The essential guide to video script writing + template

The essential guide to video script writing + template


If you are reading this, I hope you are already persuaded that the video is a very powerful marketing tool that can help your business grow. A marketing video is like chocolate fudge. Even if it’s not the best, it’s still yummy! 

Writing a script can seem like a daunting task, but it is not. You don’t need to write an Oscar-winning piece, and you can always use templates. Speaking of those, there will be templates! Consider checking out video templates as they can really give you an idea of what to expect.

KISS Method

Keep It Simple, Stupid. The best approach ever for doing, oh so many, things in life. It also applies to writing a script. The good old triangular structure will do:

  • Introduction
  • The Main Point
  • Conclusion

Also, keep in mind that a script is never meant to be seen by the audience. It’s a structure, a guideline, a pre-production step for your video. It doesn’t need to be perfect – it needs to be done. Scripting a video does borrow a lot from email copywriting, for example, but it’s much easier!

A quick tip: To have proper dynamic in your video, check if the viewer’s situation (knowledge, awareness, level of engagement) has shifted from Introduction to Conclusion. If you don’t have that, work more on how your Main Point can contribute to the change. Change is the essence of every story.

Before you write a script

There are key elements to every video. 

  1. Audience
  2. Goal
  3. Main character
  4. Key Point

Identify the audience

This is the first step to any marketing effort. Who do you want to reach? What resonates with them? Remember, if you target everyone you will hit no one. Also, it’s good to explore tools with lifetime deals that can save you lots of time narrowing down your target audience and identifying their needs.

The goal of the video

Clearly define what would be a success of your video. Do you have KPIs to track the success? How will you know if the audience benefited from it? Do you want the audience to take a specific action? Don’t forget the call to action, which would be the ultimate goal for each viewer and a matric upon which you will monetize your video.

Chose the main character

Who is going to be on the screen most of the time? If all your videos are narrated by a single person, that can create a sense of continuity, add authority, and familiarity to your brand videos.

The main character is not always a person, it can be a mascot or a product itself.

What’s the point?

Why would someone watch your video – sum it up in one sentence. What will the audience gain from watching your video? Communicate it early on! The answer to this question will help you structure your script better and reveal what kind of video do you actually need.

Script formatting

The simplest format is to separate visual and audio clues. Visual is where you prepare what’s going to be shown to the audience. It can be a spokesperson, a product, a high-quality background image, or free vector graphics. 

Audio is not only the music and effects but also the narration/dialogue of the video. Music is a very important element of video production as well as an efficient mood-setter! 

Visual Audio
Description of visuals go hereDialogue, narration, effects, music go here.

This is the vertical structure of the format. Horizontal structure means that you separate visual clues clearly and make it clear to what audio clues it connects. Like in the following example:

VisualAudio
A spokesperson speaking to camera
Image: Growth graph
“This graph shows a nice hockey-stick growth…”
Infographics“…data shows why, blah, blah…”
A spokesperson speaking to camera
Company logo
Text above the logo: WE CAN DO IT
Cue “VictoryMusicJingle.mp3”
“And that’s why we can do it together!”

Don’t be afraid of going into the tiniest of details in the visual part of the script. It will help the script to be precise, it will help in production to visualize the final product. And if you are collaborating, a detailed script will improve feedback. If the script needs to be authorized, you will also score additional points there.

By the way, not every video has a promotional theme or elaborately produced settings. There’s a whole genre of videos within the video onboarding category, which puts a “new lens” on the way companies think about corporate videos. You could find yourself writing a series of scripts from the CEO’s “Welcome to XYZ Company” video for new employees to training videos, introduction-to-the-department videos (e.g., “Video Sales Letter Template”), or videos that explain company policies. 

The more original your script, the more successful these videos will be and the less likely they are to become boring or forgettable.

Another area of script writing that you don’t want to overlook is the two-minute video explanation or promotion. You may think that two-minute videos are the realm of amateurs packing iPhones, but in reality, short videos are powerful inbound marketing tools. They can give a huge boost to marketing emails and blog posts by greatly increasing open rates. 

Imagine how much life you could bring to a page of text with 120 seconds of hearing directly from the writer, or the company president, or the designer who brought a product to life. Although it’s harder to write a carefully crafted short script than a long one, it’s definitely worth it in terms of results for your client. 

This template mentioned an infographic that shows why you should always consider video as a very powerful marketing tool, just look at the statistics!

Script outline

Sometimes you will have to deal with scripts where the verbatim narration is not possible. For example, interview. You can’t script the dialogue exactly. What you can do is sharpen the focus on the topic and come up with questions that will prompt the interviewee to speak to a specific message.

Step 1: Come up with a list of topics and messages you want to be addressed.

Example: 

  1. Our company is the industry leader
  2. Our company has a new product
  3. Advantages of our new solutions

Step 2: Come up with questions that can’t be answered by ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘sure’

Example:

  1. Our company has been quite successful. Can you talk about that success?
  2. Tell us about the current and future product line-up
  3. What’s the purpose of our new solutions?
    1. What pain point do we solve?
    2. What are the secondary advantages?

As you can see, the intention here is to give the speaker a chance to elaborate and to prompt them to address the topics and messages that are the target goal for the video. The example in visual/audio format would look like this:

VisualAudio
CEO speaksOur company has been quite successful. Can you talk about that success?

CEO speaks about the success
CEO speaks

Images: our new product line
Tell us about the current and future product line-up

CEO speaks about the products
CEO speaks

Images: our happy clients using our solutions
What’s the purpose of our new solutions?

– Pain points we solve
– Advantages of our solutions

These same principles of script production apply to your company video blog, which is an increasingly popular way of drawing attention to your brand or YouTube channel. In a video blog, it “seems” like the company founder or spokesperson is talking off the top of their head, but actually they have mapped out their direction so they don’t get off-track when telling their story. Although a video blog format can seem quite casual, it needs the same strong structure (beginning-middle-end or planned question-answer) to get the desired result. 

The storyboard

If your video is going to have animations or complex visuals to be recorded, you will require a storyboard. How you tell your story is, of course, very important to the end result. But tastes change among audiences, so be aware of video marketing trends before you decide how to tell your story.

Preparing the story script relies on storyboarding, which is an art in itself, and if you can’t draft it, don’t despair. It only means your video is going to require a specialist to help you.

What you can do on your own is to do your best to explain, sketch the visuals, their progression as it can help everyone involved with the production to understand your vision. Even if you don’t have access to editors and animators, sketching a storyboard can help you simplify your ideas, visualize them and save you time and money when you get to the production phase.

Storyboarding will become increasingly more important among the latest video marketing trends that are “silent” or use no-dialog video, where the picture alone, or a picture with music tell the whole story without words.

Using a video editing software can help you make use of animated explainer videos, which are extremely popular nowadays. These videos are a step further compared to flat presentations – they use 3D animated characters as narrators and animations that add up to your content and idea. 

However, both no-dialog videos and animated videos are trends that rely on your storyboarding skills to sell your client on your creative ideas.

Conclusion

A good script will save you from many common mistakes, regardless of the video purpose or format. It helps you to keep your message clear and engaging. Carefully check what video length is the most suitable. Keep in mind that 120-150 words fit a minute of video. 

Speak directly to the audience. Write conversationally, the way you would speak. Read your script out loud before you proceed with production. And look for inspiration online to get a ton of ideas.

PS — A bonus template

AAAA Formula

  • Attention (grab it in the video opening)
  • Agitation (point to the pain you are solving)
  • Activity (provide actionable steps)
  • Action (call to action)

Example:

  1. In this video, I’m going to show you how to <do something> step-by-step. [ Attention]
  2. If you are struggling with <problem> this video will walk you through exactly what you need to do so you can <success> [Agitation]
  3. Let’s get started with steps 1… step 2… step 3… [Activity]
  4. If you need additional help, or you don’t have <solution> there’s a link to <call to action> [Action]