Video script writing tips: Best practices to generate engagement

By |

Video, and specifically short-form video, has taken a quantum leap in its ability to attract, engage and convert new leads for business-to-business marketing.

Smaller businesses are increasingly recognizing the need to create compelling video, even if the production needs to be done on a shoe-string budget and with die-hard, DIY spirit.

Don't get us wrong. Professional-looking production quality is very important to a successful video. But it's critical not to overlook the essential role that strong writing and organization plays in delivering new leads and converting existing prospects into customers.

For those just getting started with your video strategy, we present: Marketing Video Script Writing Tips: Best Practices to Generate Strong Video Engagement. 

Plan, Plan, Plan...And Plan

You cannot wing dialog. You cannot ad lib. It just doesn't work.

Whether you are creating a short or longer form piece, structure and organization matter. The copy matters. And you need to put the pre-planning time in to ensure success and make the best use of your colleagues' time.

Start by writing a creative brief that outlines the video's goals, core messaging, target audience and mechanics (how long the video will be, what props are needed, actors required, etc.)

Distribute the creative brief to your team and schedule a meeting to walk through the document. Collaborate, exchange ideas, then refine the creative brief based on your team's input. The collaboration team should not only include those in the video, but also should include the sales team, other marketing experts and any other staff member that can provide insight into marketing video's target audience.

Once your team reaches consensus, the creative brief becomes the foundation upon which you'll write your script.

Begin with the End in Mind

You cannot assume that every prospect that engages your marketing video will watch it from start to finish. In fact, it's likely that a significant portion of your marketing video viewers will drop off; this could be anywhere from 20% by the 30-second mark of a video under 1-minute to 40% by the 30-second mark for a video lasting between 2 and 3 minutes, according to data noted by Single Grain via a Wisteria survey.

That means that retention is still strong to the 30-second point. However, you need to take a Bottom-Line-On-Top (BLOT) approach to writing your video script.

What does a BLOT structural approach mean? Deliver your core message early in the video--don't build up the suspense and deliver your value proposition at the end. You'll lose too many viewers by that moment. Instead, put your bottom line early in the video script and augment that message in the script body copy; never wait until the end.

Keep It Conversational

Jargon-free, conversational language--that's a major key to writing an outstanding script.

Your video script needs to provide your "actors" with natural dialog, not robotic, business-lingo saturated and overly salesy wording.

A video that sells too hard or sounds forced will hemorrage viewers. A video script that's organic-sounding and delivers value will generate the lead generation and lead conversion results you seek.

Keep It Short

Be consice. Use your words economically. Think Ernest Hemingway not Henry James. Hemingway wrote simply and what he called "straight", boiling sentences down to their core subject-verb essence. 

You don't have to write like Hemingway, but adopting his belief that ornamentation and too much elaboration dilutes your meaning and message will pay off in the end in increased engagement and viewer retention.

Write directly. Use simple sentences in your script. Be a ruthless editor and cut out anything that's not essential.

Have a Call-to-Action (CTA)

Ask your viewer to take action. That's the whole point of your script, right? To get the viewer to take a next step in their buyer's journery, correct? 

Depending on the nature of your marketing video, you could include CTAs pre-video, mid-video or post-video, depending on your audience, video length and content offer subject. CTA placement will change depending on your industry, posting venue and end goals.

What does not change, however, is the absolute, unquestionable requirement to build CTAs into your video script to maximize conversions of engaged viewers.

Want more video tips? Check out our latest video here or our video tips eBook here:

Connect with Illumine8