How to Write a Video Outline Without the Fuss

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If you’re producing online courses and videos, it’s important to create a video outline. An outline will ensure your video is well-organized and flows smoothly. Plus when you take the time to create an outline for your video, it’s more likely to keep your viewers engaged the entire way through.

In this blog post, we’ll show you the exact steps for creating a video outline. From there, you’ll be ready to write your video script and start producing your video.

Keep reading to learn how!

Why Create a Video Outline?

Defining the purpose of your video is the first step in the pre-production process. But once you know what your video is about, how do you go about organizing all of your ideas into a cohesive structure?

This is where creating a video outline comes in handy. By taking the time to map out your video before you start production, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort down the road.

By outlining your video, you can ensure that all of your footage is relevant and that your video has a clear focus. Additionally, an outline can help you to keep track of any logistics such as locations, props, or talent that you will need to book in advance.

85% of all internet users in the U.S. watch online videos weekly.

Image showing 85%.

So if you’re like most brands, you want to attract some of that traffic with your own video.

Whether you’re planning a corporate training video or a wedding highlight reel, taking the time to create a detailed outline will pay off in the end.

How Long Do You Want Your Video To Be?

When it comes to videos, length is always a big consideration. How long should your video be? The answer, of course, depends on the purpose of the video and the audience you’re trying to reach.

In general, shorter videos are more likely to hold people’s attention than longer ones. After all, people have short attention spans these days and are more likely to watch a quick, snappy video than something that drags on for too long.

As time has gone on, it seems the length of popular videos has gotten shorter due to shorter attention spans. For example, web videos created in 2018 were one-third shorter than those produced the year prior.

However, there are exceptions to this rule – sometimes a longer video can be more effective in conveying a message or telling a story. It really all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve with your video. So think carefully about the length before you start filming!

Who is Your Video’s Audience?

When you’re planning your video, it’s important to keep your audience in mind.

  • Who are you trying to reach with your message?
  • What are their interests and concerns?
  • What do they need to know?

Answering these questions will help you to create content that resonates with your viewers. Keep in mind, however, that your audience may change over time. As your video gains popularity, you may find yourself reaching a new and larger audience. Be prepared to adjust your content accordingly.

What Do You Want to Say in Your Video?

You’ve probably seen a lot of professional YouTubers and have been impressed by their confident on-camera presence and engaging delivery. It can seem like they have it all figured out, but the truth is that even the most successful vloggers had to start somewhere.

If you’re thinking about starting your own YouTube channel, the most important thing is just to get started. Don’t worry about being perfect, or having all the right equipment.

Write a Rough Video Outline

Now that you’ve given some thought to the overall structure of your video, it’s time to start putting together a more detailed outline. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy.

A simple bullet-point list will do. Just make sure to include all of the key points that you want to hit in your video. For example, if you’re making a cooking tutorial, your outline might look something like this:

  • Choose a recipe.
  • Gather all of the ingredients.
  • Preheat the oven.
  • Prepare the food according to the recipe.
  • Cook the food.
  • Serve and enjoy!

As you see, even a simple video like this can be broken down into a clear and concise outline. By planning ahead in this way, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle later on.

Here are the main steps to creating your video outline:

Boxes showing the 4 steps to making a video outline.

1. What is the Goal of the Video? Work Backward From There.

If the goal of the video is to sell a product, then the video should be focused on introducing the product, talking about its features and benefits, and demonstrating how it is used.

Or, if the goal of the video is to raise awareness for a cause, then the video should be focused on introducing the cause, talking about the issue, and showing how people can get involved.

Finally, if the goal of the video is to educate or inform, then the video should be focused on providing information in an interesting and engaging way.

Once you know what the goal of the video is, you can start putting together an outline of what you want to include. Remember to keep your audience in mind and focus on delivering a message that will resonate with them.

2. Figure out the Steps to Reach the Goal.

If the goal of the video is to sell a product, then some of the steps might be:

  • Introducing the product.
  • Talking about the features and demonstrating how it is used.
  • Discussing the benefits of the product.
  • Showing how it is different from other products on the market.
  • Offering a special discount or incentive for viewers.

The main point here is to cut down the number of steps to the fewest steps possible.

3. Review Your List for Missing Steps and Verify the Step Order.

Once you have your steps laid out, take a look at the overall flow of the video. Make sure the steps are in a logical order and there are no important steps missing. You may also want to rearrange some of the steps to ensure the video flows smoothly from beginning to end.

Photograph of a missing step.

For example, if you’re creating a cooking tutorial, you might want to start with a brief overview of the recipe before getting into the nitty-gritty details. Or, if you’re raising awareness for a cause, you might want to start with a personal story before getting into the facts and figures.

By taking the time to review your video outline, you can be sure that your final video will be clear, concise, and easy to follow.

4. Add Details to the Video Outline

Once you have the basic structure of your video mapped out, you can start to add more detailed information.

  • If you’re making a cooking tutorial, for example, you might want to include specific measurements for ingredients, cooking times, and serving sizes.
  • Or, if you’re raising awareness for a cause, you might want to include links to resources where viewers can learn more.
  • If you’re creating an educational video, you might want to include a list of key points or a summary of the information that will be covered.

By adding these details to your video outline, you can be sure that your final video will be as informative and helpful as possible.

Before you start filming, it’s important to double-check your video outline for accuracy and completeness. Make sure that all of the information is accurate and up-to-date, and that you haven’t forgotten to include any important steps or details. Once you’re confident that your video outline is ready to go, you can start planning for filming.

From there you have a rough draft of your video outline. You can edit it along with adding to it to make it a final draft.

Video Outline Example

A video outline helps you organize your thoughts and ensure that your video is on track. To create a video outline, start by listing out all of the topics you want to cover in your video. Then, for each topic, make a note of the key points you want to hit.

Once you have your topics and key points mapped out, flesh out your outline with supporting details. Lastly, decide on the final order in which you want to cover each topic.

Here are some video outline examples you may use for inspiration:

  • Introducing the topic.
  • Providing information in an interesting and engaging way.
  • Using examples to illustrate the points being made.
  • Asking questions to encourage viewers to think about the issue.
  • Offering a call to action for viewers who want to learn more.

The example above would make the most sense for an instructional video. The example below will work best for a product video:

  • Introduction
  • Problem/Solution
  • How it works/features
  • Benefits
  • Call to action

FAQ on Video Outlines

How do you outline a YouTube video?

Decide on the topic of your video and what you want to cover. Next, make a list of all the points you want to hit in your video. Then, arrange those points in a logical order and start filming!

By taking the time to outline your video before you start filming, you’ll stay on track and avoid rambling. Plus, your viewers will appreciate the structure and clarity that an outline can provide.

What is a video outline?

Simply put, a video outline is a guide that helps you plan out your video content. It can be as simple as a bullet point list or as detailed as a full-blown script.

Regardless of its form, a video outline is an essential tool for any video creator. After all, it’s very difficult to create a compelling and cohesive video without first having a clear idea of what you want to say.

A good video outline will help you determine the purpose of your video, the key points you want to communicate, and the overall structure of your story. It will also save you a lot of time in the editing room by helping you define what footage you need to capture.

How do I write a script for a video?

First, start by brainstorming the key points that you want to cover in your video. Once you have a few ideas, start putting them into a logical sequence. Then, start writing out your dialogue or narration. It’s important to keep your audience in mind as you write and to keep your dialogue natural and easy to understand. Don’t forget to include any graphics, music, or other elements that will help to bring your video to life.

How do I plan a video?

Before you start filming, it’s important to plan out your video. Your plan will help you determine what equipment you need, what shots you want to get, and what script or story you want to tell.

Come up with an idea for your video. What is it about? What are you trying to communicate? Once you have an idea, you can start brainstorming ways to visually communicate that idea.

What shots will help tell your story? How can you use lighting or editing to create a certain mood or atmosphere? Once you have a plan for your shots, it’s time to start thinking about audio. What music will set the right tone for your video? Do you need any sound effects?

Once you have all of your visuals and audio planned out, it’s time to start writing your script. Keep in mind who your audience is and what message you’re trying to communicate.

What are the 3 stages of video production?

The 3 stages of video production are pre-production, production, and post-production. In pre-production, the idea for the video is developed and the script is written. The production stage is when the video is actually filmed. And lastly, in video post-production, the footage is edited and any special effects are added. Each of these stages is important in creating a high-quality video.

Graphic with icons showing the 3 stages of video production.


What are the steps to video pre-production?

Before a film or video project begins, there is a lot of work that goes into the pre-production phase. This is when the concept for the project is developed and the necessary steps are taken to ensure that the project runs smoothly.

Graphic showing the 6 parts to video pre-production.

Here are some of the most important steps in video pre-production:

  • Decide who the video is for: Come up with a persona and figure out exactly what they are looking for.
  • Determine the objectives: Figure out what the main goal or objectives of your video will be.
  • Come up with the video strategy: This includes the length of time the video will run and what type of video you will produce.
  • Write the script: Once the concept is developed, it’s time to start writing the script. This is where all of the dialog and action are planned out in detail.
  • Create your storyboard: A storyboard is basically a comic strip version of the final video. It helps to visualize how the video will flow and can be used to plan out shot angles and transitions.
  • Assembling the team: No video project can be completed without a dedicated team of professionals. In this step, actors, crew members, and other personnel are hired.

Wrapping Up

Remember, the more planning you do upfront when it comes to planning your video, the smoother your video will wind up. So take some time to map out each step of your video before hitting record. Start with a video outline and end with an engaging video!

Now that you understand what a video outline is and how to create one, it’s time to go out and outline your next video.

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

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