Over the past few weeks, my copywriting work has taken an interesting direction. I’ve produced two scripts for how-to videos. The company wants to use videos to show their customers how to use their products. I’d always fancied writing video scripts, because I used to work in radio and figured that the writing style would be similar, snappy and informal.
The project was a challenge for me because the company wanted me to select the images as well as write the words, and I had to make sure the script matched the images and made sense to people using the video. Writing video scripts is similar to other forms of copywriting. You get your message across and you give a call to action at the end.
But there are three elements that are particular to video scripts, which may be useful if you’re planning a video of your own, for your business or for a book you want to promote.
1. Write As You Speak
When you write for video, someone is going to read out what you’ve written, so make sure the language you use is easy for them to read. You can do this by writing in a chatty style, using less formal words and short sentences. When you’ve finished the script, read it out loud. Then you can weed out awkward wording and clunky sentences.
2. Write Around the Images
In a video, the images tell the story and your script is intended to complement those images. People will grasp the main message from the image, so rather than describing exactly what happens in the image, write a general description that ties in with what’s happening on the screen and enhances it. I had to mention in my script that people could delete their work if they weren’t happy with it. I didn’t tell them how to delete it. I told them it was easy to get rid of their work and start again. People could see what to do from the image, showing a mouse clicking on a rubbish-bin symbol, and my words offered further reassurance that getting rid of their work would be hassle free.
3. Road Test the Merchandise
This is particularly useful if you’re writing a script for an instructional videos.. You won’t always have a chance to try the products, but if you can, it’ll make your script more accurate. When you’re using the product or service, write down what you did. Then your script will show people how to use it, step by step.
This video script will give you a chance to see these three elements in action. Please share other examples of instructional or promotional videos that you think are effective.