How to Create 3-Minute Video Content

January 23, 2015    |    Brad Holst

In a blog earlier this month, I promised to share ways to increase your level of comfort and effectiveness when presenting on camera, based on my own experience recording videos for Harvard Business Publishing.

While thrilled to record for Harvard ManageMentor®, I was equally stressed over how to make it happen. I lost a lot of sleep pondering, “How do I create content for a short, 3-minute video that’s both compelling and useful?”

From those sleepless nights, I developed three guidelines you can use to take some of the anxiety out of creating and recording high-quality video content.


Laser-focused intention

  • Sharply focus on a single issue if you want to create meaningful content and keep within an approximately 3-minute timeframe.
  • Understand your target audience’s motivation for watching your video, in order for your content to resonate.


Emotionally connected storytelling

  • Anchor your video with a well-constructed story. Hook viewers by creating and relieving tension and bringing your topic to life in a relatable and believable way. 
  • Be crystal clear on your call to action, and (when appropriate) break it down into memorable and easy to understand steps.


Ruthless editing

  • Limit your word count to approximately 400 words to keep your video close to three minutes. This can be a challenge -  my own initial drafts all averaged around 600 words.
  • Edit your content by recording, timing, and then reviewing what you have on your smart phone or tablet. You’ll be surprised how this method will quickly enable you to reduce your word count, while at the same time improving the quality of your video content.


I should also mention that Mandel's creation tools proved to be priceless in guiding my video content creation efforts.

Check out the first of my most recent Harvard ManageMentor® videos to see how I applied these three principles. Watch now - Three Keys to Influencing Others.