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Want Killer Marketing Videos? 5 Keys To Writing Scripts

There’s probably nothing as sleep inducing as a boring video. Just think back on all those clunky, dry-as-dust videos you had to suffer through in school. And how about those painful orientation and training videos you had inflicted on you at your first job? Remember what a struggle it was to stay awake?

That is exactly what you can’t afford to have happen with your social media marketing videos.

The competition is getting much keener and the marketing video arena is getting more crowded. Out of all the B2C companies in North America that engage in content marketing, 82% use videos. So your online marketing videos have to stand out, and it all starts with the script.

Content Marketing Institute

Here, then, are the 5 keys for writing knock-’em-dead video scripts for online marketing – scripts that will keep viewers engaged and will rise above the competition.

Know Your Audience and Address Them Directly

One reason the videos we mentioned just above were so ineffective is that they weren’t produced for a specific audience. Because they were aimed at everyone, they didn’t really appeal to anyone.

So the first key to writing an effective video script is to consider your audience. You need to know everything you can about the people – the potential customers – who will view your video. For example:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geographic location
  • Socio-economic level
  • Education level
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Religious and political affiliation
  • Problems, pain points, and concerns

And, then, your video should address their problem(s) – in a way that targets and engages these specific people. Talk directly to your audience – your specific, laser-targeted audience – about the things they care deeply about and develop that essential trust relationship. They’ll be receptive to your solution for their problem(s).

Get Your Message Across in the First 30 Seconds

Kissmetrics Blog

Attention spans are getting shorter, and your potential viewers also have their attention pulled in many competing directions – email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TV, smart phones . . . and on and on. Psychological research suggests that the average sustained attention span is now about 20 minutes. But for online videos it’s only about 60 seconds. That’s just one minute! 

So you simply have to get your message – your elevator pitch – across in the first 30 seconds of a social media marketing video. A good way to do this is by using the old tried-and-true journalist’s inverted pyramid. 

Journalists have known for a long time that a lot of readers will read only the first paragraph or two and will skim the rest, if that. So when they write a news piece, they put all the important information at the beginning. The rest of the piece, while interesting, isn’t essential. 

Be sure, then, to structure marketing videos in the same way. Try to get your message across in the first 30 seconds of the video. 

Make Sure Words and Visuals Are Complementary 

The words in your video script and the images in the video itself must be closely allied. The words should belong to and explain the images, and the images must reinforce and illustrate the words for greater impact. It works much the same way a musical score in a movie heightens the emotional mood in a particular scene. 

But if we have to choose, visuals come in a close second to the words. Even very simple visuals can work well as long as they reinforce and enhance the voiceover. The temptation many times is to get so caught up in producing stunning visuals that they detract from and distract viewers from the message. 

Tell a Compelling Story 

Any good copywriter will tell you that the best copy tells a story. And the same holds true for marketing videos. 

In order to really grab viewers, a good video for online marketing has to tell a story. It doesn’t have to be long – it just has to have all the elements of a story. Why? Because stories have emotional impact, and we remember them.

Long-form content, short ad copy, novel, short story, or video – it doesn’t matter. If it’s good, it has a compelling story in there.  And it can be just a few sentences. If there’s a character with a problem who is seeking a solution, if there’s dramatic tension with rising action, and if there’s falling action that culminates in a resolution (a solution to the problem), then it’s a story.

A story can help your potential customers better understand what it is you offer and what it can do for them. They’ll understand the benefits at a deeper emotional level than a mere explanation allows for.

Use Humor Judiciously 

Think back once again to the painful videos you had to sit through in school or at work. Remember the awkward and lame attempts at humor? Sure, you laughed, but it was the laughter of ridicule, wasn’t it? You weren’t entertained a bit. 

Now, humor can be a highly effective tool to get a message across and make it memorable. That, of course, is why so many speeches, sermons, and talks kick off with a joke, usually a bad one. Just make sure you use humor judiciously. 

As with the visuals, humor should support and enhance your message. It must be seamlessly integrated into your story as a seemingly necessary support – not a crutch. Done right – in the right place, with obvious appropriateness – it can be very effective. Having a little fun along the way can help people connect with your brand. 

Top-notch videos can be a powerful weapon in your social media marketing arsenal. Just remember: it all starts with the script.

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