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How to Write a Video Production RFP the Smart and Simple Way

With hundreds of successful projects in our portfolio, we have some advice for teams trying to write a video production RFP. It might be surprising advice, but please hear us out. 

You want to find the perfect company to execute your next video project on deadline and on budget with maximum creativity. The best way to do that is to not write an RFP at all. 

We’re not just saying that to be edgy. The truth is that publishing a formal request for proposal can actually lead you astray. It can waste time and artificially limit your pool of potential partners. There’s a more effective way to find a video creation company that fits your needs and project.

3 Reasons Not to Write a Video Production RFP

Many organizations write requests for proposals because it’s what they’ve always done or because they think they’re supposed to. But here are three compelling reasons not to bother.

1. Writing an RFP is Labor-Intensive

You’ll have to plan and write a complex document, then edit and publish it. All of that takes time. Organizations that put out requests for proposals spend hours writing, editing and reviewing the request. Most require layers of approvals and multiple meetings. 

Once responses start rolling in, you’ll spend even more time wading through proposals before you can start working on the project you’re trying to accomplish.

When you write a formal video RFP you give your already busy team a ton of extra work. Unfortunately, that work might not pay off.

2. It Tests the Wrong Skills

A compelling and well-written proposal doesn’t necessarily prove that the responder is great at making videos. All it shows is that they’re skilled at responding to RFPs. 

Many companies hone their RFP response skills to be exactly what you’re looking for. But these responses, often created by a marketing professional or even a freelance RFP response writer, don’t necessarily represent the team who will actually work on your project.

3. The Best Might Not Apply

Responding to an RFP also takes a ton of effort. Quality video producers that are already busy with projects may not bother to respond.

Rightly or wrongly, many studios figure that if you are publishing your requirements you are probably distributing them widely – potentially to dozens of vendors. Many of the busiest studios will simply pass rather than sink resources into a bidding process that often means a contest for the lowest price. 

But if RFPs are so problematic, how can you find the video creation company for your project?

Here’s What To Do Instead

They say a video is worth 1.8 million words. That’s more than any response to a proposal could ever include. Throw out that RFP template and send an email instead. 

Instead of spending weeks creating a complex document, take matters into your own hands. Spend an hour or two skimming through the portfolios of video production companies that might fit your budget. You can often find these on platforms like Vimeo, Behance, or on the company’s website. 

Look for videos that match the style and format you’re after. Bonus points if the production company has created videos for others in your industry. It may mean they’re more in tune with your needs.

IdeaRocket We make videos for businesses. Check out our portfolio!

Pick  a couple of companies that look like they might be a good fit and send them a message. If they’re responsive and open to talking with you, they’re probably a good prospect.

Your selection process will move more quickly. And you’ll probably end up with a better video in the end, too.

But How Will They Learn About Your Project?

Professional production companies will ask you all the right questions. They might even ask you about things you never would have thought to include in your RFP in the first place. The quality of their questions is another good indicator as to whether they’ll be the right fit for your project.

Expect to answer questions like:

If you don’t have answers to all of these questions, a good production company should be able to help guide you in the right direction. By the end of the conversation, you’ll know what they can offer. You should have a good sense of their process and what it will be like to work with them.

If You Absolutely Must Write a Video Production RFP

With all that being said, we know that sometimes you have no choice. Maybe you work for a government agency or a large organization with strict rules about how projects must be run. An RFP may be a non-negotiable part of your process. If that’s the case, follow your industry and organizational guidelines but also make sure that you include everything on the list above. It will save time in the long run.

Keep the RFP as brief as possible. And ask the proposing organizations to keep their answers brief as well. Reviewing responses to RFPs can be a time-intensive process. Keep RFP requests as short so you can make your decision quickly.

Ask for samples. Ultimately, the goal of an RFP isn’t to find a company that’s good at answering requests. You’re trying to pick a video production partner. Samples of previous work speak louder than any written response ever could.

Is it okay to ask for spec work? Some studios will do a creative proposal for no charge, but if you expect a very elaborate presentation know that you will usually only get it in the higher price ranges: higher five- or six-figure jobs. Also, keep in mind that the cost of that elaborate pitch (and failed pitches to other companies) will be included in their fee structure.

Ask whether they have worked with companies of your size and sector before. Sometimes, client references can help you find the true professionals.

When in Doubt, Reach Out

At IdeaRocket, we’re always happy to discuss projects with potential partners. We create videos in 2d, 3d, whiteboard and live action techniques for a wide range of industries, including technology and healthcare. We make videos not just for marketing purposes, but also for internal, employee-facing communication. Reach out to set up a conversation.

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