Video is essential to draw potential customers in through education or entertainment. Studies have shown that people retain more of a message when they watch it rather than read it, and laying the foundation for a successful video begins with a script.
Just how do you write a video script though?
It may seem intimidating but don’t let that discourage you — we’ll guide you towards success! To begin, there are two crucial elements to note about writing a video script:
- A great script is created with careful planning and a solid structure
- You don’t have to be a specialist to write a video script
The first is what allows the second. You can’t jump in feet first and start writing out script content hoping it will all fall into place. However, by creating a strong process to follow, you can write a video script that’s effective even if you aren’t an expert.
Let’s consider the steps you’ll take:
- Create a brief
- Outline the content and how you will support it
- Work with a script template (Optional)
- Write the script
- Edits & revisions
- Review to ensure you’ve achieved the intended goal
- Share your script with others for feedback and suggestions
That may sound like a lot, but we’ve broken these down so you can explore how to write a script for a video that turns viewers into loyal customers or clients.
Create a brief
A brief is a document that outlines the purpose, target audience, scope, timeline, and key details of a project.
When producing a video script, a brief is necessary to maintain organization and communicate clearly with stakeholders.
Whether you’re working through the process of how to write a video script for an advertising video, YouTube video, or other video content, the brief will be your guide. It highlights deadlines and responsibilities to facilitate smooth production and you can regularly refer back to it for consistency and brand alignment.
A successful corporate video script is explicit in its goal and audience. Before you begin typing down a line of dialogue, identify the purpose of your video. For example, is your goal to inform the audience about a new product? Articulating a clear message and outcome for your script helps frame your video so you can write intentionally without distraction.
Another important step is to identify your audience. Are you marketing to B2B content managers or owners of small businesses? Identifying who you’re trying to reach with your video is critical and informs your video distribution channels. It also enables marketers to carve a strategic plan aligned with the online habits of the target audience.
Outline the sections of your video
The next step is to write a summary of the video contents. Start by asking yourself:
- What will it contain?
- Who will be included?
- What is the purpose of that section?
- Are there particular references, quotes, or imagery that needs to be included?
Outlining this gives you a clear plan and solid foundation to begin script writing.
Every entertaining or educational video merges sound and visuals to evoke an emotional reaction within its audience. Within the summary, note down any visuals, music, or sound effects that will reinforce your core message. Make sure it makes sense for your video and acts as an aide for further understanding.
Use a video script template
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You may not know how to write a script for a video but there are plenty of excellent script templates out there, suitable for every type of video. They can give you the structure around which you build your content.
For example, if you’re creating a video to promote an event, you could work towards a structure like this:
Scene 1: Event title
Scene 2: State what guests will learn at your event
Scene 3: Announce your speaker
Scene 4: Show off their expertise
Scene 5: Tell your audience how they can join
This structure is taken directly from the Wibbitz video scripts for event promotion and recaps, where you can discover even more templates like this one.
Perhaps you’re adapting the video from a recent podcast or blog post. In this case, using the podcast segments or blog subsections can be a helpful way to create smooth transitions between major points.
There are different approaches as to how to write a video script for YouTube, short videos, and other types of videos. However, one thing should remain consistent: incorporating storytelling elements. An impactful script includes a central message, conflict, and resolution.
Leverage this classic storytelling format so viewers can understand the overall narrative of your video.
Write the video script
Now it’s time to write the video script! The voice you use will depend on the purpose of your video. The tone of a How-To video is different from a product announcement; adjust the style of your writing to match its purpose.
According to HubSpot, only 37% of viewers watch videos till the end. This means that you must grab your audience’s attention the moment they hit play.
Begin your script with a catchy hook that entices the viewer to continue. You can start with an interesting statistic, a fun fact, or something that will motivate them to keep watching.
Introduce the speaker, brand, and what your audience will learn from watching the video. If I were creating a video for Wibbitz to demonstrate to our customers how to use the video embed code, I would begin by saying something like this:
“Hi, it’s Sabrina from Wibbitz! And today I am going to show you how to embed a video on your website in a few short and easy steps.”
Introductions to the content can also be done visually rather than with a voiceover depending on what makes most sense for the story and content.
Consider the visual elements
You’re writing words on a page but that isn’t how you’re telling the story in the video. The script you’re writing is for a visual medium so you must consider that at all times. What elements will be on the screen when these words are delivered? Does a concept need more explanation or will the visuals do most of the work?
When you write a script, video always has to remain at the forefront of your mind. This is especially important if you’re repurposing content from another format. For example, turning a blog post into a video script.
What’s the journey?
Even short videos take viewers on a journey. From identifying a problem, presenting a solution, and then guiding the viewer through it – there’s an arc to follow. Make sure you have a clear path when you’re writing so you don’t go off in a direction that loses the viewer’s focus.
Always consider your video’s destination and how what you are writing will help you get there.
Communicate in the right way
The way your script delivers information is key to communicating your message in a manner your audience will be happy to consume. For example, your introduction can already tell you a lot about the tone you’re intending for a video:
- “Hey there, I’m so excited to meet you!”
- “Let me start by telling a story…”
- “Finally, the video you’ve all been waiting for.”
Each element creates different expectations as to what may follow. This carries through to everything you write, so ensure you know how to speak to your viewers and match the tone of your video from beginning to end.
Deliver on your goal
You’ve already detailed why you’re creating this video, but does your script encourage the viewer to take the action you’re looking for? Have you given them a reason to trust your message that they should carry through to the next step?
Put yourself in the mindset of your audience who may have limited knowledge of your topic. If the information is delivered in a way that informs and engages you’ll likely be on the right path.
Let’s put all those together and see that process in action right here:
Tighten the script
With the waning attention spans of digital consumers, shorter videos tend to perform better on many platforms. And this reality is more magnified with the popularity of short-form video. Research with marketing experts showed videos of up to two minutes received better engagement.
So, think about how to write a script for a short video. Focus on tightening it up as much as you can, removing unnecessary dialogue. Let’s go back to my earlier example of showing how to embed a video using Wibbitz.
Here’s a section of my initial video embed code script:
“Open up the share options on your new video by selecting ‘Share.’ This will open up a window. Make sure that the ‘Embed’ tab is selected as this section contains the required code. Click on the blue ‘Copy Code’ button. This puts all the HTML code you need onto your clipboard so you don’t have to worry about any technical details.”
Now that I’m looking at it again, I see I can communicate that same message by cutting it down to:
“Open the share options on your new video, choose ‘Embed,’ click ‘Copy Code,’ and you’ll be ready to embed the video on your website or blog.
In this case, the video will be showing the actions alongside the words so the extra detail isn’t needed. Review everything with a critical eye and see where you can be more succinct and direct.
Review your story
Every great story has a beginning, middle, and end, and this also applies to video scripts. Review your script and make sure the story is clear and hasn’t been lost after rounds of editing.
Remember to read your script out loud to get a feel of how the final video will sound. Below are some questions to ask yourself, so you don’t steer off your narrative:
- Does my story address an issue that needs to be solved?
- Do I state my audience’s pain points within the first few seconds of the video?
- Do I offer a solution and clear steps to help resolve the problem?
- Does it sound natural?
- Are there still elements missing or need to be removed?
Share the video script and make your final edits
It’s time to share your script and collect feedback! There may be different opinions on how to write a script for a video, so, before handing over your document, provide editors with the creative brief. Share the goal, target audience, and call-to-action so they can provide constructive reviews based on your benchmarks.
Once all edits have been applied, make sure your script translates effectively as a visual piece. Currently, all dialogue and action items exist on a page, so it can be easy to lose sight of the visual elements. Refer back to your audience and core message to ensure the script translates to an effective video rather than a piece of writing.
You should now be fully prepared to write an explainer video script, YouTube video script, corporate video script, or for any other type of video.
Remember, just as it doesn’t take a pro to write great scripts, it also doesn’t require pro equipment to film your videos — you can use your phone, an app from which to read your script, and a good backdrop!
With a proper plan in place, you can write a video script stress-free. And it’s even less difficult if you use an online video editor once it’s ready for production.
Luckily, Wibbitz allows marketers without technical expertise to create beautiful, professional videos in minutes.