How to Write a Video Script for Advertising

Posted by: Ellen Jackson - 19.10.22

Ten tips for creating engaging video scripts for all kinds of ads

From the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, to Connected TV and live streams, the last few years have seen video soar. And with most social platforms’ algorithms now skewing engagement towards video content, it’s essential to get a grip on the format.

Call us biased but, while you can of course create amazing ads without one, a well-written script can really bring a video to life. Whether it’s an emotive brand film or a simple sales pitch, the words you choose can add the colour, character and emotion that leads to engagement.

But where do you start? We asked the Ride Shotgun copy team for their view on how to write a script, here’s what they said:

01. Plan it out

The first thing to do when you’re writing a video script is to make a plan. Look at the brief and decide what you definitely need to include. Maybe even get an idea about how it’ll start and end, or what kind of person you see reading it. You might not stick to your template once you start writing, but it makes things easier.

02. Capture from the start

Knowing where to start can often be the hardest part of putting together a script. You may even write your starting line at the end of the process, but whatever those first words are make sure they capture your audience’s attention.

03. Give the ending impact

The end of your video is undoubtedly the most important part. It’s what you leave your audience with after your ad is over. So whether it’s a knockout line to raise the hairs on their arms, or a clear call to action telling them what to do next, make them remember your brand.

04. Ride the wave

When you’re planning a script, or any video ad for that matter, you should give your audience ups and downs – like adding a lighter moment in an otherwise serious video. This will break up your ad, surprise your audience and keep them from clicking that ‘x’.

05. Make them feel something.

Whatever the subject, those little moments where you make your audience feel something are the key to being memorable. Whether that’s raising a smile, giving them a lightbulb moment, or even shedding a tear. 

06. Think about delivery

While you’re writing, think about how your script will be delivered. This might be creating a character with tone and language your audience can relate to. Or writing notes about how you’d like your voice over artist or actors to sound on-set – for example ‘Speaking confidently to camera’.

07. Complement the visuals

What came first, the script or the visuals? Either way they have to work together. This could mean using existing footage or graphics as a steer, or briefing your art director or production team on what you’d love to see to bring the script to life.

08. Bring you through

Once you’ve got a draft version, check if your script meets the brief. And make sure you’ve addressed your audience, any existing brand elements and your proposition. For Sale Sharks this was ‘The Fabric of the North’, which authentically comes across in every element of the video script.

09. Read it aloud

Once you’re happy with your script, read it aloud. It may sound a bit cringeworthy but it helps you to check which words you stumble over and rewrite them if necessary. It also makes sure that the story marries up from one line to the next, flowing nicely to your ending.

10. Fit the time limit

When you’re reading aloud, set a timer to check you’re within the limit and edit if need be. This could be anything from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes depending on application. Read slowly and give yourself time to breathe, plus plan in a couple of seconds each side for your intro and outro.

So there you have it, our team’s tips for an impactful video script.

If you’d love to know more about how our copy team can help you, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch today.