video script writingThis is installment #1 in a series of blog posts focusing on video narration tips for the “do-it-yourselfer”.

Video script writing is the foundation for creating a successfully persuasive message for your intended video audience. It’s important to remember that video marketing doesn’t work like text marketing. According to the article “Did Video Kill Text Content Marketing?” at

Reading is active. When we read an article, we don’t just look at the words in front of us — we create thoughts about that content, activating our mental structures. Reading requires the production of “inner voice,” which dials up our attention span. That means that careful reading is not an automatic process, but rather occurs when we actively process what we are reading.

Watching a video
, though, is passive. It’s much less demanding and more of an automatic process, asking a lot less energy and effort on behalf of the person watching.

The following tips will help you establish your goal, identify your core message and give you the tools to write a convincing script that will engage your viewers.

Define your core message

To create a compelling and effective message, there are some key questions you need to consider before you begin:

What is your primary objective?

  • What do you want to do with the video?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
    • Search engine visibility?
    • Business branding?
    • Credibility building?
    • To educate?
    • To build a personal connection with your audience?
    • To general leads and sales?

What do you want to achieve?

  • Build a list of email subscribers?
  • Product sales?
  • New clients?
  • Increased web traffic?
  • Increased donations? (charities)

Who is your primary audience?

  • What are their urgent needs, interests and/or problems?

Basic script writing tips

Follow these basic tips when writing your video script:

Focus on your viewer

Your message should always be focused on your viewer’s point of view. When people are searching for information, their main concern is finding the answer to their question, not on who’s conveying that message – that comes later. So, your message should always focus on “what’s in it for THEM”.

Write it the way you speak

Your narration should use comfortable, casual language.  Although we tend to use “you are” and “you will” when we write, “you’re” and “you’ll” is a more natural way of speaking. The words flow much easier. Your video replaces a face-to-face conversation with your audience, so your narration needs to sound conversational.

Get to the point

Keep it short and to the point. Rely on images to help you convey your message. It’s a good rule of thumb to focus on 1 topic per video.  If you have more than 1 topic you want to cover, it’s best to create a series of videos to cover each topic.

Use your keywords

Use your keywords in your video script. Be sure to fit them in where there’s a natural flow.  Stuffing them in too many times just for the sake of adding them, could make your script sound disjointed.

Video length and word count

video word count timingTrying to estimate how long your video will be based on the script, can be tricky.  Often a written script ends up being much longer than what you had planned your video to be, because of natural pauses between sentences, thoughts or on-screen animations. This could lead to surprises if you hire someone to produce your 3-minute video and the script runs 4-5 minutes once it’s recorded.

If you have a specific video length in mind, a good way to determine how long to write your script is to calculate 75 words for every 30 seconds of video.

Your word processor will usually indicate how many words there are in your document.

Read it out loud

Don’t try to cram too many words into a specific length of time. Talking fast to meet a certain time frame is a bad idea. This leads to your narration sounding rushed and could be misinterpreted as insincere.  If your script is too long, edit it… then edit it some more. Use the K.I.S.S. Principle.

Anatomy of the script

Every script should include:

The hook – first 7-11 seconds of your video

  • Identify their problem
  • tell them what they’ll get from watching this video or ask a question to create curiosity
  • give them a reason to watch
  • leave them wanting more

The story – creates a connection

  • Tell them who you are, your struggle – make it personal
  • make it relevant to the problem
  • how/where you got your expertise
  • This can be one sentence

Offer a solution

  • Solve their problem with your product or service
  • give details of your offer
  • list the benefits

Call to action

  • Ask them to take action, tell them what you want them to do next. People need to be told i.e. like your page, call, email, download report etc.

Following the steps outlined above will help you create a compelling, impactful video script that will appeal to your intended audience.

Do these tips help you to better plan your script writing?  Have you written a script, or do you plan to write one in the near future?  Leave a comment below and share your experience with us.

If you’d like some help writing your video narration, contact us for our script review or writing services.

Image courtesy of Naypong at


Debbie Lapointe, owner of Screencast Solutions, is a professional screencast video producer and the first Virtual Assistant in Canada to offer screencast video services exclusively.