Script-writing is an essential skill for all those who dabble in business video production. A well-written script will help you get your message across, as well as make video production all the more easier.
You don’t need to be a professional screenwriter to write a good script. In fact, you can accomplish a lot by doing some prep-work beforehand, and using basic script-writing techniques.
In this guide, we will guide you through the process of making an effective video marketing script from start to finish.
Part 1: Writing a Creative Brief
Before you start working on your script, it’s good practice (and sometimes required) to write a creative brief. A creative brief is a document consisting of guidelines provided by management and stakeholders. It typically contains a list of requirements for the video, including the following:
- Project Background – The video’s place within a wider business strategy.
- Target Audience – Description of target audience and their needs, wants, and desires.
- Objectives – The video’s objective, and procedures for measuring success.
- Core Message -The key idea to bring across.
- Desired Behavior – The desired action upon watching the video (subscription, purchase, recommendation).
- Tone of Voice – The basic vibe of the video (serious, lighthearted, technical).
- Mandatory elements – Branding materials to be included (logo, website, email).
- Deliverables – Video type (product demo, testimonial, tutorial) and publishing platform (website, Twitter, email)..
- Project Timeline – Temporal framework for the project (start, duration, milestones, deadline)
- Budget – Available resources (video equipment, software, staff, money).
Part 2: Writing the Script
The script is a structured representation of movements, actions, expressions and dialogue in a video. In its basic form, it contains 1) narration (monologue, dialogue) and 2) audio-visual cues (images, sounds, video clips, animation, graphs, text). The scriptwriter combines these elements to create a story for the video.
You don’t need to be a professional scriptwriter to write a good script. Just use common sense and keep in mind the following best practices.
1. Start with an Outline
Start by writing an outline for the script. Use the outline to break your video into sections. The outline should include an opening, middle, and end. You can then subdivide further based on topics. For example, a script outline for a product video would contain the following sections:
- Speaker introduction
- Product introduction
- Product feature description
- List of product advantages
- Product use cases
- Price and availability
- Call to action
2. Write a Strong Opening
Writing a good opening section is crucial. It’s the part of the video most viewers will see (and possibly the only one), so it’s imperative to catch their attention with a memorable opening.
Estimates vary for what is the ideal length for a good opening. For a short 30-second clip, you have about a sentence-worth of content for your opening. For a 5 minute video, a single page is more than enough.
In terms of content, the opening should introduce the speaker, the brand, and the primary subject matter of the video. You need to make a strong case for the viewer, to entice them into seeing the rest of the video. If it’s an instructional video, state clearly what it aims to teach. If it’s a sales pitch, address a customer’s issue or need.
As a final tip, don’t front-load the opening with too much information. At this point, the viewer is still deciding whether to continue watching the video, so you don’t want to distract him by with an impromptu info-dump.
3. Be Concise
“Brevity is the soul of wit.” –Hamlet
Take the cue from Shakespeare and keep your script concise, and to the point. Don’t use five sentences when one will suffice. Keep digressions brief and use them sparsely. Break up complex ideas into simpler ones. Never repeat yourself, unless it’s to stress a point. Use matter-of-fact language and skip flowery phrases, unless it’s to prove a point or elicit a chuckle. Don’t dwell on ideas for too long.
If you have trouble implementing these guidelines, you probably have more content than can fit in a single video.
4. Include Audio and Visual Cues
From a technical standpoint, the script is also a set of instructions for video producers. In this capacity, it describes what the performers are doing and what’s going on in the background.
The script also details other visual cues, including as images, graphs, animation, on-screen text, and other visual elements. In fact, the video can consist entirely of narration and visual cues. The script specifies when, where, and how these cues appear and disappear.
Everything that’s been said also applies to audio cues. Sounds, background music, and voice clips also need to be synchronized with the narration and visual elements.
Use consistent formatting for your audio-visual cues. This helps keep the text organized, and it makes the script easier to parse for actors, speakers, and the rest of the production crew.
5. End With an Offer
Unlike a movie, where interest usually peaks around the culmination of the plot, in business videos the real action happens during the conclusion. The function of the opening and the middle is to prime the viewer for the offer at end.
This is the part of the script where you’re speaking directly to the viewer. A well-written CTA should clearly state the offer, explain the value proposition, and provide a point of contact. To make the CTA more effective, add a visual cue that lingers for a bit after the narration has ended. People remember images better than words, and you want your offer to be the first thing viewers remember after watching the video.
If you’re coming from a web content background, script-writing might seem unusual at first. But as we’ve hopefully demonstrated, it follows a well-known set of rules and conventions. Follow the guidelines we have outlined, and make your marketing videos more engaging with a bit of script-writing.