Questions to Include in an RFP for a Video Project

(Originally published as a guest blog by the National Institute for Social Media

The need for video today in business communications is ever increasing. To help you evaluate and determine the best organization to assist in producing your video, you may consider creating an RFP (Request For Proposal).  An RFP for video should include the following information:

First, some basic background information:

  • Describe your organization
  • What does it do and why does it exist
  • Products, markets and size

You should also convey a clear understanding of the purpose of the video project: 

  • Describe the purpose of the video or series of videos and how they will be used.
  • Describe the nature of the content. Provide details on desired outcomes, take-away messages, and importantly the tone.

Critical Details
The most critical part of any project are the details. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the scope, roles and responsibilities. Here is a list of information to gather:

  • Who is the contact person?
  • Describe where the video will be used or what is the context? Any secondary uses?
  • How many videos are estimated to be completed and how long are they expected to be?
  • What is the call to action at the end of the video(s)?
  • Describe the audience for the video. Any secondary audiences?
  • What is the deadline for completion of the videos or term of the contract?
  • What is most important: cost, quality or creativity?
  • When is the proposal due?
  • What is the maximum budget?
  • How will the video be treated? IE: animated graphics, talking head interviews with b-roll, cinematic, etc.? Do you have an example or inspiration video?
  • Is the final video for broadcast, internal only or web use?
  • Are any deliverables needed besides .mp4 web-ready video files?
  • Are there any other requirements like captioning or foreign language versions needed?

You should also request at least three relevant work samples and possibly references. This is usually enough information for most corporate or non-profit video proposals or RFPs.  However, if you are a government organization or large corporation, you may need additional details as part of your RFP process.

Detailed RFP Process
Here are some questions we often ask or are required to provide when responding to government proposals: 

  • Is the cost proposal to be included as a separate page and envelope?
  • Should the responders include sample videos? Are you looking for anything specific in these examples? 
  • What is the treatment for the video? If no treatment is determined, should the responders come up with a creative treatment for the video?
  • Are there any required affidavits or certificates to be included?
  • What are your exact requirements/elements to be included in the proposal? Is there a limitation on the number of pages?
  • Are there insurance or other requirements?
  • What is the timeline for award notification?
  • What is the RFP process and schedule?
  • How should the proposal be delivered? Is email OK?
  • Is there any specific experience you are looking for in the winning proposal? IE: years in business, references, bios of team members, experience, reputation, etc?
  • What are the sample tasks required by the project? IE: Creative idea, scripting, shooting, editing, etc.
  • How will the RFPs be evaluated or how will you choose the winning proposal? IE: what is your criteria for choosing the winner?
  • Do the videos need to be 508 compliant?

Issuing a RFP can be the best means of sourcing a qualified video production partner. Now that you have a complete list of questions to ask, the responses you receive should help inform your decision.

Tim has been in the media production industry since his days as a U.S. Navy shipboard news anchor in the 1980s. Tim has a BA in Visual Communication from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He has been President of Mastcom since 2002.