Advice for the Video Producer

The phone rings. An email arrives. A potential new client wants to make a video. Your first instinct might be to jump in and budget for exactly what they’re asking for. But do they really need a video? Is their idea realistic and effective, or would they be better served by a different means of communicating to their customers? It’s time to put on your marketing hat and figure out how best to tell their story.

Video does some things very well and other things not so well. It explains, it demonstrates, it conveys emotion and excitement. It handles broad strokes better than fine details. In the short amount of time that a video plays, there is little time for complexity and detail. Attention spans are short. Visualizing complex concepts is possible in a longer video, but it requires more time and a bigger budget for such things as 3D animation, narration and process shots.

The most important questions to ask your client are: Who is the intended audience?  What is the preferred call to action? Do I want them to call, come into a store, request a demo, or buy an item online?

The best videos are simple, yet compelling. What are the two or three key points that the video need to get across? Nowadays, a one minute video is usually long enough for online consumption. People don’t want to be bombarded by lists of features and a droning narrator. They want to feel an emotional connection with a product and to become engaged with the brand.

Video can be as inexpensive as a used car or as costly as a Lexus. What are the client’s expectations for budget and quality, and how well do they fit with their reality? Each level of production has its place in a marketing campaign. A local mom and pop company may not need a slick, highly produced video that might possibly run counter to their homespun image. However, a large Fortune 500 corporation has different expectations and needs to project an image that fits their reputation and brand.

 

Advice for the Client

Video is a key part of a social media campaign. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and your website can all share your well made video. Get multiple bids. At least three different companies. But don’t choose on price alone. Look at their experience, watch similar projects that they’ve done, check their references.

A great video starts with the concept and, more importantly, a great script. Hire a professional to help you write it. You can dash off a first draft or an outline of your ideas, but collaborate with an experienced writer to polish it. After the script is approved, then your producer can give you a firm budget. Get it in writing. A contract or at least a letter of agreement to spell out responsibilities, time frame, deliverables, budget, ownership, and how to handle changes overages and revisions will prevent misunderstandings throughout the process.

A good rule of thumb for a low to mid range video is $1,000 to $2,000 per finished minute. That includes script writing, talent, shooting, editing, music, stock footage, graphics, animation. You really do get what you pay for. The quality of a video goes way up when you can hire a team of professionals rather than just a lone kid with a camera.

Be involved during production (but don’t micro manage.) You will have a chance to see a rough cut and request changes. Trust your instincts, but listen to the production professional. Try to limit yourself to one round of changes, or else you may incur additional charges. Also, ask the production company to archive your project so that you can update it in the future. This will allow you to keep your video fresh and amortize your investment over multiple projects.

Talk to your video professional about distribution channels for your newly-created video. Get their advice on leveraging it across social media and your website. You will soon see a positive result from your video marketing!