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print copy and video copy

Writing for video is different than writing for print. Seems like an obvious statement, right? Well…sometimes we’re asked to use printed marketing materials for video scripts. That’s kind of like wearing your business suit to the beach. The language used in a video is different from the language used in print. The good news is that copy written for video can still convey all the information and ideas contained in your printed materials. It’s just going to sound a little different.

Apples and Oranges

Printed language tends to be formal, while the language used for video is more conversational. When a company is drafting website copy, memos or promotional materials, they tend to use a lot of industry jargon and rhetoric. There’s nothing wrong with using jargon if your audience understands what you’re saying. But if you’re trying to appeal to a wider audience with a video, it’s best to keep the language simple and clear. When it comes to rhetoric, any video editor will tell you it’s nearly impossible to choose a visual to support a sentence that’s a concept at best, and devoid of meaning at worst.

Let the Visuals do the Heavy Lifting

print copy and video copy
A picture is worth a thousand words

Video is all about visuals. It’s not just the words you hear that tell the story. In fact, many successful videos don’t use audio at all! Our point is that a video script considers the accompanying images and much of what you’d spell out in written copy is shown in a video. That generally means the amount of copy it takes to cover a subject in writing can be reduced in a video format.

Text Counts

Along with a script and supporting visuals, video also uses text. Text can highlight features, elements and concepts. It’s like shining a spotlight on part of your video. Now you have all these tools to communicate, as opposed to words only. An experienced video script writer understands how to use language economically. They understand that video doesn’t need to include all the words of written copy, but rather it needs to work in conjunction with video to tell a story.


print copy and video copy
Try reading your script out loud

If you’re writing a script for video, the tips below will help you decide whether it’s working.

  • Read it out loud. Any redundancies or awkward language will be obvious.
  • Make it conversational. Is the script written the way we talk?
  • Use contractions. This makes a script sound less formal and warmer.
  • Personalize the language. Using “we” and “our” helps an audience see your company as a person and not a cold entity.
  • Use an active voice.
  • Beware of repetition. Think of synonyms to avoid using the same words over and over.

Scripting is an Option

Try to make video scripts short and snappy. This will maintain audience interest, which means they hear your message. Include a CTA in your video that lets viewers know where to get more info.

Your video should be generating interest. Leave the specifics and the mechanics of your program or product for the website or brochure. At Key West Video, we have a dedicated script writer. Call us today for a free quote.

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