In the world of advertising, it’s common knowledge that video content is king. Studies have shown that video content has been top-performing for marketers across industries for years, and the numbers are continuing to rise. However, even with a thumb-stopping video to grab your viewers’ attention, you need strong video copy to keep them watching.
Whether it’s for general advertising or direct response, these tips will be your guide to writing video copy, across any platform, that aligns with your marketing goals and drives results.
Who Is Your Audience?
The first step of any advertising campaign is to know your audience. If your audience is everyone, look at industry best practices to provide you with an outline of what’s worked for other marketers. If your audience is more specific, ask yourself a few key questions before deciding what to say.
In terms of demographics, where does your audience fall? Are they primarily men or women, or a mix of both? Where do they live? What do they do for work?
These questions provide a framework for marketers that dictate every aspect of a campaign. Copy is your chance to speak directly to your audience. Think of it as a conversation with someone you know.
What Are Their Interests?
After identifying who your audience is, it’s time to think creatively.
This might be based on analytics, or you might be starting from square one. In either case, figuring out your audience’s interests is a process of constantly testing. As a copywriter, you know people. If your video is targeted to parents, include aspects that relate to family life.
Whatever the interests may be, keep them top of mind when creating video copy that relates to the life and personality of your target audience.
Determine the Barriers to Response
One of the most important aspects of writing effective copy is identifying your audience’s barriers to response. Whether you’re selling a product, or just delivering a message, you want your audience to have a reaction that motivates them to respond.
Maybe the product doesn’t seem practical to their everyday life. Your copy should bring the product or message to them, wherever they might be, and make it accessible.
Establish Your Marketing Goals
Now that you know who you’re talking to, it’s time to align that with the marketing goals. If you’re selling a service or product, hone in on that, and seamlessly work it into your message.
Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many options. Give them a clear and concise route to engagement. Persuade them to action by making your selling points conversational and relevant.
Write the Copy for the Video
When copy is an afterthought of video creation, you end up with copy that doesn’t align with the video.
The copy should be so connected to the video that viewers don’t even notice it’s there, but they still receive the message. Because the execution for this can vary by format, let’s break it down.
Scripted Video Copy
With shorter videos performing best, keep your video script concise. A common mistake is to try to fit as much copy in as possible. Read your script out loud to ensure that it fits into your video at a comfortable pace.
Think back to your audience interests when writing your script opening. You want your first words to immediately appeal to your audience, or they won’t keep watching until the end.
Writing a video script requires the most attentiveness when tethering your copy to the video content. You’re not relying on the viewer to read the copy, you just need them to keep listening. So sprinkle words and phrases throughout your script that continue to re-engage the listener.
The call to action is the most important part of any copy. Don’t miss this opportunity to drive your message home. What do you think will resonate most with your audience? Work that into your final statement and offer them an actionable solution.
Text Overlay Copy
Text overlay copy is a great tool to use alone, or alongside scripted copy. It can be especially useful for 'sound-off' videos. These are videos that appear in social feeds with no sound, and allow users to decide if they want to listen.
Text overlay can enhance the main points of your scripted copy with interesting and eye-catching graphics. It can also add credibility to your message with testimonials.
Marketers often use text overlay as a way to organize their main selling points, or their core message, knowing that the listener might not catch all of the scripted copy as they’re watching the video.
Lastly, don’t forget about the power of subtitles. Especially when running sound-off videos, this can entice the viewer to click sound on if they read something interesting in the first 10 seconds.
Video Ad Copy
At its most basic form, copy can accompany a video as body copy, a headline, or a description. The headline is often the first thing people read when they see a video in their social feed. When the user sees the video, their first reaction should be addressed in the headline. It might be as simple as answering the question, “what is this?”
The body copy is your chance to provide more explanation in an engaging way. Keep your goal in mind. If you’re selling something, describe the product.
This part of your copy should be the most reflective of the brand voice. If the brand is targeting young people, consider using emojis. Identify the tone you want for your copy and give the reader a glimpse of what the brand represents.
Get to the Point
For video ads, many viewers drop off after the first 10 seconds. Both the video and the video copy should present the core of the message within the first 10 seconds. Ideally, this will prompt the viewer to keep watching. But if they choose to keep scrolling, be sure your initial copy grabs their attention and leaves them curious for more.
If the first 10 seconds of the video gets them interested, they may come back later to explore the product, service, or website on their own time.
Include a Call to ActionIt’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating - don’t forget the call to action. This is where you give the viewer a reason to respond, as well as the proper tools to do so. A call to action could be in any of the copy formats listed above. Just make it short and impactful.
While the CTA needs to go at the end of your video, it can also go at the beginning, always keeping audience interest in mind. You don’t want to scare your viewer away with an immediate ‘salesy’ CTA.
One of the most valuable tools in reaching an audience through video copy is to keep testing. If it doesn’t render the outcome you had hoped for, learn from what worked and what didn’t. Change elements of the copy to see how they perform, and iterate on what resonates with the audience.
Find Out More
As either a new or experienced copywriter, you may be looking to sharpen your skills. San Francisco School of Copywriting offers courses for every step of the process. Gain the skills you need, become a part of a rewarding industry, and build your copywriting portfolio.
Enroll today and visit the blog to learn more about video copy and copywriting best practices.