YouTube is highly competitive. To get as many views as possible for your content, you need to produce strong and captivating videos that grab and hold attention for as long as possible.
That means having a killer script for every video you produce, even for short explainer videos. Why?
Scripts eliminate the guesswork associated with creating effective videos. They also help you form and deliver a cohesive story, one that supports your video marketing strategy. Lastly, scripts save you the time (and hassle) of rerecording content as you try to find the right words, gesticulation, pitch, and tone of voice.
If you struggle to produce videos that generate healthy watch-time, comments, likes, and shares, this blog post is for you. I’ll share six tips to help you create well-structured and effective YouTube video scripts. Specifically, I’ll discuss how to identify, connect, and refine your ideas, as well as how to grab your audience’s attention and establish an emotional connection with them.
Let’s get started—here’s how to create strong YouTube video scripts.
<div class="tip">Prefer podcasting over creating videos? Not to worry—we've also got a guide on how to write a podcast script.</div>
1. Identify and refine your topic
Writing a killer YouTube script starts with identifying a topic that will resonate with your audience.
The easiest and most effective way of ensuring that your topic matters to your target audience is by turning to the problems, challenges, and aspirations they have related to finding a solution like yours.
By using this kind of information (from your established buyer personas), you'll quickly develop a list of topics worth exploring. Initially, the number of topics you’ll have will be roughly as many as the problems, challenges, and aspirations you’ve been able to identify. If you have a few ideas, fleshing out your topic (more on this below) will help you uncover more.
Flesh it out
With your new topic established, unpack it by thinking of all of the ideas associated with your topic. Ask yourself questions about the before and after states of your audience when dealing with a specific problem or challenge. If you want to appeal to an aspiration they have, first identify the pain point that would lead your audience to develop that aspiration.
Great questions you can use to discover as many ideas as possible include:
- What misconceptions does my persona have about this pain point, challenge or aspiration?
- What are the most popular ideas that people have about solving a specific problem?
- When identifying a problem, what emotions does my persona experience?
- What should my persona know about the problem to completely understand it?
Prioritize and refine
Think about what you want your audience to gain from your video. Is there one or a set of actionable tips you want to share?
Gather all ideas and prioritize them. When crafting a script the scope of content you'll share matters. Too many ideas can be overwhelming for an audience and could lead to click-aways or, worse yet, low watch-time.
Once you determine which ideas fit well together, focus on just those. Anything else that seems slightly beyond what your audience will see as relevant will likely work better in a separate video altogether.
With a clear outline for your YouTube video script, it’s time to focus on crafting your introduction.
2. Grab attention immediately
Most YouTubers understand that grabbing an audience's attention immediately is critical but few know how to do it well.
In fact, hooking your audience immediately is so important that YouTube refers to the first 15 seconds of a video as critical. Audiences want to spend time on engaging videos. If yours isn’t appealing, viewers will return to their feeds in search of a video that does the trick.
The smartest and easiest way to hook your audience from the very start is by introducing a statement or posing a question that's either shocking or designed to pique interest.
You can achieve this by identifying a pain point or high-value offer at the very start of your video. If you introduce a pain point, immediately guarantee that you’ll share a solution.
Brian Dean is one of the most popular SEO experts today. He’s generated a large following with his actionable and highly effective tips on how to rank higher in search engines.
In his SEO Checklist video, he grabs viewer attention by stating that he’ll share his personal SEO checklist. If you’re looking for ways to beat your competition, his hook will keep you listening.
3. Address a problem and give it context
You’ve managed to capture your audience’s attention by highlighting a problem—now it's time to establish an emotional connection.
What’s the point of establishing an emotional connection?
According to Psychology Today, the affinity a consumer has for a brand directly influences their loyalty toward it. While not every consumer that comes across your brand may be ready to purchase your product immediately, being perceived as a thought leader in your space by presenting valuable information and connecting with your viewers on an emotional level matters.
Identifying a pain point and then a solution with a positive outcome shows your audience that the information you have to share is truly valuable. And with a positive emotion established (at the end of your video), the probability of strengthening your brand-viewer relationship increases.
But simply identifying a pain point isn’t enough—you also have to give it context. To really drive home how important it is to address the problem, share how detrimental the problem can be, along with the consequences thereof, if not remedied.
In Dean’s SEO Checklist video, he establishes an emotional connection by sharing his personal story: his own struggle with ranking well in search results. He couldn’t seem to make SEO work. Chances are good that you feel the same way and will pay more attention to what he’s about to share.
4. Deliver the goods
Having introduced your problem and the consequences of not addressing it, it's time to provide the solution. Make sure that your solution is clear and concise. Also, explain why the solution is valid. Do this by using examples, stats, or other proof that strengthens your case.
Together, these elements do more than just induce a positive emotional response from your viewers. They position your brand as a trustworthy source of information. And when your brand is seen as trustworthy, the probability of turning more viewers into subscribers, and customers, also increases.
5. Be conversational
Write your script as if you're speaking to one person and not an audience of thousands. While this approach may seem slightly counterintuitive, it helps you focus on delivering your content in a more personable way, whether pre-recorded or a live stream.
When you think about it, there’s a good chance that viewers will watch your videos alone. Think about how you would explain concepts and how your audience of one grasps ideas if you were speaking to them in person. As you craft a message for one, you’ll also find it easier to develop a stronger and more appealing script.
Using Brian Dean as an example, he chooses an easy-to-understand language. In fact, he hardly uses any jargon that could throw his audience off.
6. Introduce “pattern interrupts”
Pattern interrupts are an effective strategy for gaining and maintaining audience attention, especially when it comes to video marketing. They are based on neuro-linguistic programming research that shows that the human mind can't help but latch on to new ideas that are abruptly introduced.
Buffer used pattern interrupts and their videos to grow their channel by 59% in 30 days, and with a little creativity, you can generate positive results for your content, too.
You can introduce pattern interrupts by including pauses, humor, or changing the volume and pitch of your voice. You can highlight each pattern interrupt in your script.
Dean uses several pattern interrupts, including one as simple as moving back and forth. He shifts his position from left to right, forcing viewers to follow him onscreen in order to not miss any part of his video.
Scripts make creating YouTube videos easier. They provide structure, improve your presentation, and save time that would otherwise be spent trying to find the right words without one. Scripts also support any video creator’s content strategy as part of a well-oiled video marketing funnel designed to attract educate and convert viewers.
As you develop your video scripts, incorporate these tips. They address some of the most challenging aspects of delivering effective and competitive videos on YouTube. But above all else, remember to always put your audience first and focus on what really matters to them.
About the Author
Amir Shahzeidi is the digital marketing manager at Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and live streaming PPV platform that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.