Should you write a YouTube video script before shooting a video? On the one hand, you can turn on your camera and simply start talking. On the other hand, you can write a script first, memorize it, rehearse it, and then start filming.
Is one better than the other? Well, that all comes down to the purpose of your video. In fact, plenty of successful YouTube personalities do both.
Unscripted videos, such as video blogs (vlogs) result in a more casual and personable feel. However, winging it can cause things to go wrong. Scripted videos are more structured, more strategic, and often more professional.
If your goal is to promote a specific product or service, then writing a script is the way to go. This way, you can strategically plan out how your YouTube video script will persuade viewers to take action.
Crafting a YouTube video script allows you to strategically plan the length, topic, and specific content for your video. This gives you plenty of time to think about, practice and revise your promotional process. That way, you can do all the hard work before filming even starts.
If you are winging it, then you’ll have to do the thinking, planning, and delivering all at the same time. That can be very stressful, especially if you aren't experienced.
In fact, very few people are experienced enough, confident enough, or capable enough to pull of an unscripted video without a hitch.
Script writing may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five simple steps to writing a killer video script for maximum conversion:
Your topic, or main idea, serves as the backbone of your video. Every word you say and all your research should tie back to that topic.
The topic should be specific and relevant throughout your script. If you find multiple interesting ideas that aren’t relevant to your main topic, consider putting those ideas in another video. In other words, keep your script focused, and don't go off on tangents.
So what does a specific topic look like? Let’s look at an example:
Say your goal is to promote a real estate investing course, and you are targeting cold audiences unfamiliar with real estate. In that case, your topic could be something like “real estate investing for beginners".
Now that you’ve pinpointed your topic, you’ll know exactly what kind of information your YouTube video script will need. In this case, the script should focus on the basics of real estate investing, and leave the advanced topics for another video.
Before you start writing, you need to conduct thorough research. There are two reasons for this.
First, the research will supplement your product or service. It’s always good to provide third-party statistics and examples to bolster your credibility. This will also provide your audience with additional value.
Second, research is crucial to avoid providing the wrong information. According to YouTube’s blog in December 2019, the website is cracking down hard on misinformation.
Make sure any objective claims you are making about your product are correct. For example, if your video is about the benefits of a high-protein diet, be sure to include accurate scientific data. Also check if you are citing proper university research or a sketchy article.
This is why thorough research is so important. It provides ideas for content and also protects your brand credibility.
A YouTube channel is a fantastic platform for promoting your product or service, but the competition is fierce.
The first challenge is to get the title right, because videos with the most enticing titles get the clicks. It’s that simple. When coming up with a title, you can easily apply the same techniques for headline writing. Use the same methods as you would for your landing page or blog posts. After the viewers click on your video, that’s when you present them with the hook.
Now here’s the hard part: people have short attention spans. According to a study by Microsoft, people’s attention spans last only a matter of seconds.
To keep your audience's attention, you need a good hook for the beginning of your video script. A good way to do this is to immediately let the viewer know what they’ll get from your video. Be sure to ask these kinds of questions first before writing:
How will they benefit?
What kind of content can they expect?
Why should they stay?
As to how long the hook should be, you can look at YouTube analytics for your retention rate. This lets you know how long people stay on your video before they click away. Then, when you are writing your script, you’ll know how long your hook needs to be.
If people are clicking away at the 7 second mark, then you need to make those first 7 seconds count. As your hooks improve, your retention rate will go up, and higher retention means higher conversion.
Content will make up the bulk of your YouTube video script. Now, the exact kind of content can vary. After all, there are no rules set in stone. It depends on research, your specific product, offer, etc.
However, when writing your video script, certain formats are easier to use than others.
One simple way is to use lists, such as “Top 3 Ways to…” or “5 Tips for….” These formats are very common, but also very easy and effective to do.
Why? Because they are easily digestible. Think of your video as a meal. A long, 20 minute video without breaks is like eating a huge plate of food. It might taste good, but it’s also tough to get through.
When you break your script into sections, it’s more akin to fine dining. You first serve the salad, then the entree, then the dessert, etc. This way, you are feeding the viewers easy to absorb content one piece at a time. They are more likely to stay, and less likely to get overwhelmed. The easier it is for them to watch your video, the more likely they are to buy your product.
So when writing your video script, make a list of important points relevant to the topic. Think of them as subheadings, and then elaborate on each.
A call to action can vary. It can be a link to a landing page or webinar, etc. The important thing to keep in mind however, is where you are putting the call-to-action.
According to Google, viewers want videos that are helpful and relate to their passions. This means your video needs to provide them with value.
If you were to start the video by telling them to buy your product, then it most likely won’t convert. That’s because you haven’t provided any value or help to them. Your viewers need to trust and like you before they’ll follow through with your call-to-action.
When you are writing your script, consider putting the call-to-action in the middle or the end of your video. Once they’ve gotten value from you, they’ll feel connected and more likely to follow through on the call-to-action.
You can write the YouTube video script yourself, but you may want to hire a professional to write it instead. So what kind of writer should you hire?
If you want to make videos with a strong call to action, or to simply persuade, then consider using a copywriter. This is because a copywriter can do several important things:
First, they know how to write words that attract. This is very useful for writing enticing video titles and hooks. Remember, getting that first click is the first step to a successful conversion.
Second, copywriters know how to write conversationally. It’s important for your script to read like the way you would talk. Otherwise, you risk sounding like newscaster reading from a teleprompter, which puts distance between you and the viewer.
The end goal is to blend casual voice with structure and strategic planning. To do that, you need a carefully crafted script that’ll sound exactly like you.
Every good script starts with a strong title and a strong hook. Second, it needs to provide viewers with useful, research-based content. Lastly, it needs a call-to-action to tie everything together.
With all those in place, you’ll have a successful YouTube video script that’ll convert viewers into customers.
If you are looking for an experienced script copywriter to write your YouTube video script, then click here.
Justin Xu is a copywriter and blogger. He is certified by Dan Lok's High-Income Copywriter program, and is on a mission to help your company grow.Hire Justin