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Creating a video script that keeps viewers engaged

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Creating a video script that keeps viewers engaged

Reading Time: 7 minutes
One of the things we love about video, is how much easier it is to get and maintain your viewer’s attention. It makes sense. After all, when you’re watching a video, you get to sit back, relax, and consume the information passively, while reading needs work.

And the more customers who engage with your content, especially product­ related content, the more sales opportunities you are likely to get. However, just because video makes it easier to get your target customers to pay attention, doesn’t mean all video content is equal!

Despite popular belief, it is possible to create a video that LOWERS your conversion rate.

Fortunately, creating a persuasive and engaging script is not that complex. Writing copy that sells is not a creative act so much as it is mechanical process, adhering to formulas, and assembling essential component parts within a reliable framework. You don’t need to be a literature nerd or poet to craft compelling copy, so long as you follow the process and put in the time to do it right.

From a technical standpoint (grammar, sentence structure, etc), if you can write a coherent letter to a friend, then you have the skills needed to write effective copy. Sure, there are some minor differences between copywriting for text and scriptwriting for video, but most of the core principles and formulas are the same:

  • Write like you talk
  • Pretend you’re talking to one person
  • Focus on clarity and simplicity in your language
  • Use lots of transitional words and phrases
  • Take your prospect on an emotional journey
  • Avoid tangents and “fluffy copy” that doesn’t move the prospect towards a buying decision
  • and more…

But as mentioned earlier, maintaining attention with video is even easier than with text, so you don’t need to be a brilliant wordsmith to write effective scripts, just follow our most used copy framework so long as you follow the process outlined in this guide: Problem – Agitate – Solution.

Here’s how it works.

  • Problem: Highlight a painful problem your viewers are facing
  • Agitate: Identify the underlying pain behind the problem and how it makes your viewers feel
  • Solution: Here’s how you solve the painful

Video script step 1: Frame the problem 

With this video script approach you begin by addressing an extremely painful problem that’s shared by your target audience.

Think about it like this, if someone starts talking about something you’re going through right now, you’re much more likely to sit up and pay attention, right? Of course you are! So you use the problem as a cue to your viewers that this video is relevant to them. By bringing it up immediately, you’ve effectively “hooked” your viewer and earned more of their attention.

When choosing your problem, make sure it’s the biggest, most painful, most ubiquitous problem that the video you’re creating (or your product) solves.

The process is a little different depending on the type of video script you’re creating. If you’re creating a video about your product or a feature of that product, then the problem you identify at the very beginning of your video should be the problem your product solves.

This allows you to establish contrast and create an emotional journey by starting with a painful problem and ending with a solution to that problem. For example, imagine you sell golf training videos to business executives. The obvious problem you’re solving is being bad at golf, but that’s not quite deep enough to resonate emotionally.

So instead of focusing on the obvious problem, focus on the “hidden problem” beneath the problem. If your target customers are business executives, then you know that most of them are very competitive. With that fact in mind, the “hidden problem” is that your customers are embarrassed when they play with their friends and can’t keep up.

Here are a couple of video script opening statements (hooks) using each of those approaches:

Obvious Problem: “Do you want to improve your golf game?…”

Hidden Problem: “Do you avoid playing golf with your friends because you’re embarrassed by how much better they are?…”

The first approach isn’t terrible…it immediately tells you what the video is about and, if you want to improve your golf game, you may sit up and pay attention. However, it doesn’t tap into your emotions and make you feel the problem.

Hopefully you can see why the second approach is much better. It enters the conversation that’s already going on in your prospect’s mind ­­ namely, that they don’t do something they would probably enjoy (playing golf with their friends) because they’re embarrassed. They’re missing out!

On the other hand, if you’re sharing a marketing video to generate leads, identify the problem that the information in your video can help your viewers solve. For example, if you create accounting software, you may want to create a video teaching your audience how to store all their receipts and expenses using Evernote.

This topic is helpful, sharable, and promises a very specific benefit. That makes it perfect for generating leads and building trust with your subscribers. If that’s the topic you select, then the problem your video script is solving would be the hassle of storing and sorting all of your receipts come tax season.

But once again, that’s the obvious problem. We’re looking to go slightly deeper so we can tap into the psychology of our viewers. In this case, the hidden problem your video script is seeking to solve is that when you are working on taxes, you don’t get to do the things you really want to do (spend time with family, watch sports, build your business, etc.).

The deeper problem will vary based on the type of person you’re targeting. Your videos should pinpoint a specific problem AND a specific audience. The more niche your audience, the more accurate and direct you can be at identifying problems, but the smaller your addressable audience is.

This requires some balance, but I would always recommend being “too niche” versus being “too generic.” Nobody buys “generic” unless your product is a low­ cost commodity, like peanut butter or something.

Step 2: Agitate the problem 

Once you’ve addressed the painful problem your product or content solves for, the next step is agitating the problem until your viewers can feel the pain from your problem. Don’t overthink this section ­­ if you choose your words carefully and look for the “hidden problem,” it shouldn’t take long to make your viewers feel the pain.

The purpose of conjuring up the pain felt by your viewers is to create contrast. Every emotion has an opposite, so your goal here is to make your viewers feel the pain, so that when you offer up relief, it feels more valuable.

Remember: people act on the basis of emotion and post­ rationalise with the facts. You need to give them both, but without the emotional underpinning, you will find it difficult to get your viewers to take action. Using the same example as in Step 1, here’s what agitating the problem can look like in a video script:

Do you avoid playing golf with your friends because you’re embarrassed by how much better they are?
And what about the people playing behind you?
Do you rush trying to keep up, or let them skip you and your friends…?
Unlike other sports, there are no “naturals” in golf. Nobody plays well when they’re first getting started…

 As with the problem, the agitation should be relevant to the type of person you’re targeting.

In the case of the example above, we’re still targeting business executives. With that in mind, we focused our agitation language around competition and etiquette, without discouraging them from continuing to try.

So if you break down the two new sentences, the first seeks to agitate the problem further, while the second protects the viewer’s ego and addresses the tendency of high achieving people to give up on things they aren’t naturally good at. Be deliberate, make your viewers feel the problem you’re providing a solution for, and handle objections wherever it makes the most sense in the context of your script.

Step 3: Promise a solution

Now that you’ve stated and agitated the problem, the next step is to promise your viewers a solution. In an ideal scenario, you can get to this solution statement within the first 30 seconds of your video, when most of your viewers are still paying attention. This should be the easiest part of your video script formula: simply tell your viewers that you’re going to solve the problem and how.

Using the same example as in Steps 1 and 2, here’s what that may look like:

Do you avoid playing golf with your friends because you’re embarrassed by how much better they are?
And what about the people playing behind you?
Do you rush trying to keep up, or let them skip you and your friends…?
Unlike other sports, there are no “naturals” in golf. Nobody plays well when they’re first getting started…
But it’s possible to dramatically shorten your learning curve by focusing on three core skills: swing mechanics, putting mechanics, and reading the green.
These are the 20% of golf skills that get you 80% of your results. So if you commit to following the steps I’m going to show you in this video, soon your friends will be asking YOU for golf tips!

There are a couple things I want to point out here. First, notice how this transitioned into a promise ­­ I flowed into it conversationally.

This is very important when writing video scripts because anything abrupt will make your viewers stumble…and when they become aware of the fact that they’re watching your video, you create a natural opportunity for them to decide to stop. Don’t give it to them!

Make your scripts flow smoothly and use lots of transitions, even the ones that make your English teacher cringe, such as starting your sentences with “and” or “but.” Trust us, you’ll maintain your viewer’s attention much better if everything flows seamlessly from one idea to the next.

Next, notice how I tied the promise back to the problem. The problem was being embarrassed that your friends are better, but the solution promises that your friends will be asking you for tips. This brings the viewer full ­circle and offers resolution to the specific, underlying pain you identified in your hook.

Step 4: Deliver the goods

Now that you’ve got your viewers on the hook, it’s time to reel them in.

If you’re using this video script approach for an educational video, then deliver the value you promised and be sure to cover it adequately so you can fulfil your promise. However, if you’re using this template for a promotional video, the next step is to explain how your product will fulfil the promise you’ve made.

At this point you’re simply providing the details and asking your viewers to take action. In many cases, this section represents the bulk of your script, but there’s no specific formula here ­­ simply communicate the information your viewers need to take action and do it quickly and with as much clarity as possible.

Remember: never use a big word when a smaller word will do and keep your script conversational and flowing smoothly. If you’re promoting a product, keep your focus on the benefits, not the features.

And whether you’re making a promotional or educational video, always include a call­ to ­action that moves your viewers another step down the buying pathway. If your video is promotional, ask them to click for another piece of information. If your video is educational, give your viewers an opportunity to join your email list by offering something of value in the form of a lead magnet.

Need help with your video script content and more, find out how our services can grow your brand.

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