How To Script YouTube Videos In 6 Steps

youtube Nov 07, 2018

Having an idea for a video or series is great but how do you get from that initial idea to a finished video?

That’s exactly what we’re covering here, I’m breaking it down into the 6 steps I go through and I've made a powerful fill in the blanks worksheet that will help you craft all your future videos!

And I want to say right up front, don’t underestimate the value of properly scripting out your videos. I’ve made them in the past that I recorded off the cuff and after spending a day filming and editing I uploaded them and thought

... what a load of rubbish!

If I’d have gone through this process I may have scrapped it early on or rewritten it so this is where the real work takes place.


I realised I was helping people with the mechanics of filming the videos but I hadn’t provided any guidance with the scripting, so here it is.

Now we’re looking  specifically at YouTube videos here but this could apply the same if you’re making course videos too.

Our content is typically an answer to someone’s question, a solution to their problem.

For example, I was asked by several of my students for guidance on making videos specifically for youtube so that lead to this training series.

But that was just one of many ideas I scribble down all the time. And they’re the source of my weekly videos. So start there and use some method of logging potential video ideas. I use a free program called Trello as you’ll see in a minute but you could use something as simple as the notes app in your phone.

So let me take you over the stages I went through to take that initial idea and turn it into the above video!

Step 1 - Waking up my brain

Sitting at my desk in the afternoon isn't going to cut it for me.

I grab myself that question that I'm going to turn into a topic and I head out with my dictaphone to walk the dog. I just hit record and start blurting out whatever comes to my mind on the topic, I don't care about the order, I am just waking up my brain at this stage.


Step 2 - Brain storming your idea

I get back to my office, or better still I go visit the local coffee shop, and I start scribbling on an A4 page anything and everything that comes to mind about this topic. When you download the worksheet I’ve left a whole page blank for this stage!


So I’ve started with my question in the middle of the page and i surround it with all my thoughts.

There's no wrong things to put down, if something ends up not fitting this time then it may well be a future topic in itself so put it down anyway.

I keep going till I dry up. Then I go away, do something else for a bit and come back at it.

If this is a topic I need to research then now’s the time I go and check out what others are saying. Not to copy them but to get another perspective and add more value to what I’m creating.

Don’t be surprised if what you expected to be a single video turns into a mini series. You’d be better to make several 5 - 10 minute videos than have an hour long masterclass. Put yourself in your viewers’ shoes, how would you prefer to consume the training?

Step 3 - Structuring the content

Now I work out how I'm going to divide this all up.

What stands out as headlines or topic ideas?

Then what order will they go in. And this doesn’t have to be set in stone

THEN I jump onto my computer at this point, open up a new Trello board and start organising all those random thoughts.


Trello does a nice job of allowing me to make tags in effect and then move them all around to organise them.

I explain how to set up Trello in that accompanying worksheet.

As I move them off my sheet to the computer I strike them off.


Now on trello I can move thoughts around and place them in a structured order.

When I'm happy, it's time to move onto Stage 4.

Step 4 - Fleshing it out

Now I go through every item and add as much content to it as possible.

I’ll add brief descriptions to Trello, but as there's no formatting I start a Word doc (or Pages in my case on a Mac), and start writing out my script.

There are so many reasons why I write it out in long form like this, here’s a few:

  1. I get to lay the video script out in front of me and decide where I should add b-roll footage or slides and I add all those notes in a different colour to this document

  2. I preview this to my wife and business partner. Sometimes she’ll add something really obvious that I missed, or say ‘I have no idea what you just said’ which reminds me to not talk in jargon!
    And it just gives me an opportunity to get feedback before I’ve gone to the trouble of filming and editing.  

  3. I get to see how long the video will be. If it's getting longer than 7-8 minutes I’ll consider breaking it down into multiple videos. Shorter videos with 1 action item are the best way to deliver your training.

  4. The main reason I write it out ‘as I would say it’ is because I want to use a teleprompter and in my experience this only works when I write the script EXACTLY as I’m going to say it!

  5. I use this script to make a written blog post on the same topic (as you're seeing here). 

  6. The same tweaked script from the blog post can now be easily lifted and re-purposed again as my YouTube description!

  7. Finally, the script makes a great tool when it comes to editing, especially if you’re outsourcing it to someone else. I write the video files next to the sections, point out where the b-roll comes in, and if I need to make adjustments to their edit, it’s easy to write them in here. Trust me, it’s a great tool.

So, lots of reasons to write out a full length version of your video script.

Step 5 - Formatting for YouTube

Unlike a video that might make up an online course, for youtube you need a few key ingredients.

  1. An intro that hooks your viewer in the first few seconds. Tell them what you’re covering, why they should stick around and what the outcome will be.
  2. A bumper - this is your little branded ad that goes on all your videos, you saw mine at the start, the black and white section.
  3. Your content. Now’s when you deliver the value and teach what you came up with above.
  4. Call to action. Before you finish give your viewer an action item. What do you want them to do? I’m going to be encouraging you to download my free worksheet which just takes what I’ve taught you to the next level and encourages you to really take action on this training.
  5. End screen. You’ll also see this in action at the end of this video. I recommend a next video to watch if you want more and invite you to subscribe to my channel. These can last for 20 seconds and I used to just post a card up but now I let the video run into this section as you’ll see.

Step 6 - Hitting Record

So now, if you’ve worked through this in batches you’ll have a high level document or trello board, and one or more ‘word for word’ scripts ready to go.

So let’s get recording!

If you plan to use a teleprompter then now’s the time to get the script onto your ipad or phone, or if you’re just gonna use notes then you can highlight through your script and read a sentence at a time…. Then look to the camera and say it, then back to your script… and do the same again.
That’s super easy to then cut out the gaps and give you a lovely finished video. I definitely encourage you to use a script though and don’t just wing it, your content has to be concise and your script will ensure you stay on point!

People don’t mind how long your video is as long as the content is good, but they won’t sit and listen to your waffling.

When the main video is recorded I can look back through my script and record those b-roll clips I need.


If all goes to plan, you’ll end up with a lovely folder full of labelled videos ready to edit. And that’s when you’ll really see the value of that script!

That's it!  It’s how I script every video!

Now I said I’d give you my worksheet so here it is.

Now the next part of this training is really what separates the professionals from the amateurs, or at least it does in your viewers eyes. It’s how you record it!