The 5-minute fix that’ll change your YouTube scripts forever

January 19th, 2024



min read

Hey Reader,

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how likely your script is to engage your audience?

Well, most creators ignore a simple trick that will (mostly) help you do this.

If you’ve never tried it before, this’ll take 5 minutes to learn.

And, better still, it’ll become second nature by the time you’ve written another 1-2 scripts.

So, let’s fix an old script of mine…

Here’s an example of a script I wrote that failed to use this technique (and suffered as a result).

To start, let’s look at the hook:

“Sometimes sponsorships go completely wrong, so let’s talk about the three mistakes you can avoid and the three situations that are out of your control.”

Looks ok, right?

Now let’s throw in my secret weapon!


Or, to keep it pithy, “highlighting”.

If you can identify the purpose of what you’ve written by assigning it a colour, you’ll quickly notice what needs to change.

In this case, I want to highlight the key components of a hook.

You might have seen me talking about these key components in the past:

This is an educational video, so we’ll be using:

Target, transformation, stakes

Now, here’s the same hook again, with sentences highlighted to represent their intention:

Sometimes sponsorships go completely wrong, so let’s talk about the three mistakes you can avoid and the three situations that are out of your control.”

Notice anything?

It turns out, this ok-looking hook contains almost none of those key components.

We’ve got some “stakes”, but pretty much no “target” or “transformation”.

  • Ok, the target audience is implied because of the title, so maybe we don’t need to mention them explicitly.
  • But the transformation – the very reason the audience should give us their time – is never mentioned.

This is bad news.

It’s not enough simply to say “we’ll talk about XYZ” – we need to explain how the audience will be transformed and why that matters.

Today, I’d have written the hook like this:

“Every creator wants to make predictable income for their business. But, even the most promising sponsorships can go completely wrong.

So let’s talk about the three mistakes you’re probably making that are ruining your sponsorship strategy, and the three red flags to look out for from brands so you can continue to grow your business with consistent sponsorship revenue.”

You’ll also notice I carefully adapted the line about the situation being “out of your control”.

Saying something like that in your hook is totally self-defeating – it makes the audience feel like their situation is hopeless.

But this is nothing compared to my next example – reading it back, I want to hurl some deeply personal insults at 2022-George.

But, before I show you that (and how highlighting could have fixed it), check this out…

How to hire a YouTube team in 2024:

The latest episode of our podcast, “Making It”, is out now!

This week, we discussed:

  • How to outsource your YouTube editing, scripting, and thumbnail design.
  • How to get the best out of your new talent.
  • And, if you’re a YouTube freelancer, how to land clients.

(Jamie also has a small meltdown about the frightening potential of AI, but he’s fine now).

Watch on YouTube, or listen on Spotify + Apple Podcasts.

I did a very bad thing…

So, back to the script.

We’re now looking at the bit immediately after the hook.

Here, the colour coding we use needs to change slightly.

Because, after the hook, what’s important for your audience is this:

  1. They need to know what they’re going to learn/see in the next 1-2 minutes.
  2. They need to feel excited as you build towards that payoff.
  3. You provide the payoff in a satisfying way.

Or, for the sake of coding it:

Setup, tension, payoff

Let’s look at “point #1” through this lens, and see how closely it adheres:

The first thing you can control is how you conduct yourself when a brand is frustrating. Even if you want to tear your hair out, you have to stay graceful. Your aim is not just to sign a one-off sponsorship deal but to create a relationship with that brand so you can do multiple deals with them moving forward. You want them to hire you again and again and again, so there’s gotta be a little give and take.

You know how life sometimes throws unexpected curveballs at us? Well, that’s not gonna stop because you recently signed a sponsorship. Something might come up in your personal life which impacts your time and attention, or maybe your camera breaks or your computer shuts down on the day you were due to create the content…”

You might notice… not a single part of this segment contains any tension. And why?

Because I gave the payoff instantly.

This is particularly frustrating because the second paragraph is so clearly perfect as a set-up for the segment.

It appeals directly to the audience’s own experiences and empathises with them.

And this is ideal when you’re introducing a new segment – it’s easy to lose viewers between topics, so grabbing them emotionally is essential at the start of each new one.

However, by starting with the payoff, the explanation loses its tension, and the second paragraph (which could have been a great set-up) becomes pure waffle.

In under 1 minute, we’ve lost 43% of the audience.

Today, I’d have written it like this:

“You know how life sometimes throws unexpected curveballs at us? Well, remember, your contact at the brand is also a person dealing with a bunch of curveballs. But when creators forget this, it often leads to a problem that will cause them to damage their relationship with the brand – permanently.

Yes, it can be frustrating when your contact isn’t replying. But don’t forget – they’re probably juggling a ton of different tasks, just like you. They might not have replied to you yet because they’re talking your pitch through with their boss, or maybe they’re just out the office for a few days!

But the one thing that’s always inside your control is how you conduct yourself, even when a brand is frustrating. Spamming them with passive-aggressive emails is never a good look, and it’s gonna completely destroy your chances of working with them again.”

Of course, this isn’t a technique you have to use forever.

After a while, you’ll start to notice these problems intuitively, and the need to highlight things will reduce.

As with almost anything on YouTube, it’s about re-wiring your brain ever so slightly to help boost the potential of your videos.

See you soon!

Last thing before I go – I’m gonna be off for a couple of weeks.

Having finally launched my course (without really stopping over the holidays), I’m taking some time away.

Of course, I’ll still be checking my emails (I guess that’s my life now lol), but I won’t be writing my next newsletter until Feb.

Until then, wishing you all my best!

Speak soon,
George 👋

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