How to Write a Great Video Marketing Brief

17.05.2021 Content Strategy
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

A powerful marketing video doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It starts life as an effective brief, one that has guided the creative process. It’s the key to delivering marketing content that hits its target and achieves exactly what a client wants.

As video establishes itself as the number one form of consumer content, more businesses are looking to create marketing video strategies. A key part of this is knowing how to create killer briefs that can evolve into the best marketing content.

So what exactly is a video brief and what should it cover? Here’s a look:

What is a marketing video production brief?

A brief is a document that sets out the objectives and parameters of a video marketing project. It communicates the overall purpose of the video and any practical considerations, such as budget, timescale and formats.

A marketing video brief may be used to guide the work of an external video production company or to work with an in-house team. As the name suggests, a brief is intended to be short and concise. It aims to clearly define the end goal and not to outline every step of the process.

What should a video brief cover?

Many video production companies will provide a brief template document to help you through the process. They can also give you the guidance you need to turn a vague idea into a clear and focused brief.

Generally, a brief should cover six key areas:

1. What’s the purpose of your video?

It’s the most basic thing to answer and also one of the hardest aspects to nail down. Ultimately, the end goal of any video marketing content is going to be selling something – whether that’s a product, service or concept.

But it’s worth drilling down much more specifically. How do you want the viewer to act or feel once they have watched the video? Is the objective to drive sign-ups, boost sales or simply to improve the way people think about your organisation?

Being clear about this objective from the start helps to bring focus to the whole production process. Without it, you can create a slick-looking marketing video that doesn’t serve any defined purpose. Having a specific goal will also help to monitor and gauge performance.

What's the Purpose of Your Video
What’s the Purpose of Your Video

2. Whom is your video speaking to?

To identify the purpose of video marketing content, you also need to know whom it is you’re targeting. Who needs to hear the message that the video’s communicating – is it for existing customers and clients, for new leads or a specific demographic?

Knowing this will allow a video to ‘speak the language’ of that target audience. Something that’s aimed towards a tech start-up company is likely to be significantly different in tone and style to something that’s targeting garden shed buyers.

The clearer and more focused you are about who you’re targeting, the more effective video marketing content can become. A good video agency will have the experience to know what works and what doesn’t with various demographics – something that’s constantly evolving.

3. What does the video need to communicate?

This outlines the content of the video that you want to communicate. This doesn’t mean a finished script but a general overview of what you want to be covered. What information do you need to get across to the viewer?

If it’s an explainer video, the core content will be showing how a particular product or service works. If it’s a ‘Meet the Team’ video, it’s going to be introducing the people behind a business. It could be a simple message or a more complex concept.

You also need to think about what the most important element is. What’s the takeaway message that you want people to have once they’ve watched the video? With any video that’s used for marketing purposes – it’s always beneficial to keep communications simple, engaging and focused.

What Does the Video Need to Communicate
What Does the Video Need to Communicate

4. What tone/style/theme do you want?

Do you have a general idea about the kind of style or theme for the video? If you do then it’s important to get these ideas across within the brief. It can be useful to provide links to videos, music or images that help to convey your thinking.

If you don’t have any strong ideas – that’s not a problem. For an agency, it can often help to start with more of a blank canvas and to suggest approaches. While it’s good to have general thoughts on the look and feel, it’s also good to keep an open mind.

Clearly communicating your ideas in the brief also allows a video marketing agency to determine if it’s realistic within the given budget and timescale. A balance has to be made between creative goals and practical considerations.

5. How do you want to use the video?

An easy mistake to make is not considering the various ways a marketing video will be used. Is it going to be for a landing page or used for social media sharing or as part of a company presentation? Or do you want it to do all of those things?

This is important to clarify in the brief because it allows the production process to be adapted so that it covers each required format. Shorter, more shareable, versions of a video can be created with slight variations in style and content.

It’s quicker, simpler and more cost-effective to do this as part of the production process rather than trying to reformat content retrospectively. The video agency should be able to help guide you on the potential ways that a video can be used and the most appropriate formats.

6. What’s the budget and deadline?

A good video brief will identify exactly what limits the production team is working with. The most important information is to set a budget and the timescale for delivery. This allows a video agency to determine whether what you’re asking for is doable on the given budget.

If it’s not, you may need to make compromises – either increase the budget or find alternative approaches that can be achieved within the limitations. A good video content agency will find creative ways to hit your goal without breaking your bank.

You should also set out any other practicalities that could impact production. If a video involves interviews with employees or footage from a workplace, when can these be carried out? If a video release is linked to a wider marketing schedule, what are the important dates/deadlines?

What's the Budget and Deadline
What’s the Budget and Deadline

What’s the secret to writing a great video for a marketing brief?

The best marketing briefs are those that find a sweet spot between too much and too little detail. This is particularly the case when working with an external agency. Here’s a look at the two extremes:

1. Too much detail

A brief should set out the general objective and message of a video and it doesn’t need to go into massive detail about how this should be achieved. The brief is just the start of the process – once it’s agreed, we can start working on storyboards, scripts, shooting schedules, and other logistics.

While it’s great to have clear ideas about what you want, it benefits from being flexible and working in partnership with an agency. It’s important to be open to new ideas and to make the most of the expertise and experience that a reputable agency can offer.

2. Too little detail

You don’t need to have fully zoned in on the message or audience for the video but you should have a general idea. An agency can guide you through the briefing process and help add focus but ultimately you need to know what you’re trying to achieve.

If a brief is too woolly or vague then it’s much more likely to result in an end product that’s not what you wanted. And finding this out after the creative process can be costly and frustrating with additional reshoots and edits required.

3. Hitting the sweet spot

So the ideal video marketing brief will find the sweet spot between these two extremes. It knows what it wants to achieve but it leaves enough space for a partner agency to be a meaningful part of the process. It allows both sides to work together towards a shared goal.

It allows ideas to evolve while never losing sight of the message or target audience. This kind of partnership can reduce production times and create powerful marketing videos that achieve exactly what was set out in the brief.

Hitting the Sweet Spot
Hitting the Sweet Spot

Conclusion: Plan for great video content

Creating a great video brief is important but it’s not something you need to agonise over. At the end of the day, it’s just a short document that clearly outlines what you want from a marketing video.

But it’s certainly worth spending some time over. Before you start a project, you should have a clear idea of its objective. How you achieve it may change along the way but the focus on the end result should remain the same.

Video is no longer a mere option in digital marketing – it’s a necessity. We understand the importance of creating enthralling videos, in both live-action and animated formats. Give us a call to get our creative partnership started.

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