Videos as a marketing tool have been around practically since the dawn of video. The first video ad on TV was a 10-second spot for the Bulova watch company based in New York. Many years later, in 2005, YouTube’s first video would be uploaded (it was appropriately called “Me at the zoo”).
Neither video content nor video marketing is anything new. But the science behind how to create one that can convince your audience to perform its call to action (CTA) has evolved — much like how the telegram led to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (or iPhone 14 Pro Max, if the Apple fans prefer).
We’re at the cutting edge of marketing science, and one way to demonstrate how far we’ve come is through great corporate video script writing.
Here, we’ll talk about what a corporate video script is, what it’s for and how to make a really good one.
Where Corporate Videos Fit Into Your Content Strategy
What Is a Corporate Video?
First, let’s explore the question of what a corporate video is.
A corporate video is one that communicates your company or brand. It can be either B2B or B2C, or it can be designed for employees, such as in a training video. A necessarily vague term, corporate videos can be used for a range of different purposes, all with different objectives.
Let’s use a new hire training video as an example. When training a fresh employee, you’re also introducing them to the company in a way they haven’t seen before. You might include your brand values, give them a taste of the corporate culture or describe what makes you stand out from other companies.
How To Use Corporate Videos To Achieve Your Marketing Goals
Corporate videos are also a common tool to market a brand. One of my favorite examples is the masculine soap maker Dr. Squatch.
This video isn’t just selling a product, it’s also selling their brand. It’s exploding with personality, from the main speaker with his large beard and rugged good looks to the many testimonials of people on the street they introduce their products to. There’s a tone and style here that is consistent throughout all of Dr. Squatch’s marketing materials, from their many promotional videos to their newsletter to their social media presence.
What’s it all for? To answer that, I’d like to paraphrase something Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, once said about character design: “The secret of designing cartoon characters — and I’m giving away this secret now to all of you out there — is: you make a character that you can tell who it is in silhouette.” Likewise, the identity of your brand should be immediately recognizable to fans with every piece of marketing you do, without needing to ever mention your company name.
The implications for marketing, then, are that your brand — its values, identity and everything that makes it unique — should permeate all your efforts, including corporate video script production.
The Content Marketer
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Different Video Scripts for Different Corporate Video Types
We’ve been talking about corporate video script production in general, but it might help to offer some common types of video scripts and why your approach to each should be tailored for that specific type.
An educational video script — a subtype of which is the explainer video script — commonly explains how a product or service works. Follow any series of professional explainer videos and you’ll notice some common traits among all of them. They’re rich with visuals, examples and often, analogies — not to mention a brand style all their own.
Here’s an example from Think Media on how to write YouTube video scripts:
This is probably how you remember your teachers or professors doing it. They almost certainly used a whiteboard or other visual communication tool in addition to the lecture.
These are used when you’re selling a product or service. The Dr. Squatch example above is a commercial script. These in particular tend to tell a story: They introduce what’s being sold, explain its best features and ultimately convince you to make a purchase.
There really is no set way to go about it with commercial corporate video script production, and you’ve likely seen many, many examples on your own time. Some are casual, others are professional and some have completely different target audiences than others. However, the ones you recall the easiest are probably the ones with the strongest scripts.
What To Do When Writing a Corporate Video Script…
Design Your Video Script Before You Start Writing It
Before you write a single word, you’ll want to create a framework. This means thinking about a few key questions, such as:
- What is the key point of the video production? Why are you making it?
- What do you want your audience to do immediately after watching it? Any corporate video production has a core message and wants its viewers to perform the CTA. Think carefully about what that is; the more specific, the better.
- Why should your audience watch it at all? What are you offering the viewer in exchange for their time and attention?
- Who is the target audience, and how can you speak their language? Your audience should be able to relate to the speaker in the video or they’ll stop caring about what they have to say. This means talking like them. Note that this isn’t an absolute rule — in some industries, such as medicine, the audience might expect a professional and clinical tone throughout.
Decide the answers to these questions ahead of time or you’ll be like a pilot flying without their instruments. Pilots trust their instruments over what they can see outside for a reason: It’s easy to get disoriented going by visual cues alone.
Keep It Short To Keep Your Audience’s Attention
Generally, a short video is best. A rule of thumb is to keep a corporate video production a maximum of 2 to 3 minutes long. Any longer and attention spans might waver.
Of course, that’s not always doable, especially if you’re explaining something complex. Certain training videos might need to be 20 minutes or more. But that should only be in special circumstances when it can’t be avoided.
Be as Succinct as You Possibly Can
Brevity is the soul of wit, said The Bard in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. No doubt Shakespeare believed this himself. If you’re going to take tips on how to write something, it might as well be from one of the greatest writers in history.
When writing a script, every word matters. If you have a sentence with 10 words in it, look for ways to make it 9. Even one or two unnecessary words can make the difference between keeping your audience’s interest and giving them a chance to be distracted.
Go From Point A to Point B
Your video will start somewhere, go into the body, and then end with the CTA. These points have to all be logically connected so the viewer is convinced of your point. This means performing the desired action — because it makes sense to.
…and What Not To Do
Avoid Fluff, Even If It’s a Single Word
It’s worth repeating: If a sentence is 10 words and there’s a way to make it 9, then go with the 9-word version. This isn’t necessarily an easy task, as it’s not always immediately apparent how a point can be made with more brevity. Go through every word in your script with the finest-toothed comb — if a word is unnecessary, remove it.
Don’t Be Afraid To Remove Your Favorite Part
Long before I was a writer, my father incidentally offered wisdom on how to be a great one when he first told me his favorite movie is Casablanca. He said it’s because there isn’t a single line in the movie that doesn’t matter. To him, it’s a perfect script because every spoken sentence serves a purpose.
As you continue to revise your script, there are going to be parts you won’t want to take out. Maybe you’ve come up with a really clever line, nailed a particular joke or made a killer analogy. But if it’s not directly contributing to the objectives you laid out ahead of time, you must cut it. Every word in your script has to work toward your objectives.
Naturally, that doesn’t mean you can’t include humor or analogies. But if it doesn’t serve your objectives, it’s fluff that will only prevent you from meeting your goals.
Don’t Rely On How It Reads In Print — Recite It Out Loud
How something reads as text and how it sounds when it’s spoken are two separate things. Many fantastic pieces of writing don’t sound as good when spoken aloud, and the reverse also applies. You might find that something that’s perfectly understandable on paper is harder to comprehend when voiced. Some words may sound awkward together; others are just hard to say.
How you read it also matters, so practice different voiceover styles. Try new inflection points or emphasize different words. You’re likely to discover that the way you read it naturally isn’t necessarily the best way.
Fulfill Your Company Objectives With a Great Corporate Video Script
A corporate video script is endlessly versatile, able to convey practically anything to viewers. If done right, they can convince an audience to follow whatever the CTA says. If you can harness the power of a great script, you’ll master the art of corporate video production in no time.