These days, no marketing strategy is complete without a plan for video. With attention spans shrinking and loads of competing messages, your marketing content has to be quick and compelling, which is where video excels.
Video is great for grabbing attention, holding it, and ensuring that your prospects retain the information they see.
There’s just one problem. How the heck do you get started?
There are two main paths:
- If you’re hoping to have one or two highly polished marketing videos to use on your site or in local ads, you may want to hire out.
- If you’re using video as part of a broader content-based approach to marketing, you’ll get more value from doing video on your own. In this guide, we’ll take a glimpse at both approaches.
Hiring for Video Project
There are a few ways to get outside help for your video projects. Your choice will likely be determined by your budget and your goals for your video.
For highly polished video with master-level storytelling, a local ad agency or video production company is your best bet. Do a local search and see what pops up. Take a look at their work and make a note of your favorites. Consider the quality of their videos, but also look at whether they have experience in your industry. Narrow down your choices and talk with a few of them to see what they recommend for you. With an agency, you’ll get a fantastic video, but it’ll be expensive. Prices vary depending on type of video and your local market, but you can expect to pay several thousand on the lower end up to tens of thousands on the higher end.
Film and design students are often hungry for the opportunity to work on a commercial video project. You may not get the same quality as from an experienced agency, but you’ll save a bundle and give a student valuable work experience. Post your project on college job boards and LinkedIn, or ask around to see if there’s someone looking for an opportunity to work on some video projects—you’re bound to find someone excited to help.
Another option is an independent video freelancer. Someone like this will typically cost more than a student but can be much less expensive than hiring a studio. You can typically find local freelancers through a Google search or on LinkedIn. Websites like Fiverr and Upwork also connect people with talent and provide a platform for scoping out projects, offering feedback, and getting a finished product all in the same place. You can find freelance services for a lower price compared to agencies, but you’ll most likely need to provide a lot of direction to the freelancers themselves, which can become time consuming.
Producing Your Own Video
With excellent video recorders available for a low price and with plenty of easy-to-use editing tools for video creators, creating your own video doesn’t need budget and skill so much as time. With a small equipment investment and some elbow grease, you’ll gain the ability to quickly produce videos. Here’s what you’ll need:
You probably have a smartphone that can shoot video, but it might not be enough if you want a little more polish for your final product. Here are some gear essentials to grab:
Camera –Look for something that can shoot in at least HD (1080p) at 30 FPS, and you’ll have what you need for basic videos. Chat with a rep at a big box store who can offer guidance on specific models. Expect to pay anywhere from a couple hundred to several thousand depending on model, capabilities, and so forth. Be sure to ask about digital or mechanical stabilization features as they can make a world of difference for your final product.
Tripod – You need a way to hold up your video camera, so be sure to invest in a good tripod. Remember that you’re trusting your tripod to hold your camera, so it’s worth paying a little more to make sure your camera stays right where it’s supposed to.
Microphone – Most cameras have a built-in mic for capturing audio, but most are lackluster. Instead, invest in a lavalier mic like you might see on someone’s lapel in a TV interview. Many are available for around $20 that plug into your smartphone and allow you to capture great quality audio.
Lighting – Depending on where you want to shoot your video, you might not need lights at all. But if you want to set up a studio in your office or have more flexibility, you might want to consider buying a lighting setup. You can get an entire lighting kit for less than $200 through many online retailers.
Capturing video is just the start. You still need a way to cut, trim, and piece together the final work. Here are a few common platforms for video editing. For basics, the free options below are more than enough.
Creating Your Video
Now that you have your gear, you’re ready for the fun part: creating your video. First think about what kind of video you’re making (how-to, tech tip, sales promo, etc.). Next, you’ll create the story. We don’t have space to cover all the nuances of video creation in this piece, but a basic workflow for video creation might look like this:
- Write script
- Create storyboard
- Create shot list
- Shoot footage
- Edit footage
- Publish and share
If you’re looking for more resources, everything from writing a script to shooting, you can find hundreds of videos with a quick Youtube search.
Video is today’s most powerful form of communication. Your audience won’t always want to read, but they’ll likely watch a compelling video. If you’re wondering when you should start thinking about video, it’s now. Hatch your idea. Find someone to help out or get some gear and make it happen yourself. Before you know it, you and your company will be reaping all the benefits great video can provide.