November 21, 2014
There are a few myths floating around about video testimonial scripts. The majority of the myths have have more to do with how we choose to approach our use of scripts than anything. Done right, your script won’t sound salesy, and it should never be used to tell the person making it exactly what to say. It also doesn’t have to mean the person in front of the camera will spend their testimonial making eye contact with the script instead of viewers.
It really boils down to the approach you take with scripts, and what you avoid. Here are some of the myths – and how you can use a script more effectively.
Myth #1: Scripts sound salesy
Correction: Bland scripts sound salesy. I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with a lackluster script. When you watch video with someone staring listlessly at the camera, repeating a few lines that have obviously been prepared for them, you’re not really inclined to believe what they have to say, right?
With video testimonials, a script is only as good as the thought you put into it. Instead of focusing on providing a word by word breakdown of what you’d like to hear – focus instead prompting the recorder for simple details like name and city. Putting a name to a face allows viewers to connect with that person, seeing them as another run-of-the-mill consumer. Adding their city can be important if you’re a local business, showing how wide your reach is, or that you’re trusted by other members of the community where the consumer lives.
After that, it should be about the one question or topic you’d like them to comment on in the testimonial, which gives them a starting place, and allows them to talk about how awesome you are – in their own words. What you don’t want to do is use a script to fill in exactly what you want said in the testimonial.
Which brings me to my next myth.
Myth #2: Scripts seem/are dishonest
There’s a few reasons scripts aren’t so popular, and I think it’s worth going into detail about why this myth, in particular, is so damaging and untrue.
Scripts that do the talking for your client aren’t doing you any favors. The most obvious reason having to do with the ability of consumers to sniff out false testimonials and claims from brands. It’s a sense that’s been finely honed and has gotten plenty of brands in trouble. Red flags include generic terms like, “best deal ever”, and way too much positivity without faces or names to back it up. Those red flags can turn into a lot of speculation, which is going to do a lot to dent your credibility.
It’s also worth mentioning that scripts aren’t inherently dishonest. It’s what you put into it, and what you expect out of it that makes a difference.
While some testimonials seem dishonest, thanks to a script that relies on buzzwords and other terminology that don’t come naturally to consumers, there are very clear cases where video testimonials cross the line into complete and total dishonesty. For example, finding a total stranger, or someone you know, and paying them to sit down and say nice things about your brand is a total foul. Asking someone who isn’t familiar for your product or brand to record a testimonial is bad enough, but when you consider using money as an incentive so consumers will only hear fabricated positives – that’s pretty low. Not only that, but as I mentioned earlier, consumers are going to have no problem figuring out what you’ve done, which means, apart from being dishonest, it’s also not worth tanking your credibility.
Myth #3: The person will stare at the script the whole time, and the testimonial will be awful
There’s plenty of video out there that has fallen prey to someone who’s recording themselves and relying too heavily on a script. We’ve all seen it. It’s terrible, and not what you want for your video testimonials.
But it doesn’t have to work that way. We’re all familiar with people who aren’t too comfortable in front of a camera, or might ramble when they record themselves. A script can be a great way to make them more comfortable; it’s something they can go over multiple times, and can make it easier to remember the gist of what they’d like to say.
The key being – the gist. A video testimonial script is at its best when it works as a guideline of sorts. It shouldn’t be padded with your words, or used in a way that presents the recorder from making eye contact. It should put them at ease, give them direction in the form of a question or prompt, so they feel comfortable saying what they think, in their own way.