All too often when creating video content for a blog people make the mistake of putting the cart before the horse. In short, they jump right in and start recording a video – without having a firm idea of what it is they’re creating.
Ideally, before you begin to roll the camera, you should already have a fully fleshed out plan – not just a vague idea or intent. That is why the pre-production stage is critical, as it will help you to develop that plan, flesh it out, and let it take shape.
If you are interested in making sure that your pre-production planning is successful, here are several tips that will prove to be extremely useful:
- Start by defining the objective of the video
Before you go any further, be sure you can answer this one question: What do you want your video to achieve? Videos can serve a lot of different purposes on a blog, such as to increase sales, generate traffic, raise awareness, or build customer loyalty – so the question is: What is the purpose of your video?
By defining the objective of the video you intend to create right from the get go, you’ll have a basis that you can use to evaluate all your other decisions. For example, you can decide whether the idea you have for a video or the concept you intend to create is really going to help you to fulfill that objective.
- Figure out who your audience consists of
Needless to say, the audience that will watch your video consists of people who visit your blog – but who exactly are they? How much do you know about them and what demographics do they fall under? What interests do they have, and what are their needs and preferences?
If you can answer some of those questions then you’re probably off to a good start. If not, you should definitely start to research your audience and get to know them better – so that you can plan your video in such a way that it is more likely to appeal to them.
Frankly speaking, if you want to be really thorough you could even create personas for your audience – each of which should represent a typical visitor to your blog. Based on these personas you will be able to evaluate how they would respond, which is an extremely effective way to plan better videos.
- Brainstorm ideas
While you may already have some ideas, acquiring more is always good. When you brainstorm ideas, you should keep in mind your audience and the objectives of your video and try to find ideas for themes and topics that are a good fit for both.
Seeing as brainstorming is subjective there is no ‘best’ way to go about it. At times it can help to do it in a group setting – or at very least get a friend so that you can bounce your ideas off them to see what sticks.
- Develop your themes and topics
Assuming you have ideas regarding the themes or topics that you want to cover in your video – start to develop them. One way to go about it is by defining it in terms of the message that the video is meant to convey, or in some cases two or three messages.
The reason why this is beneficial is that it can help you to not only work through your topics but also figure out whether or not they are too general. If you aren’t able to define the message in a concise manner, your topic may cover too much ground and could be narrowed down into several smaller topics instead.
- Build the concept for the video
Once you have a topic, you can start to work on the creative side of the video, i.e. its concept. Typically your concept should help you to decide on the type of video that you intend to create as well as its style, artistic direction, and so on.
Although it may be tempting to try to break the mold and come up with an entirely new and unique concept – that is often unnecessary. Sometimes it is best to stick with tried and tested concepts for video content instead. At the end of the day, the one (and only) requirement for your video’s concept is that it should be able to effectively convey the message of the video to your target audience, and help to achieve the objective you defined earlier.
- Script out the video
One of the most crucial ingredients, when you’re planning a video, is your script. Although writing a script may not seem necessary in some cases, you shouldn’t underestimate its importance – both as a tool to provide you with structure when you record your video, as well as one that can help you fine tune your concept and message.
As far as possible try to be thorough when writing your script. It should cover the details of every scene in your video and encompass both what will be shown on-screen as well as any voiceover narration or sound effects that may accompany it. It may help to storyboard the video as well – particularly if lots of visual elements are being used.
In many cases, as you write your script you may discard ideas, add new ones, or tweak the concept in other ways. That is a normal part of the process, and if you’re open to it you’re likely to end up with a far more effective video.
- Handle the logistics required to produce the video
The logistics required to record, edit, and ultimately produce a video can vary quite a lot from concept to concept – but one of the benefits of having a fully fleshed out plan is that you should be able to determine what sort of resources you’ll need. Additionally, you will be able to tell whether or not a video is a realistic option – in terms of logistics and the budget that may be required.
While there is no singular method to handle logistics, it might help to go about it step by step. First list the equipment and resources that you’ll need, then figure out what you already have, and what budget will be required. That should give you a good place to start, and may help you to look into alternatives that could make the logistics easier to handle or trim down your budget.
As you can see these pre-production tips should give you a solid foundation and help you to plan a video for your blog in a manner that is thorough and well-considered. At the end of the day that should help to make your video much more effective, assuming of course that you’re able to execute the plan and produce the video that you intend to.
If nothing else you should now have a much keener understanding of why the pre-production stage is important and how it can help you to plan your videos. Of course, the real test will come when you start to implement it, and perhaps even develop your own workflow for pre-production of video content for your blog.
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