How do you go from having an idea for a video to recording it, publishing it, and sharing it with the world?
Unfortunately, growing a YouTube channel isn’t as simple as posting videos every week and assuming they’ll get tons of views (if only!). Instead, growing a successful channel requires an efficient and effective process. This process is what I call my YouTube workflow, and without it, my YouTube channel would have never taken off like it has (and hopefully will continue to do so!).
The good news is that I’m going to share my YouTube workflow with you even though it’s top-secret information. I’m willing to reveal my entire YouTube workflow process because I know it can help get your YouTube channel off the ground. However, you’ll also find that the steps in my workflow are the same steps you can take to grow and scale a business… without burning out.
My YouTube Workflow Overview
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I’m going to give you an overview of the different steps in my workflow process. So, below I’ve included a very long image that shows each phase of my YouTube workflow:
The first step is always the strategy. The strategy is so important. You won’t get anywhere fast without having a strategy in place. So, before I do anything else, I consider the strategy. In terms of YouTube, this involves thinking about ways to keep viewers watching videos from start to finish and engaging with the videos, etc.
Next, I think about an idea for a video. I think about what my audience wants to see from me, and then I research my ideas to find out as much as I can before hitting the record button. I also carry out SEO research around the topic of the idea.
Then, I plan an outline of the video I plan to make. I don’t write a script for my videos. Instead, I write a few points down to help keep me on track. For me, not having a script feels more natural because I can talk to the camera as though I’m talking directly to my audience. Doing it this way feels more natural to me, so I never thought a script was necessary. However, if you prefer to work from a script, then you should absolutely do that.
Once I reach this stage of my YouTube workflow, I film the video, edit it, and repurpose it. Finally, the video is scheduled and released as a brand-new shiny video on my YouTube channel. All of these steps are essentially the entire process of my YouTube workflow. However, I don’t do all of these things by myself (I’m not Superman, unfortunately).
What you need to do as the CEO
When you’re growing a business or growing a YouTube channel, there are many steps to consider. As the CEO or the main face of the channel, there is no need to involve yourself in every step of the workflow. I certainly don’t because if I did, I would have burnt out a long time ago. The CEO should focus on the strategy part of YouTube and possibly the filming stage since they’re likely to be the face of the company. It would help if you also had input on the ideas from your expertise, knowledge, and clients. As the CEO, you may also want to dip your toes in the video’s promotion, perhaps within the first hour of its release.
What should you outsource?
Many CEO’s hire a VA to help ease the workload. When you have VA, they will take over a lot of the things throughout the YouTube workflow. However, if it’s just you and the VA working on everything, you will have to take responsibility for more tasks because a VA can only do so much.
I understood this when I started my YouTube channel, and I was okay with it. However, I was not a massive fan of the editing, repurposing, and scheduling side of running a YouTube channel. I loved doing the research, planning the videos, and filming them, but I did not want to edit, repurpose, or schedule the publishing of all of those things.
So, I decided to move what I believed to be some of the most time-consuming chunks of the entire process and outsource it to other people. Whilst I do know a thing or two about editing, I’m no professional. I could do it if I had to, but it would take me ages. Thankfully, nobody is standing over my shoulder, forcing me to do all of the things that I don’t want to do. So, I found professionals to do it for me.
I hired a video editor, and a content repurposing team to help me out, and it was worth it. I moved the editing, repurposing, and scheduling steps of my YouTube workflow to other professionals (see image below).
Add extra steps to the workflow as required
Now, at first, it may sound fabulous to delegate lots of different things to other people because hey, it gives you your time back. However, it does mean you have to relinquish some of the control you had when you did everything by yourself.
Like most entrepreneurs, I, too, am a bit of a control freak. Not in an over-the-top way though, I just prefer to sign-off on the work carried out by outside sources. When you outsource, you put your trust in other people to represent your voice and your brand.
So, when I started to outsource, I added a few extra processes to my YouTube workflow, which were “sign-off” and “reviews.”
Having these steps in place gave me back some control to review the work being done and make sure I’m happy with it. Without checking the work completed by others, I leave my channel and business open to risks.
Why you need a Stage-Gate
To reduce the level of risk, I created a stage-gate process for my YouTube workflow. A stage-gate is essentially a project management technique that breaks down the processes of a project. In my case, my stage-gate includes distinct stages of the YouTube process, where important decisions are made along the way.
I’ve broken down each stage into different sections from start to finish, which includes the workflow’s main steps such as purpose, ideas, creation, pre-broadcast, broadcast, engage, and analyse. Then, each stage has a stage-gate that allows us to go, no go, or change. The stage-gate gives us space to make critical decisions throughout the YouTube workflow process.
One of the best things about having a stage-gate like this is that it allows you to stop what you’re doing at any point, go back and revisit previous stages, continue with the plan, or stop everything altogether. Keep in mind that while I’m talking about my YouTube workflow, all of these things (including the stage-gate) can be applied to other processes within your business.
How to break down the stages of your workflow
Breaking down the stages of a process or workflow you have inside your business is one of the best and easiest ways to stay on track. When I started designing my YouTube workflow, I kept things relatively simple in terms of the steps and what tasks were needed for each phase of the process. However, once I had the basic blueprint complete, along with the stage-gate, I knew I needed to break the cycle down even further.
So, I created a swim lane chart that clearly shows what tasks I have to do as the business’s CEO and what tasks others will be doing along the way. The image below shows how this swim lane chart looked in the early stages. You will see how it changes and adapts as the channel grows further down.
I also hired interns to get a lot of the work done at a minimal cost. This is a great way to help interns get the experience they need while also getting work done at a low cost, which is a win-win for both the intern and the small business owner who doesn’t have many funds.
My responsibility as the CEO is the overall company or channel strategy on YouTube. The idea part overlaps with myself and the interns. I’m always open to new ideas, so if my interns have a great idea, I like to give them that chance to share their ideas, and potentially those ideas become the main focus for one of my videos. The interns are also responsible for carrying out SEO research, which I then review. This is followed by me doing some topic research for the video, considering affiliate links, playlist placement, creating the outline for the video, and finally, I film the video.
The finished video is sent to the video production team, which gets a rough cut, otherwise known as the narrative edit. This narrative edit is sent to the repurposing team, who choose timestamps from the video to create social media teasers. Simultaneously, the video production team works on the creative edit of the main YouTube video, which is delivered to me for review. If I have any feedback for the video production team in terms of B roles or any creative input I want to include, I send that feedback back to the video production team.
The video production team works on the final edit of the video and make any requested changes that I asked for during the initial feedback stage. When this final version is complete, I review it once again, and the social media teasers are created from the final edited video. We also add subtitles and design the thumbnail.
While the video production team is busy at work, the content repurposing team work on producing the blog post, the social media copy, the email for my subscribers, the YouTube description, and social media graphics. All of this is signed-off by myself or a member of my team. Once everything is reviewed and has the green light to go ahead, the video production team schedules the video upload, and the repurposing team schedules when the social media posts, blog posts, etc., are published.
Now, this is a basic overview of my YouTube workflow. However, I have continued to update it, and you will also find that your workflow for different processes will need to be updated as your business continues to grow. So, let’s look at what changes I made to my existing YouTube workflow and why I made those changes.
My final YouTube workflow plan (as it currently stands)
As the CEO, I gave myself many tasks to do in the early stages of starting my YouTube channel. The problem was that I did not have the time or energy to get all of those things done at a high-level. So, I knew I needed to get a channel manager to take over various tasks such as responsibility for the YouTube strategy, affiliate links, sponsorships, tags, etc.
Different tasks and responsibilities are split up over different people before returning to a go, no go, review. All of these people work on their own tasks, which is carried out before I even hit record, which is why I call it the “scope” stage of the process.
Understanding the competition is so important, as well as planning the thumbnail and how it will look. After all, the thumbnail needs to be clickable, or else nobody will click on it. Topic research and the video outline are also completed during the “scope” phase, which means I have everything I need ready to go when I sit in front of the camera, ready to start filming.
As I mentioned above, the filmed video goes to the video production team for the narrative edit, followed by the creative edit. I then take some time to review the creative work, and once I’m happy with the main video, we get it transcribed and have captions added. At the same time, the social media teasers are made, social media graphics and the rest of the copy is completed (blog post, social media copy, email copy, and the YouTube description).
When all of these things are ready, the channel manager will do the final review and sign-off. This means that I don’t have to spend time reviewing everything because I trust the people who do the work for me, and I trust the channel manager’s decisions.
Once this is all done and ready to go, the channel manager schedules the video, uploads it, and then schedules and publishes the social media posts. This then leads us to the broadcast phase of the YouTube workflow. Here is a sneak peek into our swim chart for the broadcast, engage, and analyse phases of my YouTube workflow:
As the CEO, I still take responsibility for some aspects, but things like generating backlinks and SEO has been moved to the digital marketing expert. Tasks such as commenting on the channel, the LinkedIn video posts, and general monitoring of the social channels and commenting goes to the social media person or team. Analytics is done by the channel manager and the research/analytics crew.
Meanwhile, I share on social media and record a live Instagram story to help spread the word about the new video to increase engagement. I also monitor the channel and hang around for an hour or so to respond to comments on the channel and my social media channels.
I hope you found this blog post helpful when designing your own YouTube workflow or a workflow for a different process within your business!
This is Part 1 of a mini-series I’m doing both here on the blog and over on my YouTube channel, where I’m sharing intimate details about my YouTube process and revealing all of my secrets.
So, if you want to keep up with the series and learn more about my workflow, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos!