How to plan a video project

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Let’s imagine for a moment that you’re planning a long journey. You’re all-packed, the car’s fueled and you’re ready to go. The only problem is, you have no road map – and absolutely no idea where you’re going.

You’d have to question the sanity of anyone who, faced with this predicament, would just take their chances and guess which road to join. Sure, there’s a remote chance you’ll get lucky, but the odds of ending up in the right destination are incalculably small.

Approaching any kind of creative undertaking without a comprehensive plan is similarly crazy. And video is no exception. In this article, I’m going to explain why you need a video plan before you get started – and how you should go about creating one!

1. Decide on a style
Video marketing is growing at an incredible rate, and there are a vast number of different styles out there to choose from.

One of the earliest and most fundamental decisions you’ll need to make is, which style’s for you? Do you want to tell a story using animation? Or showcase functionality using screen capture footage?

What sort of colours and graphical styles do you want to use? Will your characters be fully fleshed-out and colourful, or stripped-back sketches?

When we make videos for our clients, one of the first things we ask is for a style guide. It helps our clients visualize what kind of video they love (and hate) at the very earliest opportunity…and, of course, this helps ensure we’re on the same page.

2. Decide how long you want it to be
We’re often asked about the ideal length for a video. If you’re looking for a simple explainer video – to sit on your website or social media channels and provide a quick and snappy introduction to your product – we generally recommend a length of between 1-2 minutes at most to ensure your viewers stay engaged.

This means you need to be really targeted about what to include in your video. There’s no way you’re going to be able to include every nut and bolt of your product in this amount of time, so be selective and include only your most attractive, unique features.

Of course, there are occasions where a video needs to be longer than 2 minutes – usually because it’s being designed for a different kind of audience, like an investment pitch or educational video. Whatever length you decide is appropriate, make sure that you stick to it and be realistic with the level of content you’re able to include. Be brutal!

3. Set your budget
As with any business decision, costs have to be a consideration, and it’s crucial that your video project comes under your budget.

You’ll find that there’s typically a video to suit most budgets – from the incredibly cheap to the ludicrously overpriced – but be careful. It’s important that you don’t get ripped off, but it’s equally important that you don’t sacrifice quality for a smaller price tag.

It’s also a good idea to make sure exactly what’s included in any prices you’re quoted. It’s highly unlikely that a video company’s going to create a perfect video at the first draft, and some of them will charge you for each and every change you want to make. It’s easy to see how costs can spiral out of control.

4. Decide on a call-to-action?
A video without a call-to-action is like a billboard without branding. Your audience just absorbed your message like a sponge for 2 minutes of their valuable time, which is pretty powerful when you think about it. Failing to capitalize on that – with clear direction about what they should do next – is a huge missed opportunity, and one that all too many businesses make.

Do you want your viewer to visit your website for more info? Start a free 30 day trial? Download your app from Google Play? Whatever you want them to do, explicitly include this instruction at the end of your video.

5. Who’s going to make it?
This is probably the most important decision you’ll face. You may decide to plough a lone furrow and make the video yourself, or you may outsource it to a professional video studio.

If you take the project on yourself, make sure you have the required expertise to get the project to completion, or you risk wasting a lot of time and enduring even more frustration.

If you take the project to a studio, do your due diligence and be sure that you have all your bases covered. While there are some awesome studios out there, there are some who aren’t much fun to work with – beware of escalating costs, unspecified lead times and vague pricing. Here at Wyzowl we’re extremely proud to offer fixed pricing, fixed turnarounds and unlimited revisions within the scope of your project.

If you enjoyed this article and you’re embarking on your own video plan, why not get in touch for an informal chat? We’d love to hear from you!

Read more: How Small Business Can Get the Most Out of a Video Production Budget