How to write a YouTube script that engages your audience: The ultimate guide

Are you looking to create better narratives in your YouTube videos? Learn how to write a YouTube script that keeps people hooked.
March 30, 2024
Elise Dopson
In this article
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There’s no beating around the bush: if you want to take your YouTube video production to the next level, you need to be writing scripts for every video you publish. It’ll make your videos more consistent and more polished—two things that drive up viewership and attract new subscribers.

If you’ve never written a script before, don’t rule yourself out. This step-by-step guide teaches you how to write a YouTube script from scratch, complete with five bonus tips to make your outlines more engaging for viewers.

What is a YouTube script?

A YouTube script is a document that lays out what you’ll say in your video. Instead of just hitting record and saying whatever enters your brain, reading from a video script will ultimately help you produce better videos because you’ll be prepared. The document will serve as a list of key points you want to cover. 

There are a number of ways to write a YouTube script, depending on your presentation style. If you’re an experienced writer who can deliver a line naturally, writing your script verbatim will work well. If you prefer a more off-the-cuff delivery, a summary of the main points could be all you need. However you do it, a script will make your delivery smoother, more logically consistent, and much easier to edit.

3 reasons why you need a YouTube video script

Now we know what a YouTube script is, let’s take a look at why you should include them in your pre-production process. 

Better engagement

You didn’t start a YouTube channel to shout into the void. To get people interacting with your videos, you need to make them engaging. That’s where preparation comes into play.

A script allows you to plan out a hook that makes people want to watch, a beat-by-beat narrative that keeps them watching, and questions and CTAs that get them to take action. The longer they watch and the more they engage with your content, the higher your video will climb in YouTube’s ranks.

More impact

Spending time on your YouTube script allows you to dive deeper into specific topics. Research might change the way you approach the subject. Using statistics and real-life stories to corroborate your point can help you make a stronger impact with your videos. 

📺 Start learning: How do teleprompters work and do I need one?

Consistency

People feel more comfortable when they know what to expect from someone. If you’re a creator that publishes vastly different types of content each time you upload to YouTube, people won’t understand you or know what to expect, which could deep them from subscribing to your channel.

But if you create a video script template and use it for every new video, your content creation process will follow the same workflow and result in consistent videos—not just in terms of quality, but outline and structure too. 

How to write a YouTube script in 5 easy steps

  1. Identify your target audience
  2. Create an outline
  3. Define your hook
  4. Incorporate visual cues
  5. Practice your script and get feedback 

1. Identify your target audience

Before you put pen to paper, you need to know who you’re talking to in your YouTube content. Start by outlining your target audience—this will guide you when writing a script because you’ll have a better understanding of what they need to hear. 

Key things to keep in mind about your target viewers:

  • Age, gender, and location
  • Challenges or pain points
  • Goals and motivations

Let’s put that into practice and say you’re a skincare content creator who is producing a YouTube video about skincare routines. If you didn’t know your audience inside out, you’d likely take a generic route and talk to people similar to yourself.

But if you know that your ideal viewer is a premenopausal woman who is suffering with breakouts because her hormones are changing, you’d write a completely different script—one with a much higher chance of not only reaching your audience, but engaging them too. 

2. Create an outline

Now that you know who you’re talking to, it’s time to start drafting your script. The document doesn’t have to be anywhere near video-ready yet. Your goal at this stage is to just move away from the blank page and jot down some bullet points to weave into your YouTube script. 

Start with some keyword research to understand the words someone would search for to find your video. For example: if you’re creating a YouTube video around the topic of walking for fat loss, your keyword research might indicate you should talk about the following topics in your script: 

  • Why walking helps with fat loss
  • How to calculate your step count target
  • Tips to increase your steps 

From there, you can start to organize the talking points into sections. This will make it easier for you to cover a point in detail before moving onto the next, rather than jumping back and forth and making it much harder for viewers to follow.

3. Define your hook

Any good script has a strong hook. YouTube viewers have a plethora of videos to watch, and you need something to catch someone’s eye and convince them to watch yours.

The problem is: you don’t have long. The average viewer’s attention span is just over eight seconds, so your YouTube script needs to start off with a strong hook; something that:

  • Piques someone’s interest
  • Sparks an emotional response
  • Resonates with your ideal viewer’s goals or challenges

Take this intro to Steven Bartlett’s vlog, for example. He introduces the video with a quick rundown of what his week looks like, complete with video clips of city skylines, him sleeping in cars, and him talking onstage to a theater full of people. It’s exciting, and viewers will know this video is for them within just a few seconds.


‎4. Incorporate visual cues

A video script isn’t just a place for you to jot down what someone will hear when they tune into your YouTube video. The best YouTube script templates have visual cues to marry the audio to what a viewer sees on screen, such as:

  • Callouts or annotations 
  • Transitions from one scene to another 
  • B-roll to illustrate what you’re talking about (e.g. if you’re talking about dirt bikes, stock video footage of someone riding a bike) 

This process is made easy with Descript. Once you’ve written your YouTube video script and recorded the video footage, you can add transitions, B-roll, and even sound effects without leaving the script.

Compilation image of Descript video editing features

5. Practice your script and get feedback

The first draft won’t be the best one—that’s normal. Spend some time playing around with your script’s structure, language, and hook before you sit down to record. It’ll save any “Oh, I wish I said that instead!” moments during the editing process. 

Read your video script out loud to pick out any phrases that don’t sound right. If an idea pops into your head as you read, incorporate it into the video script and read it again.

Get friends and family—or even better, someone who already watches your YouTube channel—to take one last pass over your script. These people know who you are and what you sound like, so they’re the best ones to pick out any inconsistencies in your script and make sure your personality is still there. 

5 bonus tips and tricks to write a good YouTube script

Write in a conversational tone

The YouTube creators who go viral and build loyal audiences do it because their followers can connect with them. That’s easier to do when your audience can easily understand what you’re saying. Big words and complicated jargon can turn viewers off—instead, write your script as if you’re explaining something to a friend.

A good way to judge whether your script will go over people’s heads is by using a writing assistant like Hemingway Editor, which rates the reading level of your writing. Aim for Grade 6 as a best practice, but don’t be afraid to adjust this based on your audience. If you’re creating kids’ videos, for example, you’d want a lower grade, whereas if you’re talking to founders about complex finance topics, you’d likely aim for a higher one.

Screenshot of Hemingway App main page with sample text

Open a curiosity gap

A curiosity gap is a statement that makes viewers want to learn more, and it’s key to winning your audience’s interest and keeping them watching. Start your video with a question or a surprising statement, then keep opening more curiosity gaps throughout the video once the original question is satisfied. Be specific, but don’t give everything away too soon—you want to leave your audience wanting more.

Use pattern interrupts

A pattern interrupt is a change in language style that breaks your viewer’s thought pattern. If a section of your video script is too monotone, a viewer might know what’s coming next. But if you throw a pattern interrupt into the mix, it shocks them and makes them more engaged—which could make them less likely to click away from your video. 

Include a call to action

A call to action (CTA) tells someone what to do after watching your video. Whether you make money on YouTube or you’re just trying to build your audience, there are specific things you probably want your audience to do for you—and you need to be obvious with your ask.

In the outro of your YouTube script, be explicit about what the viewer should do. That might be:

  • Subscribe to your YouTube channel
  • Tune into a video playlist
  • Follow you on social media 
  • Join your email list
  • Visit the website of the brand that’s sponsoring your video

⚡  Pro tip: When you publish your video, add cards anywhere you’ve put a CTA, and an end card at the end of your video. These features allow you to show links and suggested videos so you can make your CTA more effective.

Write short sentences

You want viewers to hang on every word you say. If your script is littered with lengthy sentences, you’ll run the risk of not only confusing viewers, but losing their attention. Keep sentences short and to the point. It might look blunt when those shorter sentences are written down, but they come across much more naturally when you read from your script.

⚡️ Pro tip: We’re all guilty of using words like “um,” “uh”, and “like” in our daily speech. Filler Word Removal is an AI-powered tool that’s available in Descript. It’ll automatically find those unnecessary words and remove them from your video—without having to search for them yourself. 


‎Repurpose your script

A YouTube script takes time and effort to create, but it doesn’t have to go to waste. Instead of throwing your script into the trash once you’ve used it to record a YouTube video, repurpose the document to get more mileage out of your content. For example, you could:

  • Post the video script on your blog and embed the YouTube video
  • Use snippets from the script as social media captions
  • Add the script or outline into your YouTube video description

The YouTube video description use case, in particular, can help you reach more people on the video sharing platform. YouTube has its own search algorithm that connects viewers with new videos that are most relevant to their search query. If you’ve got keywords in your script and you add them to your YouTube video description, you’ll increase the odds of appearing in YouTube search results for those queries.

Create high-quality YouTube video scripts with Descript

The most successful YouTubers invest in tools that help them be more productive and produce high quality content. Descript checks both of those boxes, making it the ultimate tool for script writing and video editing.

As a free video editing software, Descript has a bunch of AI tools that make the entire YouTube video production process much smoother, including:

  • Eye Contact to readjust your glaze if you were reading from a script
  • Filler Word Removal to make your appear more confident on camera
  • Script Rewriter that trims down the bloat in your self-drafted script 
  • Studio Sound to remove background noise and improve audio quality 
  • Social Post Writer to suggest captions or tweets to use when promoting your videos

The best part: there’s a bunch of tutorials and templates to get you up to speed, so you can start editing your first video within minutes.

Take a free tour today and see why some of the world’s top creators use Descript. 


Elise Dopson
Elise Dopson is a freelance writer, creator, and fierce Descript user. She's also the co-founder of Peak Freelance.
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How to write a YouTube script that engages your audience: The ultimate guide

Images of a blue and white keyboard with flying keys

There’s no beating around the bush: if you want to take your YouTube video production to the next level, you need to be writing scripts for every video you publish. It’ll make your videos more consistent and more polished—two things that drive up viewership and attract new subscribers.

If you’ve never written a script before, don’t rule yourself out. This step-by-step guide teaches you how to write a YouTube script from scratch, complete with five bonus tips to make your outlines more engaging for viewers.

What is a YouTube script?

A YouTube script is a document that lays out what you’ll say in your video. Instead of just hitting record and saying whatever enters your brain, reading from a video script will ultimately help you produce better videos because you’ll be prepared. The document will serve as a list of key points you want to cover. 

There are a number of ways to write a YouTube script, depending on your presentation style. If you’re an experienced writer who can deliver a line naturally, writing your script verbatim will work well. If you prefer a more off-the-cuff delivery, a summary of the main points could be all you need. However you do it, a script will make your delivery smoother, more logically consistent, and much easier to edit.

3 reasons why you need a YouTube video script

Now we know what a YouTube script is, let’s take a look at why you should include them in your pre-production process. 

Better engagement

You didn’t start a YouTube channel to shout into the void. To get people interacting with your videos, you need to make them engaging. That’s where preparation comes into play.

A script allows you to plan out a hook that makes people want to watch, a beat-by-beat narrative that keeps them watching, and questions and CTAs that get them to take action. The longer they watch and the more they engage with your content, the higher your video will climb in YouTube’s ranks.

More impact

Spending time on your YouTube script allows you to dive deeper into specific topics. Research might change the way you approach the subject. Using statistics and real-life stories to corroborate your point can help you make a stronger impact with your videos. 

📺 Start learning: How do teleprompters work and do I need one?

Consistency

People feel more comfortable when they know what to expect from someone. If you’re a creator that publishes vastly different types of content each time you upload to YouTube, people won’t understand you or know what to expect, which could deep them from subscribing to your channel.

But if you create a video script template and use it for every new video, your content creation process will follow the same workflow and result in consistent videos—not just in terms of quality, but outline and structure too. 

How to write a YouTube script in 5 easy steps

  1. Identify your target audience
  2. Create an outline
  3. Define your hook
  4. Incorporate visual cues
  5. Practice your script and get feedback 

1. Identify your target audience

Before you put pen to paper, you need to know who you’re talking to in your YouTube content. Start by outlining your target audience—this will guide you when writing a script because you’ll have a better understanding of what they need to hear. 

Key things to keep in mind about your target viewers:

  • Age, gender, and location
  • Challenges or pain points
  • Goals and motivations

Let’s put that into practice and say you’re a skincare content creator who is producing a YouTube video about skincare routines. If you didn’t know your audience inside out, you’d likely take a generic route and talk to people similar to yourself.

But if you know that your ideal viewer is a premenopausal woman who is suffering with breakouts because her hormones are changing, you’d write a completely different script—one with a much higher chance of not only reaching your audience, but engaging them too. 

2. Create an outline

Now that you know who you’re talking to, it’s time to start drafting your script. The document doesn’t have to be anywhere near video-ready yet. Your goal at this stage is to just move away from the blank page and jot down some bullet points to weave into your YouTube script. 

Start with some keyword research to understand the words someone would search for to find your video. For example: if you’re creating a YouTube video around the topic of walking for fat loss, your keyword research might indicate you should talk about the following topics in your script: 

  • Why walking helps with fat loss
  • How to calculate your step count target
  • Tips to increase your steps 

From there, you can start to organize the talking points into sections. This will make it easier for you to cover a point in detail before moving onto the next, rather than jumping back and forth and making it much harder for viewers to follow.

3. Define your hook

Any good script has a strong hook. YouTube viewers have a plethora of videos to watch, and you need something to catch someone’s eye and convince them to watch yours.

The problem is: you don’t have long. The average viewer’s attention span is just over eight seconds, so your YouTube script needs to start off with a strong hook; something that:

  • Piques someone’s interest
  • Sparks an emotional response
  • Resonates with your ideal viewer’s goals or challenges

Take this intro to Steven Bartlett’s vlog, for example. He introduces the video with a quick rundown of what his week looks like, complete with video clips of city skylines, him sleeping in cars, and him talking onstage to a theater full of people. It’s exciting, and viewers will know this video is for them within just a few seconds.


‎4. Incorporate visual cues

A video script isn’t just a place for you to jot down what someone will hear when they tune into your YouTube video. The best YouTube script templates have visual cues to marry the audio to what a viewer sees on screen, such as:

  • Callouts or annotations 
  • Transitions from one scene to another 
  • B-roll to illustrate what you’re talking about (e.g. if you’re talking about dirt bikes, stock video footage of someone riding a bike) 

This process is made easy with Descript. Once you’ve written your YouTube video script and recorded the video footage, you can add transitions, B-roll, and even sound effects without leaving the script.

Compilation image of Descript video editing features

5. Practice your script and get feedback

The first draft won’t be the best one—that’s normal. Spend some time playing around with your script’s structure, language, and hook before you sit down to record. It’ll save any “Oh, I wish I said that instead!” moments during the editing process. 

Read your video script out loud to pick out any phrases that don’t sound right. If an idea pops into your head as you read, incorporate it into the video script and read it again.

Get friends and family—or even better, someone who already watches your YouTube channel—to take one last pass over your script. These people know who you are and what you sound like, so they’re the best ones to pick out any inconsistencies in your script and make sure your personality is still there. 

5 bonus tips and tricks to write a good YouTube script

Write in a conversational tone

The YouTube creators who go viral and build loyal audiences do it because their followers can connect with them. That’s easier to do when your audience can easily understand what you’re saying. Big words and complicated jargon can turn viewers off—instead, write your script as if you’re explaining something to a friend.

A good way to judge whether your script will go over people’s heads is by using a writing assistant like Hemingway Editor, which rates the reading level of your writing. Aim for Grade 6 as a best practice, but don’t be afraid to adjust this based on your audience. If you’re creating kids’ videos, for example, you’d want a lower grade, whereas if you’re talking to founders about complex finance topics, you’d likely aim for a higher one.

Screenshot of Hemingway App main page with sample text

Open a curiosity gap

A curiosity gap is a statement that makes viewers want to learn more, and it’s key to winning your audience’s interest and keeping them watching. Start your video with a question or a surprising statement, then keep opening more curiosity gaps throughout the video once the original question is satisfied. Be specific, but don’t give everything away too soon—you want to leave your audience wanting more.

Use pattern interrupts

A pattern interrupt is a change in language style that breaks your viewer’s thought pattern. If a section of your video script is too monotone, a viewer might know what’s coming next. But if you throw a pattern interrupt into the mix, it shocks them and makes them more engaged—which could make them less likely to click away from your video. 

Include a call to action

A call to action (CTA) tells someone what to do after watching your video. Whether you make money on YouTube or you’re just trying to build your audience, there are specific things you probably want your audience to do for you—and you need to be obvious with your ask.

In the outro of your YouTube script, be explicit about what the viewer should do. That might be:

  • Subscribe to your YouTube channel
  • Tune into a video playlist
  • Follow you on social media 
  • Join your email list
  • Visit the website of the brand that’s sponsoring your video

⚡  Pro tip: When you publish your video, add cards anywhere you’ve put a CTA, and an end card at the end of your video. These features allow you to show links and suggested videos so you can make your CTA more effective.

Write short sentences

You want viewers to hang on every word you say. If your script is littered with lengthy sentences, you’ll run the risk of not only confusing viewers, but losing their attention. Keep sentences short and to the point. It might look blunt when those shorter sentences are written down, but they come across much more naturally when you read from your script.

⚡️ Pro tip: We’re all guilty of using words like “um,” “uh”, and “like” in our daily speech. Filler Word Removal is an AI-powered tool that’s available in Descript. It’ll automatically find those unnecessary words and remove them from your video—without having to search for them yourself. 


‎Repurpose your script

A YouTube script takes time and effort to create, but it doesn’t have to go to waste. Instead of throwing your script into the trash once you’ve used it to record a YouTube video, repurpose the document to get more mileage out of your content. For example, you could:

  • Post the video script on your blog and embed the YouTube video
  • Use snippets from the script as social media captions
  • Add the script or outline into your YouTube video description

The YouTube video description use case, in particular, can help you reach more people on the video sharing platform. YouTube has its own search algorithm that connects viewers with new videos that are most relevant to their search query. If you’ve got keywords in your script and you add them to your YouTube video description, you’ll increase the odds of appearing in YouTube search results for those queries.

Create high-quality YouTube video scripts with Descript

The most successful YouTubers invest in tools that help them be more productive and produce high quality content. Descript checks both of those boxes, making it the ultimate tool for script writing and video editing.

As a free video editing software, Descript has a bunch of AI tools that make the entire YouTube video production process much smoother, including:

  • Eye Contact to readjust your glaze if you were reading from a script
  • Filler Word Removal to make your appear more confident on camera
  • Script Rewriter that trims down the bloat in your self-drafted script 
  • Studio Sound to remove background noise and improve audio quality 
  • Social Post Writer to suggest captions or tweets to use when promoting your videos

The best part: there’s a bunch of tutorials and templates to get you up to speed, so you can start editing your first video within minutes.

Take a free tour today and see why some of the world’s top creators use Descript. 


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