By Paul Lombino
A video can be a powerful and reusable marketing communications tool to convey complex ideas to a broad audience. Whether you’re targeting customers, vendors or employees, an effective video can …
- enhance sales potential by featuring the competitive advantages of your products and services,
- strengthen worker productivity and safety by illustrating training techniques and processes, and
- improve employee knowledge of in-house policies and management procedures, and more.
Step 1: Draft a Logline
Even before you begin writing an easy-to-read script with visual themes that tell a compelling story, begin by describing your core business message in a single sentence. Think of it like logline for a movie review or TV Guide. I recently wrote a six-minute script for a global consumer-products client promoting a change to its executive incentive program. Here’s the logline I used as my beacon during the initial drafting stage when a range of story ideas from multiple and well-meaning staff members were being bounced around during weekly conference calls.
“Introduce eligible employees to the advantages of the company’s new financial incentive rewards program.”
Keep it simple. A tight logline is particularly helpful when filtering feedback from a diverse group of managers with different operational perspectives and needs. Reaching consensus on what information makes it to the final script and, eventually, to the screen is not often a straight path. When tangential ideas are presented, it’s worth asking in a constructive and congenial manner: “How might that information advance our message?”
Step 2: Test Your Idea
Test the logic of your logline by asking some basic questions:
- Who is my audience and what is their knowledge of the topic?
- What product or service features and benefits need to be highlighted?
- What is the script’s call-to-action?
- How many minutes do I have to tell this tale?
As you explore these queries, other questions will emerge organically. For example, what tone is appropriate? Where should I begin the story? How much emphasis does each area get?
Step 3: Follow a Solid Script Structure
A video script should offer a beginning-middle-end structure that flows from one thought to the next seamlessly. To help create a strong spine for your message, consider three basic structural targets:
- State your core message. (“During the next two to five minutes, this is what I’m going to share with you and why.”)
- Explain your core message. (“This is what I’m talking about. And this, and this.”)
- Repeat your core message. (“Let’s review what I just told you and why it’s important to your business. Oh, and here’s an action you can take to improve your current situation.”)
Final thoughts: I love script writing because it’s an actual one-on-one conversation. When it comes to the nitty-gritty of putting words down on paper, I try to start or end each sentence with a single, relevant thought with few clauses. After you’ve written a draft, read it out loud. If your tongue is twisting in the breeze, rewrite the line.
Every company and working group operates differently. Your planning-writing-review-revision-shooting process could span months to produce a minutes-long video that passes muster. If you’re the key decision-maker, make sure you give your team enough time to achieve success, especially if you have a hard-target due date. If you’re the writer, be flexible and maintain a sense of humor. Initially our script was targeted for two-three minutes ─ MAX! The final video clocks out at over six minutes. Under contract, I can’t show the actual video on my website, but you can view my redacted ─ it’s the first time I’ve ever written that word ─ script.
On format: There are multiple video script formats to choose from. I prefer a simple two-sided page with “video” (what you see) on the left side and “audio” (what you hear) on the right side. You’re welcome to read my script to help generate your own ideas for your next video project.