10 Steps to Writing a Compelling Video Script
So, you’re producing a video! Maybe you’re announcing a new product, pitching to investors, or training your employees. In any case, the effectiveness of your video is only going to be as good as the script you have on the morning of production day. The trick is to keep it simple, while ensuring you say what you need to say. You want to convey the key ideas, without overwhelming viewers with details. We follow these guidelines…
So let’s walk through 10 steps to write your script and ensure your video does its job:
1. Start with your goal
What’s the desired result of this video? What action do you want the viewer to take after watching it? Knowing your main goal will help you stay focused, and not dilute your message with extraneous information.
2. Write an outline
Outline the essential ideas you need to convey. This can help you clarify your message in your own mind – and make it easier to stay focused on the key takeaways for your audience.
3. Write to your audience
Are you speaking to experts who already understand the ins and outs of your industry? Or a more general audience being introduced to the material for the first time? Imagine reading your script aloud to this audience, and adjust your tone and word choice accordingly.
4. Shorten your sentences
Long, complex sentences are confusing to read – and even more confusing to hear on video. Give your viewer one idea at a time, and do your best to convey each one as simply and clearly as possible.
5. Read your script out loud
Does the language sound natural and easy to follow? If possible, ask someone to listen and point out sections that sound confusing or unnatural. Adjust the language until you reach a version that’s easy and comfortable to read aloud.
6. Write in the vernacular
The best version of your script will sound like a real person talking! Humans are social creatures, and we all prefer to connect with other humans instead of robots. So unless your audience is a group of robots, write your script in everyday language. For example, “It’s” often sounds more natural than “it is.”
7. Focus, focus, focus
If you’re a subject matter expert, it can be tempting to turn your script into a brick wall of text and information. That may work for a training manual, but it doesn’t work for video. Your audience can very easily tune out if you get too far into the weeds. Stick with the main point and lead them all the way through.
8. Prioritize clarity
Remember that clear is always better than clever. Once you’ve got the key points laid out, it’s fine to go back and add some personality and flair. But don’t sacrifice clarity for cleverness, or you’ll risk losing your audience.
9. Show, don’t tell
If you have visual elements in your video, there’s no need to describe them to your audience. Let your visuals do their job – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Focus instead on explaining the significance and key takeaway of each visual.
10. End with your call-to-action
What do you want your audience to do the moment they finish watching your video? If you’ve written a clear, engaging script, your viewer will have some momentum by the end of your video. What do you want them to do with it?