Any social media manager worth their salt will know that videos are one of the best ways to get social media engagement and are more dynamic than traditional print design. On Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat potential consumers are passively watching tons of videos every day. What has been seen to be particularly effective is content marketing. Have you ever been reading an engaging article or watching touching video suggested to you by you social media feed only to find that it was the product of a clever content marketing agency delivering an ad to you? This online marketing strategy is becoming increasingly effective and increasingly popular. Videos in particular are easily consumable and increase brand recognition. While some companies are fortunate enough to produce in-house, it can be more economical for a small business to hire a third party creative agency. Read on to find out the three steps for hiring the best video production company for your business.
Step 1 Decide what you want
The first step is to decide exactly what you want and what you hope to achieve from hiring a video production company. Think about the story you wish to share, and how will you paint that story for others to see.
A video made to sell a tangible product will look different and feel different than a video made to solicit donations for a nonprofit. It’s important to look for a company that not only knows how to achieve your goals but also has had success in that style of video in the past.
However, whatever company you choose cannot know what you want until you know what you want. Is the video you are envisioning totally animated? Does it consist of convincing customer interviews and testimonies? Are you hoping to sell something with this video? Are you selling a product or a service? These are all questions you must ask yourself before you even start contacting creative agencies like this. It’s ok if you don’t yet know what it is you want. This is the first stage of the research process. You should go out and look at the videos of companies or organizations similar to your own. This will give you an idea of what your customers will be expecting when they click on your video. Pay attention to the emotions elicited by the videos and take note of what seems to be effective. Don’t copy your competition shot for shot. Also, make note of aspects you don’t like. Was something in the video a total turn-off for you? Maybe you thought it was too cheesy or too slick and corporate. Your list of Don’ts can be just as important as your list of Dos.
Now that you have a better idea of the kind of product that you want, make sure you are only looking at companies that are comfortable with the format and feel you are looking for. A video production company may be very well known for a certain style of video that they excel at so you might think that choosing this established company is the right choice without any further research. However, just like any other industry, there are niches and you have to find the perfect video production company that fills yours. A company may be very skilled in one style of video but have very little experience with another, which brings us to our next step.
Step 2 Research, research, research!
Now that you know exactly what kind of video you want, and what you want it to do, you can start to seriously look at different video production companies. You may choose a company that is comfortable in multiple styles or one that specializes in only a few. The most important part is only that they can produce the kind of video that you are envisioning. A company may have tons of experience in wedding videos but have very little in the way of creating original content or animation. Make sure you know your video production company’s limitations before making the decision to hire them.
Look at these companies thoroughly. Make sure they are familiar with the style of video you are looking for. You don’t want to spend a lot of money commissioning a video that you expect to be uplifting and hopeful only to receive a video more suited to a “Funniest Local Commercials” gag reel. Before contacting a company you should see how they handle their own marketing. They are, after all, going to be producing a marketing tool for you. Look at the kinds of videos they have available for you to watch directly on their site and get an idea of what their style is like. They will usually have a demo reel available for you to view. If the company you are looking at does not have any sample videos or a demo reel available for you to watch this is a definite red flag.
Either they are a very inexperienced company that has not yet produced anything or they are so inexperienced with marketing they don’t even know how to sell their own product. This does not bode well for any video you commission from them. Even a student doing freelance projects in school should be able to show you past examples of their work. This demo reel will likely look like a series of video clips from past projects aimed at showing you their range and scope. This is a great starting point to see the kinds of videos they have done in the past but do not stop here. Try to find some of their more recent works to get a better idea of what the finished product looks like. Think of their demo reel like a trailer to a movie. How many times have you watched a great trailer then went to the theater only to find that they’d already given away the best jokes in the 30 second TV clip? Demo reels can be the same way. Are their projects easy to watch all the way through? Are they engaging? If not, take a pass.
Once you are actually in communication with a few companies ask for samples of their most recent projects. Sometimes these will be readily available on their website. However, it is always worth your time to ask directly as well. The company you are already ready to write off may actually produce great videos of the genre you are looking for but simply not advertise it widely. On the other hand, the videos they send you may be of significantly lower quality than those you find on their site. This is a great way to get a real feel for the average quality of their work, not just the top five highlights. If they have the statistics available also ask them for an idea of how effective their recent campaigns were. How many views were translated into new consumers? Did profits rise after the online marketing campaign featuring their video was released? Above all you want your video to work.
Step 3 Know the value of what you want and pay accordingly
After a bit of shopping around and communicating with video production companies, you should have a pretty good idea of the kind of video quality you can expect for your budget. Go into all negotiations with this number in mind. It can seem like a hassle but you should expect a bit of haggling. Obviously, any video production company will also know the value of their work and will charge you accordingly. However, be sure not to overpay for a mediocre project. If a video production company gives you a very expensive quote it can be easy to assume that they are doing so because their product is truly of superior quality. It very well may be, but again, make sure that they are consistently producing high-quality videos of the genre you are looking for.
On the same note, be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. They likely are. It can be tempting to be swayed by the glitz and sparkle of a great demo reel but remember that the quality of the video you are paying for is at stake. You should get the best value for the price you are paying. Now is not the time to be pinching too many pennies. A cheap production company is often an inexperienced production company. This is not to say you can’t give a new production company a chance, but it is very important to do your due diligence in research before coming to this kind of decision. It can be a great money saving option to hire a company looking to exchange a pay cut in order to expand their portfolio, but be sure you aren’t doing so at the expense of your own profits. If you have already done sufficient research this is less likely to happen to you.
With these tips, you will be able to hire a high-quality video production company and get exactly what you want: great results.