Two Tools for Writing More Engaging Video Scripts

Whether you’re new to writing video content or have already written a few scripts, here are a couple of extra tools that’ll help you separate the wheat from the chaff and put pen to paper – more importantly, these simple tools will help you organize your content so that your audience is more engaged in your message.

While my current focus is video, I have developed content for print, packaging, web copy, and interactive pieces and have often used these tools. However, at the heart of video, we are hoping to engage a viewer in our message for at least a couple of minutes before they wander off to the…oh look, shiny castle.

When I first started writing content, I had to answer the standard six marketing questions – in no particular order, ‘who, what, where, why, when, and how’. (Here’s a brief explanation of this in his article at Social Media Today.) However, I’ve often found myself in a situation where I’ve asked these questions, have the answers but am still staring at that blank sheet of paper with the deadline looming ever closer.

To help organize my content, I use the following two tools. I should stress that this is a subjective approach, so the more familiar you are with your audience, the better your video will resonate and generate your desired outcome.

Content Tool # 1: The Cognitive-Affective Continuum


Firstly, I draw a line and write ‘Cognitive’ at one end and ‘Affective’ at the other. Cognitive is factual information that has to be communicated so that your message is understood. ‘Affective’ is concerned with content that resonates at an emotional level with your audience, whether by use, ownership, or involvement in your product or service. Along this line, I now place the answers to the six questions: Typically, the ‘what, where and when’ answers lie towards the Cognitive end, whereas the ‘who, how and why’ answers lie towards the ‘Affective’ end. (Read more about Affect & Cognition.) (If you are specifically creating a product video, then you can replace the axis titles with Features – Benefits.)

Content Tool # 2: The Informational-Transformational Grid


Secondly, I draw two intersecting axis with ‘Informational-vs-Transformational’ on the horizontal axis and ‘Low Involvement-vs-High Involvement’ on the vertical axis.  As with the Cognitive-Affective Continuum, I find it useful to think about Informational-vs-Transformational as factual content vs emotionally-driven content. And as with the first tool, I place the answers to my six questions along the continuum, only this time I give consideration for how involved the audience is in my message given the stage and nature of their purchase decision.

Combining the two tools, I can now have a visual representation of my content and can better understand which type of content should be used in my video script. If I’m writing not only the video script but the web copy and print materials, then I find it a really useful approach for allocating content for cross media campaigns. If I’m only doing video, I now have to ask what type of video – is it a commercial, a biographical profile video, a technical product infomercial, or should I connect with existing customers to create user generated video? Also, am I simply looking to educate my audience, or am I aiming for more emotionally involved goals such as building trust with my audience to help increase sales conversions? Where will it be seen – web, TV, exhibit? Whatever your goal, once you have your content laid out visually with these two tools, you can start to write the appropriate script for your video.

Good luck with your script – hopefully this points you in the right direction.

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