By Shelly Bowen published January 5, 2014

How A Strategy Can Help You Create Video Content Worth Watching

[Editor’s note: Happy Holidays! This week, the editorial team at Content Marketing Institute wanted to share some of the best content marketing blog posts we’ve seen from the CMI Online Training and Certification program’s roster of expert instructors. Today’s post originally appeared on Shelly Bowen’s Pybop LLC blog on April 25, 2013.]


diagram-enterprise content strategy-video contentVideo 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.

I recently wrote a one-minute video content 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? 

Content strategy!

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 script for this video content, 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, 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

Stay tuned for more details on the CMI Online Training and Development program. And if you are looking for more guidance on developing a content marketing strategy, read CMI’s Content Marketing Framework: 7 Building Blocks to Success.

Author: Shelly Bowen

Shelly Bowen is Principal of Pybop, LLC a boutique content strategy consultancy dedicated to helping companies share their brand stories more effectively. Over the past decade, Shelly has directed and produced web, mobile, and video content and strategy for more than 75 amazing brands, such as Intuit, University of San Diego, Citrix, and AIG Direct. In addition to content strategy and brand story writing, Shelly loves cycling, kayaking, mid-century design, and sinking into a great novel. Shelly is also an instructor for the Content Marketing Institute Online Training and Certification program. Follow Shelly on Twitter @shelbow and Pybop @pybop.

Other posts by Shelly Bowen

  • Regina Partain

    Hi Shelly, I am adding video to my blog this year, so this was a timely article. I am going to be doing tutorials (crafts, jewelry, cooking) on You Tube. Thanks for sharing.

    • Shelly Bowen

      Awesome. Glad to be helpful, and much luck creating the videos. Sounds like fun.

  • HK Visa Handbook

    Good advice. We have just opened our own video studio here in Hong Kong to expand our use of video further (we have c. 400 YouTube movies on our channel presently – which is set to expand significantly this year.) I did, however, find it slightly ironic that the author chose to write this post rather than produce a video instead!

    • Shelly Bowen

      Totally ironic, yes! I should create a video to go with the text. 🙂

  • Samuel @ ReferralCandy


    • Shelly Bowen

      Great point! I admit I am one of those people who want to scan something in print before I commit to watching a video. I think it’s a great idea to include a text summary. Thanks for the feedback!

  • AgentKnowHow

    It only gets better with practice and that’s the bottom-line. Bells and whistles are great, but good content, clear, concise, reliable wins.

    • Shelly Bowen

      I so agree!

  • Amplify Reach

    Great article. I think that creating video content is one of the big mysteries for a lot of people who are trying to do online marketing. A strong foundation will give you strong direction.

    • Shelly Bowen

      Thanks, and yes, that’s so true.

  • José Antonio Sánchez

    A good tip is to try to become visual thinkers. Instead of coming up with just words, try to privilege images over copy, show instead of tell.

    Something else that has helped my team at Uberflip is to think about our audience, to choose messaging, format, and sharing platforms based on their habits. For instance, most of our target users are adults (25-35 yo) that access content during the day from their offices. This means that some of them might not be able to use headphones or speakers, so we make sure that our pieces are mostly comprehensible without audio. We also avoid platforms like Vine or Instagram video, where most users are between 13 and 25 years old.

    • Shelly Bowen

      Thanks, Jose. Yes, audience and distribution channel should be a part of the content strategy for sure. For visuals, I like to create two columns — the left side has suggestions for visuals, the right side has copy that goes with the visuals. That way — as you’re suggesting — it’s balanced, and voiceover (or text or dialogue) can be kept to a minimum.

  • Scott Williford

    Great Article. When we write scripts for clients or advise clients on scripts we always suggest two basic principles. 1 – use the spoken vernacular (not written) and 2 – watch your word count (most people speak at a rate of 125-150 words per minute).

    We’ve done thousands of videos and it’s amazing the most successful have less than 300 words in their scripts (less than 2 minutes) and always use plain language to explain their point.

  • Guest

    always keeping it short and to the point clear, concise.


    Always keep it short and to the point clear, concise.

  • Michael Bian

    This is a great marketing strategy. awesome article. TY

  • PodcastSteve

    Our content strategy is at

  • haris awais

    videos are one the most explosively growing marketing strategy especially in a country like usa , people have now become increasingly dependable on videos , and videos provide maximum engagement with the users, so it’s a good idea to market your product using video clips