Creating a Content Brief For Your Video Project

When I started working with online videos, I would take my camcorder out with me, and film anything on my subject. That was the easiest part. But coming back home, and trying to sort through everything … that was a nightmare!


Because although I was filming, I had no idea what exactly I should shoot. No beginning, no end. No plan. That means I lost hours on post-production afterwards.

When you take time to plan for your video, everything goes a lot more smoothly. And it costs less, but more on that in a minute …

The two best planning tools for any video project are the script and the storyboard. In fact, they’re so important, that plenty of businesses hire freelancers just to create them. That means that if you want, you can work in online video — and do very well — without ever touching a camera.

Today, I want to show you how to create a successful script for a business or corporate video.

The Start of a Good and Effective Script

A good, effective script describes everything that viewers will see and hear in chronological order. A videographer uses the script you write to create all the audio and visual raw materials that will ultimately be edited into the final video.

But how do you write a good and effective script?

First, you need to gather information from your client about the project, the product, the goals, and their vision for the finished video. After that, your job is to create a visual story with impact, including a certain degree of tempo to seduce the viewer immediately within the first 90 seconds.

That requires talent coupled with a visual and organizational skill: the ability to foresee the entire movie in your head … to visualize sequence after sequence in the right logical order … to put words that convey the right message with the right image, with the right audio.

A well-written script is like the master blueprint for the whole production: If you forget something, then it will be missing in the video as well.

The script provides a common point of reference for everyone involved in the video project. It’s a key factor to the video’s success that will save your client hundreds of dollars, because once you (or the videomaker) start shooting the video, she can concentrate on the logistics, not the creative process. And it saves time by keeping everyone focused on the same vision.

The very first step is set up a Content Brief and you do that by interviewing your client.

Creating the Content Brief For Your Business Video

There are 3 phases in the Video Production Process:

  1. Pre-production which includes initial meetings, budgetary decisions, script approval, script writing, video planning, and logistics
  2. The video shoot
  3. Post-production which includes editing, revisions and changes, duplication, and distribution

We’re going to focus here on Step 1, pre-production.

Now imagine your client wants a video for a new product promotion, let’s say a new brand of sea kayak for recreational purposes.

At the beginning, you may have some vague ideas in your mind about possible scripts.

This first step of the pre-production phase is to set up an initial meeting with the client to gather information for your Content Brief.

This phase is the most important and needs careful planning: the more prepared you are, the more you save in time and money for your clients.

During the initial meeting or phone call, the scriptwriter, the client’s marketing team, and his chosen video production company will discuss the video content and a production schedule.

As the scriptwriter, you should ask specific questions in an organized manner about the project. These are vital whether it is a 30-second or a 5-minute video.

So let’s start by addressing the major elements of your Content Brief. To determine the goals of the video, you should ask:

  • What is this video supposed to accomplish? What would the client consider a success? It is imperative that you keep your client’s objective as simple as possible and focus on only ONE idea! Your client may want the video to accomplish many things — make sure you identify which of those things is the most important and make it the central focus of your video.
  • What is the product or service being presented? Again, the answer must be confined to ONE choice.
  • What is the target audience? That is critical. If you do not address the video to the right audience, it’s doomed … and you’re wasting money.
  • What are the key features and benefits? Which part of the sales cycle is involved?
  • What important messages does the client want you to include and how should you present them?

And, here are some production questions to ask:

  • How long should the video be (in minutes)?
  • What support materials already exist and where do you find them?
  • What are the available resources and budget?
  • With whom will you work on this?
  • Who will approve the final draft? And what is the deadline?
  • When and where will the video be shown?

This is just a short list of questions to get you started. Depending on the size and length of your project, you can expect to make a list with greater detail. You may also find new questions to take to your client as the project progresses.

Keep in mind that your client will expect you to guide her through these questions to make the process as smooth as possible.

This information-gathering exercise is the key element in the pre-production phase to clearly identify and understand all the objectives and be fully prepared when filming will begin.

The answers to these questions for the Content Brief will provide the details you need to write the script, and outline what the videographer will need to know to shoot and edit the video.

What Are You Waiting For?

Every day, small business owners and entrepreneurs are using videos in their marketing strategy. Your next step is simply to start exploring online video, let your clients know you are qualified, write an outline for them, or point to those products that will potentially benefit from online videos, set up goals with your clients, write a script, shoot it, and put in online!

If you’re ready to start now, successful B2B copywriter Pete Savage’s program How to Write Online Video Scripts for B2B Companies is one of the best resources you can have in your web-writing library!


valerie leroyer

COS Rosa member since 2011

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