85% of people watch videos online. It’s therefore a great way to get people’s attention.
However, if you’re recording a video and working with an animator or editor, you may well want a professional video script to go alongside it.
After all, these videos could be the difference between someone falling in love with your brand, or them feeling so-so about it.
These 5 tips for writing marketing video scripts will help you create a script that’s easy for your animator to work with, easy for a narrator to read, and perfect for your target audience.
1. Mimic speech
When writing, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of writing like you’re back at school and your teacher is going to mark your work.
In real life, that writing style won’t get you very far. It bores most people to read, and if it’s for a script it’s even less likely to get people wanting to keep listening.
People engage more with brands that sound human. This applies to both spoken and written content.
Your brand’s voice should sound exactly like your prospect was sitting in a coffee shop (remember those days?) talking to their bestie. This creates a much faster emotional connection and makes them more likely to come back, and more importantly, convert.
And while we’re at it, avoid jargon, regardless of what your product or service is. You want people to understand what you do even if they’re not in your target audience. It makes it easier for them to self-segment.
Anyone who is in your target audience will be grateful that their brain doesn’t have to work super hard to understand what you’re all about.
2. Read it aloud
To test how your script sounds, read it aloud. Doing this, you’ll be able to hear where it sounds like Siri and where it sounds like you’re talking to a friend.
Reading it aloud will also give you a feel for where sentences need to be cut or shortened so that the reader can take a breath. I often put commas in where I think the narrator should breathe, even if it isn’t grammatically correct. #sorrynotsorry
Including these pauses offers some guidance to the narrator in how you want the script to be read and where you want to place emphases or dramatic pauses.
To make your script sound even more natural, you could dictate it!
That way, it sounds exactly like what you’d say if you were talking to a friend. Your script will come across much more natural. (So long as you don’t get thrown off by the process of dictation, which can be clunky at first. But that’s a topic for another day.)
3. Know your timings
In scripts, you really don’t have a lot of time. About 2-5 words per second, depending on how fast the narrator speaks.
You don’t want it to be so fast you sound like a Gilmore Girl who’s had too much caffeine, but you don’t want it to be so slow you sound like a talking tortoise, either.
How do you know what the happy medium is?
4. Test it!
Try different speeds and see how it sounds. Does it sound natural? Does it sound natural to other people within your target audience? What about people who don’t have English (or whatever language your script is written in) as their first language?
Be ware, here: some people naturally speak much faster than others. While this is a sign of intelligence, not everyone likes it as it can be hard to follow. This is another reason why knowing your target audience is important.
5. Focus on one thing
I’ve lost count of how many video scripts I’ve edited that have tried to fit six very different ideas or concepts into a three-minute video. Not only is that a nightmare to edit at every stage, but it’s also hard for your viewer to follow.
While it’s tempting to talk about everything your company does in one video, there isn’t the time to cram it all in!
It’s far better to have a collection of videos, each of which explains something in depth, than one video that explains everything vaguely. It’ll be more effective and easier for people to find the information that’s relevant to them.
This is the one time I’d say to follow the rules you learned when writing essays: you’re better off explaining a handful of concepts in depth, over lots of concepts vaguely. You’ll get more marks with your marker and your audience if you’ve explained something deeply instead of glossing over it.
Explaining something in more depth showcases your knowledge, proving to audiences you’re a thought leader in your industry and the person to work with. A video that glosses over important concepts simply doesn’t offer this reassurance to the audience in the same way.
Think of it like water: you’re far more likely to dive into clear water where you can see what’s in it, over murky water that makes it impossible to see below the surface. If you don’t know what you’re diving into, you’re less likely to do it.
Video scripts, regardless of who they’re aimed at, should mimic real speech. It’ll be a human reading the script—you don’t want it to sound like it’s Siri reading it out!
If you’re not sure on how natural your script sounds, read it aloud. You’ll get a feel for how natural it feels to say it, and where you need to cut or shorten sentences.
If you’re getting breathless reading the script, your narrator probably will, too!
Scripts need to be focused. The more focused they are, the clearer their message will be and the greater the impact they’ll have on your target audience. A script that tries to do too much will end up achieving nothing.