Creating an effective video brief in 7 steps

You know that video can turbo-charge your marketing efforts – and that it’s about time you took the plunge. But you don’t know where to start. In this blog, From the Hip lifts the lid on how to create the perfect video brief, in seven simple steps.

Are you looking for a fresh way to market your brand? Does your website need a facelift? Are your sales flagging? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it’s time you took advantage of one of the best mediums out there – online video.

The rise of video

Thanks to our obsession with smartphones and tablets, video has never been so popular. We use it for our entertainment and information needs most days, sometimes several times a day – and all at the click of a button.

If there’s one fact that sums up our great and growing appetite for the moving image, it’s this: YouTube receives more than a billion unique visitors every month. That’s a huge deal, and the reason that smart businesses everywhere are tapping into this vast viewing audience with an online video of their own.

Where to start?

But the idea of creating a video can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the behind-the-scenes workings of this popular art form. That’s why we’re going to show you how to create a brilliant brief – the first stage in the production process and the building block of any successful video.

Here at From the Hip Video, we know from experience that this all-important initial stage is where things often go wrong. And that’s for one simple reason: people mistakenly create their brief based on what they think should be in the film rather than pinpointing the emotional or behavioural change they want their video to bring about in viewers.

So here’s how to brief a video, in seven easy steps. TIP: the brief doesn’t need to be long to be effective; in fact, some of the best briefs are incredibly concise.

7 steps to creating a brief

  1. First things first: understand the purpose of your video. Why will people click “play”? Is it there to inform, inspire or entertain – or do all three? And what response are you aiming to elicit from viewers – are you after a change in thinking or behaviour? Make up your mind about this early on.

  2. You must know your audience. You need to be crystal-clear about who will watch this video, be they customers, employees or other stakeholders. The content, style and tone of your video will need to be tailored accordingly. Get this right, and you’ll be well on your way.

  3. Think about how you’ll use this video. Will it be for your website or for a presentation? Or are you aiming for a social-media sensation? What you do with the finished product will determine a lot of what goes into the creative mix.

  4. Communicate clearly. If you keep your key messages sharp and simple, then your viewers will walk away with a clear idea of your offering – in other words, they will know exactly how you can help them. So stick to a handful of powerful points rather than trying to squeeze in too many.

  5. Spend time thinking about style. What would best reflect your brand’s personality – a cutting-edge, contemporary feel or something more traditional? Consider the filmic features you’re after, from actors and animations to voice-overs and presenters. Be sure to include examples of any work you like.

  6. This ties in closely with point 3, but you need to know how your video will be distributed. Will you direct your customers straight to Youtube or will the video sit on your website? Will you plug it in an email or ask people to view, like and share it on social media? The opportunities are endless.

  7. Last but by no means least, get storyboarding. A storyboard is a series of sketches – a bit like a comic strip – that allows you to plan and visualise your video. There’s a bit of a knack to this process, which we’ll discuss in our next blog, but feel free to download our template before then and get creative!

So there you have it – our video-brief Bible, in seven foolproof steps. And though it may not be the whole production story, it’ll certainly get you off the starting blocks and set those creative juices flowing.

If you’re keen to create a video to promote your brand, then please drop us a line – whoever you are, whatever your business. We’re here to listen to your ideas, brainstorm with you and guide you through the entire process, from storyboard to screen.

Remember to check out our next blog, when we’ll be asking Dan – our founder and director – to reveal his storyboarding secrets. In the meantime, download our storyboard template and see where your scribbles take you. Good luck!

Any questions about briefing a video? Let us know below, or on our Twitter page.

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