Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Do you know that feeling when you are staring at a blank piece of paper, waiting for inspiration to strike? You're on a deadline to get out your next marketing video and it's as if the writing gods have wiped your grey cells clean of any fresh ideas?
And then the panic sets in and you finally start writing, something, anything, so that you can get out of being stuck on that blank page. You know it’s not your best work and you don’t care. The page isn't blank. Never mind that you will not have enough time to practice so you can feel get comfortable with your key messages and deliver them naturally. The page is no longer blank.
I guess you can tell, I’ve had this experience more than once. And it’s a recurring challenge I hear about from a lot of my clients.
Our conversations usually go something like:
"I know I need to start doing more video, but when I sit down to write, I draw a blank."
“I’ve done some videos, but I hate them because I sound really scripted” or
"I want to look natural, but I need to use notes so I can remember what I want to say."
Yep, been there too… and that’s why having a format to follow for your videos is a great way to make sure you are including essential information while giving yourself the freedom to write in your own voice and connect with your viewers.
It also makes it a lot easier to stay consistent in getting your content out on time.
Because I know your pain, I'd like to share a simple format I use to create content for video scripts. I developed this over the years working on deadlines writing videos that had to include really specific information. You can use this format for blogs and presentations too.
It’s a super easy way to get clear about why you are doing your video, organize your thoughts and deliver your message with a call to action.
Why Use Video?
Here are some eye opening statistics from a recent video survey of business marketers done by Wyzowl* about the effectiveness of using video:
97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service
76% say it helped them increase sales.
47% say it helped them reduce support queries.
76% say it helped them increase traffic.
80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their website.
Those are some pretty compelling numbers about why you need to be using video in your marketing and information campaigns, so let’s get started.
Make It Easy On Yourself
Before you sit down to write, you guessed it you need to get really clear about the *purpose of your video - what do you want to do?
This step is critical because your purpose sets the tone of your video.
All videos, like all presentations, have a beginning middle and an end. Your most valuable real estate is at the beginning of the video when you invite people to watch and at the end with your call to action.
Here are the steps to make sure you have a solid beginning, middle and end.
Get clear about the purpose of your video: inform, involve, educate, engage, persuade
Tell your viewers what the video is about and why they should watch.
Next include a brief bio about your expertise - this doesn’t have to be long, just enough to let people know why they should listen to you on this subject.
What are the three key points you want your viewers to know? If you need a refresher on this, Episode 13 of Camera Ready With Val Brown is about writing effective key messages. You don’t have to have three points, you may have one key point with three sub points. The goal is to get clear about what you want to say and the order you want to say it in. It makes is so much easier to deliver your message on camera without using notes.
Then you need a summary or conclusion, what do you want people to know, think or do as a result of watching your video? This statement complements your opening headline - if you promised someone they would learn x,y,z, then your summary will include what you shared. Your call to action includes what next steps your viewers need to take to learn more about x,y,z.
Let’s take each one of these in a bit more depth.
You have about 8-10 seconds to grab your viewer's attention in your opening so it needs to be something really compelling and authentic. This is where people are going to decide if they like you and what you have to say is worth listening to.
Your headline and closing support the purpose for your video.
If you want to inform, you could say: “ I have some really exciting news to share”
If you are solving a problem, state the problem and how you are going to solve it.
Or you can start by telling a story that supports the point you want to make.
After you have your viewer’s attention insert a very brief bio about your expertise and relate it to what you are going to say next.
In my case, I would say: “I am so excited to share this video script template with you to help you create more content. This is the same template I used for more than 30 years in writing and producing award winning videos.”
Then write your three key points you want to make in your video.
Make sure they are clear concise and conversational. Write in short sentences, read them out loud and stay away from jargon.
When I’m creating an outline for a video, I write the key messages and then list sub points that support each key message.
They don’t have to be elaborate, a bullet point will do. If you get too long winded, you’ll lose your audience and it’s a lot harder to be natural.
Your video should give your viewer enough information so they can take the next step. Make it easy to watch.
Then, finish with your conclusion. What do you want your viewer to know, believe or do as a result of watching your video?
One of the smartest tips I’ve learned over the years is to write your conclusion first - what do you want people to do at the end of watching your video? Once you are really clear on that, you can work backwards to your introduction. That way everything in your video supports where you want to end up and your stated purpose - pretty cool huh?
Let’s sum it up
The case for using video in your marketing is only getting stronger. Being clear about what you want to say before you hit the record button will ensure you are delivering the message you want your viewers to hear to create a more effective video.
The five steps to easily write an effective video script:
1. Get clear about the purpose of your video, - do you want to inform, involve, educate, engage or persuade?
2. Write an opening statement to grab your viewer’s attention.
3. Include a brief intro about yourself to establish your expertise
4. List the top three points that support your opening statement - use bullet points for sub points
5. Summarize and call to action
And that’s all there is to it! Don’t forget to download your script template.
As always, if you have questions, I’d love to hear from you, I’m happy to answer your questions in a future blog.
Remember, by getting clear about your purpose and following a simple format, you can write and deliver, clear and effective videos, every time.
Val Brown is an Emmy Award winning television producer, story and visual and personal brand consultant, coach, and speaker. She consults and coaches high performing business professionals and entrepreneurs looking to up their game and increase their confidence and credibility on camera. Val teaches you how to use your story to support your brand in video and photos.
p.s. I’d love to connect on social media and hear your questions and concerns about being in front of the camera.
*Wyzowl Video Survey 2018