One of the biggest award shows in the world, the Academy Awards, have come and gone. Whether or not you tuned in to watch, you likely had predictions about who would win Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, or Best Director. But there’s probably one category you didn’t think much about: Best Screenplay. Overlooked by the average moviegoer, the screenplay is actually one of the most vital parts of any movie. After all, without a script, there would be no movie to begin with! And if the screenplay is bad, it’s really hard to make a good movie out of it.
Just like with big Hollywood blockbusters, overlooking the script is a practice repeated over and over again by businesses looking to get into video marketing. When setting out to make a video for their company, very little consideration goes into the video script itself — if there’s even a script, at all. And having a bad video script can easily ruin a company’s video marketing efforts, leaving CEOs and marketing executives scratching their heads, wondering why their fancy video isn’t working the way it should.
The perfect script can make a dramatic difference in the overall quality, reach, and effectiveness of your video marketing efforts, helping you better nurture your prospective leads and turn them into paying customers.
Stage One: The Format
When it comes to writing screenplays for movies at any level, rule number one is always format correctly. All movie screenplays follow the same formatting, and while the rules are rudimentary, they can be rigid. Breaking them is one of the easiest ways to get a reader to throw your script in the trash. Luckily for video marketing, there are no hard-and-fast rules on formatting, with one exception — the length.
The typical rule of thumb for your video script length depends entirely on how long you want your video to be, but it breaks down to about two words per second. Here at Lemonlight, we find the best marketing videos usually fall within the 30-second, 1-minute, and 2-minute range. This is how it breaks down:
- Video Length: 30 seconds = 60-word script
- Video Length: 1 minute = 120-word script
- Video Length: 2 minutes = 240-word script
It’s important to keep as close to this rule as possible, so you don’t write more content than you can fit into your video. This rule is based on the average reading speed. Your reader could be your CEO, a hired spokesman, or a hired actor, and can be shot in either a talking head interview style or recorded as a voice-over, which is recorded separately and played over other footage.
Whichever route you choose, the idea is to film accompanying footage to go along with the interview or voice-over that will keep your video dynamic, visually interesting, and representative of the goal you’re trying to achieve. Which brings us to our next stage: the outline.
Stage Two: The Outline
With formatting down, now it’s time to plan out your video script outline, or the structure of your story. We’ve found that every good marketing video script is made up of the same six components. They are:
- The Opening
- The Problem
- The Solution
- The Secret Sauce
- The Team
- The Call To Action
Whether your video script is 60 words or 240, all good marketing video scripts should include these same six components, so the goal is to be as economical as possible and say a lot with a little.
“Maximum impact; minimum word count.”
Here’s what you should include with each section.
Your opening should be immediate and attention-grabbing. While it doesn’t have to be in your audience’s face, it needs to instantly attract their focus, or they won’t stick around past the first five seconds (sometimes even less).
A good opening could include: an emotional hook, like an appeal to animal lovers regarding the number of pet dogs neglected every year; a surprising fact, like a little-known statistic with a big impact about the levels of trash in the pacific ocean; or a relatable story, like the personal anecdote that led you to start your instant laundry delivery service, so no one will ever have to face the same embarrassing pizza stain debacle you went through again.
Once you’ve hooked their attention, your main objective is to grab the bull by the horns and confront your viewer’s most dire question: Why should I care? With so much content vying for your audience’s attention, and time, and money, everywhere, all the time, your job is to very bluntly tell them exactly how they’re affected by what you’re about to tell them.
Your product or service has a specific purpose, and that purpose is to solve a problem. Why is this problem so important to solve? How does it negatively affect your audience on a day-to-day basis? Why should they care?
You need to answer this in your video script, because if you don’t, this next stage will fall flat, and so will your entire video marketing efforts. (Fun fact: the same is true for screenwriting in movies!)
By now, your audience should be feeling pretty passionately about the problem you’re aiming to solve. At the very least, they know why they should care. Even if it doesn’t impact them on a daily basis, you’ve sold them on the negative effects and issues this problem is causing. Now, it’s time to hit them with the solution.
Put simply, when you present the solution in your video script, you’re presenting the benefits of your product or service. Your product is not just a solution, but the best solution, because of “these specific features,” which you’ll list out in a clear, direct, easy-to-understand way. Be brief and stick to the most compelling facts. No need to list all 10 different antibodies each microfiber combats on a molecular level to fight germs. Keep it high level, efficient, and effective. And once you’ve laid all that out, it’s time for the secret sauce.
The Secret Sauce
The secret sauce is meant to answer the most important part of your video script: Why you? Your product or service has a unique and specific selling point that separates you from the competition — your secret sauce. It’s the critical feature or core component of your product that’s better, cheaper, easier, or more unique, and proves once and for all you’re the right company for the job. Other products or services might be able to do everything else you can do, except for this.
If you’ve done your job right and effectively hit the last three video script components, then the secret sauce should act as the tipping point, convincing the user to give your company a chance. But it’s not all about the secret sauce. You also need to give them a little more information before they’re fully willing to trust you. That’s where the team component comes in.
By now, your video script should have sold the user on their problem, the solution, and your product or service. Now you have a little room to warm them up to your company and build enough credibility to continue nurturing them. There are no requirements about what to say here, just be genuine, authentic, and unique enough to differentiate you from your competition.
The goal here is not to oversell yourself in your video script or come off like you’re trying too hard. You still want to play it cool, so to speak. Give your viewers just a taste of what makes your company culture special and convince them to take a closer look. The goal of this video is to nurture your leads, not sell them. Keep the focus on their needs, opening them up just enough to see what you have to offer.
The Call to Action
The last and final piece of a great video script outline is the call to action, or rallying cry. So many companies starting out in video marketing struggle with defining what exactly they want their video to accomplish, and wind up unhappy with the results because they weren’t specific enough in their messaging. Your ultimate goal in writing a video script is to convince the viewer to act — and the call to action is where you ask them to do just that.
In your call to action, tell the viewer exactly what you want them to do and how doing it will benefit them. If you want them to schedule an intro call, provide a phone number and ask them to book their call now for a free appointment. If you want them to visit your website to learn more, provide the link and try giving them a limited time discount offer. Stay focused on their needs, while enabling one single, specific action. Don’t try getting them to like, follow, share, subscribe, and pre-order all at once. Try asking for just one of those things and see how much more successful you’ll be.
Stage Three: The Content
You know how to format your video script and how to outline it. Now, what do you write? While we can’t give you the exact words ourselves (unless you buy a video package from us!) we do have a list of questions you can ask yourself to create meaningful content focused on the “why.” This is a theory made popular by Simon Sinek’s latest book Start With Why that emphasizes focusing all your marketing materials on the core purpose of your company — or your company’s “why.”
Consider the following questions to start crafting the content of your script.
- What is your company’s description or mission?
- What problem are you solving?
- How are you solving it?
- How do your solutions enhance your customer’s lives?
- Other companies exist that are similar to yours. Why is your solution unique?
- What’s the overall message you want to get across?
- What are the three most important things you need your audience to know?
- What feeling do you want your audience to have?
- What are your brand guidelines?
- Who is your core customer/target demographic?
- Describe your ideal cast: Who is the team behind the video? Why is that relevant?
After answering these questions, you’re one step closer to drafting your script. Here’s how our team recommends getting started.
First, write out your answers to all the questions. Then, bold the phrases and words that are important to your brand and use these phrases to craft your script. Remember: be deliberate and focused. Your time is limited, sometimes as limited as 30 seconds, and 60 words can fly off your fingers in a flash.
Stage Four: Production!
Once you’ve drafted your very own video script, the next stage is to put it into production! Production comes with its own set of stages, including pre-production, production, and post-production, and can be quite complicated if you’ve never done it before or aren’t equipped for the challenge. And that’s okay! Nobody said you had to invest in your own video equipment in order to get into video marketing. All you need is an idea and a video marketing partner to help bring that idea to life. By bringing your own video script to the table, you’re one step closer to seeing your specific vision brought to life.
If reading this inspires you to draft your own video script, we’d be happy to meet with you and discuss how we can help you turn your video script into movie magic. Or, if you want more guidance before jumping into writing a script and want to talk through your ideas, we’d be happy to hop on the phone and review some concepts with you.
Schedule a call with one of our creative producers today to get a taste of our video marketing expertise as we provide you with tangible value that can take your video marketing to the next level. Book your call today!