Lots of things can impact your video production budget, including the number of crew members required.
Your budget is an important part of any business decision. Maybe it's human nature to flip to the back page of a proposal to see what something really costs. I understand that response, because I do it too. That’s why people often ask me, “How much should my video budget be?” While I understand the need to have that question answered, a better question about budgeting for video production is, “How much does it cost to meet my objectives and create positive ROI with video?” Unfortunately though, the answer to the second question is the same as the answer to the first: It depends. But don’t you at least feel better that you’re asking smarter questions?
The good news here is that the size of your piggy bank isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to getting the most out of your video budget. So for budgets of all size, there are some things you can do to get a lot of bang for your buck. It starts with planning.
What are you trying to accomplish?
You can’t really have a video budget conversation until you can talk about your objectives. I encourage you to think long and hard about your business objectives before selecting video marketing as the way to get to where you’re going. If, in that process, you determine that video should be part of your communication strategy, make sure you can articulate why that is. Once you can answer the “Why” question, then you can move on to thinking about how to get it done. And now, we’re finally talking about budget.
It helps if you think of a marketing video as a campaign rather than an event. It’s an ongoing affair where you can engage your audience all along the process, not just at the end when you’ve got a finished product that you’re excited to show off. Here are a few things you can do to maximize your efforts:
- Share “Behind-the-Scenes” content. This can be pictures or short videos that you capture of your video production and DO NOT have to be professional content from your video vendor. Just capture this content yourself during the production. Most video producers don’t mind as long as you’re not causing a distraction. When you have this content, you can share it with your target audience to let them know you’re working on something cool. It gives you an additional touch point with them and can let them know to keep an eye out for your video in the near future. Cost: Free.
- Create a “Teaser Trailer” for your video. This is an additional request for your video editor, but it doesn’t have to be expensive and labor intensive, just a soundbite or two to create buzz. It serves the same purpose as your Behind-the-Scenes content, but it’s just a little more polished. Then just push the content out through your typical digital marketing channels. This shows your target audience that you’re getting closer to releasing something big. Cost: Low.
- Amplify your Distribution. Once you’ve completed a video that you’re proud of, it’s time to show it to the world. They’re anticipating it by now, right? Here’s another opportunity to get strategic with your distribution. There’s research available that can give you some guidance about the best days and times to release content online. Many digital marketing channels give you the option to target the recipients of your content for a fee. So with a combination of strategic release timing and channel selection, you can continue to maximize your reach. By dripping content in this way over a period of time and on a variety of channels, your video production project can achieve more audience touch points, helping to keep you top of mind when it comes time to make a buying decision. Cost: Low.
Is doing it yourself best for your video budget?
Making marketing videos yourself can be a lot of fun, and there are some good reasons to do it this way. If you’re thinking about going down this path, be as confident as possible that you’re prepared to commit to it. People often think that this is the cheaper way to go, which can be true, but it can also cost you a lot of time and ultimately more money than hiring a professional if you have challenges. Here are a few things to think about when budgeting for a DIY video production strategy:
- Camera. You’ll have some upfront and ongoing equipment costs. You probably already have an HD camera in your pocket, but there are lots of camera options for different applications (maybe that’s the subject of a future post). Using your smart phone can be a good way to dip your toe into the video production waters. Try it out and decide if it meets your needs before you invest in something else. Note that iPhone/Android footage is great for timely social media content, but not ideal for your polished website.
- Audio. Getting the sound of your video right is possibly the easiest thing to overlook, and the the hardest to fix if you get it wrong. Even if you’re using a smart phone, consider adding a microphone as an audio upgrade.
- Lighting. Here’s an area where you can save money just by using what you have available to you. You don’t need to buy an expensive light kit for most DIY video production applications. I recommend trying to take advantage of natural light by shooting video near a window and just using a lamp to fill in any dark spots.
Don’t forget that the tips for maximizing audience touch points apply when you’re making your own videos, too.
I’ve always been an advocate for using a combination of these approaches. A video production professional can help you to create polished pieces for sales material, forward facing website content, or anything else that requires a skill or equipment that you don’t have easily available to you. Creating your own content is perfect for putting a personal face on your brand or taking advantage of time-sensitive communication opportunities. Whichever way you choose, if you want to maximize your video budget and the impact you can have with your messaging, invest the time required to create a video strategy that speaks to your target audience.
Do you need help creating a video strategy? That’s where Spotted Yeti Media can help. Contact us today to setup a meeting. We’ll help you discover where and how video fits most appropriately within your current marketing plan.