Writing A Video Script In The Inverted Pyramid Style

Attention spans are shorter than ever and getting viewers to watch to the end of a video is a growing challenge. That’s why writing a video script in the inverted pyramid style is a perfect way to hook your viewers in and keep them watching.

The inverted pyramid style is a 3-step approach to writing where the most important information is related in the first paragraph, or in the case of video, the first 60 seconds. This gives a quick summary of your video to viewers so they get the gist of the content, even if they decide to click away to something else.

This is then followed by the ‘Body’ of your video that fleshes out the details and then onto the end ‘Tail’ section which includes your most prominent call to action.

It has its roots in journalism and whilst it doesn’t work for every type of video, using the inverted pyramid style is a great way to not just help hook viewers in and keep them watching, but also makes the process of writing much more straightforward.

The pyramid is broken down into three sections:

The ‘Lead’

When writing a script in the inverted pyramid style, the first section should address the most important information. If your audience was only going to watch the first few seconds of a film, you need to make sure they get all the key information straight away and understand what the film is about. The ‘Lead’ is designed to hook your audience into the film, giving them a complete idea of what your key message is, without going into massive detail.

For most films, this section should last no more than 60 seconds which is around 150 words of voiceover. Within that, you should be able to answer the six W’s as well – what, when, who, why, where and how.

Don’t be afraid to be provocative and bold. You want to hold the viewer’s attention for as long as possible so try to stand out. If you succeed, and they don’t click away to something else, the film then moves onto the ‘Body’.

The ‘Body’

The second part of an inverted pyramid style script is the ‘Body’. This is where you start to flesh out your script. Crucial information and details that expand upon the ‘Lead’ all go here. This is the meat of the video and where the bulk of your storytelling will be.

Having a powerful ‘Lead’ makes writing the ‘Body’ so much easier too. The key information that was promised in the ‘Lead’ should be expanded upon here. So split your ‘Body’ into several smaller sections. Each of these smaller sections can cover off a different key message, helping you stay focused and ensuring you cover off everything you mentioned in the ‘Lead’.

This makes structuring your script easier too. Having these smaller sections within the ‘Body’ means you can play with the order and see what structure works best from a narrative perspective.

Be bold – start each section with a strong opening sentence that catches the viewer’s out as well as covering a key message. You can then build on that for the remainder of the section and the writing will have a more natural flow to it.

The Tail

The final section in an inverted pyramid style script is the ‘Tail’. In journalism, where the style originated, this is where you’d put the least important content.

But video marketing is different, in fact, the content in the ‘Tail’ of your script is probably the most vital in the entire film – it’s the call to action.

Every film needs a call to action. What do you want your viewers to do after watching your film? They’re going to click away or do something once they’ve finished watching, so tell them what you want them to do!

Call to actions shouldn’t be restricted to just the end of the video, though. Subtly peppering call to actions throughout the ‘Body’ of your script gives viewers a number of chances to engage with you, plus, it makes the end call to action seem less of a jolt.

Either way, your most prominent call to action should be the very last thing in a film. Are you getting people to pick up the phone or click on a link? Whatever it is, make it clear.

Writing a video script in the inverted pyramid style is a guaranteed way to hook your viewers in from the very start with strong key messages and the promise of valuable content. It makes your writing better too.

Following the inverted pyramid style helps you better structure the rest of the video. Starting a script with a blank page is torture, but having the structure of ‘Lead’, ‘Body’ and ‘Tail’ to work from gets you off on the right foot. A strong ‘Lead’ will help build an informative ‘Body’ and ultimately guarantee greater conversion rates for in your Call To Action at the ‘Tail’.

And if it’s done well, it encourages viewers to stick around until the end of the video and improve your retention rate.

The inverted pyramid style works brilliantly for writing video blogs, explainer animations,  promotional videos – pretty much any short-form corporate video to be honest.

The world is full of distractions and your viewers might be impatient, bored and restless. So catering to their cravings with an engaging video that has a strong ‘Lead’ means that all viewers, even those who have no connection to you or your business, are more likely to get hooked.


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