Do I need a video content strategy before writing?

April 25, 2013
Topics covered in this article:

"Video today is like desktop publishing was 15 years ago -- everyone thinks they can do it," a colleague said recently. And the fact is, anyone can create a video. A video worth watching? That's a whole 'nother story.

Video Content Strategy by Shelly Bowen, Pybop

I recently wrote a one-minute video script for a brand introduction video. It included voiceover, visual text, and descriptions of imagery for context.  I admit, I had more fun than I've had creating content in a long time. The voice, the rhythm, even the messages came fairly easily to me -- the biggest challenge was to control the voice (I have a tendency to go overboard before drawing it all back to reality) and keep it down to one minute. And they loved it. Which always makes me super happy.  Yes, this kind of project can just as easily be a ROYAL pain in the you know what, with a lot of back and forth. Or result in something that's not worth sharing. You know what made it work?


So maybe that was obvious to you. But it isn't always to companies that need content written or edited. I had just completed the enterprise (or web) content strategy for the brand a few weeks prior to the video project. Before I even started writing the video script, I had an advantage. Here was my process:

  • Reviewed my interviews with their team, the core messaging document, and the approved sample content
  • Watched and deconstructed their favorite I-want-it-to-be-something-like-this videos
  • Imagined the overall themes provided by the film director (I took a walk for this part) and how to use these themes to tell a great brand story
  • Decided on who was talking (I, they, we?) and to whom
  • Sketched a quick outline of the really important points they wanted to get across
  • Dove in to writing, pushing the copy into strange places before pulling it back again and keeping the good stuff (and tossing the cliches, cheesiness, and redundancies that happen to all writers -- that does happen to all writers, right?)

What About Video Content Strategy, You Ask?

Content is just easier to develop when you have the content strategy. I didn't have a video content strategy, which would be a subset of the enterprise content strategy, detailing the video content efforts as a whole. But the fundamental elements were there. I still needed to consider how the story fit in context of the immediate delivery method, (surrounding stories and situations), what came before and what happens after, and all the other good stuff I discovered during the content strategy audit and analysis.  So whenever someone asks you about your video content strategy, your mobile content strategy, or social media content strategy or any insert-online-delivery-method-here content strategy, start with the foundation -- your enterprise or overall web content strategy. That makes everything soooo much easier.

More Video Content Strategy Resources for You

7 Tips for Super Strategic Video Content (with examples!) by Reb Carlson of Contently 4 video Content Marketing Strategies (with analytics!) by Rob Ciampa, published at Content Marketing Institute (this one is more marketing strategy than content strategy -- but it's a good complement) How to Plan for Engaging Video Content by Shelly Bowen (me!), based on an interview with Bekah Christie of Emota, a brand film agency in San Diego and published at Content Marketing Institute.

About the Author: Shelly Bowen

Shelly Bowen, content strategist

Shelly Bowen, MFA, is a content writer, content strategist, and founder of Pybop.

For decades, Shelly has written for businesses on complex topics from disease prevention and medical devices to alternative energy and leveraging data. Today, she's hyper-focused on supporting B-B technology businesses. In her spare time, she hikes, kayaks, draws, and works on her T-Bird.

A wide variety of brands rely on Shelly as an essential freelance writer and content strategy resource.

Follow Shelly on Instagram @pybop or connect on LinkedIn. More about Shelly and Pybop.

You Might Also Like ...