The Role of Scripting in Effective Video Marketing

Video marketing has become a pivotal tool for businesses and its effectiveness is undeniable. It combines visuals and sound to create completing and immersive experience, engaging multiple senses to tell a brand’s story. Moreover, the advent of mobile devices has further amplified video marketing’s reach, making it easy for audiences to consume content on the go. But video marketing isn’t as easy as coming up with an idea. Scripting is a huge part of video marketing to ensure your video is an effective tool for your business that successfully shares your message. 

What is video marketing?

Video marketing is a dynamic strategy that leverages video content to promote products, services, or brands, engaging audiences in a compelling way. It utilizes visuals and sound to create immersive experiences, making it more effective than traditional text-based marketing. Video marketing spans various platforms, including YouTube, social media, and websites, allowing businesses to reach wider audiences.

It is a fact. Video marketing has steadily increased over the years and hit an all-time high in 2023. In fact,  91% of businesses used it as a tool and the numbers continue to impress in 2024. That’s because video marketing is a way to make your brand come alive. Using video to help clients and potential clients get to know more about your products and services or to promote them has some unique benefits over other types of marketing.

To begin with, there are elements that make the video more compelling. It is not just the printed word but the ability to bring the viewer into an environment with visuals and sound. So, there are more senses involved to help build the story.

Platforms have also exploded and there are more outlets for video marketing. YouTube had a profound effect on the use of video. Think about it. When it launched in beta mode in 2005 it had 30,000 visitors a day and that soared to twenty-five million views by early 2006. That platform cemented the need for video marketing. However, websites and other social media platforms also contributed. Email marketing increased. As all the platforms began to be more “video-friendly” and “speedy” marketers jumped on the video bandwagon.

Finally, the proliferation of devices has made video a star. It is easy to watch a video on a phone or tablet. Much easier than trying to read small text. By using subtitles or bold graphics, you don’t even need to hear the audio to get the message.

Today video marketing is used as an integral part of strategic campaigns. But it is also used as a standalone strategy.  One thing is clear. Video marketing is here to stay. Some do it well. Others do not. The difference is often found in the scripting of the project.

What is video scripting?

A video script is really a story that inspires, motivates, educates, and makes a connection with the viewer.  It is much more complicated to develop because there are so many elements that must be considered. Many people think of a script as the words that are said by an on-camera talent or a narrator. That is true but the script actually encompasses so much more. The script can take four basic forms.

First is the typical standard video or explainer piece where the words have been carefully designed and recorded. The audio does not vary from what has been written.

The second is a combination of scripted narrative and soundbites that have been designed to be integrated into the narrative. A soundbite is a little nugget of content- think about what you see in a news story- it is said by an individual and is relatively short. In this case, the producer decides what information is best delivered by the “real people” or subject matter experts and what content is more efficiently delivered by a narrative.

The third type of scripting gets a little tricky. This is where we develop the message, create questions, and decide who the key individuals are to deliver various parts of the content. This is more like creating a story flow. The producer then edits the soundbites together to tell the whole story. Supporting video is added for interest.

The fourth type of script is for a music video. In this case, the script is a series of graphics that convey the information. 

How do you create a video script?

To create a script, the producer spends time reviewing content and learning. That includes reading documents, searching websites, interviewing subject matter experts or others. The producer might go on location to see a product or service in action. One additional step is to review how competitors market their products and services. That can help the producers understand the industry and how to develop something unique.

The next step is to determine the best type of script. It is important to know the various uses of the video. For example, if you are scripting a video to be shown at a noisy trade show you cannot create one that relies on hearing the content. A music video is probably best. If the content is highly technical and requires 100% accuracy, a tightly scripted narrative is the better option. There is no one right option but there are choices that are better for certain uses.

If the option is to use real people, the producer and client representative need to decide on the best interviewees. Knowledge is key but the individuals also need to be “camera-friendly.”  Sometimes training is useful to help individuals get in front of the camera.

What are the elements of an effective video script?

Just as a great dinner starts with amazing appetizers and ends with a fabulous dessert, an effective video needs a compelling open and clear call to action close. You must grab attention using various techniques. Wow statistics. Interesting soundbites. Shots that make people want to watch.

The close must also be equally interesting. The viewer should know what to do and want to take the next step. Or feel as though they have learned something of value. The close can do what is called bookending. If you start with great soundbites you may end with quick summary thoughts. If you begin with a music montage you end with a music montage. You get the idea. This is an effective technique.

Scripts are stories. We are all familiar with stories from our younger days. They draw you in, paint a picture and leave you with a feeling. There is always a story and a good producer finds a way to make even something that others find dull or uninteresting magical. Stories have the elements that do that. There is a challenge or a situation that needs attention. There is the drama or struggle to find an answer. There is delight or satisfaction with the results. Just imagine how this applies to distinct types of videos. A customer has a problem with manufacturing a product. A supplier comes in and studies the situation and proposes solutions. One is implemented and the results are amazing- the people who make the product find the job easier and business soars.

Steps to writing a great video script

The steps for a video script will be specific for each project or video you create. But they do follow three main steps which are outlined below.

Define Objectives

In order to write a great script, you need to know what you want to accomplish. What are the objectives? Sometimes clients get caught up in the excitement of producing video and fail to spend enough time upfront to articulate the objectives. At this stage you need to include all the stakeholders and argue, yes argue, about what is important. If there are too many objectives it is difficult to write a compelling piece. Two to three objectives are the max.

Create a Structure

Once the objectives have been outlined you outline the structure. This is pretty clear-cut. You need an opening or introduction, the body or meat of the content and a close. It is important to ensure there is a logical flow to the content.

Write the Script

Now it is time to draft the script. It is never perfect which is why there is a process to revise and edit it. Unlike printed materials, it is written for the ear… not the eyes. A great script feels like you are listening to a friend or an expert. It is not stilted or formal. It is conversational.

It is important to note that scripting does not necessarily end when you start shooting the video. It is a fluid process and can be revisited during production and postproduction

Common mistakes to avoid in video scripting

Scripting is an art, and every project is different. However, there are some common mistakes that can negatively impact the video. The first is ignoring the audience. It is not about what you want to say to the audience. It is about what the audience needs and wants to hear. This is why doing research and sifting through information is so important. What will resonate with the target audience? If that is not part of the script, viewers will turn it off.

Another mistake is trying to do too much, overloading the audience with more information than they can digest. It is easy to just throw everything into a script. It is hard to synthesize the content and focus on the key pieces of information. If there is a great deal of content think about making several videos, creating modules for the content to make it easier to view. Most videos should be less than three minutes and social media videos even shorter.

Not considering shelf-life is also a problem. If you site specific numbers, for example products sold, try to be more generic. Don’t say 2700, say over 2500 or almost 3000. Instead of saying the product has been around for eleven years, say since 2013 this product has been available.

Pacing is important in scripting. Use the active voice wherever possible and keep it moving. This ties directly to how much detail you put in the script. A certain level is necessary but too much detail slows the video down.

The script is the foundation of a video marketing project. While beautiful video shots and bold graphics get lots of attention, without a great script the message falls flat. Scripting should be a collaborative effort between the video producer and the marketing professional. Done right, it will help viewers connect with your brand and be fun to watch.

Are you in need of video marketing services?

Reach out to the CK and Co. team to help your business craft an effective video marketing script that enhances your brand and delivers your message clearly.

cynthia kay
CEO at CK and CO | Website

Cynthia Kay founded Cynthia Kay and Company media production 35 years ago. The company produces communications for organizations from Fortune Global 100 to small businesses. A graduate of Michigan State University, Kay holds a master’s in communications from Western Michigan University.
She is the Past Board Chair of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and the National Small Business Association (NSBA). Cynthia has been honored with many awards including numerous Tellys and Woman Owned Small Business Supplier of the Year from Siemens in 2018. She has been named One of West Michigan’s 50 Most Influential Women 5 times. She is also the recipient of over 30 broadcast awards from UPI, AP and other news organizations.