Video Script Copywriting: How to Take Your Video Script from Good to Great, Step by Step
What do marketing videos and Hollywood films have in common?
That’s right: they both live and die by the quality of their script.
Write a great script, and viewers will love it — even if the visuals are nothing to write home about.
But write a bad one, and no amount of big-budget spectacle will save you — as proven by failed marketing campaigns and box office flops everywhere.
Now, we can’t offer any advice to the film industry (and we doubt they would listen!), but we do know a thing or two about creating high-converting marketing videos…
So here’s our advice:
Take the time and effort to write an amazing script for every video you produce. And if you already have one, and you think it’s good… go the extra mile to make it even better!
Luckily, you can transform (almost) any script from a total snoozefest into an attention-grabbing, high-converting, business-boosting foundation for a kick-butt marketing video. And today, we’re going to show you how!
In this week’s article, we’ll give you a simple 3-step process for improving any video script through the art and science of copywriting. You will learn:
- The #1 thing you need to do before you tweak even a single word in your video script (or even look at it!)
- The 5 elements that every marketing video needs to have if you want it to convert
- The most common mistakes we see in marketing videos, and how to fix them
- A super-easy hack that will help you instantly recognize if your script sounds “wrong” or stilted — even if you’re not a writer
And more. Read on!
Step 1. Clarify your strategy
There’s one thing you want to do before you change a single word of your video script:
Make sure it aligns with your brand’s video marketing strategy. Because if it doesn’t, no amount of world-class video script copywriting will help your video to convert!
So your first step is to examine the big picture and how your future video fits into it. To do that, ask yourself these simple questions:
1. Who’s the audience? Is it your target customers, current employees, potential hires, partners or affiliates, or someone else? Are they already aware of your company and the work you do? This will inform the message of your future video — speaking of which…
2. What’s the message you want to convey? Are you introducing your product or service, telling people about your brand, educating viewers about a specific topic? What’s the #1 thing you need to get across to the people watching?
3. “What’s in it for me?” Why should the viewers care about the message of your video? What would you tell them if they asked you this in person? Try to home in on the benefits and outcomes they’ll be able to achieve if they watch your video and act on it.
4. What’s the result you want to achieve? Try to think of a specific short-term outcome — e.g. getting potential customers to call you, and a long-term outcome — e.g. hiring the best person for a new position that’s opened up at your company.
Next, compare your answers to these questions to your current video script. Does it reflect what you’re trying to do here? If the answer is yes, great! Feel free to skip to Step 3 and make some minor edits to the copy.
If the answer is no, don’t worry — we got you! In the next step, we’ll show you how to fix it…
Step 2. Fix your video script structure
This is the part where we look at the “skeleton” of your video script and see where it needs improving. Don’t worry about specific words and phrases — good video script copywriting is about structure first.
You can break down any marketing video into these 4 pieces:
- Problem, where you explain to the viewer why this video is relevant to them, and “connect the dots” between your message and a specific challenge in their life.
- Solution, where you tell them how your product/service/brand can help, or teach them something valuable — depending on the video.
- Objection, where you address the fears, concerns, and questions they might have, to show that you understand them. (This part is optional but recommended.)
- Action, where you direct the viewer to the next step: clicking a link, contacting you, filling out a survey, subscribing to your email list etc.
Now, take those answers you’ve come up with in Step 1 and see how well your video script reflects them. Look at each piece, from Problem to Action, and try to identify any “weak links” that are hurting your message.
For example, here are some of the most common structural mistakes we’ve seen in marketing video scripts…
- The “Problem” section doesn’t establish why the video is relevant to the viewer, and just serves as a short, generic introduction that doesn’t grab attention.
- The “Solution” section over-focuses on the features of the product or service without tying them to specific benefits and outcomes that the person watching cares about.
- The script treats every selling point and value proposition as equally important to the viewer. Spoilers: they aren’t, different audiences will care about different things!
- The script doesn’t acknowledge that viewers might have second thoughts or follow-up questions, and tries to rush them towards saying “yes” to the offer.
- The call to action is too vague and doesn’t give viewers a good enough reason to take action immediately — or it’s not there at all.
Highlight every structural problem you notice and leave notes on what needs to be changed. E.g. “mention our satisfaction guarantee here” or “instead of talking about office space and perks, talk more about employee benefits.” You’ll use these notes in the next step…
Step 3. Edit your copy
OK, it’s time to do some actual video script copywriting — three cheers to that!
Now that you know how to improve your script at the high level (strategy + structure), all that’s left to do is implement those changes. We’re going to do that in the same way we’ve approached this whole process so far — start with the big things, and then work our way down to the small stuff.
Here’s the script editing process we use here at The Draw Shop:
1. Add what’s missing and cut the non-essentials. E.g. inserting an objection to make your video more persuasive; editing out 30 words describing a small feature that doesn’t tie into any specific benefits; expanding the “Problem” section to include a specific pain point or real-life scenario your viewers are struggling with etc.
2. Check the tone and the language. Make sure the script doesn’t clash with your brand voice or alienate viewers with words and phrases they wouldn’t use in real life. For example, talking about ROI, KPIs or LTV is great when your audience is professional marketers — but it will put small business owners or solopreneurs right to sleep!
3. Make the copy more visual. It’s always good to give videographers and animators something to work with. When visuals and narration play off one another, it makes for a more memorable video. Here’s a great example.
4. Read the script out loud — a few times. If anything trips you up or sounds stilted when you read it out loud, then it won’t sound any better in the final product! So fix it: break up overly long sentences, use transition words, change hard-to-pronounce words to something simpler.
5. Check the word count and tighten as needed. Our rule of thumb at The Draw Shop is, 150 words = about 60 seconds of video. There’s no right answer about how long or short a marketing video needs to be — it depends on your message and your budget.
Aaand that’s it. Now you have a tight, clear, persuasive video script that will make for a high-converting marketing video that will grow your business. Go you!
If you want to learn more about video script copywriting, you might dig these articles on The Draw Shop blog:
How to Write an Explainer Video Script (a step-by-step guide to using the “Problem -> Solution -> Objection -> Action” framework we covered in Step 2).
Here’s Our Exact Method for Creating Effective Sales Videos (see how our in-house team produces videos for all kinds of businesses, from one-person companies to Fortune 500).
How To Make A Conversion Focused Animation Video That’s Under 2 Minutes (this applies not just to animated videos, but any style of video content).
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