Whether you’re preparing a video blog, a promotional video for social media or designing a conversational marketing strategy with chatbots, you’ll need a script to carry you through. A solid script forms the foundation of a successful inbound marketing campaign. Here, we’ll give you some tips to get you started.
HONING YOUR MESSAGE
Before you jot anything down, think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Inspiration can come from almost anywhere, but once you have your idea you’ll need to shave it down to something that can be achieved within a reasonable timeframe. Have a look at some videos on YouTube and on social media in order to get some ideas about how others have met the challenge.
All the while, try to step outside your own marketing mindset and imagine yourself as a non-follower to your vlog or social media channel; what would it take to reel you in if you stumbled across your scripted message “in the wild”. Basically, try to imagine yourself as a member of your own target audience (or potential target audience); what would YOU like to see and hear. Doing so should give you the key that unlocks the rest of your marketing strategy.
As you pre-plan your script, try to think about the budget you’re likely to be working with. These days, a perfectly acceptable video blog or promotional video can be sot in an afternoon using only your smartphone. Yet, no matter your budget, you’ll still need to present your ideas in as compelling and appealing a manner as possible. A good script, combined with a little imagination, can often compensate for the smallest budget.
As an aside: if you’re creating a video for social media, consider that sites like Facebook employ algorithms that favour videos of three minutes in length (or longer). The reasoning for this is simple: it keeps viewers from straying away from their site. Keeping this in mind, you’ll want to make sure that your script is self-contained while motivating viewers to visit your own website or YouTube channel.
PARTS OF A SCRIPT
The first few seconds of your video or chatflow are vital. You’ll need to hook your viewers right from the get-go so they’ll stick around and see what you’re selling (or telling).
Your script will begin with what’s known as a Transition to a scene, such as “FADE IN:” which sets up the scene for your viewers. This is followed by a Scene Description, describing the setting, circumstances and characters included in the individual scene. After you’ve established your setting, you’ll need to include a Slug Line, which defines if the scene is shot indoors (“INT”) or outdoors (“EXT”), the where the scene is set and the time of day (or night).
You may wish to follow up your Slug Line with additional Scene Description, after which you’ll need to supply your characters with Dialogue (or, if there are no characters, narration). The dialogue said by each character must be definitively labelled, and can also include direction like “sarcastically“ or “noncommittally” so the actors reading your script will understand the tone you’re going for. Remember, you’re telling a story within the span of a few seconds, so your characters should speak as concisely as possible. The dialogue should be conversational, snappy and as relatable as possible with your target audience.
Documentary-style videos — without actors or scripted action — present a different challenge; they’re less structured, so pre-planning scenes is not always a practical option. Instead, you’ll want to create a list of footage to collect — shots that tell a story. Once you’ve filmed them, you can catalogue the footage and assemble it into a cohesive narrative through editing.
One additional thing to remember: while accepted wisdom often states that “one page of script equals one page of film“, this is not necessarily the truth. As you write your script, try to imagine the finished product in your head. Doing so will give you the best indicator for how long your video will be once it’s finished. Planning, tight writing, careful structuring, and a little imagination can carry you through almost any hurdle you’re likely to encounter.
Here, we’ve only outlined the most basic components of a script, but it should be enough to get you thinking about the kind of filmed content you’d like to produce. Be sure to study script samples online to get a feel for how they’re written before writing one yourself. Be sure to run your ideas past several people in order to make sure your message is clear and that ideas will work on-camera. Doing so will ensure your investment of time and money results in a truly successful inbound marketing campaign.