Updated: Sep 22
Call it a creative brief, checklist, or video pre-production guide. We call it setting your video project up for success. We live by a quote that has molded the way we do things at Clear Online Video, "proper preparation prevents poor performance."
For better or worse, we have seen many outcomes throughout thousands of video productions we have experienced. Everything from a video shoot getting shut down for various reasons to a well-planned production where the client and crew walk away happily in celebration.
The planning goes beyond the video production shoot; there's the one-off corporate video project that has cost thousands of dollars to produce, only to fall flat because the brand did not reach its target audience. Or the brand did not optimize its video for an online platform such as YouTube or Instagram.
So why do specific videos succeed and others fail? We believe that part of the reason a video does not reach its potential is that the project missed out on adequate planning.
A well-thought-out creative production brief can help a video strategy. It is the phase of production that can help videos reach intended audiences and achieve your goals. The brief serves as the foundation of a video and helps outline the project for everyone involved.
We put a lot of planning into each video project and campaign to get the results your brand is after. Based on our years of production and online video marketing experience, this prep work ensures a successful video that reaches your audience.
Our video projects include an in-depth discovery session covering various topics from creative direction to budgets. This video production brief guides how the project gets from a script to the destination. We will break down our creative brief into five short sections to help you plan your video project.
Clearly outlining these items will help provide your company and any external partners with the correct information to produce a video that gets results. Our simple and seamless approach starts with one essential question.
1) Where is your video or campaign going to live? The answer to this question will drive every other part of the video production and distribution process.
On the marketing side, knowing the end platform, such as a company website, YouTube, Instagram, or LinkedIn page, will help craft a script that speaks natively to each destination and the primary audience. Where a video is published will also help determine the script length, the overall tone, call-to-action, player functionality tools, lead generation options, etc.
While we recommend having a central destination for each video, we realize online content can span across many platforms. Therefore, our campaign-style approach typically involves producing a video that lives in many places, like a company website, and across social media channels.
Identifying all the end platforms in the beginning, will guide the production process, especially with the technical and creative aspects. In addition, one video shoot does not have to focus on a single video, and the production day can provide multiple assets to feed social media channels, blogs, etc.
For example, a brand can capture behind-the-scenes footage to tease or promote upcoming videos that will be released. This approach works great for product announcements, events, and tutorials. We are all for repurposing content and making a shoot day go as far as possible.
We recommend creating script variations tailored for each social media platform during pre-production. For example, on a YouTube video, the script should encourage viewers to subscribe to the channel or ask questions on the platform to increase engagement. These things contribute to platform watch time, and keeping a user on YouTube longer will help your video search rankings. Keep in mind that YouTube is the largest online video platform, so it is essential to pay attention to how this channel operates, whether your brand is using YouTube or not.
Brands can use the same tailored script approach for LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and other video channels. Often, these channels provide education and best practices that can help you create video content that successfully works for each platform.
On the production side, knowing where the video will live will establish specs and formats crucial for the video shoot itself. Those technical items include using broadcast specs for television, widescreen or vertical recording for different platforms, subject or product composition for specific online video players, etc.
The end platform will also fuel the post-production phase regarding delivery specs, the pacing of the video edit, captions, graphics, music, call-to-action, etc.
Finally, the end platform will provide important information to companies and brands regarding video distribution, from writing a video post to how the video will appear on a company website page.
Other items to consider are what additional supporting marketing assets can surround your video and the overall video user experience. We will cover call-to-actions in the section below.
Answering where the video will live will address all these points mentioned. However, there is a lot to think about, so we ask this question first.
2) Who are you trying to reach? The next item we focus on is identifying the primary audience for your video or campaign. Target audience research is where we get specific on the demographic, location, and call-to-action for your video.
Knowing your audience will help in the overall creative direction for a video and crafting a message that will resonate with them. Speaking to your audience includes everything from the style, pacing of a video, presenters/subjects that appear in the video, wardrobe, music, voiceovers, and graphics.
The audience research phase is a great time to identify the shoot location. Do you need a studio, or can we capture the video at your office? Does permission need to be obtained to record video on a property, or do drone authorizations from the FAA have to be filed for aerial video productions?
No matter where the video shoot takes place, the environment should complement the video and contribute to the overall story. Therefore, our site checks include in-depth looks at a potential video shoot location, ranging from lighting, composition, and audio at each place.
We suggest keeping that end audience in mind during every part of the video production process.
Another tip for gathering target audience information is working with marketing, public relations, and sales teams. These departments and professionals can offer a wealth of information about your customers and audience. In addition, they should know your audience's pain points and how you could create relevant video content for those people.
For those who do not have access to these departments, we suggest taking an in-depth look at the website and social media analytics. These metrics can provide valuable information when it comes to target audiences. These analytics include research items such as search terms, audience behavior, and user engagement. It is critical to know the audience for each video published.
For online videos, the internet provides a chance for your audience to find niche content, and this can help with your video search rankings. Get narrow with the message and identify the audience for each video distributed. Aim to produce a video that targets a specific audience rather than trying to reach everyone on the planet. This approach will help your video get in front of the right audience.
3) Identifying the video's goal- We believe each video should have a unique purpose. We understand that video production can be a time-consuming process. Whether you have an in-house video team or are hiring a video production company, there will be lots of time spent producing a video.
When you choose to work with us, we are honored to help you craft a message in a video form that will reach your audience. We don't just want your video to look good; we want it to deliver the results that align with your company marketing objectives.
Defining a clear-cut goal for what end action you want a user to take after watching the video is an excellent way to get results. Whether buying a product, signing up leads, driving social engagement, or continuing to funnel audiences through the customer journey, we will identify each video goal and create a powerful call to action to support it.
Many online video players offer some functionality built into the player—these range from gathering emails, downloading assets, watching more videos, etc. During our in-depth brief, we will provide information specific to your brand's end platform when publishing videos.
4) Who needs to be involved? A common area often overlooked with video production is clearly outlining the stakeholders for a video. We often work with large organizations to create a well-defined internal video process that outlines the entire project. The method includes the tone, goal of each video, the editing/review process, etc.
The marketing teams will know the tone and voice of a company. Keeping these things consistent in your video assets is essential as this is an extension of your overall brand. Avoid video styles that do not compliment your brand; this includes music, lighting, voiceovers, and other creative items that may dilute your brand.
We created a helpful video that outlines how different departments within an organization can contribute to the overall success of a video.
To summarize, we want to identify those key players and stakeholders for every video. That can include everyone from creative and marketing professionals to the legal teams that help determine what is safe to say and show in your videos.
Including all appropriate decision makers early in the process is essential to avoiding hiccups and potentially losing lots of money. For example, the CEO of a company may have a much different vision than the marketing professional hiring the actual video production team.
You are determining if a video production style fits your brand before any video filmming starts. Many production companies are good at what they do; however, their vibe or workflow may not align with your brand. Furthermore, you may enjoy their portfolio of work, but the budget may not exist to hire them. Having everyone involved and a process documented is valuable to ensure video success.
5) What are the numbers? – One of the essential items to go into a video production brief is outlining the budget for a video. Prices in the video production industry can vary depending on many factors, including experience, style, market location, and delivery time.
Check out our helpful video that discusses this topic in more detail.
Knowing the budget ahead of time or after a discovery session will help craft a video's overall production value and timeline. In addition, having these numbers in place will create the framework and overview for everything from pre-production to video distribution.
As we mentioned above, knowing the destination of your video and primary audience will help create a budget for each video. Additionally, answering the above questions will determine if a single video does the job or if a video campaign is needed to reach a wider audience.
We hope you found value in our essential checklist for a video production brief. These tips are a solid start to creating an outline for a video and will help in the success of your content marketing strategy. Of course, we are happy to answer any questions you have.