introducing a new software feature, the main character could be a member of your IT department. If you are creating a customer testimonial, well, it’s going to be your customer.

Introduce the speaker and organization, and tell your audience what they can expect to get out of the video. Similar to the headline of your content, the first line of your video should capture your audience’s attention and make them want to keep watching.

Some key things to remember:

  • Write both visual and audio elements. Describe what should be on camera, and what should be heard at the same time.
  • If your video will include cuts away from a person speaking to the camera, add cues that indicate what should appear instead. For example, the speaker might say, “This picture shows the differences between the new and previous version of our product…”
  • Speak directly to the audience in second-person point of view (“you”).
  • Use appropriate, conversational language. Avoid industry jargon.
  • Keep your script straightforward and genuine. If you’re not sure whether to use humor, or if it’s not already part of your brand, don’t! Humor is surprisingly difficult to write, and has the potential to go very, very wrong.

The length of your video will depend on the video’s purpose and audience. Unless you’re creating an instructional video, short and sweet is key. Good videos can last between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. If in doubt, keep it under one minute.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

4. Trim the fat.

No matter how short your video, your first draft is going to be too long. Assume about 125 to 150 words of dialogue per minute of video. A good rule of thumb is to limit the finished script to 2 pages or less.

Read your script out loud, and time yourself. Cut out unnecessary information until it is the right length when read at an easy, conversational pace. As you read aloud, listen to make sure the script sounds natural and easy to pronounce.

Depending on your audience, your topic, or the length of your video, these steps may vary a little bit. But they are a great starting point for writing an effective video that will accomplish your goals.

Ready to make your content more effective?

I work with marketing teams and professionals to help them create well-researched, approachable content and copywriting that helps set the stage for higher traffic, leads, and conversions.

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