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How to plan a video project: chalk illustration flow chart

The five W’s and H of video production

Anyone who has taken a journalism class is no doubt familiar with the five W’s. For those of you who chose to make money instead of pursuing journalism the five W’s are who, what, where, when, why and how. I am adapting this idea for storytelling to video production. This post is meant as a follow up to my first post on why you should get into video, so check that out before reading on.

Who – Before doing anything figure out who your audience is. Your final product will be radically different if you are making something for colleagues or customers. For me, deciding on an audience is the single biggest determining factor for what you will create.

What – This seems obvious, what is the content of your video going to be.  It absolutely is important to know what your content will look like. I mentioned storyboarding before. The planning will save you a lot of time. Draw out what each shot will look like. I won’t lie to you, this is going to seem very tedious. You will be temped to skip over this part. Don’t do it. Learn from my mistakes. Great ideas I had before shooting were never shot because I got focused on other things. After the planning process you can go out and execute your plan and your video will be great.

Where – Think beyond your physical location. For me that belongs in “what.” For our purposes location is “where will this video be posted?” The location will have nearly as much to do with your content as your audience. Instagram, Vine and Twitter all have their own standards. Vine loops are only six seconds. Instagram videos are 15 while Twitter allows for 30 second videos. Obviously, your message will be much simpler if you only have six seconds versus 30. Do some research and find out which app your audience uses most.

When – When are you going to post your video? Do you know when your audience is most active online? Are you promoting a new product or service, and will the timing of your video coincide with that? I feel like people skip these important questions when posting content online. Obviously, the goal is to have your video viewed by as many people as possible. It is important to find out when your audience is active online and post during those times. Thinking about when to post also leads us to our next W.

Why – Why is much more than an existential question when it comes to posting any content. What are you hoping to accomplish with the video you are making? Sometimes you are simply trying to inform your audience. Sometimes you want your audience to do something. Usually it is simply a call to action. Facebook makes it very easy to add – here are the steps. It is important to have that CTA on your video even if it is just “Follow us on Twitter” or any other social media.

How – As I covered before, professional equipment is not necessary for most video production. However, it is still important to decide what you will use to create your video. In most cases a smartphone is more than enough. Are you going to use one of the apps I talked about in my first post? Making these decisions early in the process will help you in the long run.

If you take anything away from these five W’s it is planning. The more you can decide prior to starting the more successful your video will be.

Sean is a web specialist. He runs the email marketing program, helps in website design, manages social media accounts, and uploads weekly ads. In 2017, Sean started Grocer Podcast, a month show that intends to be another way to get information to retailers. Prior to joining AWG, Sean spent three years as a high school teacher. Sean is an avid cook, sports fan and Kansas Citian.