How to write, design, and schedule a YouTube episode

So you’re an online video creator. After thinking about and deciding on what your YouTube “brand” will be, it’s time to pick up the camera and start filming, right? Not quite yet! Chances are you should do a little more prep beforehand: first, by writing what the content of each video, or episode, will be.

Plot out your episode

Unless your video is a short film (or animated short), a traditional “script” probably won’t apply. But the concept of storytelling does still apply. Whether your focus is fitness, gaming, music, or something else, think of each video you make as an episode of your personal online TV series.

Structure each episode with a beginning, middle, and end. Write down bullet points on index cards, create an outline on paper, or structure a script in screenplay format using a free program like Celtx. Plotting out your episode in advance will make your videos tighter and help keep your audience’s attention.

Design the template

Once you have the story down, it’s time to design the episode—not just visual design of graphics, transitions, and title cards, but also the structure of the episode itself. This structure will become the basic template of your videos—your format.

To shape your own format, find inspiration from TV shows you enjoy watching. Most shows use a branding title (like this one) with a musical intro. Make your title reflect the “brand” you’ve chosen, and have that brand permeate the entire design of the episode.

When you’re designing your format, consistency is key. Using a template will make filmmaking and post-process editing easier for you and provide familiarity for your viewers. And of course, you can change the template at any time if you like!

Keep to a schedule

Once you’ve written a few episodes and designed the format, commit to uploading a video on a schedule that works best for you. A consistent schedule gives viewers an incentive to subscribe to your channel—plus, your current subscribers will know when to tune in.

One or two videos per a week tends to work best. But YouTube can be very time-consuming, so gauge your personal responsibilities and priorities and decide on a schedule you can realistically follow. You can always adjust later.

With all this in place—a channel brand, well-plotted content, a template, and a consistent schedule—you’ll not only stand out from the crowd but also be able to create great videos before you even start filming.