Explainer Script Writing Tips
By Josh Vogt
- Read it out loud! Especially if a script is intended for narration (vs. on-screen text), reading the voice-over out loud ensures it has a natural flow and easily fits within the necessary video timeframe.
- Look up samples of videos similar in tone, energy, and content to the one you want to write. This will not only help put you in the proper writing mindset, but will also help you avoid ripping off other scripts (accidentally or otherwise).
- Stick to a consistent format. Find a simple, basic, script-writing format and use it for all your drafts. This way you aren’t starting from scratch whenever you begin a new script, and your clients will also become familiar with that format and can more quickly review and adapt each script you deliver.
- Make every script element as clear as possible. Note what parts are voice-overs. Note which parts are meant to be visual pieces. Note fade-ins, transitions, fade-outs. This can help eliminate confusion during the final video production.
- Establish clear client expectations. Have a detailed conversation discussing your client’s goals for the script, including the main message they want to convey and the primary actions they want viewers to take after the video ends.
- Know what to avoid at all costs. Knowing what phrases, images, or other content should never be included in the script is just as important as trying to figure out what to put in. Plus, it can help you avoid extensive re-writes.
- Start with an outline. You don’t need to create a fully realized script in a single draft. Try outlining the main points the video should hit first, and then go back through and flesh them out to make sure you aren’t missing any major parts of the message.
- Remember your audience. Unless you’re scripting a video that you’re never going to show anyone else, keep your audience in mind at all times. Be honest and ask yourself: Are you writing a script just for you…or one your target audience would find just as engaging?
- Include that call-to-action! You can have a wonderfully snazzy, jazzy video script with all sorts of clever phrases and imagery—but if you get to the end and the audience doesn’t have any idea of what to do next, then what’s the point? Give them clear guidance or info on the follow-up steps they should take.
- Choose a single, powerful image. If you try to cram in too many metaphors or visual allegories into your script, it can be confusing and lose impact. Select a single example that best conveys your message and stick with it throughout the script.
- Focus. A video script that tries to accomplish too many things at once isn’t going to be nearly as effective as a script committed to a focused message and goal. What one thing should this script achieve? Figure that out and hold to it.
- No essays, please. Videos are often best when short and simple. Audiences enjoy messages that get to the point, rather than meandering or following lots of little mental rabbit trails. Pare down to the essentials and try to make as an big impact with as brief a script as possible.
Josh Vogt writes dynamic content that gives you a standout image and compels your audience into action! With 7+ years in copywriting, sales, marketing, branding, and web journalism, he remains dedicated to quality, creativity, and his clients’ complete satisfaction. Find his freelance services at Write-Strong.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.