A script is the foundation of what we do.
It’s a specialized skill, a type of writing that you probably don’t do often. It’s included in the price of every Simplifilm. We’re about to publish an 88 page guide to script writing for Demo and Explainer videos, but, in the mean time, we thought we’d boil that down to the core few things we’ve learned over the course of doing dozens of videos with millions of views.
Boiling complex software into 150-180 words is not easy. It’s hard work. Fortunately, our experience has given us a guide and we can figure out how to outline an effective demo script in a short amount of time.
First: remember the word count of your video demo walkthrough scripts:
- 60 seconds – 125-150 words (less is more)
- 90 seconds – 150-200 words (less is more)
- 2 minutes 250-275 words (this is the longest possible Simplifilm)
Like we say a lot, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
First: Write a Compelling Opening Headline For Your Demo Video
You have to write a good headline for your demo video. Really. You have to construct two things: what they’re going to learn in the rest of the video, and why the software matters.
We have many tricks in our bag, but to write expediently, we’ll stick to two opens: The Welcome and The Problem.
The Welcome basically is straight forward. A warm, low key welcome to a service or product, and a 10-word description of how it works. This is effective, and keeps people watching. (We’ll get into it soon, but you want people to understand what they are seeing.)
“Welcome to [Software Name] the [features you’ll explain in detail].”
So, for example, it’d be “Welcome To Headway, the Drop and Drag theme for WordPress websites.”
This explains what you’re going to present later. People are curious, they want to learn more. It’s a little different—but not wholly different—from copywriting headlines for a sales letter. With good visuals, a straightforward approach will work. We’re matter of fact and low key because that converts. The other way to do it is “the problem.” We present the problem that exists and then go towards the solution.
We introduce a problem, and bring in the product or brand to solve it.
So: [List problem] then bring in a brand (and maybe logo reveal) that solves it.
“Tired of filling in giant stacks of paperwork at the doctor’s office? Welcome to myHelo, the paperless online portal for your business.”
The issue with this is that we have to make the sure we’re solving a real problem. For example, if nobody cares about it, then the whole thing will not work, and people will tune out. A service like Yelp would have a better time introducing their service then pretending that “rating coffee shops,” is a problem plaguing humanity.
Second: A Tie-in That Matters with Bullet Points
OK, so we have the open. That will take—literally—half the time of writing the script. It’s the most important piece because what we’ve learned with our millions of views is that when people stick around for 10 or so seconds, they will be 80% or so likely to watch to about 75 seconds.
So we have to act on this stuff. We explain, in detail, what the software does.
The easiest good way to do this is a 1, 2, 3 metaphor or “in 3 steps you can _______”.
- Design a website
- Add your content, like videos and blog posts
- Go Live!
You can’t be too simple here. We want people to feel like they are using and accomplishing something.
We always leave out a few great features on a one minute software explainer walkthrough video. People don’t comprehend a lot while watching a video. A slow pace sells, and we use the close to hint at more features (or we can say “and so much more” and bring up screens and symbols to hint at the other things that the software does).
When we pick two points, the third can be “Go Live” or “Publish” or “Finalize” because people like to be done. A sense of completeness relieves tension and makes people feel like they’ve accomplished something.
Third: A Risk Reversal and A Close
OK, not every product has a guarantee. It’s not appropriate for everything. Not even everything can have a free trial. That, too, is not appropriate for everything we do. But we need to address the objection everyone sort of has.
“What bad things could happen next.” or “What if I hate it.”
We have to prevent them from thinking that they hate it, and we have to insinuate good things are in store.
At a minimum, “Join the thousands of people that have (bought, tried, downloaded) and see for yourself” is an adequate stand-in. It addresses the idea that this isn’t some fly-by-night joint. Even if it’s only hundreds, it’s a risk mitigator.
Now, we’re asking someone to take a next step. Give an email address, start an account or buy are the most common choices. Our take is to to try and combine the risk reversal with the close.
“To get started with a risk-free trial, just (click the box)” is a simple, risk-reversing close. It addresses the “what could go wrong” that people already think. The details don’t have to be in the video, but we have to address what people already think. “Is there a guarantee? What happens when I hate this thing?”
Other examples are “get started with a 30 day trial,” or “see risk free plans and pricing.”
To help you with this, we’ve put together a simple Simplifilm Video Script Guide. It’s just a start.