Alright, so you decided you wanted to start creating video content in your business! Now what!? First, let me say that you already overcame the biggest hurdle in this journey- committing to actually doing it. Now, with a little bit of planning and prep, you are well on your way to bringing the idea to reality. If you’ve already been creating consistent content for awhile then this process likely won’t seem completely new to you, it will just differ in the purpose of the process. In this case, we are planning for video, which looks slightly different than if we were planning for a written blog post or podcasting, but the foundation is still the same.
I’m going to walk you through some key steps (10 to be precise) in the planning and preparation of your video content as you make your way from idea to finally hitting record. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
1. What’s your video content goal?
While a goal alone won’t get you the results you are wanting (it takes implementation and execution on a consistent basis for that), setting a goal gives you direction to what you are trying to accomplish with your efforts. Whether you are wanting to create brand awareness, educate your audience on an issue or subject are, establish yourself as an expert in a certain area, create hype around an event or product launch, show a previous customer/client’s success with your product or service, or want to simply expand your audience by using another method of delivering content, it’s important to get your goal down on paper.
If you aren’t exactly sure, think about the action you want your audience to take after watching your video. What do you want them to do, how do you want them to behave, or where do you want them to go? Whatever it may be, that should help guide you as you determine your video goals, and you’ll be able to tailor the next steps in way that will help you accomplish it.
2. Who is your target audience or ideal customer/client?
If you’ve either been developing content or building your business for awhile, then you should have a pretty good idea of who your audience is and what they are looking for. In fact, that could be the reason you have decided to begin creating video to serve them better. Or, perhaps you are wanting to expand your audience. If you are new to both content and your business, you should also have a relatively good idea of who your ideal audience is. If you don’t, I highly recommend you do that before even committing to video right now. You’ll want to know what and how your ideal audience consumes content before you begin recording.
Assuming you do know your ideal audience, think about (or even better, write down) some key points you know will be important to your ideal audience when it comes to video. Are they wanting professionally delivered content that is serious in nature, or do they want to be entertained while you deliver your content (regardless of the context)? Do they like short to-the-point videos, or do they want long and in depth discussions about the topic? Do they want to see you at a trendy desk or in the woods? Do they like hearing about your kids and marriage and faith, or do they instead want to know your personal exercise routine? What kind of music do they like? Should you include subtitles?
All of these questions might sounds silly, but if you know who your ideal audience is, you will be able to tailor everything else to better serve them. After all, if we can’t serve those individuals in the best way possible, how will be reach our content goals and actually make an impact with our efforts?
3. Choose your platform
When it comes to video, you’ve got multiple platforms to choose from. You’ve got Youtube, vimeo, Instagram Stories, instagram Live, IGTV, Facebook Video, Facebook live…the list goes on and all have their different benefits and uses. If you are brand new to using video, choosing a platform like Instagram Stories might be an appealing option because it allows you to make short videos that don’t require editing and disappear after 24 hours. Sounds ideal while you get the hang of being on camera, right?!
As you get comfortable and confident being on video and want to get serious about using it to grow your business, I recommend starting with one main platform (like YouTube or Facebook Live), make it live on your blog (if you have a website), and then using social media or email to promote the video and drive traffic back to your site. Again, once you get comfortable with using that one platform, you can expand to some of the others or begin repurposing your content for other platforms.
Ultimately, you want to pick the platform that your target audience is likely hanging out on as well. For example, if your audience is new college students, you probably don’t want to be on facebook stories because that demographic doesn’t spend a lot of time on that platform. Think about (or do some research about) where your audience is as well.
4. Pick a topic you are comfortable with
This might seem like a no brainer, but it is worth mentioning. When choosing topics for your video content, it is important to pick topics that that you know well and feel comfortable explaining, teaching, talking about, and answering questions about with ease. Your topics should also be relevant to your business and serve your audience with information they find valuable.
I created a video that covers multiple tips on how to pick the best content topics that your audience will love, which you can get here. Below are four of my favorite when it comes to video content specifically:
- What types of questions, themes, or areas of interest are common in your audience’s communication with you? This can be a gold mine of potential topics you can be creating video content around that your audience would eat up!
- Have a brainstorming session with your team or a friend who knows your business, and get all the ideas you can down on paper. Just write, and let them flow! When you are done, ask yourself if the topics would serve your audience in a valuable way, serve you in some way, and help move the needle closer to your content goals. Any that don’t, cross off! You’ll know the topics left on the paper are solid topic ideas!
- Video is also really great for creating series or sequences of episodes that are released in some sort of chronological order. Make sure the videos are binge-worthy and lead well into each other, and you will have your audience hooked.
- Lastly, you might find it beneficial to look at what content you’ve already created in your business (could be blog posts, speeches, podcast episodes, longer social media topics, etc.) that performed really well. You may be able to take those topics and repurpose it as video content, or use as inspiration and approach the topic from a different angle or perspective.
5. Make a Content Calendar or consistent creating and publishing schedule.
One of the best ways to be strategic in your video content planning is by developing a content calendar, filled with all the topics you listed above, and a video creation & promotion checklist (which I call an implementation checklist). I personally plan all of my content 3 months in advance, but you can choose what works best for you. With both a content calendar and implementation checklist in hand, you will know exactly what you need to be creating each week, and exactly what tasks you need to complete in order to get the video out into the world.
You can get my 3 month content calendar and implementation checklist template here:
We talked about this a little bit earlier in this article, but when filling your calendar, you will want to decide how many times you plan on publishing your video each month. If you are just getting started with video (and especially if you are also creating other forms of content each week), I recommend sticking to publishing one video every 2-3 weeks. As you learn the ins and out of creating, editing and promoting your videos, you can ramp up the frequency until you’re publishing once a week. For now, focus on quality.
I personally like to also get my content creation days on my calendar as well. On my content creation days, I will create multiple pieces of content for the upcoming weeks. This is a form of “batching” your content and works really well for a lot of content creators. If you are already creating consistent content in your business then you’ve likely heard this term and might use this strategy already. An example of how batching works: On Day 1, you write scripts for 3 months worth of video;, on Day 2 you record all the videos you wrote scripts for; and on Day 3 you edit all the videos you recorded and schedule them for publishing over the next 3 months. Now, you have 3 months worth of videos that you completed in 3 days. Obviously, this tactic works differently for everyone depending on length, style, purpose and frequency of the videos they are creating, but regardless, it will save you a lot of time in all your content creation, and especially video.
6. Pick the Type of Video that makes most sense for you, your business and your audience.
There are many different types of videos to choose from, and the one you choose will depend a lot on the goals you set for your video content. There are tutorials, interviews, educational or inspirational, vlogs, brand videos, and more. For a full listing with examples of each, click here. Additionally, you can create any of these types of videos in a form that works best for you and your preferences. For example, you could do video with your face in frame, animated videos, screen-share, slide-deck, live, or a mix of all. You can test out what works best for you and your audience and always change it as you become more comfortable on video and figure out your style.
7. Scripting your Video
Especially if you are new, you may want to consider writing an actual script for what you want to say in your video. You can do it word for word, a loose script to follow, or bullet points to prompt you along while recording. If this scares you, let me just say that even the most seasoned professionals will use a script when going on camera. Just because you use a script does not mean you don’t know what you are talking about. Regardless of whether you choose to do a detailed script or bullet points, having these written down and in front of you will help you stay on topic and not get too far down a rabbit trail and prompt or remind you to mention the most important points. Having a script will also allow you to insert key parts of your brand messaging, key stories, or personal updates that will allow your audience to continue building that relationship and trust with you. It’s easy to forget some of those things when your mind is on your topic while the record button is on, but writing these little snippets down with your script or bullets can help. Lastly, the script also will ensure your topic and storyline makes sense and begins and ends in a comprehensible way for your audience.
As you get more and more comfortable on camera and speaking to your audience, it’s likely your super detailed script will start to turn into shorter bullet points, or key touch points you want to mention in your video.
If you are wondering how you’ll be able to read your script without it looking noticeable on camera, there are tools or tips for doing that. When I record on my laptop, I keep my bullets at the top of my screen, just under my camera, and scroll one by one as I need to reference them. Depending on the type of phone you have, some phones have the capability of splitting the screen, where you could keep your script at the top of your phone if you are recording from there. If you want to record from a camera on a tripod or want a more advanced option, you could invest in a teleprompter (which allows you to read your scrolling script without having your eyes lose contact with the camera) or a confidence monitor (acting as another screen below the camera with notes or bullets to prompt you as you go). I personally have not used either of these options, but know of individuals who have. It truly comes down to your preference and ability (and confidence level) to go without a script or not.
Pro Tip: Holly introduced me to B-roll last year and now I want to introduce it you all in the scenario you haven’t heard it. B-roll is alternative footage intercut into your main video. For example, while you may want to be on camera explaining a key point, you may then want to cut to a graphic that supports your point. That cut to different footage is the B-roll, and when you write a script or bullets, it will be much easier for you when editing if you make notes within your script/bullets that you want the footage to cut to something different.
8. Setup and preparation of the subject matter of the video
Everyone’s video footage is different, though a lot of times if you are just getting started, you will be the main subject of your video. However, if other people, subjects, location/venue, or materials need to be coordinated, don’t forget to make sure everything is organized for production day, especially if you are batching multiple videos as once. If you have an assistant or team member who can help, have them keep track of all the moving parts so recording day is as efficient as possible.
If you are simply doing the video from home, you’ll just want to make sure the area you’ll be shooting in is clean, tidy, and has good lighting. If you need a space and don’t have it available to you in your home or office, you could reserve a private meeting room at a local cafe, get a day pass at a co-working space and rent a private office room, or rent an Airbnb that has a nice space you could use for the day.
9. Setting up your equipment, angles, lighting, mic, etc.
You’ll want to make sure all of your equipment is fully ready to go prior to the day of your video shoot (and bonus points for being over prepared). Make sure your phone or camera is charged, your tripod or docking equipment is packed and working, microphone is packed and ready, all the correct cords are together, your scripts are handy (on multiple devices), your content calendar or topic list is with you, etc. I know this step seems silly but I won’t even get into how many times I have forgotten something when needing to shoot video, or all the times I decided to pack an extra camera of some sort “just in case” and ended up needing it. You never know, so I highly recommend being over prepared for video recording day in whatever ways possible!
Lastly, especially if you are new to video, you might need to prepare yourself for recording day. It’s not uncommon for nerves to kick in just when you sit down and start recording. If you are feeling at all nervous about actually being on video and not feeling the most confidence, check out this article with some tips to get your ready to roll on recording day. And remember, there is an audience that needs to hear the message, information and value you can provide them in a way that only you can provide. You are doing this to serve them.
10. Hit Record!
You did it! You’ve put in all the work up until this point, and hitting record will finally bring your unique ideas, messages, and value to fruition. While it might seem like the easiest part of the process, recording the actual videos can be tough. Remember to give yourself some grace and go easy on yourself if you are just beginning your journey on video. The more you practice, the more you will find your style and preferences. Be patient and remember that everyone has once started here. You got this, and you are another step closer to your content goals!