February 3, 2010

Writing a Script for Your Online Video


Hostway Team

By Joyce V Harrison

If you’re a small business, making a video for your Web site or YouTube can help sell your product or service. It’s smart to start with a script. One option is to hire a writer locally or from such Web sites as elance.com and guru.com. But if your resources are limited, you can consider the DIY route. But how do you write an online video script yourself? Here’s a guide to help you prepare.

Formatting a Script

Create a document with a table of two columns: the left for the video and the right for the audio.

Writing the Audio

Your main point should be how your product or service will benefit your customer. What is unique about your product or service that delivers that benefit? If you can say “the only gizmo to do this,” you have a strong selling proposition. Come up with one short, easy to remember phrase that encapsulates the benefit, like Bank of America's “Bank of Opportunity" or Miller Beer's “Great Taste. Less Filling.” Plan to repeat your line a few times in the script.

The person in the video is talking to the person watching, not reading. So make sure the language in your script sounds conversational and fits your target market (tech? young? older?). Once you have the storyline, shorten it. Anything more than one or two minutes, and the viewer will tune out, particularly if your video is low budget.

Planning the Video

Once you’ve finalized the audio, you need to decide who the spokesperson will be (you?), where that person will be (sitting at a desk?) and what he or she will be doing (using the computer to demonstrate?). You can mix shots of the spokesperson with cutaways to product. Maybe the only person you need is a voice over announcer (you again?) with a series of photos for the video. You also want your company logo included to make sure your identity is shown as well as spoken.

Go over your audio and decide what video to match with each section of the script. You may have to adjust the words to make the pictures work better or vice versa.

Engaging the Viewer

Think of TV commercials that get your attention. Your video needs to entertain as well as inform the viewer. You can do it with humor, animation, heart-tugging photos and yes, a pretty face. You get the idea. This is especially important in the opening to grab attention.

Now you have both columns of your script complete, you’re ready to go into production and hopefully, have a video winner with online audiences.

About the Author

During her long career in ad agencies as well as in broadcasting, Harrison has written TV commercials and video scripts for a long list of local and national advertisers, in consumer and business categories.

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