AWAI Wall of Famer Phil LeMaster looked like he might pop. “I did omething unthinkable,” he said to me.
“I walked into the nearest ad agency… just walked in… and I asked if they needed any help. I spoke with the creative director for about 10 minutes, and before I knew it I had four projects – two TV commercials and two press releases.”
That’s quite a step. And in landing those four projects something totally unexpected happened. Phil got a taste for video scriptwriting. Then, those two TV commercials led to more work with a local TV channel and a video production company.
Now Phil makes good money in the field of video scriptwriting.
At the beginning, Phil charged $40 an hour to write a 30-second spot. Today, he gets paid $200 per 30-second spot. That’s 70-80 words. It takes him two hours tops to write one script. Not too bad.
And he’s discovered that it’s not just TV commercials that businesses need. There’s also tremendous opportunity to write scripts for online video marketing campaigns. More and more, businesses are using video clips on their websites in an effort to get visitors to take an action.
Online video marketing is an exciting field… just check out the stats:
- In March 2008, U.S. Internet users viewed 11.5 billion online videos. That was a 13% gain in just one month.
- Nearly three quarters of the total U.S. Internet audience watch online videos.
- Just under 85 million viewers watched 4.3 billion videos on YouTube, alone!
With the fast growth of online video marketing, this isn’t a marketing channel that companies-or copywriters-can afford to miss out on.
Here’s Phil’s advice for video scriptwriting-it isn’t that different from writing a great sales letter. Follow these tips and you’ll write videos that produce results for your clients.
Get a handle on your client’s USP.
Many clients know their USP. Some don’t. If that’s the case, you need to uncover it for them. In a video you only have 30 seconds to showcase the business, so a clear USP is critical. Ask yourself why someone would pick your client’s business over a competitor’s.
Find the big idea.
Just like in a sales letter, your short video script needs a big idea-an overall theme or concept to tie it together. For instance, if you’re doing a video for a restaurant, and the USP is that it’s the most popular, best reviewed restaurant in town, then your video might show a line outside the door, with people waiting, followed up by a scene of people having a wonderful dining experience.
Any good promotion needs credibility to build trust among the audience. Video is no exception. To build credibility, you can include a clip of the company owner, clips of experts giving the company a good review, third-party mentions in the media (think CNN, Oprah, or 60 Minutes), or happy customers describing their experiences with the company and its products.
Keep it dynamic.
We’ve all seen those videos where there’s just one person talking to the camera. They usually feel like a flat-out sales pitch, and people don’t like to feel like they’re being sold. Make your video scripts dynamic. Show the product in action. Show a customer enjoying the product and the benefits it provides. Create a storyline. Add depth and movement-after all it is a video!
Don’t forget the call to action.
At the end of the video, you want the viewer to do something. Make sure you tell him what that something is and ask him to do it. For a TV commercial, you might ask viewers to visit the company website. Or for an online video, you might ask the viewer to ubscribe to a free eletter.
Read your script out loud.
The actors in your video will be speaking the lines, so the lines have to sound good-and natural-when spoken aloud. When asked to do the voice over for one of the first scripts he wrote, Phil realized that he’d missed this crucial step. It completely changed his perspective and approach when it came to scriptwriting. The cadence of the spoken word is slow. When you read your script out loud, you’ll notice any places that are awkward, don’t make sense, or are easy to stumble over.
The possibilities for a fun and lucrative career as a video scriptwriter are growing. Keep Phil’s advice in mind, and you’ll deliver powerful, results-oriented scripts that your clients will love. Before you know it, you’ll have more work than you know what to do with.