How many times have you started filming your latest YouTube video, forgotten the topic, just said ummmmm, and then stopped recording?
Being underprepared when making content is a sure way of increasing the amount of time you need to create. So, why not try a YouTube video script?
You might be thinking that a script will take even longer to write.
However, once you know all the best tips and tricks, you’ll be churning them out in no time at all.
That’s why this guide will show you how to write a YouTube video script.
You’ll find out more about finding the initial idea, expanding the topic, where to find keywords and how to use them, and so much more.
Do you want to make a bet that the number of ummmmms in your videos will drop dramatically?
The Art Of Storytelling
It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a story with characters, reviewing a product, or baking a cake, your content should be a story that you’re telling with video and audio.
You’re going to have a beginning, middle, and end, and you’re going to include hooks, twists, and turns along the way.
The best way to figure out what kind of story you’re telling is with a script. You can detail each section from intro to outro so you know what’s going to come up and where the story is going to go.
Benefits Of Writing a YouTube Video Script
The only disadvantage of writing a script is the time it takes.
But when you know what to say and when to say it, you’ll save time on filming and editing. They balance each other out. And the rewards of having a good script are many.
- Reduces the number of retakes.
- Reduces editing time.
- Helps you (and your team) visualize the whole video from start to finish.
- Helps you avoid ranting and going off topic.
- Helps you figure out hooks.
- Helps you make every part of the video as engaging as possible.
- Helps you guide your audience to a desired action (liking your video, subscribing to your channel, buying a product you recommend, signing up for your course,...)
How To Write a YouTube Video Script
Now that you know why it’s good to write a YouTube video script, here’s how:
Find Your Topic
There’s nothing to talk about until you know what you want to say.
Figure out some ideas for videos and make a note of them. If you already have a list on your computer, phone, or in your head, pick one that you feel would be exciting to develop and is relevant to your channel.
Identify Your Audience
Who do you want to talk to about this topic?
If you already have a channel set up, you probably already know.
If you’re a gamer, you’re probably targeting other gamers. If you’re into beauty regimes, you’re likely already targeting viewers who take care of their appearances.
You can still go a bit deeper. Within that section of people, who will this video affect the most?
If you’re reviewing a new smartphone, target viewers who need a new smartphone. However, don’t forget your fans who already have that phone. Get them excited to hear more about it and to share their experiences in the comments.
Now that you know what you’re talking about and who you want to tell, start brainstorming ideas.
Just write down everything that comes to mind for a few minutes. Get as many ideas as possible together, then get ready to pick the best and trim the fat.
Keep Your Voice In Mind
While picking out ideas, remember to know the voice of your channel.
If some of the themes that came to mind in the brainstorming phase don’t fit your YouTube persona, cross them off the list.
If you’re usually a creator who takes your audience on a more emotional or informative journey, don’t aim for a script full of jokes and gags.
Choose Your Keywords
The best videos are full of keywords that help them score higher on search engines, including YouTube and Google.
You should include these words and phrases in your title, description, tags, and, of course, your script. If they’re in the script, you’ll be less likely to forget them once you start recording.
You can think about the topic and figure out what keywords are most relevant, or you can use services that will give them to you with a simple search:
- Google Trends
- YouTube suggestions
- SEO (search engine optimization) tools
Write An Outline
Flesh out your ideas a bit more and start writing the general outline for your script.
You know you need the intro, outro, and main content, so make a few notes about what you’ll talk about in each.
You can also figure out when to add details, intrigue, or a twist. Anything to keep the audience engaged.
If you’re a reviewer, choose where the pros and cons will be, if you’ll compare the product to a similar one, and what your final verdict will be.
You don’t need to be too specific. Just know where the story can go.
Researching can be a great way to find new details to add to your video and to make sure everything you say is correct.
You can lose your audience’s trust in an instant if you make claims that aren’t true.
Not all videos will need this step, but it’s one to keep in mind.
Now that you have the outline to your script and your facts straight, you can start filling in the gaps.
Your video should start off with a great hook. This is what's going to keep your audience engaged right from the start. An engaged audience leads to better retention stats.
A good hook should be:
If you can do all three, great. Just make sure it’s short. Retention rates drop off considerably after 10-15 seconds, so your hook should be right at the beginning of your video and take only a few seconds.
Aside from keeping it short, there's an entire science around making your hooks effective, and getting your readers addicted to watching your content. Let's explore the most important ones.
Anticipation and Suspense
For instance, consider how Ryan sought to break a world record by enduring the world's quietest room. Though the premise might sound simple, even mundane, the presentation made all the difference. Ryan invoked a popular urban myth of the room driving its occupants insane, thereby weaving an aura of anticipation and suspense into his content.
The Art of Tension
The subtle craft of creating tension in a video can be instrumental in retaining viewer attention.
Ryan demonstrated this by using sound effects and editing techniques that highlighted the suspense and anticipation in his world record attempt.
His method illustrates how even the simplest of ideas, when delivered with flair and suspense, can captivate audiences.
Establish the Narrative
Beginning a YouTube video with a clear, engaging narrative is key. The story should immediately introduce some form of conflict to hook viewers and maintain their interest. As important as the narrative is, it should be delivered with clarity to avoid causing confusion.
The Charm of Imperfection
Interestingly, successful YouTubers often exploit a unique psychological hack - embracing and showcasing their imperfections. Counterintuitive as it may seem, this strategy can increase viewer engagement and enhance relatability, thereby contributing to more views.
Fostering a Two-Way Conversation
Successful YouTubers understand the value of interaction. They create content that doesn't just speak to the viewer but also invites responses and engagement, thus fostering a two-way conversation.
Leveraging Retention Hacks
Another important aspect of YouTube success involves the use of retention hacks. These methods, such as fostering viewer engagement through two-way conversations and provocative questioning, help to keep viewers hooked and actively involved in the content.
Revise And Practice
Now that you’ve finished your script, you can finally get a coffee and watch the latest clip of Carpool Karaoke… Or you can revise everything you’ve written, make sure it’s as good as it can be, then practice a few times.
If you know what you’re going to include in your video, you won’t make as many mistakes.
Don’t forget, you still have room to improvise. Great ideas can come up while you’re filming. Choosing between scripted and improvised parts can wait until the edit.
If you work with a team or have close friends or family who you trust, give them your script to look over. They can give you some pointers which can improve your content, or they can boost your confidence by telling you which parts are great. No matter what they say, just remember that you can ignore it all if you want to.
How To Keep Your Video Script Engaging
Here are a few quick tips on keeping your script interesting. The more engaging the script, the more engaging the video, and the more engaged the audience will be.
- Use short sentences
- Use the present tense
- Write in a conversational/casual tone
- Choose the active voice over the passive voice
- Keep it simple
- Add some humor
Extra Tips From Pro Scripts
Even if you’re not writing a character-driven storyline, you can still take some tips from the world of film and theater. These parts of a pro script can help you create your content.
This provides the context of what is happening and where. If you’re filming in your home studio, this mightn’t be too important. But if you’re recording on your travels, you can make a few notes of where you’ll be and what you’ll talk about.
For example, if you’re planning to film in Rome, you could make a note that you’ll stand by the Trevi Fountain and talk about the busiest parts of the city.
Jot down ideas for what actions you or someone else will take in each part of the video. “Adam will come in and play guitar” or “Get the premade cake out of the oven”.
Do you use more than one camera for your videos? Make a note on when you’ll look over to your second camera to emphasize a point or make a joke.
If you want to be really prepared or don’t feel you’re great at improvising, write down exactly what you want to say. You can do this for the whole video or just for certain parts so you’re sure you say the right thing.
When you’re writing your script, you might have ideas for when to add effects, music, transitions, or more to the video.
If you have post-production notes, you won’t forget these ideas. And once you start editing, you won’t need to make those creative decisions then.
They’ll be ready. That’s exactly the moment when you’ll look back and say “Thanks, me from this morning”.
B-roll shots are when you pull up a recording that isn’t from the main content. For example, a close-up of a product or stock footage of a guy walking on the beach at sunset.
Your script can have these written down too so you don’t forget them later. You probably wouldn’t forget “guy walking on beach”, but you never know.
A good video script can help you create great content.
You don’t need to be a pro. You just need to take the ideas you usually have for your videos and lay them out on paper (ahem… Google Docs).
Even though it can take a while to develop a good script, it will save you time when recording.
You’ll make less mistakes, save time on editing, and increase the quality of your content by gathering as many great ideas as possible.
Once you find your topic, you can identify your audience, brainstorm ideas, choose the best keywords to include, and add everything to a basic outline for an amazing result.
As long as your video is engaging and matches your style, you’ll have done a great job.
Do you write a script for your YouTube videos? Feel free to share any writing tips in the comments section below.