How to Write a YouTube Video Script: A Step-by-Step Guide
When you’re looking to increase the visibility of your videos, and win over the platform’s algorithm, writing a good YouTube video script is key.
Your thumbnail, video description, and YouTube SEO practices are all essential in getting potential viewers to click on your video. After that, though, it’s up to your video script to grab their attention and keep them engaged with your content.
After all, viewer engagement plays a huge role in the YouTube algorithm’s inner workings. If people are bored or disappointed by your video and back out after a few seconds, this reflects badly on your content.
On the flip side, if people keep watching to the end – or at least for a few minutes – the algorithm will know that your video is exactly what they were looking for, and rank it higher in future searches for the same terms.
So, how do you write an awesome video script that’ll get you this engagement?
Here’s our step-by-step guide.
1 - Find an Amazing Topic for Your Audience
The first step in the process has nothing to do with actual script writing. Hold on a moment before you start tapping away!
First of all, find a topic that actually resonates with your audience. Ask yourself: What are they interested in? What urgent questions do they need answered? What challenges do they want to overcome?
For answers, you need to do some topic research. Look at popular content in your niche and check out YouTube’s autocomplete suggestions. In addition, you can use SEO tools for content research. Free and paid tools like AnswerThePublic, SEMrush, Ahrefs and others let you identify popular questions, recent trends, and emerging topics.
2 - Structure Your YouTube Video Script and Aim for the Right Length
Once you’ve pinpointed your topic, lay out the overall structure of your video.
Protip: Write your YouTube video script in two columns. One is for audio – what you’ll actually say. In the other, quickly describe the visuals that will accompany your voice.
Be clear about who your audience is. That’ll help you choose your tone, and how casual or formal you’ll need to sound. Generally, keep your grammar simple and your sentences short! Write like you talk.
To make your video as engaging as possible, address your viewers directly – use “I” and “you” instead of third-person pronouns or, worse, passive voice.
In terms of length, there are no hard-and-fast rules. Just keep it as short as possible and as long as necessary. As a rule of thumb, though, 125-150 words will usually make for one minute of audio.
3 - Open With a Killer Hook
You have about 15 seconds to capture your audience’s attention at the start of your video. After that, they’ll either keep watching or go back to their search results.
To get your audience engaged, you need a strong hook.
The most straightforward way is to let your viewers know what’s in it for them. What will your video help them understand or achieve? Address their questions, pain points, and the challenges you’re helping them face.
Notice how many TV shows and even movies show a minute or two of the episode before the intro? With a teaser, you can make viewers curious enough to keep on watching.
This doesn’t have to be complex, though. Check out the below example and see how keepinupwithliv sums up what viewers can expect from this video in under 10 seconds – with nothing but super short food clips:
4 - Set Expectations Straight in Your Introduction
Next, give your viewers some context in your introduction. Who are you? What’s your brand? What makes you an expert?
Then, outline exactly what your video aims to do. How is it structured? What tools will you use, or what product will you review? Have you already answered related questions in a previous video?
With this overview, your audience can decide if your content is relevant to their need. You don’t actually want everyone to keep watching, just your intended audience. Otherwise, you’re inviting negative engagement like critical comments and dislikes.
It also helps your viewers pinpoint the parts that are most relevant to them.
Consider an IT tutorial video, for example. If you tell them you’ll start by explaining how to install the needed software, people who’ve already installed it can skip ahead to the next chapter.
5 - Captivate With the Body of Your YouTube Video Script
The body of your YouTube video script should be coherent and captivating.
Aim to make 3 to 5 main points and give examples to illustrate what you’re talking about. Mix things up by bringing up controversial ideas, common mistakes, or opposing viewpoints.
Another way to keep your content engaging is to introduce pattern interrupts. These are unexpected elements that snap your viewers’ attention back to your content if their thoughts stray.
For instance, switch between visuals of you talking and graphics or animations. Angle changes, alternations between establishing shots and close-ups, jump cuts – all this renews attention.
Most of this can be refined later on – especially with the help of professional video editors. But the groundwork for it all is laid in your YouTube video script.
6 - Bring Things Full Circle with Your Conclusion and Call to Action
Finally, wrap things up in your conclusion. Quickly summarize your main points, and point your viewers to additional sources of information, such as follow-up videos or your website.
This is also where you can include a call to action. What do you want your audience to do? Like and subscribe? Sign up to your newsletter? Test your product in a free trial? Whatever it is, highlight it here!
The Bottom Line
A strong YouTube video script is the foundation for producing quality content. It helps you ensure high audience engagement, which also means better visibility in YouTube’s algorithm.
In short – getting your script right matters!
By doing some in-depth topic research and structuring your script properly, you’re on the best track to producing awesome content.