In writing your website videos, we’ve determined that what’s necessary is the skill of a television writer. After all, when you or your spokesperson pops up on the website visitor’s screen, it’s much like a TV commercial.
Or is it?
Think about this – when a television ad comes on, are you expecting it? Were you actively looking for it? Is it always something you’re interested in purchasing?
Of course not. The TV ad is designed to catch the attention of someone heading to the fridge or the bathroom. To halt the conversation about to start during a break in the programming. Maybe to get you to stop cleaning the living room for thirty seconds. Which means it has to be loud, in-your-face, and perhaps funny. Or absolutely quiet.
Regardless, something which will make you look up and pay attention, and on the fourth or fifth pass, get you interested in buying.
Not so with website videos. This audience is sitting at the computer or PDF searching for exactly what you sell. They’re already sold on the idea. They just need to decide on whom to place their trust to deliver the goods.
So when writing the teleplay for your website videos, remember the following:
- As hard as it is, don’t sell. No elevator speeches here. Be comfortable and conversational. Don’t be inappropriate for the intimate relationship between the viewer and the device, or you’ll be back-buttoned into the ether before two seconds have passed.
- Keep your eye on the ball, which is to immediately relay a sense of who you are. While not so casual as to be sloppy, don’t shy away from relaxed dialogue. Use contractions. Throw in a “well” or “yep.” Stay away from arcane terminology, particularly if it’s grossly multi-syllabic.
- Make sure, however, that it’s all in the context of what you do. We don’t want to see (as I recently noticed on a substantial law firm’s site) you putting on your scuba gear, or dancing in your ballet tutu, or sitting before your easel covered in paint. It’s great that you do those things, but that’s not what we’re there for.
- Keep each piece short, not much over :30 seconds, if that long (keep testimonials, which I don’t like to script, even shorter). Four short website videos on four separate pages is easily preferable to a single piece four times as long on your Home Page. A couple of reasons: Longer videos are more difficult to download and watch smoothly. And if the visitor views a compelling video on the Home Page and then clicks on the, say, About Us Page, without any video, it will feel deader than Frank McCourt’s chances of keeping The Dodgers.
- Read it aloud. Over and over. If something doesn’t come out of your mouth comfortably, then rewrite it until it does.
Hey, you can’t always hire a professional TV writer. But if you follow these rules, and take your time doing it, you may just find that the script for you website video or marketing video will be pretty darned good.
Once the script is right, the next step in making effective website videos is the filming. We’ll begin on the various elements available and which are necessary in the next post.
About the Author
Richard Clayman, Cloudwalker VideoWorks
Richard Clayman’s multiple award-winning career has spanned 30 years as a director, producer, writer, executive, and actor in television, theater and film. Projects on which Richard has directly worked have won dozens of Emmys, Golden Globes, and many other awards.