HOW TO WRITE
COPY FOR VIDEO
So you’ve completed a brief, picked a production company, and you are now ready to produce some amazing video content.
Problem – you now need to write the copy for your video.
Option 1 is to hire a copywriter. Copywriters can help you to communicate your message clearly, concisely, and in a way that reflects your brand voice. If you are not confident in your writing skills, or you want to leave the writing in the hands of the specialists, copywriters are the right pathway for you.
There are some situations however where a copywriter may not be the right fit for you. This may come down to budget, time constraints, or simply that you want to write the copy yourself.
If that’s the case, we’ve created a guide to help you write copy for video that is both focused and effective.
Step 1 - Write down the goal of the video
First things first when you write copy for video, you need to know why you are creating your video. What is the purpose? Try to write this down into a single sentence. It doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact, the simpler the better. For example –
To welcome and orientate new team members to our business
To tell target buyers about our new product
Once you have your goal for your video, you can have a think about what you need to do or communicate to reach that goal. So for example, to welcome and orientate new team members to a business you might want to include:
- A welcome to the business
- Company mission and values
- Company culture initiatives
- What to expect in your first week
- Tools for help if needed
You may find this is too much for one video, depending on how much detail you want to go into. But this will give you a solid outline to work with to write copy for your videos.
Step 2 - Think about the audience for your video content
The next step is to think about who the video is for. Who are you speaking to? A video targeting high school age students will use different language than one for a doctor’s conference. Identify your audience and then keep them in mind when writing.
Step 3 - Visualise the visuals for your video
What are your must have visuals? Video is a visual medium – so what do you want your audience to see? If you are stuck on what to write, this may be a good place to start. Then have a think about what kind of copy would go with the visual. For example, for a promotional video for a muscle gun, you may show the visual of the gun on somebody’s shoulders alongside the text or VoiceOver ‘operates at 50 strokes a second’. This way the viewer reads a benefit about the product (how fast it operates) directly alongside a visual showing the product in operation.
Step 4 - Make it simple to say and easy to hear
Writing copy for video content is different to writing for print. Words need to be written in a way that sound natural when spoken. A less formal approach is typical. Sentences should be shorter and more concise. Think – sound bites. Read you copy aloud to ensure that it is easy to say. What is difficult to say may be surprising – some words or phrases are simple to read, but tricky to say.
Step 5 - Just start writing
A last but perhaps the most important….
Just. Start. Writing.
Everything comes from nothing. Just write something – anything. Then at least you have something to work from. Write down all the information you wish to convey. Once you have it – read it – and edit it. Cut the fluff. Consider tone. Visualise the visuals. Make it snappy. Re-read and do it again.
Keep in mind that there are only so many words that can fit into a specific time period. The average speaking rate for voice overs is 140 words per minute. Factor in an intro and an outro and you probably don’t want to go over 110 words for a 60 second video.
Elite Media is a boutique video agency located in Melbourne and servicing companies nationwide. To discuss your video project, please get in touch using the form below or call us on (03) 8849 9334.