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Video scripting for your audience

Remember that boring person you got stuck with at a party or networking meeting who wouldn’t stop talking about themselves? Nothing they said was registering and your attention drifted, because whatever they were saying just wasn’t relevant to you.

It’s no different with video. A common mistake when writing a script is to say what you want to say rather than what the audience wants to hear.

Let’s first consider live action video.

Traditionally, in a live action corporate video you might see the business owner or presenter talking to camera (although admittedly there are many other styles). Think about the videos you’ve recently watched. There will be ones that have immediately grabbed your attention and ones where you switched off, literally, after just a few seconds.

Chances are the unforgettable and unwatched ones started with the person introducing themselves, then their business, what the business does, how long it has been founded. It really doesn’t scream for you to keep watching.

The videos you’ve watched to the end and stick in your memory will have immediately grabbed your attention and were relevant to you.

These interesting videos probably started by explaining a problem you have. You kept watching because you wanted to find out what the solution might be. Perhaps this was demonstrated with incredible product visuals. The video probably ended by painting an image of how you would feel once your problem had disappeared and the future pleasures that awaited, such as what you can do with the money you’ve made, or how you can spend the time that you’ve saved.

Not all memorable videos start with the problem: some start with the outcome, the benefit or solution that you get.

Next time you’re watching TV don’t fast forward through the commercials – instead notice how many ads start with the end result. You’ll see a brilliant white smile at the start of a toothpaste ad or a happy, trim person talking about the fantastic results they’ve achieved on a weight-loss programme. These adverts create a sense of wanting from the audience, then they explain how they can achieve it.

Now, let’s consider animated video.

A common mistake with animated video is to go into far too much detail about all the features of the product or service.

As with live video, the rule is to quickly identify the problem that your audience has. This builds empathy. The viewer immediately thinks, ‘these people really understand my problem’. They’re engaged and far more likely to continue watching whilst you introduce your solution without going into significant detail.

The video scripting rule

The stages of a short video generally comprise of 1) Problem 2) Solution 3) Benefit or Outcome 4) Call to action. As we mentioned with the TV adverts 1) and 3) are interchangeable.

When you start planning your video script think about what would quickly grab your viewers’ attention.

Your video could be in the format of a case study. Everyone loves a story – we want to find out what happens next and how the story ends. This is also a clever way to get a third-party endorsement for your product or service. In other words, ‘don’t take it from us, this is what our customers say’.

Whichever format you choose, the video scripting rule is to think less about what you want to say and more about what your audience needs to hear.

The job of a two-minute video

Don’t kid yourself that a two minute video is going to be the thing that ‘seals the deal’ for you. The object is to capture the attention of your target market, make them aware of your product or service and see how it can help them – it is an elevator pitch, not a full scale tender submission! A two-minute video is just the beginning of the sales process, so it needs to be simple, effective and engaging.

Successful videos will always include content that is relevant to the audience. It’s about them, not about you! It’s the start of the relationship; they’ll find out about you later.

It’s then down to your additional marketing tools, such as your website, brochures, downloads, case studies and various ‘calls to action’ to do their job. If you can convert the first two minutes of viewing into ten minutes of further research, the video has done its job.

Don’t try and seal the deal with a video, get them interested enough to find out more.

There are no ‘party bores’ featured in videos produced by Square Daisy. We make sure the narrative of our videos are a little more sophisticated than that!

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