Scripting Frameworks

How to "frame" your YouTube videos so people actually watch them

July 21st, 2023



min read

There’s a vital step when making any YouTube video that most people think is simple.

Yet creators I work with frequently get it wrong.

If you’re making this mistake, your audience will not watch your videos to the end.

In this newsletter, I’m gonna give you a 4-point checklist to make sure this vital stage of video prep never gets overlooked again.

‘I want to make a video about X!’

To show you what I mean, let’s take a look at this video…

(I’m deliberately not giving you the title yet)

It’s about the bombing of Hiroshima during WWII.

Imagine you’d decided to make this video.

Your first thought would go something like this:

“I’m gonna make a video about the events of Hiroshima.”

This is how prep starts for most videos, right?

“I wanna make a video about X!”

But then you run into your first vital decision.

You need to decide how to frame it.

After all, a topic like the bombing of Hiroshima sprouts many potential questions.

Angle #1

An obvious question to frame the video around would be:

  • Why was the Nuclear Bomb dropped on Hiroshima?

It’s a poignant question with some facts to unpack.

But there’s a problem with making this particular question the big question.


Because the answer can be simplified fairly easily.

Google “Why was the Nuclear Bomb dropped on Hiroshima?” and you’ll come away with a succinct, satisfying answer in seconds.

A viewer is not likely to commit 10 minutes to something they think they could find out in 10 seconds.

Let’s try another angle then…

Angle #2

What if the video was a play-by-play of the historical events, framed by the question:

  • What happened before, during and after the bomb was dropped?

Again, it’s a decent enough idea.

But the question feels vague.

There aren’t any specific curiosity gaps that have been opened for the viewer.

This way of framing the content is too surface-level and doesn’t evoke an instant need to click the video and watch to the end.

We need to find a more compelling way of framing it, then.

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Alright, so now I’m gonna show you the actual angle this video used:

Angle #3

  • Why isn’t Hiroshima a Nuclear Wasteland?

Click to watch

So why is this so much more effective than the options we discussed above?

The key reason is this:

The title (and framing) opens up a plethora of curiosity gaps.

Seeing this title, I’m instantly asking things like:

  • How did they rebuild an entire city so fast?
  • How can people still live there?
  • Isn’t there a problem with radiation?
  • If people can live in Hiroshima, why can’t they live in, say, Chernobyl?

In fact, the questions we briefly considered earlier could (and do) fold into this video too:

  • Why was the Nuclear Bomb dropped on Hiroshima?
  • What happened before, during and after the bomb was dropped?

There’s just so much more to unpack with Angle #3.

But why is this relevant?

Something I spend a lot of time doing with clients is figuring out what the grand payoff of their video is.

The ultimate question/focus/topic that the audience needs to find out before they leave.

And, trust me, it’s usually not your first idea.

Some clients I’ve worked with have ended up picking an angle that’s too simplistic… or not picking one at all.

But unless you clearly identify a grand payoff that is deeply interesting to both you and your viewers…

…something which opens multiple curiosity gaps and provokes an emotional response of some kind…

The video is gonna feel hollow to your viewers.

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So spend time identifying the grand payoff that’s gonna keep the most number of people watching to the end.

Give them that “A-Ha” moment that’s gonna leave them satisfied and keep them thinking about your video after they close YouTube.

⚡️ Action Item

Use this 4-point checklist to identify your grand payoff.

  • I’m passionate about it.
  • My audience will care deeply about it.
  • It evokes emotion.
  • It opens multiple curiosity gaps (and can’t be answered with a Google search).

Look back at the video we discussed today. The first idea doesn’t check box 3, and the second idea doesn’t check box 4. The third (and real) idea checks all 4.

That’s all for now!

Speak soon,

George 👋

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