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How to Choose a Video Production Company for Your Video Project (Video Insider Tips)

With the increased updates by Google to their search engine algorithm which prioritizes fresh content in search results, it’s becoming increasingly critical for companies to find ways to provide the content the marketplace finds most valuable. It other words, for any company that has a website and wants to be found by customers, it’s in their best interest to create and publish content that helps educate their customers and nurture them through the sales process to conversion. This is what content marketing is all about and video is valuable content the market wants.

The problem is that everyone and their grandma is now releasing a flood of blog posts, info graphics, social media tweets, posts and shares, white papers…and now…video. Video viewing for business and consumer use continues to boom, fueled by the ability of anyone to make some form of video content..countless hours of this stuff are posted every day, for every sector and every purpose.  The problem is that with all that video content, standing out is a real challenge, especially for companies that are new to video production or don’t have a vendor that they feel can solve their problems.  To help remedy this very real and growing issue, I wanted to share some insider’s perspective on how you can wisely select a video vendor for your video project.

NOTE: As the owner of Digital Accomplice, a San Francisco video production company, I obviously do have an interest in promoting my company (that’s why I’m blogging in the first place!) but these tips are designed to truly help you make your own smart selection based on the criteria of my 20 years of experience that I believe applies generally to the marketplace. I’ll lay out the issues for you and try and ‘steer you from danger’ but it’s up to you to do the relevant research for your situation.

Your Video Production Options: In reality, you probably have more options than just going to a video production company. Every situation is different but I think it’s safe to categorize your video production solutions into these solution categories, each with it’s own pro’s and cons.

1) DIY

Pros: You likely have a phone in your pocket that shoots free video. *Cons. *You probably don’t have much experience in making it engaging or the time to deal with it.

2) Friend with a Camera

Pros: *You probably have a friend/intern/family member that might be able to help, maybe for free. Cons:* Questionable quality, spotty availability, minimal accountability.

3) Internal Solution

Pros: *You may have staff that can produce some content or be trained to. Cons:* Also questionable quality, likely some training time involved, competing priorities with their other workload. (Social media is hard enough to keep up with, video is even more time-consuming).

4) Freelancers

Pros: *Anyone who is freelance should have the talent and experience to provide a good solution (or they won’t stay freelance for long). Cons*: The best ones are busy, expensive and it can require a bit more management and involvement that you are prepared to deal with.

5) Video Production Company

Pros: *This is a more turn-key solution that can yield great results, quickly and with more reliability than previous options. They typically have large talent pools and more resources to adapt to any project. Cons: *Can be a bit more expensive because of the overhead, also can be busy and may require some level of involvement.

*6) Agency *

*Pros: *Can provide complete turnkey solutions with minimal involvement.* Cons: Expensive and frequently not as fast as working directly with the video production specialists. The agency will typically hire a video production company or freelancers to handle the video portion of a larger project.*

 How to evaluate the options

Here’s the real deal: in complex transactions, like producing video content, customers will tend to commoditize  solutions that are unclear or that they are to busy to deal with. But video isn’t a commodity, it’s a service. In other words, it’s probably a mistake to think you are buying ‘a video’ as if it were a box of printer paper. Not all video is created equal, there are typically several factors that go into the creative and technical service of the creation of custom video:

  • Technical tools (cameras, lights, microphones, editing software)
  • Experience (technical and creative)
  • Attitude (Great projects are not made by grumpy people)
  • Natural talent (Some people are just really good at what they do, find those!)
  • Availability (of video production team and your resources)
  • Budget (Money can solve many but not all production problems)
  • Timeline (Deadlines are a key factor in what can be done)
  • Available assets (Existing video, photos, music, interviewees, shoot locations)
  • Even the weather, the seasons, daylight, etc.!

    In my experience, one of the best ways to ensure your project goes well is to find a solution provider who has flexibility. I’m not talking about Yoga, this typically means they have a diverse set of skills, creative ‘juice’, experience and knowledge they can bring to the project. If you are looking at video production companies, freelancers or agencies, you can look at their body of work and see if they have the flexibility to approach projects from a variety of different ways. This will also help you find value, if your providers can fill multiple roles on the project, it can save time, money and headaches. For example, a video producer that can write, shoot and edit will be much more affordable than using a writer, shooter and editor…if you can find a good one.  Flexible providers can help you find easier, cheaper but still good solutions.

As you start looking at your options, a great place to start is by looking at what you have going for you? Maybe that means you have existing assets, a longer timeline, a healthy budget, a cinematographer cousin…it will depend on your project goals and parameters.

The return on investment is also a big issue. How should you look at budgeting time, money and resources on your project and what that will get you. It’s not always about number of views, clicks, email opens or it can be about ‘buzz’,  engagement, brand building or adding some ‘sizzle’ before a speaker takes the stage. It can even be about something as tactical as sales conversions on your ecommerce site. You can use a whole suite of analytics tools coming out or even something as old school as a focus group or survey. Just decide what your goals are and then you can start to look at how to measure success.  I believe in “one video, one goal” and if you do keep it that targeted, you can measure success more easily. As you start looking for a partner to help produce your video content, please just ask yourself “what’s the cost of failure?”.

I hope this insight has been helpful. Want to learn more about using online video for your organization? Download our free Online Video Marketing Guide: Learn How to Promote your Business with Video (Free Download)

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions and I’ll do my best to help answer them.

Good luck!

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