Youtube used to be funny cat videos, comedy skits and music videos.
Today, it’s where we learn. I can’t think of something that isn’t on Youtube these days.
B2B, B2C, creators…you name it. Everyone is on Youtube, which is why there are millions of videos uploaded. Every day.
The prime time to get on Youtube was probably 5 years ago.
People could put out videos with mediocre audio-visual quality. Maybe they had an outline to talk from or they winged it. B-roll…more like no-roll (bad joke, I know).
Yet, these Youtubers grew their channels to thousands (or millions) of subscribers. Then raked in the dough.
If you’re thinking you missed your chance, don’t worry.
You will have to compete with volume, but you can shine with quality.
“Good” videos are really “good enough”
I said it!
Yes, videos with hundreds of thousands of views are “good enough” because we don’t have high expectations for YT videos.
When I get on Youtube, these are my criteria for a “good” video:
- Does it have the information I need?
- Will it get me from point A to B?
- Is the audio quality tolerable?
(Doesn’t take much to impress me)
If the Youtuber delivered, I’ll give the video a thumbs up.
But, most Youtubers want more. They want me to subscribe. My expectations are higher.
And if they’re smart, they use Youtube to move me through their funnel toward the sale. My expectations are now even higher.
This is where most people fail because they don’t invest enough into their scriptwriting and planning stage.
More time in pre-production = less in production and post
(which saves you time and money)
I admit, there are a lot of factors that make or break a Youtube video. It’s not just your script.
But, your script plays a huge role. Whoever figures that out stands out while everyone else publishes to the Youtube void.
Tiago Forte is one of those rare people who nailed this. He has 42 videos on his channel…and 100K subscribers.
Tiago gets what it takes to “win” Youtube.
It’s easy to see this number and scoff at it. People have been making YT videos for ages with a fraction of that budget!
But, he doesn’t spend that all on production.
His videos look and sound great. The message, structure and flow of his videos are even better.
This is what we’ll expect from Youtube in a few years.
Over the next few Script Tips, I’ll break down Tiago’s Pick a Notes App: Your Notetaking Style (Part 1) video so you can replicate his video success.
This week, let’s look at his hook.
Tiago Forte: Youtube Case Study
Tiago Forte is the author of Building a Second Brain. Note taking is the foundation of his system.
His video Pick a Notes App: Your Notetaking Style (Part 1) has one goal– educate you on the type of note taker you could be and the best apps for you.
Most people start informative videos with, “Hi, I’m [INSERT NAME], I’m [INSERT CREDENTIALS]. Today, I’m going to talk about [INSERT TOPIC]…”
This intro gets the job done. But it’s boring.
Instead of giving us the standard YT intro, Tiago gives us:
- Preview of content points
A recipe for a strong engaging introduction.
Hook, Line and Keep (for 8 minutes)
This video hooks us with a question. What Tiago’s really doing though is painting a picture of our Cinderella transformation.
Few people get excited about their notetaker style or which apps to use.
Increased productivity, less stress and worry, and keeping track of important priorities is what we actually want. Because we get more time, peace of mind, and probably more money when we have these.
This hook focuses on the viewer, which is the right thing to do. People care about what you can do for them first. Then, they care about you (in the context of what you can do for them).
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the nature of business. That’s why the hook needs to tap into viewers’ problems or desires to engage them.
After hooking us, Tiago separates himself from the average student scribbling notes in English class.
Slip in The Credibility
Tiago seamlessly slips his credibility into this introduction. Then, he moves right into a second hook about discovering the 3 steps to making the decision about your note taking app.
People can forgive boring parts in an informative video (more than in a selling video). But, they still don’t want an 8-12 minute lecture.
Statements like, “I’ve actually discovered there are three steps to making this decision” function as a headline. It teases the information he’s about to give us and makes us want to know more.
Preview of Content Points
So far the introduction uses the same principles as selling videos to keep us engaged and build trust.
The goal of this video is to inform though. So, Tiago takes another minute to explain what those 3 steps are, and then he tells us what he’s going to talk about in this video.
As a viewer, you should never have to guess what you’re about to learn. It’s the educator’s/Youtuber’s job to tell you.
From my 8 years of teaching, I learned one important lesson– people need to know their learning objectives so they know if they’ve met those objectives or not.
This puts the learner in charge of their own learning, which is a powerful motivator and keeps people more engaged.
Plus, when you do this in a YT video, your audience can decide if this video has the information we need (and not waste time).
If you’re making content videos, put Tiago’s introduction in your swipe file.
- Skip the boring, “Hi, I’m…” intro
- Use direct response techniques in your YT videos to keep your audience engaged
- Your hook will make or break your video
- Now is the time to make content videos to grow your audience and business
Get more case studies like this:
Authority with a side of…
“Make $100,000 in 3 months!”
“Avoid these 3 mistakes or your business is DOOMED!”
“These 3 hacks are all you need to triple your income!”
Sure…is what I say scrolling past hundreds of titles promising me quick riches.
I’m skeptical as fffff… when I see these titles because making quick money is hard.
(Unless you sell a kidney or something. Which I am not about to do)
I’m also not a massive fan of these videos’ brand voices.
That “listen to me or you’ll fail!” voice.
They’re going for the authority angle. Fair play. I prefer my authority with a dose of empathy and friendliness though.
The “listen to me or fail” brand voice is riddled with fear. And I save my fear for heights, scary movies, and cows (you read that right).
In real life, voice is how we decide if we like someone. In content videos, it’s a big part of how we decide we like someone’s content AND if we’ll end up buying for them.
The Voice of (Nice) Authority
Tiago Forte has nailed his brand voice and it’s a magnet for his target audience.
In his videos, he’s teaching us about a system anyone can use. And he’s selling his system in a voice people want to trust.
Tiago’s brand voice is a voice of authority with a dose of accessibility and positivity. When I say voice, I don’t mean the way you sound. I mean the combination of your words, grammar, tone and sentence length. It’s an analytical way to look at voice.
Check out this line:
“Evernote kicked off the modern note taking phenomenon and has specialized over the years to be the best in class at collecting information from any number of different sources.”
Between his words and the grammar, he’s establishing his authority. He’s conversational, but he mixes in higher level words and grammar you’d expect in a presentation. Not a chat over lunch. This type of language makes us think of him as an authority figure instead of a friend.
If we said that line to a friend, it would probably read:
“Evernote started the modern note taking thing going on. And it’s become the best at collecting formation from a lot of different sources”.
The words are more informal and basic. Like you use with friends. Some creators go for this friend voice. But, Tiago has taken the authority route.
Authority can get a bad rep, but not Tiago’s. He uses a lot of positivity in his brand voice. Words like “best-in-class” is a lot more positive than saying “it’s fine or it’s good”.
And he actually speaks with a positive tone, so we get friendliness from the actual words and the way he speaks them.
He’s sitting in this video too, which puts him on our level. Making him accessible.
Pair that with his friendly smiles…
And I feel like I’m talking to a friendly teacher. Someone I feel confident learning from.
He gives off a “I’m here with knowledge if you want it” authoritative voice his audience expects and loves.
Tiago’s entire brand is logical and systematic. Like science in a way. And we associate science with authority, so it makes sense he’s educating us like an authority figure. He also has been building his system for years so he’s more than 2 steps ahead of us.
But science and systems can make people’s eyes glaze over. Tiago doesn’t want that. He wants us to feel like we can harness the power of a second brain. And he’s here to show us how…
Without shoving it down our throats, shaming us for being less organized, or scaring us with visions of our life and business in ruins.
People who value that pressure-free fountain of knowledge are attracted to his brand through his voice and message.
And our fear-loving friends will migrate to the clickbaity content of “Avoid these 3 mistakes or your business is DOOMED!”
(I hope that isn’t a real title. I’m afraid to look though 🤦🏻♀️)
I think voice analysis is super cool because you can see why we feel the way we do about brands. I have spent a lot of time analyzing voice thanks to Justin Blackman’s and Abbey Woodcock’s Codex Persona course. It has opened the rabbit hole, but…
NOW I CAN BECOME ANYONE!
You don’t need to worry about analyzing your voice though because…it’s your voice. People sometimes try to change their voice in video though.
Which you don’t want to do.
Stay True to Your Voice
While I’m over here impersonating brands (for their copy I swear)…
You should stay true to your voice and the brand you’re building. People want authentic videos and using your voice is a big part of that. Voice is also part of what makes your brand unique.
A ton of small businesses and creators all want to be accessible and authoritative. But, the exact combination of your words, grammar and sentence length make up your unique voice.
There are patterns of course. The more accessible you want to be, the more basic you go in words and grammar. And ramp up the words and sentence length for more authority.
But, your voice is still your voice and that’s the voice you should use for your video content (unless you’re right a video script for a client. Then use their voice)
Then after you write your script, put it to the ultimate test.
The fail proof voice test.
The “Would I say that?” Test
People always say read your script after you write it. And it’s good advice.
If the words coming out of your mouth don’t sound like you..
It’s not your voice.
And these words should sound like confident, relaxed you. Not,
OMG I HOPE NO ONE THINKS I’M A FRAUD I SWEAR I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING
Because the less like you it sounds, the harder you’re going to trip over your words when you shoot the video (and maybe 11 takes later you’ll have something presentable).
- Your brand voice helps attract your perfect audience
- Stay true to your voice
- Read your script in editing. If you do nothing else but this, you’re be 10x better off. Trust me. I do voice overs on the side and…it’s grim out there.
Get more case studies like this:
Keep It Moving
Watching people stare down the camera in content videos is boring–This is a fact.
“Talking head” style videos are still the norm though. This makes sense because they’re easy to make.
Turn on the camera, hit record, talk and you’re done.
But they can be so boring.
Sitting in front of your computer to watch someone talk for 10 minutes…It gets old quick. You probably don’t have to imagine it actually. You have probably already watched tons of these videos.
And by watch I mean you clicked on the video, started losing focus a minute in and suddenly you have no idea how you’re 5 minutes into the video and can’t remember what’s going on.
But, it’s not your fault.
The glaring issue with talking head videos is there’s no interaction.
Without interaction, you’re trapped with…
(dare I say it?)
The dreaded lecture 🥲
The last thing you want is for your audience to think your video is like a lecture. But that’s exactly what they’re going to think if all they see is you talking at the camera for 10 minutes.
You need interaction.
And you get that interaction in a talking head style video with visual movement.
Cue the b-roll and motion graphics.
A lot of people don’t think about these things until editing though. That’s a mistake. Your audience’s visual experience shouldn’t be an afterthought. Plus, if you plan your visuals when you write the script, you will save hours in production and editing.
This is why we’re still looking at Tiago’s Notetaking style and app video. If you haven’t put this in your swipe file yet, now is the time.
Show Me. Don’t Tell Me
Tiago’s scriptwriter and editor should get a prize with how well Tiago’s video plays with the visuals to keep us engaged. It’s so good, you probably won’t notice it unless you actively pay attention to
I consider his video a “talking head” video because we have a lot of Tiago talking at the camera like this as the main footage:
But in this 8 minute video, the longest we see this single shot is 1 minutes and 9 seconds at the end.
The rest of the video doesn’t show this shot for more than 30 seconds at time before cutting to b-roll like this:
I see this and think, “I wonder which one I am?” long before Tiago explains them. You want your audience to do the same.
When people start thinking about themselves, they want to know more. Which means they keep watching the video.
And in this scene, we see several popular note taking apps.
“Oh hey! There’s Apple notes. I use that all the time.”
“Notion– all my creator friends rave about Notion!”
”Evernotes been around for ages!”
“And what are these other ones?”
Again, I’m bringing my thoughts and feelings to the table and getting more invested in watching.
In video, “show, don’t tell” is a guiding principle. Well, it’s more of a guiding principle in the film industry.
But films keep our attention for 2+ hours and leave us wanting more. Marketing should borrow this principle so those 5-10 minute videos don’t feel like they drag on for 2 hours. 🥱
If you have a choice between showing it and telling it, show it.
But I Lie. Sometimes You Should Show and Tell It
Text on the screen is an easy way to emphasize your point. The visuals are there to reinforce your verbal message and make it more concrete.
We’re more likely to remember something we’ve heard and seen than something we just heard.
Text on the screen is also an easy way to break up long stretches of a shot because you’re adding something new to the scene.
You don’t want to overuse this strategy though. Remember all those slide decks full of text?
Text makes people stop listening so they can read. But if they stop listening, they aren’t getting your entire message.
Think about what makes sense for the point you’re trying to make and ask if text is helping or harming your viewer’s watching experience.
- Plan your visuals (I know I sound like a broken record)
- Use b-roll and motion graphics to show, not tell
- Use text to highlight key points. Don’t overuse it though.