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8 Tips for Writing Great Video Scripts

A career switch can be daunting. But that’s what I found myself doing in 2015, after the birth of my first child.

I had been working at my local ABC-affiliate since graduating from college – writing and producing television news stories about my community and healthcare. But now I was switching to writing web content. And while I had convinced my new work family that my skills were transferable, I must admit I wasn’t 100% sure.

Fast forward to today: It turns out I had nothing to worry about. Writing for video is a lot like writing for the web. And if you want to go the other way – from web writer to video script writer – you have the transferable skills to do it. They just need a little tweaking.

Start With the Pictures

Don’t think about what would make a compelling story. Think about what story lends itself to compelling visuals.

According to Forrester Research, 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million written words. Let that sink in. Your video (and supporting script) should help your audience see, feel, hear – really experience – your subject. That’s why they clicked the play button.

Remember, the visuals are the main show. They should be the driving force behind why you are using video to connect with your audience. Your words play a supporting role – to make the visuals sing. And this mentality should start from the very first second of your video script.  So if you don’t have the video to support the story, then tell a different one.

7 More Tips for Writing Strong Video Scripts

So now that you’ve got that down, here are some other tips to make your video script resonate with audiences:

Plan ahead

Figure out your audience and your goals. Then write it all down:

  • Is your audience made up of tweens, young mothers or baby boomers?How can you write how they speak?
  • What visuals will they respond to?
  • Why will they care?
  • What value will your video provide?
  • Where will they see it?

 Identify your call to action (CTA)

Think of it as the ending to a movie. Your entire script should be building toward this. Do you want your audience to:

  • Share the video?
  • Make an appointment?
  • Subscribe to a newsletter?

Hook ‘em before you lose ‘em

Start every video script with your best/most compelling/most interesting video. If it evokes an emotional response, even better. Don’t save it for the end. The sweet spot for most videos is 30 seconds. After that, audience engagement drops. Grab their attention before they go elsewhere.

Let your video do the talking

If a person is the subject of your video, then let that person speak (and not just your narration). Show how something is done instead of telling how it’s done.

Log your video

Here at Aha Media, part of our secret sauce is the hidden gems we get from stakeholder interviews. (Learn how we do it with our series on interviewing stakeholders.) And once an interview is over, we get a transcript so we always have a grasp on the compelling quotes, thoughts and expertise that are instrumental in making our content stand out.

To write a great video script, you need to capture what’s been said as well as every frame of usable video. Then, you can easily go back, find and script the visuals that best complement your words. The benefits? It saves both your time and your vision once your script gets into the hands of a video editor.

Try the problem >solution> benefit approach

Start with your target audience’s pain points. Present your solution in an easy-to-digest way. Then go deeper into the benefits. Make it clear what your target audience can truly gain.

Write in 2 columns

Format your script so the video goes on the left and the audio/narration goes on the right. This method will help the final product more closely align with your vision, once the script leaves your hands.

Video Stats to Inspire Your Script Writing

The latest research shows just how effective video can be:

  • Compared to other content, video draws 3 times as many monthly visitors to a website.
  • Videos increase organic search traffic by 157%.
  • Consumers are 85% more likely to buy after watching a product video and are 52% more confident in their online purchase.

For more on how writing for the web and video go hand-in-hand:

4 Ways to Add Video to Your Marketing Strategy

6 Visual Content Marketing Tips

For Winning Content, Take a Cue From Cooking Videos

If you’re struggling to create compelling video copy, let us write it for you! Contact us to learn how we can help.

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About Jena G. Triggs

Jena G. Triggs

Jena G. Triggs is an award-winning health journalist and writer with proven success in fast-paced, deadline-driven environments and project management. With more than a decade of experience as a television producer covering a variety of topics, including health news, her passion is dissecting and communicating complex topics in a way that h... More >