How often have you faced a problem and muttered the words “I’ll YouTube it”? Chances are, it’s a lot.
In fact, YouTube is one of the biggest search engines in the world, second only to Google. It’s the go-to place for video solutions, whether you need to find out how to change a lightbulb, fix a part on your car, or learn how to use a new piece of technology.
One survey revealed that 7 in 10 users turn to YouTube to solve a problem related to their job, studies, or hobby. With such a large and diverse userbase, it’s a no-brainer for brands to tap into this well of potential leads.
But it’s not as simple as posting a video and immediately becoming popular on YouTube. Standing out is hard, which is why having a YouTube script is critical. It’ll help you map out what you want to say and ensure your videos are fun and engaging every single time - not to mention it’ll enhance your SEO efforts by showing up on Google search results for the right keywords.
How to write a YouTube script
Having a script might feel counterproductive to creating an authentic video. But unscripted videos aren’t always as spontaneous as you’d like them to be and they run the risk of spiraling off on unnecessary tangents. Not to mention, they increase the number of filler words as you scramble to think up the next sentence.
To appear natural and confident in front of the camera (or as a voiceover for animation, explainer video, or other visuals), you need a YouTube script.
Good YouTube scripts are easy to spot since they follow a centuries-old storytelling technique:
- The setup (Act One)
- The conflict (Act Two)
- The resolution (Act Three)
This formula is used in novels, films, and videos in every industry because it works. The idea is that you introduce your audience to a problem they’re facing in the first act, then move on to escalate the problem in the second act, and finally solve the problem in the third act.
Here’s what this might look like in action:
- Act One: your audience wants to learn Spanish but they don’t know where to start; classes are too expensive and they don’t know any native Spaniards who can teach them.
- Act Two: your audience really needs to learn Spanish because they’re starting a year abroad there next month and need to be able to get by. If they can’t learn a few words, they might embarrass themselves and end up in some frustrating situations.
- Act Three: you provide a couple of easy ways your audience can get started learning Spanish and guide them through the process.
It might sound simple, but it’s effective.
Start by jotting down the pain point you want to focus on and work backward from there. Ask yourself why this topic is important to your audience, what it would mean for them if they couldn’t find a solution, and ultimately how you’re going to solve this problem for them.
Then, break down your answers into the three-act structure to start plotting your script.
What makes a good YouTube video script?
While you can follow this structure seamlessly, there are some elements that make one YouTube video script more compelling than another. There is much more that goes into the script writing process; in fact, it starts even before you have a concept in mind.
Here’s what makes a good YouTube video script.
1. The right topic
You could have the most polished script in the world but if the topic doesn’t hit the mark with your subscribers, it’s not going to get the views you want.
The key is to focus on the pain points your audience has. To do this, you need to understand their lives, what problems they face, and how your solution will help them overcome that pain point. Easier said than done? Not necessarily.
There are several ways you can come up with great video topic ideas:
Use a tool like Ahrefs to explore the search terms your audience is using. Alternatively, tap into YouTube’s suggestions by typing a keyword into the search bar and seeing what results pop up in the dropdown menu. You can then run these through Google Trends to see if they are in demand.
Top tip: use an asterisk (*) in your search query together with your keyword to show other potential topics.
Survey your audience
Get topics straight from the source: your audience. Either send them a survey via email or put a call out on social media to see what kind of content they want or need to see. You can take this one step further and interview your best customers to dig deeper into their most pressing pain points.
Generate endless topic ideas
Jarvis’ Video Topic Ideas template serves multiple topic ideas based on a keyword. Simply enter a word or phrase related to your product or brand and the tone of voice you’re aiming for.
2. Engaging right until the end
Don’t just wing your script. It leaves too much room for waffling or filler words that can quickly kill the mood and engagement levels.
Keep your script tight by starting with an outline. This will ensure your video stays on topic and covers all the key points you need it to. The idea is to grab attention early, deliver value quickly, and then close with a call to action.
Use Jarvis’ Video Script Outline template to generate an outline. You can then expand on this with your expert knowledge and experience.
Perhaps the most important part of a YouTube script is the beginning. According to YouTube, you have less than 15 seconds to grab the attention of your audience, so the first few seconds need to pack a punch. Get straight into the meat and hint at what the viewer will have learned by the end.
If you need help, lean on Jarvis’ Video Script Hook and Introduction template to get started. Just enter the name of your video title and the tone of voice you want to present, and the tool will come up with a selection of powerful hooks for your script.
3. Does what it says
Is there anything worse than clicking play on a video that promises to teach you how to look after your latest houseplant, only to find it doesn’t give any valuable advice at all?
The most important thing to remember is that your YouTube script needs to deliver on its promises. If you say you’re going to show people how to learn Spanish quickly in three weeks, you’ve got to follow through with that.
You can do this by:
- Sticking to one key lesson (this also stops your video from becoming overwhelming)
- Ensuring you’re solving a specific pain point
- Referring back to your research and outline to make sure you’re hitting all the key points
4. Sounds relaxed and conversational
Getting the tone of your video script right can be tricky. We tend to write in a more formal tone than we speak, which can seem stilted when transferred in front of a camera. The key to making sure your script doesn’t sound forced is to write how you speak. It helps to read sentences out loud or pretend you’re talking to a friend when you’re putting words down on a page.
Do you always need a script for your YouTube video?
If you’re wondering whether you need a script for every video you create for your YouTube channel, the answer is: it depends. Sometimes you can get away with bullet points that cover your main talking points. However, scripts are incredibly useful for engaging videos, as well as animations with voice overs, tutorials, and even interviews (although, you can’t write a script for the interviewee!). But, one of the biggest benefits of having a script is you can turn it into other forms of content and appeal to people who prefer to consume content in a different way.
Repurposing content is huge at the moment--it’s no surprise when you consider just how much new content is being pumped out every day. Instead of adding to the noise, turn your videos into blog posts, emails, social media copy, and other forms of content to maximize its value and reach even more people.
A proven YouTube script example
Here’s an example of a short YouTube script using the outline Jarvis generated above.
Intro and hook: So you want to learn Spanish? Don't worry, I'm going to show you how.
Introduction: I've been teaching Spanish for a while now. The problem is that most people give up because they don't know how easy it can be. In this video, I'm going to show you the three-week plan that will allow anyone from any level of proficiency or background to speak fluent Spanish in no time at all. It's really not hard, all it takes is a little bit of commitment!
Main points: The easiest way to make quick progress is to choose two or three activities you can do every single day. Don’t worry, I’m going to cover some examples of activities you can do:
- Firstly, you can flick through a Spanish-English dictionary for a few minutes, picking out interesting words and memorizing them. If you want, you can read through the dictionary in the morning and then test yourself on the words you memorized in the evening.
- Secondly, listen to the radio or TV in Spanish. You won’t understand anything at first, but the more you listen and the more it becomes a part of your daily life as background noise, the sooner you’ll start to pick up some key phrases.
- The third thing you can do is watch movies with subtitles in Spanish. This will help you connect English words and see what conversations look like in real life.
- Another activity you can do is read newspapers, magazines, or books in Spanish to familiarize yourself with how the language looks when it’s written down. If you want, you can read passages out loud to get to grips with pronunciation and how the sounds fit together.
- Finally, try and find some native Spanish speakers or even someone who can speak better Spanish than you can. The sooner you can start having Spanish conversations, the better.
CTA at the end of the video: learning Spanish doesn’t have to be hard. Throughout my years of teaching, I’ve found the easiest way to learn the language quickly is to incorporate it into your daily life and, most importantly, be consistent. If you need more help, download my free guide to easy Spanish sentences which I’ve linked to in the comments.
YouTube script template you can use
If you’re ready to have a go at your own YouTube video script, here’s a template you can use to get started.
[Act One] Hook:
[Act Two] Introduction/pain point:
[Act Three] Main points/resolution:
- Point #1…
- Point #2…
- Point #3…
Level up your videos with an engaging YouTube script
YouTube can be a powerful platform for brands in every industry. The sheer amount of users can increase your reach, plus the interactive nature of video content makes it easier to forge a connection with your audience. Sign up for Jarvis to access the video script templates - and, if you want to get started quicker, unlock Boss Mode to write high-quality content fast.