Writing continues to flourish. Instead of pen and ink we may be writing on a tablet. Instead of publishing our blog as written words, we may choose to write a script for our video Vlog on Youtube. However you skin it, the fact is that writing has become more important than anything else if you want to market yourself as an independent creator.
This is meant as a reference how to write guide for both bloggers and video creators. Your videos will shine when you take a moment to think and write down what you are going to present, than if you were to start talking extempore.
Tips for Basic Structure: Unity & Harmony
Adopt the following structure for simplicity:
- Introduction: This should include a hook to catch the visitor’s attention quickly.
- Main Body: Paragraph #1, Paragraph #2 …
- Summary: This should include a call to action.
- References: These could be links to to your own content as well as external content.
How to Get Started?
I find it very easy to write a post or vlog script, if I first write down the title and the main ideas – and then flesh them out later. As an example, before you start writing your article, first write down 5 or 6 main ideas in bullet points. These could also become your paragraph subheadings.
Once you have the paragraph subheadings, you can start filling in your content. Typically for each of the main idea in the post, I do a little research, look for funny quotes, or eye-candy illustrations. This quick research also helps me to collect my own thoughts and I then distill all this in a few sentences in one paragraph.
How to Organize Your Talk Track
After you decide on the main topic (title of the vlog), you plan the sub-topics. Each sub-topic could be in its own paragraph.
Now you need to make sure the sub-topics are organized in a logical manner.
The organization of your vlog script includes two elements:
- The order in which you have chosen to present the different parts of your discussion or argument.
- The relationships you construct between these parts.
The organization of your sub-topics and the connectedness between them, allow your reader or viewer to easily follow your thoughts and understand your idea.
The key is to make sure that all paragraphs in the main body flow seamlessly from one another as part of one overall theme. Each paragraph may have its own sub-topic, but these different sub-topics should come together as a part of one main topic in your blog post or vlog script. As an example, when you start paragraph #2, it should be connected in some way to paragraph #1.
Transitions and pointing words can connect ideas between different paragraphs so that your post or video communicates unity and harmony. Typically the last sentence of the paragraph could serve as a transition.
Here is an example of using transition to connect paragraphs.
“If we are decided that rise in prices is now unavoidable, then steps must be taken to avert complete disaster.”
Here, you’re relying on the point you’ve just proven in this paragraph to serve as a springboard for the next paragraph’s main idea. This way, we use the final sentence to refer back to the topic sentence and also to lead into the following paragraph.
Here is another example of how to breakdown an idea into sub-parts and present it as connected paragraphs.
In a vlog about the effect of YouTube on teens, the topic of one paragraph could be:
“YouTube provides teens with entertainment and access to unbounded information.”
In the opening sentence of the next paragraph, you could write:
“While there is a lot of positive value in YouTube, videos also lead to huge wastage of time.”
The goal of connecting ideas and paragraphs is to guide your visitor along the conversation path you develop. This way your visitors would find it easy to understand your idea. Remember you are only one click away from losing your visitor. If that visitor has trouble following your idea, then he or she would instantly click away in frustration. If your visitor can get what you are saying, they will stay to hear you out.
When you review your script or blog post as a whole, look at all the different parts of the post with a critical eye. Cut out all the words, sentences and paragraphs which seem superfluous. The worst videos I have watched are those in which the vlogger rambles on and on. As Stephen King said, “When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
Make It Easy for the Viewer to Understand You
Even more important than creating spellbinding content, your main goal should be that your viewers or readers should easily understand the idea you are trying to communicate.
Focus on one main topic in your video, and make sure that the different sub-topics you present in different paragraphs are connected together in a harmonious way.
It looks like a lot of academic clap-trap, but trust me, your videos would sound so much more pleasing if you follow these tips. And it’s not a lot of work either – once you have written a few video scripts all this would become a natural part of your writing and conversation style.
Sometime back, I heard this comment from a friend, “Hey, your channel is so much more enjoyable now. Your vlogging has really improved a lot!” Guess, what I had changed in my vlog scripts? I had simply started focusing making my paragraphs to be connected together.
Whether you are creating a quirky video, or whether you are delivering a corporate talk, these tips on unity and harmony would highlight you as a savvy presenter.
Tips to Make Your Post or Vlog Awesome
In the last paragraph we talked about ways to communicate harmony in the overall structure of your video script.
In this paragraph we look at some of the techniques which let you milk maximum mileage out of each video or blog post.
Hook, Body, CTA
Whether you are writing a blog post, or a video script, and whether you are creating a 2 minute video or an hour long movie – you should have at least three key elements in your video script, viz., Hook, Body, CTA (Call to Action).
Hook: How will you grab your reader’s attention?
Body: What’s the main idea in your post or video?
CTA (Call to Action): What action will your video inspire people to take? Make your last paragraph to be a call to action – suggest to your readers something to do – e.g. subscribe to your channel, follow you on Twitter or Like your Facebook page. A great CTA doesn’t commit a person to a purchase. Rather, it invites them to receive updates, subscribe, or start a free trial. The call to action (CTA) has a fascinating psychology behind it which says that the human mind expects the call to action. People are 80% more likely to do something when you explicitly ask them to do so. You want people to like your video – why not ask them? Why be coy and leave it to chance?
How do you weave all these different elements – hook, body, cta – in your vlog script? We have created a template to help you plan a killer blog (or vlog) using all these elements seamlessly: How to Write your First Blog Post with Confidence: Create Mind-Blowing Blogs with Zavesti Blog Template : https://www.zavesti.com/beginner-bloggers-zavesti-blog-template/ Though this template talks about bloggers, it is equally applicable to vlogs on YouTube. If you could make only one change in your video making (seriously, I do mean just one), make this change and start using this free template to create your vlogs. Download, print and use this template. Simply using this template will put you ahead of 90% of the vloggers! Link to the killer vlog/blog script template: https://www.zavesti.com/beginner-bloggers-zavesti-blog-template/
Stories, Anecdotes, Reminiscences, Firsthand Accounts, Interviews, News
Include examples and personal stories from your life or those you know. These can be very simple stories in a few sentences, which touched you. These little anecdotes will bring authenticity to your channel.
You can also include quotes or short interesting stories you research on the web. However try to find some new or less well-known stories so you don’t sound trite.
Include informal interviews: You can discuss the topic with your acquaintances informally and include their point of views without mentioning their names.
Is there some news related to your topic? Search on news.google.com.
Spelling and Grammar
Use Microsoft Word or free Google docs (you need to install a few spelling/grammar add-ons if using Google docs) to check for spelling & grammar.
Tips for Research
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” —Samuel Johnson
I never start from a blank slate. A few minutes of research always warms me up to my topic and puts me in the mood for writing or vlogging.
Research could be as simple as a few minutes of Google search. When doing my own research I typically check on what has already been said on the topic I am planning, and then I think about how I can provide a newer perspective on that topic. I also check for Google images and videos, which may inspire me to include eye-catching illustrations or videos.
Use different keywords in google to search.
In Google settings – make Google Instant Predictions: “Never show instant results” and Results per page “100” – This way it’s easier to do research on a topic.
Tips for Authenticity: Focus on Originality
There is no need to pilfer works of other creators. By focusing on originality you will develop an authentic style which will serve you in the long run. Vlogging is marathon, not a sprint. Trying to make a quick viral video by hustling content from others will not much benefit you. As a YouTuber said, “It’s very easy to make a viral video, but longevity and consistency, that’s hard.” If you want your channel to be successful, make sure your article is original, written in your words.
If you have hired someone else, say a Fiverr freelancer, to write a blog post, or vlog script for you can make sure that they are giving you original content only by checking for plagiarism: https://www.plagtracker.com/upload/#
You can pick ideas, phrases or words from other publications but not entire sentences. However it doesn’t mean that we should not mine the internet for inspirations. Vloggers and bloggers remix and reuse materials and frequently incorporate copyrighted materials from other sources in order to develop powerful digital stories.
Fair use (Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act) is a legal doctrine that says you can reuse copyright-protected material under certain circumstances without getting permission from the copyright owner. Here is a checklist for YouTubers on what they can “borrow” from others: https://www.youtube.com/yt/about/copyright/fair-use/
I would recommend that you include all references (links) which you have used, at the end of your blog post (or in your video description), as we have done in this post.
And of course, as far as possible choose references which are reliable and good.
While contemporary content is all copyrighted, there is a goldmine of completely free content which is available for you to resuse. Works before 1920 are no longer subject to copyright and we can use them in our own work freely. However do not lift large portions from pre-written work – Google penalizes such content. Remember also, that translations of such work if done after 1920 may not be copyright free.
Finally, have someone else read your written words – whether it be a blog or a script for a video. You will be surprised how another human being can give a very useful alternative perspective to improve your writing.
Tips for Keeping Your Viewers Riveted: Storytelling
I am stating the obvious when I say that people crave and seek out great stories almost as much as food and water.
Which social media platform you use – YouTube, Facebook, Medium – doesn’t matter as long as you tell a good story. As the YouTube superstar, Michelle Phan says: “Platforms – they come and go, but storytelling is forever.”
Storytelling is a timeless tool. In the ancient world, medicine men kept their tribes enthralled with stories. Today, large corporations encourage employees to present the humdrum technology topics, prosaic business proposals and corny marketing content as enticing stories.
Whenever you are writing a vlog script – think – how can you turn it into a story? Even a 2 minute video on the ethics of picking up your dog’s poo can be turned into a spellbinding story.
Your story doesn’t need to be a fascinating fiction, neither does it need to be an awe-inspiring reality show. Your own personal reminiscences or a firsthand account of some event you visited could be more interesting for your viewers than the sanitized, impersonal videos from mass media companies.
Here is an example of a personal story video.
A good story has so many elements – the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, the resolution – how do you weave all these elements in your vlog script?
We have created a template to organize all of these various story elements, and take you through the process of writing a story: Creative Writing in a Box: Write Your Amazing Story: https://www.zavesti.com/creative-writing-in-a-box-write-your-amazing-story/
The most popular YouTubers are those who tell a story in each video. If you master the art of storytelling, you will find your subscribers returning again and again.
In this guide we examined the foundational principles of writing a great article, vlog script or blog post. Whether you are a beginner blogger or a veteran YouTuber, this guide will serve as an invaluable “how to write” checklist for you. Happy writing 🙂
Our Favorite Videos for Teaching Story Elements: https://www.weareteachers.com/story-elements-videos/
An in-depth blog post by 21-time New York Times bestselling author, Jerry B. Jenkins, revealing the 7 most common story structures writers can use to craft compelling stories. It covers each structure, shows you when and how to use them, and gives the 4 elements all great story structures have in common: https://jerryjenkins.com/story-structures/
Fundamentals of Story Structure: https://writingcooperative.com/fundamentals-of-story-structure-e199f131a891
5 Elements Of A Compelling Nonprofit Story: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/5-elements-of-a-compelling-nonprofit-story