Updated April 2020.
This post will provide advice on writing voice overs scripts for Elearner, Narration and Explainer videos.
A talented voice over actor can make a big difference to the success of your business by attracting new customers and providing your brand with a professional and personable voice.
No matter how talented the voice over actor is, they can only do so much with a poorly written script.
Why does this matter for your business?
Fifty-five percent of people watch videos online every day.
Including a video on your landing page can increase your conversion rates by 80 percent?
Videos can help your business grow, they can help explain how to use a product, or they can engage learners taking remote courses.
You need to create a story or lesson that engages your audience and holds their attention.
And to do that, you need a great voice over script.
That is why a well-written script is essential, and not just for business needs; other applications demand a quality voice and engaging delivery.
There is a wide array of voice over needs, including narration scripts, eLearning scripts, and explainer video scripts.
What these types of voice over scripts share are their length.
A narration voice over script is more lengthy than a greeting or call-direction.
In general, their purpose is to tell a story, teach a lesson or topic, or explain how something works.
The way we write is significantly different from the way we speak, and that is why professional scriptwriting tips matter.
Whether you need to write an e-learning script, a narration voice-over script, or an explainer video script, there are a few things that you need to know about how to compose a professional and engaging narrative that will enhance learning or attract new customers.
So how do you know which type of script will best suit your purposes?
A narration voice over is a versatile audio device with multiple applications.
Explainer and eLearning scripts are more specialized types of narration that, as their names suggest, aim to explain or teach an audience.
Keep on reading to find our top tips for drafting engaging narration voice-over scripts, with some specialized tips for each genre.
Narration voice over scripts cover a wide variety of applications, including Audio Manuals, Audio Books, Product Demonstration, Public Announcement Systems, and Corporate Training Videos, to name just a few.
More and more companies and services are using narrations and videos to promote their brand online and through other media such as television and radio.
Similar to your auto-attendant voice overs, you want a professional and personable voice that leaves your customers with a positive impression of your brand.
No matter your purpose, your script must be crafted to convey a professional message that suits your target audience.
Some general rules apply to all narration voice over scripts, and we will talk about these tips first.
You need to use clear, concise language that is appropriate for your audience. In other words, you need to use words that listeners will understand.
Your script should sound natural and organic as if you are having a face-to-face conversation with your audience.
Write every element of your narration voice over script in a professional, respectful, and personable tone.
Whether you are addressing customers, clients, or members of your team, your audience should feel like they are listening to a friend or a peer.
When you write scripts as you talk, keep your tone relaxed and conversational, this will help you to connect with your audience.
If you write the script as you would usually write an article or marketing copy, you run the risk that the narration will sound unnatural. You won't be able to hold the audience's attention.
It is best to write in the active voice and avoid using the passive voice.
In general, keep your narration voice over script in the present or future tense, unless you are talking about the origin story of your brand.
Get to the point as directly as possible.
Use precise language that focuses on the message you want to deliver.
While you likely have a lot you want to communicate about your products, services, and your brand, remember that you don’t need to address everything in one video.
Pick one takeaway, decide on a message, and focus your script around that.
Selecting a message that is focused and clear will generate more engagement and interest and ensure that the entire message is heard.
Make strategic use of silence, for example, pausing briefly after delivering your main message.
Whether your narration voice over script is single-authored or written by a team of writers, you want to keep a consistent tone.
The script should sound as though it is coming from one voice, one author or narrator, this makes the narrative consistent and lends credibility to the message.
Aim for consistency in tone of voice, perspective, use of contractions, and the overall rhythm and pace of the script.
Use transitions like meanwhile, so, yet, and therefore to indicate when you are moving from one sub-topic to the next.
Include a call to action, for example, "For more information, visit our website."
To check for the tone and pace, read your script out loud or have somebody else read it out for you.
Proofread, edit, and revise until you have a clear and compelling script.
An explainer video script is a narrative read by a voice over actor that accompanies a video animation.
Explainer videos are fantastic communication tools for companies, provided they tell the appropriate story, and that requires a well-crafted explainer video script.
Explainer videos work well for scientific reasons, related explicitly to Allan Paivio's Dual-Coding Theory.
A compelling story is crucial for the success of your video because it motivates both the audio and visual channels of the brain.
Explaining a complicated process or abstract concept takes effort.
To explain a concept or process in an engaging manner that leaves your viewer with a positive feeling toward your brand and delivers a memorable takeaway in a short narrative, the task can feel Herculean.
The story is the foundation of a strong explainer video script, so here are some tips on how to narrate a compelling story.
Your script needs to tell one story clearly and concisely.
Most explainer videos are either problem-solution or process walkthrough.
The following questions can help you and your team write an effective explainer video script.
Your conclusion should have a lasting impact.
An explainer should be simple and concise.
Draft an outline of your story using only five sentences; this will help you distill your narrative and identify the key takeaway(s).
Keep your sentences short and on-point, adopt a conversational style.
Make sure to keep your story relevant; it will be easier to capture and keep your viewer's attention.
As you write, remember to speak directly to the viewer, using their language.
Write in a second-person voice.
Use your tone, vocabulary, short stories, and other literary devices (see below) to help you communicate emotion.
Read your explainer video voice over script out loud to catch awkward sentences, cumbersome language, check for time and tone.
Revise and polish until you have a clear, concise script that will capture and hold your audience's attention.
Be sure to check for any typographical errors to ensure your voice over talent is working with a script that is error free.
Next, we are going to talk about eLearning.
The delivery of education is changing.
A growing number of students and institutions are turning to online education (eLearning), multi-media resources, course/research presentations, company training modules, and various other types of audio material to educate us and others.
Research indicates that human beings process and remember information through both auditory and visual input, so it is crucial that this educational audio is high-quality, orated in a clear and engaging style, and based on a well-organized eLearning script.
Experts on eLearning scripts point to some "best practices" for writing engaging eLearning scripts; these include keeping the script short by including only the most essential information and key takeaways. Learning retention is enhanced when you incorporate text and vivid images to enhance the audio narration.
Your eLearning scripts should sound natural so that online learners feel that they are engaging with a relatable person rather than a computer.
The use of conversational (character) voices is becoming more commonplace in e-learning voice-overs.
Conversational voice overs require a manner of interpretation and vocal delivery that mimics how an actual person speaks in live interactions.
The use of a character voice lends authenticity to the training program, which helps the listener better relate to different scenarios and better holds their interest.
Pepper your script with words like "we," "you," and "us" as much as possible to connect with them on a more personal level.
Check for warmth and animation, does your script need more personality?
Create mind maps, eLearning script storyboards, and outlines before you draft your eLearning voice over script.
A detailed timeline can help you to create an outline of your lesson.
For example, you might decide that the first minute of your eLearning script should outline the key points or concepts of the lesson, each of these comprises the next 5-minute portions of the text, followed by a discussion of the applications of the subject matter, if applicable. The final minutes should include a summary and end with a teaser about the next lesson.
Keep your language clear and straightforward.
Know your audience so that you can use vocabulary that is appropriate for their level of knowledge and expertise.
If you must use jargon or complicated language, be sure to include a clear definition.
"Show, don't tell."
It is nearly a cliché to say that a good writer can show, rather than tell.
Of course, an eLearning script must involve some telling, but the use of vivid imagery makes for a more effective learning experience.
Students are more likely to remember the content and key concepts when the lesson script portrays a clear picture.
To do this effectively, use adjectives and descriptors to make the lesson material meaningful and engaging.
Descriptive language is especially useful when integrating stories and real-world examples into your eLearning course design.
A compelling teaching narrative must be engaging.
The use of appropriate verbal imagery can help to draw your students in and keep their attention.
Appropriate verbal imagery uses literary devices such as visual metaphors, similes, and allegories only rarely unless, of course, you are teaching poetry or creative writing.
Use verbal imagery sparingly, resist the urge to describe every single detail.
Remember that the verbal imagery is there to enhance your eLearning script and help your online learners to understand the subject matter better.
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