Getting started with video is no longer a problem. There are more than enough beginner guides on the Internet.
- What equipment to choose
- How to light your background
- How to improve your sound
Those are important things. However all of those things are very linear processes that have been documented ad nauseum. With focused time and effort you can easily improve your proficiency in those matters.
But what if you already know the technical part. Then what?
I believe that after the technical aspects of creating videos, people are struggling to deliver high value videos, on a regular basis, in a way that doesn’t make them (as creators) exhausted.
So creators start to copy the other videos they see on the Internet. The challenge is, most of the videos on the Internet are crap.
Mental shifts to create better video content
And when you are surrounded by crap, that crap becomes both the standard and the influence, whether you want it to or not. You have to remove yourself from that environment and change your thinking significantly.
In order to do that, here are some mental shifts that can help you create something awesome.
The appropriate length of a video, the best title, etc.– THE answer does not exist. Sure there might be best practices, but different tactics work for different scenarios.
If you are looking to do the one thing that works best, you will end up doing the one thing everybody else is trying to do.
Experiment for yourself. Answer your own questions.
It’s way more exciting to announce projects than to maintain them. Look at social media. The posts all feel the same. We are all “humbled, fortunate, and excited to announce…”
Nobody posts on social media “So excited to announce I’ve done 35 episodes of an inconsistent vlog that I’m struggling with and I’m not sure people are watching.”
If you can’t deliver value, don’t announce that you will be delivering value.
You need to give yourself a chance to test things out and screw them up.
That is why restaurants have soft openings before they have grand openings. Why movies have test screenings before opening weekend. And sports have pre-season before opening day.
If you’re more excited to announce something than to do it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
Yes it can be helpful to think of yourself as a brand. It makes you think and act as an established entity with a responsibility to maintain and deliver a quality product.
But we as a society get so caught up in sounding or looking a certain way that we forget to actually say something we care about.
A great logo or clever way of posting is not your point of view. Your point of view is what offers value. Consistency is not hard if you want to be banal.
Nobody is telling you to make waves. Nobody is saying be controversial for the sake of being controversial, there are enough knuckleheads doing that.
An honest, informed, practiced point of view that comes from your unique experience– now THAT is worth something.
A point of view does not mean you have to have a public opinion on every single thing. Quite the contrary, a point of view can simply mean you have a sentiment, or a feeling, or a private belief that will inform the work you do.
It’s easy to worry about running out of content. Many people don’t plan out content in advance. They just talk about current news, events, tech, etc.
That’s lazy. Anybody can talk about what’s happening right now.
To create substance, you need to drain the well of ideas before it can refill itself. You need to understand if there is enough in there to warrant getting started in the first place.
Planning SHOULD be hard.
What are the topics you want to talk about?
How should you frame it?
What are the most salient points?
What is just filler?
What is your point of view and how does the content align with it?
This all requires deep thought.
But by the time you are executing on camera you should have a very specific and clear path in place and be working toward your end goal, not worrying about the content.
People don’t keep up with their videos because it’s hard to continue to concept and execute week after week. If you have to start from scratch every time you go to make a video you will exhaust yourself quite quickly.
Give yourself a timeline by planning out two months of content. And give yourself breathing room by having a full month of content ready each month.
That repository of ideas and videos ensures you are always ready to deliver and takes the pressure off creating new videos.
Block off two hours. Disconnect completely from technology. And just think about the videos you want to make.
Write down what comes to mind.
People (myself included) can have trouble coming up with new ideas or focusing in the places where they always are. So free yourself and your thoughts from the confines of your environment. Let your mind wander. Zone out.
If you’re constantly creating in the place where you always do, your videos will most likely always resemble the ones you always make.
And for some people that might be fine.
But if you are interested in evolving, you must give your brain space to do so.
After a while, things in a certain ecosystem start to resemble each other– shows on a TV channel, songs on a radio station, clothing in the mall.
But the more you look elsewhere for inspiration, the more you become able to cultivate and create a unique offering and point of view.
If you are starting a vlog, please stop watching other people’s vlogs. Watch something entirely different.
Your point of view is not just someone else’s filtered through your own lens. Your point of view is an amalgamation of the experiences and opinions in your life.
Allow that incredible and unique ability to be influenced by other things so that it can create on its own. Only then will you create something that looks like you.
A lot of people can’t talk about what their content plan looks like because they don’t have a plan.
If you haven’t written it down, it doesn’t exist.
How to create a real content plan for video
This is what a real content plan looks like. This is what I work through with my clients.
Start by answering the following questions:
- One Year Plan: In one year what do you want your brand to be known for? Write that at the top of your content plan. Consider this a mission that all your content should drive toward.
- Higher Level Subjects: Think of all the higher level subjects that you can talk about in your business. Aim for 5 to 10.
- Topics: Now take each of those subjects and create a list of all the topics you can talk about. It is better to have too many than too few.
- Associate: Go through every piece of content you have created or are thinking about creating and associate it with a subject and a topic. It’s ok if some pieces of content associate with multiple topics.
- Schedule: What is your ideal publishing schedule? How often do you have to develop and create content? How often do you want to publish?
It’s time to create planned, creative, consistent, and high quality video content. Take the weekend to start planning your video content calendar with these 5 steps.