Video content is trending, in a big way. According to a Wyzowl State of Video Marketing Survey, 92% of marketers who use videos report that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy, and 86% of video marketers say video has been effective for generating leads (up 2% from 2021 and 5% since 2019). Even more importantly, 94% of marketers agree that videos help their users better understand their products or services.
To take advantage of this important marketing tactic and gain more viewers, it’s crucial to create videos that attract and hold attention while conveying a strong, clear message.
Here are essential tips for maximizing the medium for top results.
1. Keep it short
It’s a truism that people have limited time and attention spans, so videos should be short and concise. But exactly how short? The magic number is two minutes or less (and yes, less is more).
To keep your viewers’ attention:
- Limit the number of ideas
- Don’t go into granular detail
- Pique interest with vivid visuals
The point of videos is not to say everything you could say on the topic, but to drive your audience to your website to learn more.
Pro tip: Writing short video scripts takes longer than writing lengthy ones, as you must be much more careful about word choice and pare down to the simplest, most effective language possible. Make sure to budget enough time to write your short video script and explain to your team why you need that time. As Mark Twain famously said, “I apologize for such a long letter — I didn’t have time to write a short one.”
2. Keep it simple
To write a great short video, first get clear on your primary message — and make sure all the stakeholders on your team (especially clients) are on board with that message before proceeding. This will save you a lot of time on revisions. Do not try to convey too many ideas in one short video, and make sure to use straightforward language.
Too many ideas to fit in a short video? Consider making one as a broad overview, then break up ideas into separate videos to create a series.
[Read More: 13 Social Media Video Examples]
3. Make it conversational
Writing to be heard is very different from writing to be read. Strive to make your spoken words sound like a conversation rather than a lengthy narrative. Your narrative can ask the viewer questions as well as making statements. Choose simple sentence structure (no subordinate clauses — or parentheticals, please) and opt for commonly used words to keep the voiceover easily understandable when heard. You don’t want your viewer thinking “Huh?” and running for a dictionary.
Most importantly, ensure that your listeners will be able to understand everything the first time around, without having to watch your video a second time — because they won’t.
4. Read it aloud
It is absolutely crucial for your script writing process to actually read your words out loud for 1) readability, 2) comprehension and 3) timing. It can also be helpful to have someone else read the script aloud while you listen, for the same reasons.
Things to listen for when you read the script aloud include:
- Watch for awkward alliteration and rhyme time: Why worry when words sound wonky? Using too many words starting with the same sound or that rhyme may have a comical effect you didn’t intend. If you do use alliteration or rhyming, be sure it’s intentional rather than accidental.
- Don’t torture your voice talent: You don’t want voice talent to stumble over tongue twisters, awkward combinations of sounds or words that sound weird when they’re run together — although they’d probably handle it better than a non-professional.
- Make meaning clear: This is when you can enlist a team member, either to listen to you read the script aloud (probably the best — to see if they grasp your meaning quickly and easily) and/or to have them read aloud while you listen.
- Time your script: Use a stopwatch on your phone or computer to time your read. Try to read aloud at a normal pace to check how long your script will be. While voice talent pros can usually speed up or slow down the read as needed, you don’t want them to be reading so fast that it’s no longer listenable.
Pro tip: Remember, each additional syllable adds time to your read. If your script is a bit too long, you may not need to remove an entire section or sentence. Simply shaving a word or two here and there — or choosing a few words with fewer syllables (get out the thesaurus) — can make a big difference when you’re trying to cut 5-20 seconds off your read time.
[Read More: Video Marketing Ideas for Manufacturing Companies]
How many words should your marketing video be?
- 2-3 words per second, or 20-30 words per every 10 seconds.
- 60-90 words = 30 seconds, and 120-180 words = 1 minute
- A 2-minute video would be 240-360 words.
These timings may vary, depending on the length of chosen words and the speed at which words are read aloud.
5. Think in scenes
Because video is a visual medium, you want to let the visuals help tell the story. This also cuts down on the number of words that need to be spoken aloud. Collaborating with your design team or animators, imagine visuals that can not only enhance what’s being said by your narrator or interviewees, but that could in some cases replace spoken words — sometimes much more effectively.
Whether you’re using motion graphics (letters and words moving on the page), graphs and charts, icons, illustrations and photography, live action or animation — or some combination — take any opportunity you can to let the visual elements tell some of your story, freeing up your voiceover narration for only those things that are tough to relay visually, or to emphasize the most important points verbally.
Here a few videos produced by Brandpoint that use great visuals to help tell the story more vividly. This video for Summit Materials uses compelling, attractive video footage to highlight the main points the company wants to convey, while this short video for Sur-Seal draws mostly on motion graphics and icons to convey information clearly. In some cases, the visuals can tell the entire story, with no need for voiceover, like this example Brandpoint created for Nature Lake.
6. Use professional voice talent
There’s a reason they’re professionals — their talent, training and skill provide top results. Voice actors can take direction well to adjust their inflection, tone of voice and speed as needed. While it may seem like a budget saver to let members of your team or your client’s team provide some narration, in the end your video quality can suffer. While you may use portions of interviews or short statements from client teams, influencers or customers, be selective with your choices, and make sure both the sound and the visuals are up to the production standards you want for your project.
7. Know your audience
Finally, always keep in mind who you’re talking to, throughout the entire process. Brandpoint created this video for the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES), which was designed to communicate information in a way that would appeal to kids and their parents.
Knowing your target audience well helps ensure that your content will not only be of interest to that audience, but that you’ll also be communicating in an engaging and compelling way — keeping them on the edge of their seats, at least for a minute or two.
Are you ready to write your next video script for your marketing campaigns?
Following these tips will help you and your team develop your client’s content into concise, clear videos to make each message and every story come to life.