Behind every great voiceover is a great script.
High-quality voiceover scripts help voiceover actors (or text-to-speech platforms, wink wink) identify where to add inflections, emphasis, and pauses to make a voiceover easy to follow and enjoyable to listen to. Well-written voiceover scripts make content more digestible, help an audience better retain information, and reflect a brand in a more professional light.
When writing voiceover scripts, there are a few things to keep in mind to connect with your listeners and create a high-quality voiceover. In this blog post, learn what to do—and what not to do—when crafting your voiceover script.
Writing Voiceover Scripts: What to DO
Below are three things that transform an average script into one that lands.
1. Be concise
Especially in audio-only productions, your audience has a shorter attention span because they are consuming content via only one of their senses (their ears). Depending on the format of your production, you may also have a limited time to deliver your message (e.g. a 30-second advertisement). For these reasons, aim to get your point across as quickly as possible so you keep your audience’s attention. Get clear on your goal from the start, avoid writing too much without clearly delivering your message, and prevent meandering as new ideas come up.
A great way to make sure you’re being concise is by keeping sentences short and simple. Break them up where necessary. Avoid sharing different ideas in the same line or waxing poetic on any one topic. To ensure concise and digestible sentences, try…
- Focusing on one idea per sentence
- Reading your sentences aloud and deleting any confusing phrasings
- Breaking long sentences into two or more sentences
2. Establish your brand voice(s)
Establishing your brand voice ensures consistency, makes your content more credible, and makes your brand more memorable. Think of Martin, the famous Geico Gecko. After watching many Geico commercials over the years with the same voice, your brain can automatically identify the brand without seeing the animated gecko.
When choosing your brand voice, make sure you understand the purpose, context, brand, and audience intended for your voiceover script.
Even if two scripts have the same purpose (e.g. generating leads or sales), you could have two different audiences. For example, a bank may serve all demographics, but the way they talk to senior citizens could be different from how they connect with 30-year-old working professionals.
Similarly, an education script for a corporate learning environment may require a different tone than an informative script for a product video. The language, tone, and inflections in your voiceover script should reflect those nuances.
Advanced text-to-speech platforms offer a suite of natural-sounding AI voiceovers. You can choose one or more natural-sounding Voice Avatars to make your content more engaging and effective—or even create a brand new Voice Avatar yourself.
3. Use action verbs
Active sentences are those where the subject performs an action, whereas passive sentences are used when the subject receives an action. For example, “she threw the boomerang” sounds more active and less convoluted than “a boomerang was thrown by her”. Active sentences and action verbs pull in listeners and keep them engaged. When possible, aim to write in active voice versus passive voice to be as clear and direct as possible.
Writing Voiceover Scripts: What NOT to Do
Now that you know a few things to DO when writing a voiceover script, the following are items to avoid.
1. Stay away from words that are difficult to pronounce.
When writing a voiceover script, avoid using words that are difficult to pronounce or are only regionally used. Acronyms or long numbers can also be confusing to a voice actor when reading a script. When in doubt, spell out acronyms and write numbers as words (e.g. one million vs. 1,000,000).
As you write, keep in mind that scripts are intended to be listened to versus read. A high-quality voiceover pronounces each word correctly and speaks clearly. Your script makes this easier on the voice over actor or text-to-speech Voice Avatar, providing clear sentences that are intuitive and easy to read aloud.
Fun Fact: Acronyms and numbers are no problem for WellSaid Avatars, thanks to our newest Voice Model.
2. Avoid skipping pauses.
Similar to visual or written content, verbal content requires frequent pauses. Your audience needs silent moments to process your message. Pauses are also a great way to emphasize an important idea and to build a sense of sincerity. When writing your voiceover script, add in strategic pauses via commas or other annotations.
3. Avoid writing for reading.
The way you write is not the same way you speak. In most cases, people speak more informally than they write. Use words that you naturally use when speaking so your voiceover script doesn’t sound like it was, well, scripted.
As you write your script, read it out loud to make sure it is clear and coherent outside the walls of your own brain. You can even share your script with colleagues, and have them read your script aloud, to ensure your script translates when read by others.
The quality of your voiceover hinges on the quality of your voiceover script. Following the recommendations above will help you write a clear, concise, and engaging script that attracts more listeners, books better customers, and maintains your audience’s attention.