Persuading with Video: 3 Essential Rules for Scriptwriting - JVA Campaigns


Persuading with Video: 3 Essential Rules for Scriptwriting

Whether you are hoping to influence decision-makers, voters, or stakeholders, video is, by far, more effective than any other format —  but only when you use it right. Despite the widespread use of video, many organizations don’t know the best way to use it. Videos must be emotional, believable, relatable, and of an appropriate length to create real persuasion. Here’s how to use them the right way.

1. Make the first few seconds count.

This is when internet users decide whether or not to scroll. You have less than 3 seconds to draw them in. Make it count. See rule number three for the best ways to keep their attention.

2. Keep it short.

Users are more likely to watch short videos to completion, thus more likely to hear your whole message. 30 seconds is the absolute maximum. If you’re hoping to persuade an audience on an issue, that audience probably isn’t likely to want to watch a video on that topic voluntarily. That is, unless you can keep it short enough for them to find it worthwhile to see what happens.

3. Use at least one of the following: storytelling, emotion, or hard facts.

When you are the expert on a subject and the one doing the persuading, you may think that others will find your issue position persuasive for the same reasons you do. For example, if you are a proponent of creating jobs with infrastructure investment, you may be tempted to write a script with the top-line numbers, such as the $2.6 trillion investment gap. The truth is, in a fast-moving digital world, users are only willing to watch videos for a few reasons:

  • to be entertained (storytelling)

  • to be inspired (emotion)

  • to learn something new (hard facts)

A concept like the $2.6 trillion investment gap simply doesn’t inspire a user to any of those actions and thus won’t persuade most users. It’s a good statistic to include in a video, but it shouldn’t be the main focus. Here are three alternative examples:


Joe was an operating engineer in Pittsburgh in 1973. He helped build the Fern Hollow Bridge that collapsed in January. “I watched this beautiful bridge decay over time because the government wasn’t willing to invest in its upkeep.”


Pennsylvania construction workers shouldn’t struggle to pay the bills while our roads and bridges fall into disrepair. Enough corporate handouts — put tax money back into the hands of hardworking Americans.

Hard Fact

Five percent of Pennsylvanians won’t see this video because they don’t have access to broadband internet.

These guiding principles will ensure that you craft a quality video that can retain attention and change minds. Happy scriptwriting!