YouTube Video Scripting / Guidelines

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Whether you’re brand new to making business videos or a seasoned pro, I have some helpful guidelines that are guaranteed give you more bang for your buck. Make sure you check out #6!

Now – I often talk about how to make Q&A / interview style videos that don’t require you to follow a word-for-word “script” …. but it still helps to have an outline.

Typically, videos are made up of individual segments or scenes that get edited together in post production. Here’s the format that I recommend you follow (in the same order as I have it listed):

1. The Hook
The first 4-7 seconds of the video should quickly tell the viewer what the video is about. Ideally, you’ll want to mention one benefit they’ll receive as a result of watching, or mention a highlight that will make them want to stick around to watch the entire video. Check out how SEO and Website guru James Schramko does it. Although, I recommend not even mentioning your name and company in the very beginning (we don’t have much time to hook people) – save that for the next part.

2. Intro / Logo Bumper
This is where you quickly show your company logo and any animation or music that is part of your brand. Think about how many popular TV shows start with a scene to hook you into the show, then they go into the opening credits and theme song. Same idea here. It’s proven that the typical online viewer has a very short attention span (who knew?) which is why we recommend a hook before rolling the company intro.

3. The Content
This is where you provide value. An FAQ or Q&A segment – or some kind of tip. This is the meat of the video. A common way to introduce the topic is like this:

  • Tell them what you’re going to tell them (“Today I’m going to talk about how to title your YouTube videos”)
  • Tell them why it’s important (“This is crucial because if you do it wrong, people won’t be able to find your videos”)
  • The content (“The first step is to ….. blah blah blah …..”)
  • Recap what you’ve told them (“Now that I’ve told you how to title your videos, you can expect to be found in more Google searches”)

4. Call To Action
Tell them what to do next, and be specific! This can be something like “call us at 555-5555 and mention this video for a special discount”, or “visit our website to download our free guide”, or “like our Facebook page so you don’t miss out on future videos and specials”, etc. It’s always best to include a reason as to WHY they should take that action. And one more thing – stick with just one action. Don’t give too many options …

5. End Bumper
Just like the Intro Bumper, this can be your logo and closing music. Also, it’s good to mention the call to action again (just write it on the screen below your logo)

6. Outtakes
This is a new one that I just learned from YouTube guru James Wedmore. I’ve yet to implement it myself, but I guarantee you’ll see it on my next video. While you’re taping, there’s undoubtedly going to be funny (or tense) moments – bloopers – maybe you flub a line really badly. I recommend putting some of this footage at the end of your video! It sounds a little crazy and I can hear some of you saying to yourself, “that SOUNDS like a good idea, but I’ll never do it”. Well, think about the benefits: #1 you start training your audience to watch your videos all the way until the end to see what funny thing you’ll do and #2 your viewers will bond with you as they see you messing up, like all of us humans do …. give it a try!

A few other principles to keep in mind throughout this process:

  • Be concise. The video should be just long enough to make your point. If you can actually stay interesting for 10 minutes then go for it. But it’s better to cut out “dead space” ahead of time if you think you’ll lose people. Most of the videos I’ve done for myself and for clients are less than 3 minutes (actually, less than 2 minutes)
  • Provide value. No selling during this video, save that for when viewers get to your website or wherever your call to action leads them. (could be another video)
  • Keep it conversational and talk to ONE person. Don’t say things like “hey everybody, I wanted to make you all a video that ….” Instead, picture your best customer or a good friend and talk directly to him or her when you look into the camera. You might even want to hang a picture of them below the lens (this can also help your nerves.)

I’d love to see what you come up with – post your video link in the comments below. (free publicity!)

About the author

Mike Liebensohn

In search of truth amidst the human condition. Singer/songwriter at and Video Producer at

Posted on by Mike Liebensohn in Video Production

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