7 Essential Strategies for Writing Killer Copy for Your Video Sales Letters.

So far, in this article series, we’ve gathered all of our key material and considered the importance of “rising action”. Does that mean we’re ready to start writing our Video Sales Letter (VSL) script?

No!

Remember, the more time you spend in prep and planning your VSL, the easier it will be when it comes to actually writing the copy. It’s like my Mama always says:

“Haste makes waste.”

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I don’t think she invented that expression, but it’s good advice anyway.

What you’re trying to do is get to the point where you’re so confident in WHAT your message is going to be and HOW you’re going to communicate it, that writing your script is simpler than your anxieties are imagining at this moment.

This is important because it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to get part way through writing their script and hit a brick wall. What should only take them a few hours, ends up taking weeks.

Or worse, it never gets finished. People get paralyzed in the overwhelm of it and wind up sticking with the same old, outdated marketing strategies they’ve been failing with for years.

So… here are seven tips that will get you ultra prepared for writing your VSL script.

  1. Copy writing is secondary to the message
  2. Design is secondary to the message
  3. Mix up the visuals
  4. Killer Copy needs Killer Structure
  5. Write first, polish later
  6. Start out as bombastic as you can
  7. Wordsmith to your heart’s content

Let’s dig in…

  1. Copy writing is secondary to the message

You’re going to work on your script for a while and polish it until it shines, but you shouldn’t stress about it. The precise words you use, the smart order in which you arrange them, and the pleasing cadence with which you deliver them, are all of less importance than the quality of your offer, and the benefits and testimonials you choose to highlight.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read the first two articles in this series. If you’ve followed the guidance and the exercises in those discussions, the pressure on your copy writing will diminish.

Essentially, it’ll feel like you’re simply filling in the blanks.

Read The First Five Critical Steps to Creating Sleek Video Sales Letters

Read How to Use “Pacing” to Propel Your VSLs and “Rising Action” to Catapult Your Conversions, Even if You’re a Total Newb

  1. Design is secondary to the message

Get your marketing team together and discuss your VSL and everyone will want to talk about whether to use live video, slides, screen-capture, animation, claymation, and so on…

But if the copy writing is less important than the message, then the design is even less so.

There are lots of ways to go with a VSL, sure, and it’s exciting to brainstorm the possibilities, but in the long run your design choices for your video are going to have a fairly small impact on your conversions when compared to your offer and how you present it.

Consider your VSL with your team (or with your mastermind group, if you’re a solopreneur), certainly, but make sure the thrust of your discussion is about your offer, the benefits you’re planning to highlight, and the stories you’re going to tell.

Mix up the visuals to reset viewer attention and focus

  1. Mix up the visuals

After you’ve settled on a clear direction for the message of your VSL, make a decision on the presentation style you’re going to use.

I’m not going to tell you that one style is more effective than another because, in truth, your choice is going to be primarily determined by the resources you have available. If you decide to use basic PowerPoint slides and some “talking head” video, that will do just fine. And if you can afford to get some fancy slides created or you can hire a 3D animator, even better.

But, whatever you decide, what IS absolutely critical is that you mix up the visuals, changing the presentation style every few minutes.

If you’re using a combination of “talking head,” slides and screen-capture, keep jumping backwards and forwards between the different styles as you progress. This helps to prevent the audience from becoming distracted or their mind wandering.

Each time the visual changes, it’s like hitting a mental reset button and your audience refreshes their concentration.

If you want to see a classic example of this technique, go and watch SportsCenter for 30 minutes. Note how frequently the visuals change, never allowing you an opportunity to get bored with what you’re seeing.

  1. Killer Copy needs Killer Structure

You’ve established some awesome benefits (and benefits of benefits) and you can deliver them wrapped up in a great story, but if you don’t have a strong underlying structure your conversions are going to tank.

Before you put pen to paper (or more likely, fingers to keyboard), you should plot out your VSL, from start to finish, including your introduction, your story, your offer, and your close.

At Genndi we call these beats, “Plot Points,” and a typical VSL that we produce has over 30 of them. Until you have all of your Plot Points mapped out and laid out in a logical sequence, you’re not ready to begin writing.

*In the next article I’m going to give you a full outline for a sample VSL, including every single Plot Point that we’ve used (and continue to use) to great, profitable effect.

Get your script down on paper, no matter how rough. You can polish later.

  1. Write first, polish later

Once you have all of your Plot Points in order, and you have the benefits, pain points, solutions, and testimonials from your brainstorming sessions in hand, you can begin writing your script.

Write the copy for each Plot Point, paying careful attention to the approximate length of time you’ve decided to give to each item. 120 words will represent around one minute of video, but you’ll need to round up or down depending on how fast you talk (Andy Jenkins, for instance, can easily hit 180-200 words per minute when he’s really amped up).

Don’t agonize over every word and sentence, otherwise this task will take you forever. The whole point of brainstorming and creating your outline of Plot Points in advance is so you don’t have to think too much about each step.

*You might even find it easier just to record yourself talking about each Plot Point, get the recordings transcribed, then tidy up the text.

Polishing your script to improve it is going to come right at the end, so try not to edit as you go along. Just get the script written as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  1. Start out as bombastic as you can

Even if you feel like your market is too high-brow for a bit of good old-fashioned spectacle (OMG – this automated trading system is totes amazeballs), start off full throttle.

Your industry might be “classy”, but on an individual basis people’s trigger points are all much the same. That rotisserie oven infomercial works on everyone, whether their IQ is 150 or 75.

Plus, it’s always easier to turn down the intensity than it is to turn it up. If you come to recording the script and the words sound forced and uncomfortable in your mouth, you can tone down the rhetoric a little.

  1. Wordsmith to your heart’s content

Once your first draft is done, you can go to town tweaking and polishing your script. At some point, you have to stop and just get on with recording it, but because this is the last part of the writing process, and the hard part is done, you can feel free to expend some time and energy wordsmithing the heck out of your creation.

Review each Plot Point individually and ask yourself questions like…

  • Am I being too direct – will this Plot Point inspire curiosity?
  • Have I sufficiently built up this “reveal” – will the audience feel like they’ve just discovered something spectacular?
  • Am I ramping up the positive (or negative) tension enough or does it need more intensity?
  • Is the action still rising or have the last few minutes gone flat?

Again, don’t stress too much about trying to attain perfection. It’s incredibly hard to judge how effective a VSL will be until you unleash it into the wild. You’re going to use your analytics to assess and tweak your creation over the coming weeks and months, so this exercise is primarily about looking for obvious weaknesses that you can fix.

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When all is said and done, there’s no penalty if you decide to hire a copywriter to come in and do a job for you. But if you prefer to tackle this important job yourself (or if your resources won’t stretch to that kind of cost), I hope this article has sufficiently disabused you of the idea that writing a killer VSL script is a painful, tedious process.

Gather the discipline to do the brainstorming and create your outline, and the writing will be a breeze.

One bonus tip for you, especially if you’re planning to write a lot of these things, is to invest in these two books to keep on your desk:

Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas

Phrases That Sell : The Ultimate Phrase Finder to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas

They’re great to dip into when you need fresh ideas to spice up your copy!

In the next article in this series I’ll reveal the outline we use for our VSLs: High-Converting Video Sales Letter Key Plot Points. Stay tuned!

Are you looking for a foolproof, professional platform to showcase your VSL, and deliver amazing content to the world all while you’re… on vacation, taking your daughter to her first dance, learning to build a bookcase, finally using that gift certificate for your birthday massage from last year?

It’s NOT too good to be true. Nope.

It’s EverWebinar. Check it out today!

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Andy Jenkins
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Film producer (Haxan Films, producer of “The Blair Witch Project”) and SaaS guru (“Stompernet; Video Genesis”) Andy Jenkins is co-founder and CEO of Genesis Digital. Combining marketing savvy with bold vision, he has propelled Genesis Digital to a strong marketplace position.

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