3, 2, 1... Action: How to write a good B2B marketing video script
Want to do something a little bit different with your content? Molly Raycraft provides five top tips to video advertising
There’s a reason why people like video advertising so much: it’s digestible. Much like pieces of written content that are simple – which are few and far between – it’s easier for your audience to consume. If you’re struggling to tell your prospects what you do, perhaps try and show them instead.
But before you pop on your director’s cap, take note, there’s more to video advertising than just whipping out the camera. We’ve compiled some top tips to help your production receive the Hollywood ending you need.
1. Set yourself a brief
The aim of a marketing video is to encourage the audience to carry out a certain action. This could be to buy a product, sign up to an event, subscribe to a website, or even just share on social. These videos have a clear purpose, and yours will need to have one too.
Your first step in creating your marketing video should be to create a well-laid out brief. This will clearly outline what you need to include and what you need to achieve. Ultimately, it will stop you from diverting from your main goal, and limit the amount of edits you’ll need to make.
When setting out your brief, ask yourself:
- Who is your audience?
- What do you want your audience to do after watching your video?
- How does the product/service you’re promoting benefit your audience? What would they want to know?
- Will you be using subtitles?
- Where will you be filming?
- How many people will you be interviewing?
- How long are you aiming for your video to be?
2. Be a storyteller
Becoming a storyteller isn’t really something unique to video marketing. Marketers are told it all the time. It does make sense. Fairy tales are a great example; they’ve entertained and emotionally engaged readers for centuries while also cleverly wielding a moral – one that you may not have even consciously noticed but all the same take heed of.
If you’re struggling to nail your video script, keep Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood in mind. Break down your video script into three sections: the beginning, middle, and end. It will also make it easier to cover everything coherently, without cramming it all into the first few lines. This has become somewhat of a successful formula for marketing videos (see the examples at the end for proof).
For example, if you were writing a client reference video, you might break down the structure into three main parts – notice how the focus is very much on your customers not you:
- Beginning: Here you would introduce the main character of the video, i.e. the client giving you a reference. You’d give the audience a taste of what the client does in their role and what the business does as a whole.
- Middle: The middle is where you introduce the predicament of the tale. What were the issues this company were struggling with before they met you? What did they need fixing?
- End: This should be the happily ever after; and it should involve you. How did your product or services fix the problem for the better? What is the support you were able to give? And how can others get in contact with you to get their same problem fixed?
3. Keep the script conversational
Don’t aim to write in iambic pentameter with a sprinkle of jargon to wow your audience. It’s best to keep things conversational because it sounds more approachable. The best way to do this is to write the way you speak. You’d be surprised how effective small informal changes can be in making your script easier to listen to. For example change we are to we’re, and say use instead of utilise.
4. It’s not all about the words
Don’t forget, words aren’t the only tool you have to communicate with your audience. The added bonus of video is that you have sound and visuals. This means you don’t need to be so dependent on describing your services/products in words. For instance, going back to the client reference example, you may include a clip of your client giving a broad explanation of what they do, but use the visual to display specific aspects of their job – therefore giving the audience more depth without reciting a long list of responsibilities.
You’ll also need to write visuals and voiceover into your script. This will save any scrambling around for locations to shoot or people to interview during the filming process. It will also minimise time spent in the editing process.
5. Practice makes perfect
It seems obvious, but make sure you read through your script out loud before you begin recording. You don’t want to come up with what you feel is the perfect script to realise it sounds disjointed or there’s a word that you keep stumbling over. By reading through the script and visualising the story in your head you’ll be able to iron out any kinks that may be harder to rectify down the line. Just imagine the pain of being asked to rewrite the script after you’ve finished filming and editing.
Here are a few good examples
If you’re still feeling apprehensive about creating a video or feel like you’ve hit a creative rut, don’t worry. There are plenty of good B2B marketing videos on YouTube to provide you with inspiration and demonstrate how you can put that theory into practice.
Slack does a great job of creating a mockumentary-style ad which is both funny and relevant – especially for those who love The Office. But despite the humour, Slack impressively manages to pack lots of information into a two minute, 20 second video without making it boring. The variation of voices and personalities capture the audience’s attention more than a voiceover. It’s a perfect example of how important it is to plan out your script – imagine filming that without knowing who was saying what. Another important point to mention is structure. Notice what I mentioned earlier? It starts with a client who had a problem. It finished with the product (in this case, Slack) fixing it.
Salesforce spends a lot of time publicising its customers. It’s part of their trailblazer brand focus. So it’s no surprise that it's a pro when it comes to making client testimonial videos. Notice how much they make this video about their customer rather than themselves. If you didn’t know this was a Salesforce ad, you’d think it was a Shazam ad, which is an important lesson. Always make the predominant focus about your customer rather than your brand, your business and your products.
The three stage structure I’ve referenced in this piece is evident here. First, you get to know the Shazam, the people that work there, and how successful they are. Secondly we have the dip; the problems that were getting Shazam down. And lastly… how they fixed it with Salesforce.
Example 3: iZettle
iZettle certainly embraces the storytelling aspect of videography. It’s tapped into the popularity of dystopian TV shows such as Black Mirror and The Handmaid’s Tale to bring its story to life. While what the video is trying to achieve is not necessarily obvious at first, the video does engage. When looking in the comments at this video it’s clear it went down well with the audience, and intrigued them enough to warrant further research into the company. By the end, it clearly creates an affiliation with small businesses – iZettle’s target audience.
Notice the same structure appearing again? First, we meet Billie and the world she lives in. Second, we understand the predicament she’s in: being squeezed out of business by big corporates. Last, she receives a customer, she feels good, and she makes a stand – this is where iZettle says it will stand alongside small businesses.