How to write a winning video script for your website, commercial, or fundraiser
You’ve been tasked with the job of creating a video for your next marketing campaign. So you reach out to the local video production company to help you accomplish the mission.
They’ve done some cool stuff and somehow convince you to pay extra to get some drone footage. After all, who doesn’t want cool overhead footage when trying to convince people to open up their wallets to get behind a cause?
So after a few days of shooting and a month of editing, you’re ready to launch your video to the public.
Everyone loves it. They comment on how you did such an amazing job. They especially loved the dramatic ending with all the aerial shots.
The only thing is a few months after you launched the video, you look at your numbers. Your campaign failed. Little to no people responded.
There are 2 reasons:
- People will only act if you can somehow enter into the story that’s already going on in their heads.
- Not only must you enter into their story, but you must carry that story to completion for them to respond the way you want them to respond.
Marketing campaigns fail to connect with customers when their great idea is paired with a confusing story.
Following a clear story structure will help you get the results you want and make your video investment worthwhile.
The good news is that this post is here to help!
First, watch this video we created for the Syracuse Cooperative Market.
Today we want to point out 5 Steps to Write a Compelling Video Script
If you are unfamiliar with StoryBrand these principles follow the concepts expounded on in Donald Miller’s book Building a StoryBrand.
Step One – Lead with a strong hook
The first few lines of your video are the most important. They are the hooks that convince people whether or not they should pay attention to the rest of your video.
These hooks need to be sharp! Remember, all your advertising is competing against the thousands of distractions people face every day. If your hook isn’t compelling then no one will listen.
The best hook talks about a specific problem your audience is dealing with.
Problems are the whole reason why someone watches a movie. Will the hero overcome the problem or obstacle they are facing? Or will they not? You’ll sit in a theater for 2.5 hours on the edge of your seat to find out!
The same thing is true for your video.
What is the problem your audience is facing?
Look at the Co-op video script:
“What if we could all play a part in the Co-op thriving?”
This is a super strong hook.
First, it’s an open-ended question. The audience immediately is then wondering what the answer to that question is.
Next, the Co-op is a wonderful community-owned grocery store. People in the community get hit with this question and immediately think “What! Is the Co-op not thriving? This is a rad place, I definitely want it to thrive. Could I help? I should watch this video to find out more.”
And then immediately after the problem is raised the video foreshadows a climactic scene where the problem gets resolved:
“More than just everyday shopping, actually help expand our reach to more people in more places? Now you can.”
If the person watching this video pays attention they will soon find out how they can be a part of resolving this problem.
These lines are all super strong hooks.
The audience better pay attention!
Step Two – Agitate the problem
Watching a movie you know the hero’s journey is never easy. They are tasked to save the day but on top of that everything bad happens to them. Their car breaks down, their girlfriend leaves them, and they find out that their dad isn’t really their dad.
It happens all the time and pulls the audience to the edge of their seat. How could the hero possibly overcome all these odds?
We need to pull our audience into our video scripts too or else the story you are telling will lose its punch.
The best way to agitate the problem is to bring in some emotion. This is what we like to call the internal problem. What is it that your customers are feeling because of the problem they are facing?
Look at the next section of the Co-op script:
We’re troubled by a trend occurring in our city and around the country- smaller, independent grocery stores are disappearing and leaving neighborhoods without a stable and trusted place for good foods. Large chain stores offer plenty of variety and convenience, but often fall short of supporting local farms and food producers, and don’t always have the best interest of their communities in mind when making business decisions.
People care passionately about their local communities. Simply stating this emotional set of words “troubled by a trend occurring in our city” grabs the audience with two giant hands, shakes them, and screams “Pay attention!” No one wants to feel troubled by the community they live in.
People only buy products or services because of how the problems they are facing are making them feel. Feeling troubled is a strong emotional pull for this video script.
Crank up the emotions if you want your audience to pay attention.
Step Three – Reveal a Clear Plan
The problem with most ineffective campaigns is they tend to give unclear steps for the customer to be successful. Often they give lots of information without making the plan super obvious.
So you want me to buy designer socks on your website? Make it clear how it happens. First, create a profile, second pick your socks, and third look great at the next party.
It’s that simple.
Your customer discovers confidence in you as a brand when you are able to clearly spell out the path to success.
You might think your business model is super obvious so you assume people know how to act. The problem is if you match your obvious business next to your competitor who has a plan, your competitor will win every day.
When you give a plan it alleviates fear in your customers brains, creates trust, and compels them to act.
Look at the Co-op script:
“Luckily there’s a better way to operate a grocery store-the cooperative way…”
“We are now expanding downtown…”
“We’re asking for your support.”
They make it super clear what the path to helping the Co-op thrive looks like:
- This grocery store model is super impactful.
- We are expanding.
- We’re asking for your support.
In the script, they expound on each of these points and lay out a clear plan for members of the community to join in to help make the cooperative thrive.
Step Four – Paint a Picture of Success
A great script is able to clearly show the positive outcome if someone responds.
Really great scripts are able to show specific outcomes of success.
For instance, if you are selling car seats, don’t just say you’ll have peace of mind as a parent, but say “know your bundle of joy is safe.” Use word pictures as much as possible.
Also, use specific numbers if you have them!
Look at the Co-op script:
“Your loan supports the Co-op adding 18 new jobs and millions of dollars in sales to the Downtown economy, maintaining the current 17 local jobs provided at our Kensington store, and doubling the more than $400,000 of the Co-op’s current annual purchases going to local and New York State farmers and businesses.”
Without painting a picture of success this campaign would fall short because the campaign would appear to be self-serving for the cooperative market. This script really shows me the huge potential impact if I contribute to this member loan campaign.
The same goes for your campaign. Paint pictures of success that show how your customer will benefit and the world around them will benefit.
Step Five – End by recapping your message and calling people to act
How you end your video is uber important because it’s the last thing they will hear. Sadly many commercials done by small studios get too cute and end with some sort of jingle that had nothing to do with the point of the video.
You want the last thing coming out of your mouth to be what you want people to do.
Start by recapping your entire video and then state what you want them to do.
Look at the Co-op script:
“We know you take pride in helping grow the local economy, you rely on the strong connection to your community, and ultimately you enjoy all the health benefits of the great food that we offer. Now you can play a major part in the Co-op expanding and thriving, starting today with your member loan.”
It recaps by telling people about how much they will help the local economy and the benefits of having the Co-op around.
And then it ends by telling them to contribute with a member loan.
Next steps on creating your video script:
- Create a BrandScript
If you are just getting started on creating a video script we encourage you to create a StoryBrand BrandScript. You can follow this example to see how a BrandScript is laid out.
- Use your BrandScript to write your video script
Your BrandScript will give you the key components you need in your video script. Take your BrandScript and start writing!
- Make your video production company happy
Your video production company will be so happy because you’ve given them a script to work with. By having a clear direction they will be able to accomplish so much more because they won’t have to dedicate energy trying to figure out what exactly you want to do!
Switchstance Marketing specializes in creating great content for individuals and creatives like videographers and website designers. If you would like to hire us to write your next video script schedule a call with us today!