4 killer tips to writing a corporate video script

When your audiences have short attention spans and high expectations, you need to know how to write a good corporate video script. Mediocre won’t cut it but these four tips will sharpen your video and your scriptwriting.

YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. A substantial number of people start their search for information in YouTube. A video is the only answer they’’re interested in.

Visual learners respond better to videos than written communication (but those visuals still need a script to bring them together)

A good corporate video script has an unequalled ability to explain. But the bar is set higher now  everyone has a camera in their pockets and  some editing skills.

But not everyone knows how to make a corporate video interesting.

Business communicators the world over are now expected to know how to make a video, including writing the script. They might not be expected to shoot and edit, but they’ll be expected to know basic scriptwriting and direciont. But being interesting in 90 seconds or less takes some know-how and practice.

How to script a corporate video…

1. Make every second of your video count

Your audience will only give you so much of their time. Words are time, so word count is crucial to keeping people’’s interest.

Video transcript

One problem people make for themselves when writing a video comes from concentrating so hard on all the things they want to say, they forget about the time that will take to say those things.

There is only so fast you can speak before your audience won’’t be able to take in what you’re saying. How fast that is depends on how well your audience knows you and the subject. If you have a specialized audience, you can talk fast.

Professional broadcasters aim for 110 or 120 words a minute. That’’s how fast I am talking now.

You also need to think about how long people will give you to say what you want to say. Research shows that somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute you might lose as much as half of your audience. If you’’ve decided your audience will give you 1:30 and your script looks like this, you’re in trouble.

2. Your corporate video script starts with thinking about a “silent” movie

Every video is really two videos. Using pictures properly helps keep the word count down, so you’ll videos can be shorter. Thinking about the pictures is as much a part of writing the script as the words.

Video transcript

The other day I had a meeting with a fashion retailer who told me that they were having a bit of a problem getting bloggers interested in their more everyday lives. They had no trouble getting blog coverage of high-fashion items where celebrity models are wearing the outfit down the runway. But the more everyday, affordable outfits just don’t appeal to fashion bloggers in the same way.

The problem they were facing was a common one that people face in PR as much as in social media. That’s when you’re trying to make yourself the story. With the high-fashion item, it is the story that you’’ve got a $10,000 handbag, but with more everyday wear, the clothes themselves are probably not going to be the story, which is why you’’re not interesting bloggers.

My suggestion to the retailer was that they looked at what the bloggers needed to give their audiences. What stories did the blogger need to be telling, and how could they fit their clothes into that kind of story.

To give you a ridiculous example… for instance, if there had been a tennis outfit in this line of clothing, why not hold a tennis party and invite bloggers who don’’t even need to be fashion bloggers. They need to be bloggers who are interested in tennis or they need to be bloggers who speak to your demographic.

You have them come to the tennis party. The tennis party is the story, not the clothes. But your clothes are going to be featured; your clothes are going to be photographed.

Sometimes getting attention in social media is about thinking tangentially to the information you actually want to convey.

3. Work out where your corporate video fits in the overall campaign

Most corporate videos are only one piece of a communications campaign. You shouldn’t try to cram every message into every video. Use your script to highlight the points that video can make most effectively.

Video transcript

Car companies don’’t expect you to find out all you need to know about their cars from their TV ads. No one is going to buy a car solely on the strength of a 30-second commercial, no matter how many Italian villages they see it speeding through.

The ad is there to let you know the car exists, to highlight some features, to persuade you to go and find out more. The video is part of a campaign, but often people treat the videos they are making for work, as if each video has to have all the information for that project, as if they have only one shot at reaching people.

They have to say absolutely everything in one video. That makes for overlong, over-complicated videos. Your videos should be part of the puzzle, not the whole puzzle.

4. Your corporate video script needs to tell a story

Facts and figures are 20 times more likely be remembered when they’’re presented in a story. They’ll also be remembered longer. And stories are more interesting to watch, too. Story might be the biggest challenge in writing a corporate video script.

Video transcript

Five years ago I watched a corporate video in which an airline CEO explained his pricing policy. Someone had asked him why they were so much cheaper than their competitors on the LA to Las Vegas route. Why not just be five dollars cheaper? The company would make more money and still beat the other airlines on price.

The CEO told the man he’d misunderstood the situation. The airline’s competition wasn’’t other airlines, its competition was the car. He had to persuade customers to fly, not drive, which is why his tickets were the same price as driving between Vegas and LA.

That video could have shown me figures about ticket prices; comparisons between flying and driving costs and travel time. If it had, I wouldn’’t have remembered it.

Research shows facts shared in stories are 20 times more likely to be remembered than facts on their own, and they’ll be remembered for longer. Like I said, I watched that video five years ago. Stories are hard to find and they take time to refine, but they’re worth it.

What all four video tips have in common…

All these things should be thought about before you get anywhere near the record button. The success of a corporate video turns on the time and thinking you put into the preparation of the message and how you’re going to present it.

And if you need help working out how to write a corporate video script, contact us. We have significant expertise in corporate video scripting.