Business owners and non-profit managers usually feel intimidated by the idea of writing a script for a promo video. You could ramble about your mission and purpose for hours. But how do you pack all these ideas into a 60 or 90-seconds video when you are talking to a camera?
You may be used to Social Media exposure, and yet, a promo video introducing your project to the world needs to be more polished, clear, and engaging.
To help you steer clear of video-scripting overwhelm, I wanted to share with you 9 steps for writing an inspiring promo video script, and practical tips to shoot it!
What’s a brand promo or HERO video?
There are many different types of video content you could be sharing with your audience. From tutorials and short documentaries to fundraising videos, interviews, and Social Media snaps of daily life -whatever your content marketing strategy calls for.
However, there’s one type of video that will take people from knowing nothing about your business or non-profit to wanting to learn more about you.
It’s a taster of your project that will serve purposes like helping attract volunteers online, fundraise, build trust, and engage your audience. This will be your brand promo, – I also like to call it the ‘HERO video’- where you’ll have 60 to 90 seconds to put it all out there!
You’ll likely post this video on your home page. You can also have it as a pinned post on your Facebook Page, and as the main video on your YouTube channel if you have one.
In the end, a HERO brand promo video will be scripted to grab your audience’s attention and draw them into your mission.
So far so good, but…how to go about this?
Step 1 – Let it all out: Creating a rough draft
Start by jotting down ALL the ideas you have for your video. Include every single little thing you’d like to communicate. Be candid, flow free, and don’t worry about how ‘good or bad’ all these ideas are.
Write down the goals for the video, and the main message you want to get across.
Step 2 – How many words can you say in one minute?
Speech speed averages 100 to 150 words per minute. A promo video is scripted to be short and sweet, meaning it shouldn’t last more than 90 seconds. You’ll have between 100 to up to 225 words to lay the foundations and connect with your audience.
If you really want to know how many words you can say in a minute -in case you are the one doing the video-, record yourself talking to a dictation tool like Google Docs. Then click on ‘tools’ and ‘word count,’ and voilá! This practical trick will help you narrow down how many words you should include on your video script.
Step 3 – Mapping out the script’s structure
Scriptwriting, just as any typical storytelling structure, is divided into three parts.
- Introduction -aka beginning
Start by assigning a certain number of words or seconds to each part of your video. You may want to spend 40 seconds for the intro, 30 for the middle, and 20 for the end.
Step 4: The basics of storytelling – And how to apply these to your promo video script
Did you know that most scripts follow a ‘template?’
This can help you narrow down your ideas and gain clarity when writing your promo video script.
This is called ‘The HERO’s Journey’ and, without getting into the details, it basically portrays the stages the main character would go through to achieve a mission -or fulfil a higher call.
In a way, this relates directly to your non-profit or purpose-driven business. Regardless of selling or not a product or service, you still need to get your audience ‘to buy’ into the WHY of your project’s journey.
In the HERO’s Journey, the main character leaves the ‘ordinary world’ to go on a mission, stepping into unknown territory. After challenges and struggles, the HERO returns accomplished and triumphant.
Did you notice how when you are watching a movie they usually show the ‘average Joe’ going on about life before something triggers the journey?
From a scripting identification view, that’s showing how everyone can go on a journey like this. To apply this concept to you, this means how people could identify themselves, connect and join your mission of making this world a better place.
Giving your script even if only a hint of storytelling will bring your words to life. Get ready to boost your inspirational super-powers!
Step 5: Start with the problem – Making your audience feel heard and included
One of the challenges organisations face when scripting for videos is they only talk about themselves, and not about the problem they help solve.
As in the example of movies showing how anyone could go on a mission, it’s essential to make your audience part of your journey. Show how you understand them. You could even create visuals with your words to maximise this connection in your introduction.
So instead of an intro saying:
“Here at Aussie Fun Parks, we are passionate about creating green spaces for kids. We’ve built 5 parks with games…”
You could say:
“Do you ever feel it’s a challenge to get your kids to have old-school fun? To find places where they forget about their phones, and remember to run, jump and play with their peers…as kids should? With the constraints of city life creeping into our lives more and more, the lack of fun and engaging green areas has become a serious problem. This is why Aussie Fun Park’s mission is to let kids be kids again…”
The problem you are solving?
The lack of recreational spaces where kids can play freely and safely.
But there’s an even better benefit to your organisation’s mission…
Kids get to be kids again. You encourage them to play in an engaging and creative environment, which builds skills for life.
Step 6: The story of your organisation
This is quite self-explanatory, but after exposing an issue and how you help solve it, you can strategically touch on the history of your organisation.
What inspired its creation? What’s the driving force behind it?
I come back here to the WHY of the HERO’s journey. In this case, the HERO is your organisation and all the people involved in it -including donors, volunteers, members, etc.
Step 7: Your credentials and social proof
This step builds up on the previous one. It’s where you share your credentials and build trust and authority. Have you participated in social events relevant to your mission? How many lives have you impacted? Do you have any awards vouching for your social work? Take a few seconds of your script to build this piece of your video!
Step 8: Wrap it up with a Call to Action
Once you’re reaching the end of your promo video, finish up by giving people something to do. This will be your Call to Action.
Encourage people to get inspiring content by signing to your email list, or simply find out more about your organisation.
The closing is the part where the Hero comes back having achieved a goal. So bring it home yourself for your audience by making them know how they can become part of the change.
Step 9: Bring it all together
To finish up this guide to writing a video script for your organisation, here are some tips to bring it all together before -and on- shooting day!
- Polish the script. Once you are done with the writing, read it aloud and record yourself. Can you deliver it on time? Keep editing until you are happy with it.
- Test your script. Read it to someone else within and outside your non-profit or business. Is it engaging and easy to understand? Is it clear and short, yet tells a story?
- Work on sounding natural. Try to learn the script, or avoid reading it in an obvious way. Looking and sounding natural in front of a camera will help get your message across.
- On a promo video, you address your audience directly, so always look at the camera.
- If the person that wrote the script is not the one delivering it, make sure to adjust vocabulary or pace if necessary.
- Get enough lighting and test audio. Low lighting and poor audio quality is the culprit of promo videos! Test the bit more technical aspects before rolling in.
- Do a couple of shots! You may not get it right the first few times. However, if you record yourself talking to the camera a hundred times, chances are you’ll end up distracted and unengaged. It’s about finding the sweet spot.
- After trying a few shots, leave them ‘marinating’ for a couple of days. Then get back to these, watch and choose the one that delivers your message best. This will give you perspective. You’ll also be able to modify the script if something is not coming along as it should.
- Finally…practice! With experience comes ease, and you’ll find your body language to be more open and expressive.
I find it interesting how much work something so short involves. Think of TV commercials. Entire teams and huge budgets are devoted to creating a ‘simple’ visual with a tagline. So don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it right at the beginning! Use video scripting as an experience to summarise your message in the best possible way. You are already on a journey of impacting people’s lives for the best. At the end of the day, that’s the best kind of Hero.