Ad scripting is every bit as much an art as it is a science. A good script earns you a loyal client. While not everyone is lucky enough to land a lucrative, highly creative assignment with a Fortune 500 company, Dean Rieck of Pro Copy Tips points out that there are many small businesses who have a need for direct response-style commercials for car dealerships, shoe stores and restaurants. Breaking into that market means steady income while you hone your craft. While it takes practice to perfect your ad writing skills, the underlying principles are simple.
Plan the ad carefully. When doing so, consider the product or service you are promoting. What is it, how will it benefit the customer, and how is your client better than the competition? Choose a vivid image, bold statement or provocative question that will catch your viewers’ attention. Considering your audience, choose the most effective way to communicate your message. A children’s pizza place, for example, needs to be billed as an exciting, fun place where kids can burn off excess energy. A painless dental clinic, on the other hand, must be presented as a safe and tranquil environment.
Write the commercial’s first draft. Balance creativity against the need to represent your client’s product or service. It is not uncommon, even for seasoned professionals, to create an ad that is so exciting and creative, the product gets lost in the hoopla. It’s easy, for example, to remember your favorite Super Bowl commercial, but remembering what it was actually advertising can be a different matter altogether. Repetition is the key. Repeat the product name as many as five to seven times for a 60-second spot. Video script templates are written in a two-column format. The audio track goes on the left side. The video track goes on the right.
Rehearse the script by reading it out loud. Generally speaking, one page of script equals one minute of video. However, that’s not always the case. Reading the script aloud will keep you on the right track. That’s true not just for time management. A phrase that looks witty on your computer screen may not work out well in the spoken word.
Revise the script. Chances are, the first draft was longer than intended. Condense wordy phrases like “in order to” into “to,” for example. Remove unnecessary transitory images and scenes. Most beginners aren’t aggressive enough when it comes to cutting away excess. They find it difficult to accept that five pages of exposition can easily be replaced with five powerful images that can be sketched out in 15 lines.