Lights, Camera, Action! Get Paid to Write Short Video Scripts
“I did something bold,” says AWAI Wall of Famer Phil LeMaster.
“I walked into the nearest ad agency and asked if they needed any help. After talking with the creative director for about 10 minutes, I had four projects – two TV commercials and two press releases.”
Phil had just completed AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six Figure Copywriting, and was bent on getting his first paid assignment.
Fortunately, he ended up with much more. Those two TV commercial projects he landed led to more work with a local TV channel and a video production company. And that’s how Phil started making money in the video script writing niche.
When Phil first started, he’d get $40 an hour to write a 30-second script.
Today he commands $200 to write these 30-second scripts. And here’s the cool part: This means writing 70-80 words, which takes Phil 1 to 2 hours max.
Some of these scripts are for TV commercials promoting local businesses.
But here’s the thing …
In this niche, you’re not limited to writing TV commercial scripts. In fact, the fastest growing part of this niche is in online video marketing. That’s when a business puts up a short video clip on their website in an effort to get the visitor to take an action.
Check out these stats from digital research firm comScore for the month of March 2008:
- U.S. Internet users viewed 11.5 billion online videos during the month of March 2008, a 13% net gain over February 2008 and over 64% gain over 12 months ago.
- 73.7% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed video online.
- 84.8 million viewers watched 4.3 billion videos on YouTube, alone!
With so many opportunities to reach prospective customers, video marketing is something a company can’t afford to miss out on.
Best of all, the same principles apply, whether you’re writing a 30-second TV spot or a 30-second online video.
Here’s Phil’s advice for writing video scripts that produce results for your clients. (You’ll notice it’s not that different from writing a great sales letter.) …
- Figure out your client’s USP. Many times a client will already know what their USP is. But if they don’t, you’ve got to find out what makes them unique. Since you only have 30 seconds to showcase the business, it’s crucial that you get this step down. Think: “Why would someone choose to do business with your client over one of their competitors?”
- Have a big idea. In a sales letter, your big idea carries the promotion all the way to the close. In a short video, your big idea is your overall theme or concept. How will you position your client’s USP? What is the best, most-effective way to convince your viewers to do business with the company? For instance, if you’re doing a video for a restaurant, maybe the USP is that it’s the most popular restaurant in town (literally) because of the unique dishes and unmatched service. If that’s the case, then show a line outside the door, with people waiting. Then maybe show people having a wonderful dining experience.
- Add credibility. Credibility in a sales letter helps build trust in the company and the claims it’s making. The same goes for video. Credibility sources for video can include the owner of the company, experts in the industry speaking highly of the business, third-party mention in the media (think CNN, Oprah, or 60 Minutes), or happy customers describing their experiences with the company and its products and/or services.
- Make it dynamic. Static videos, where there’s just one person talking to the audience, are often perceived as a flat-out sales pitch. Remember, people don’t want to feel like they’re being sold. Instead, make it dynamic. Do this by showing the product in action. Show happy customers enjoying the benefits it provides.
- Include a call to action. If it’s a TV commercial, encourage viewers to call the company’s phone number or go to their website. For example, if you’re selling time shares, it could be something like, “To get your free brochure today, call 1-800-123-4567 or visit GetMyBrochure.com.” Or let’s say it’s a video on a landing page. You could tell the viewer to sign up for the company’s free e-zine.
- Read it out loud. If this is critical when it comes to writing traditional sales letters, it is doubly important when writing a video script. Phil quickly found out how important this is when he was asked to do the voice over for the script he’d written. It completely changed his perspective when it came to actually writing the script. You realize how slow the cadence of the spoken word is, and notice any places that are awkward or don’t make sense. Plus you identify areas that could make the person doing the voice over stumble.
Writing for the video-marketing niche can be both lucrative and rewarding. Just follow Phil’s proven advice and pretty soon, you’ll be an in-demand, video script writer.
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