Video Strategy for Your University / Lifecycles and Planning

Timings are the last thing to think through before getting stuck into the creative messaging of your video. Consider how long you want your video content to last, when you’ll need the finished piece by and how often you plan to create new video content.

This is step 5 of 6 in our video strategy guide (click here for the overview page).

Growing old gracefully

Look back at your prospectus from a few years ago and it will seem dated now. The same is true of video – it has a limited lifespan, just like any other form of content. After about two years, standard video content really starts to show its age.

You can mitigate the two-year lifespan by working with suppliers who work ahead of today’s quality standards, ensuring your project is future-proofed for the maximum amount of time, often giving you an extra year’s use before you’ll need to consider retiring it. This lifespan extension helps to make the initial premium of higher quality more worthwhile in ROI terms, while of course the improved impression that it gives of your brand is an additional advantage.

Turnaround times

Whether you are planning to include the video content in a specific campaign, use it at a launch event or simply add it to a webpage to increase conversions, the timescale you have in mind will affect what can be achieved.

Simple shoots

A very simple shoot can be planned, filmed and edited within two or three weeks. Naturally this restricts your options – suppliers and stakeholders may have limited last-minute availability, and working reactively means missing out on opportunities to be more strategic or effective. The more notice you can give for a project, the better the outcome will be (and the less stressed you will feel!). However, we realise that higher education marketers don’t always get the benefit of long lead times, especially for smaller projects!

Epic films

For creative atmospheric, cinematic promotional films that stir emotions and look more like what you’d expect from a multi-million pound blockbuster, allow at least three months for the pre-production, production and post-production work.

The bulk of this time will be allocated to pre-production – probably the area people are most tempted to skimp on. However, skipping on detail at this stage simply means storing up problems, challenges and costs later on. If you get pre-production right, then everyone will go into the production and post-production phases with a very clear (and aligned!) understanding of what the final output will be.

Three months provides sufficient time for you and your supplier to:

  • Journey through the full creative process without rushing.
  • Schedule filming days around everyone’s commitments.
  • Book in backup filming dates in case of poor weather or sickness of key cast members.
  • Hold formal auditions (if required).
  • Create bespoke music to match the visual cues (if required).
  • Complete the post-production process without undue pressure.


The turnaround time for creating an animation depends on the length of the final piece, the complexity of the assets (such as characters, buildings and backgrounds) that need to be created and the extent of animated motion that is required. As a guide, allow 2-3 weeks for a short infographic animation, or up to three months for a complex, emotive animation which needs the full creative process, character design, storyboarding and so on.

Quality and quantity

Ten years ago, forward-thinking marketers would create a single promotional video which they’d update once every two or three years. Now, the best video content marketers have video numbers in the hundreds, with a range of lengths, while the least effective have only a handful of videos.

We realise that this sounds like a hard sell coming from a content creation agency that specializes in video. So here’s some impartial, third party research on the power of video:

  • 6 in 10 website visitors will watch a video, if one is available, before reading any text (Diode Digital).
  • 64% of brand marketers expect video content to dominate their future strategies (Nielsen).
  • 9 out of 10 visitors remain on a site longer if it has a prominent video (MistMedia).
  • Optimised video increases the chance of a Google first page search listing by 53 times (Cisco Visual Networking Index).
  • 1.8 million: the number of words one minute of film is worth (Dr James McQuivery of Forrester Research).
  • 8 out of 10 internet users remember watching a promotional video in the past 30 days (Online Publishers Association).
  • 7 out of 10 people view a brand more positively after watching interesting video content (Axonn Research).
  • By 2018, 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be video (Cisco Visual Networking Index).

These are all good reasons to not create single videos in isolation, but instead choose which elements of your content calendar and marketing strategy are best served by video content and include it as one of the formats you use to communicate with your target audience on a regular basis.

Planning in advance in this way also opens up opportunities to be more creative with your video content, such as telling a story over a number of weeks, or building up the anticipation of an event or launch with a series of teaser videos.

Last, and certainly not least, it’s the most creative and exciting part – how can the look and feel of your video best present your University and achieve your objectives?

Next up: Video Strategy for your University / Look and Feel