A Guide to Video Production in 2023
Things to consider when planning your 2023 video marketing budget
Before you get carried away with your New Years’ resolutions that you will ahem, most definitely follow through with…
We have a goal you will want to add to your list and actually accomplish this year…
Budgeting and planning for videos in 2023.
The first question most people ask when they consider publishing videos is “How much will it cost?” While understanding the answer to that question is key to planning your budget, there are a few other things you also need to consider.
In order to put together your budget for next year, think about the following questions:
- What is the role of your video?
- What is the opportunity for your video?
- How does it fit into your customer’s journey?
- How much does it cost to produce?
1. Understand the Role of Video
Before you start planning your budget, it’s important to understand Video’s role in your overall marketing strategy. You must understand that video isn’t a magic elixir that generates website traffic three minutes after you post it. It’s a piece of content that needs to integrate into your overall marketing strategy – just like a landing page, a blog, or a social post. It isn’t something that stands alone and magically ‘goes viral’ to answer your marketing prayers.
Video is a tool that you need to use correctly. It’s kinda like fire… use it right, and it’ll heat up your marketing efforts. Misuse it, and it’ll wind up burning your budget.
The reality is, that as a marketing tool, Video possesses an incredible power to persuade. But it also offers frustrating limitations if no one actually sees it. This is why it’s essential to think about how Video best fits into your strategy. You can’t just think about the Story or the style of video that you produce. You need to consider how your audience will find your video; where it’s going to live; and what you want them to do after watching. The most compelling story with the coolest graphics won’t move your bottom line if it winds up with 8 views… half of which are from your team.
The distribution strategy should also be part of your budget. The good news is, the how, where, and what are things that you can figure out with your team. Ideally, that only costs you time, and not money.
So, think about where your videos will live. You don’t want them buried on the obscure pages on your website (unless you have corresponding campaigns that drive traffic to that specific page). Make sure that your video lives in a place where people will find it. Develop social campaigns to push traffic to your video or sales emails that prompt readers to watch. You should also take steps to drive organic traffic by thinking of the right titles, SEO-focused descriptions, and interesting thumbnails.
Remember, the key to a successful video is a campaign strategy that identifies where the videos live; how your viewer will find them; and what you want them to do. We cannot tell you how many videos we’ve produced where the Call To Action isn’t decided until the end.
2. Identify The Opportunity for Video
As you plan your budgets think about the issues your department is trying to solve next year. Maybe you’re trying to increase your association’s membership, drive more contracts for your service business, or generate more qualified leads for your recruitment initiative. Whatever the goal is, try to set a target number that you’re trying to reach.
Then, as you try to pinpoint your budget you’ll want to think through these questions:
1. Where do you currently spend a lot of time or money?
What tasks or asks does your team spend the most time addressing, but don’t necessarily help your team achieve its goal? You can’t clone yourself (yet) – so think about creating videos that help save on things like answering your audience’s questions, explaining a particular function or role in your company, informing your audience about new policies or trends, or even training your team. There’s also the opportunity for inconsistencies. How you answer a question might be perfect… but it also might differ from someone else on your team. Producing a video enables your team to create the ideal responses to questions your audience might have. As you think about these things, start connecting where the right video can save you money.
2. What is your industry doing?
Take a look to see what your competition is up to. Review competitors’ websites. Peruse their social channels. Pay attention not just to what’s getting views, but also engagement. What types of content are generating responses? What are people reacting to? Then evaluate how you might be able to elevate the conversations by finding opportunities for you to fill gaps.
3. How much does perception matter to your audience?
Video provides the ideal opportunity to showcase your product or service. But you need to think about what your audience values when it comes to making a decision and craft stories that explore exactly that. Would simple talking head videos address your audience’s needs, or would slick, high-end videos push them over the edge to buy, donate or apply?
4. Is there anything that you can “produce in bulk”?
The more you can plan, shoot and edit at one time – the more you can save in the long run. This is why we’re big advocates for thinking of your video marketing needs as a video content library. This is the most cost-effective way to produce video. You’re planning, shooting, and editing the videos you need up and down your funnel at one time. You can learn more about this strategy here.
3. Consider Your Customer’s Journey
As you plan out your video marketing strategy and budget, think through your customer’s journey. Remember that their journey begins with brand awareness. So… have they heard of you before? Brands like Coca-Cola or Apple spent literally decades and piles of money so that half the planet conjures a mental perception of their brand upon hearing their name. So, unless you’re a household name to your audience, you’ll have to invest in introducing yourself… or at least reinforce who you are and what you stand for. The same goes for introducing a new product, service, or opportunity.
Once you’ve considered your brand’s standing, think about how your audience will find your videos. How are you getting in front of them? Are you interrupting them in a social feed? Are there supporting marketing initiatives that will drive viewers to your video? The purpose of answering these questions is to get you thinking about your message and your “hook”. What will get your audience engaged? What will get them to stop what they are doing and pay attention to what it is that you have to say? Think about what types of videos have been able to get you to stop what you’re doing and pay attention. Was it a compelling visual? An interesting message? A cool thumbnail? Once you’ve attracted their attention, Story keeps them engaged.
Storytelling is a whole other beast to consider, but the basics involve creating content that resonates with your audience. Think about success stories that exemplify what you’re trying to achieve. This might be highlighting the stories of successful employees, how a product helped a client succeed, or telling your brand’s origin story. Regardless of what it is, your content needs to hook them and keep them interested.
One of the unfortunate realities of today’s marketplace is the need for relevancy. Demonstrating to your audience that you are up on the latest trends, styles, or demands placed on your organization. This means that it’s extremely hard to create one video that proves all of this and stands the test of time. Netflix wasn’t going to keep subscribers if they stopped after producing House of Cards. They needed more content to stay relevant.
See if your mission, objectives, or goals are worthy of developing a content series – perhaps something that you could even drip out over time. For example, we’ve produced a series of micro-documentaries for the AIA that tells the complex stories of their design assistance programs. Or, we’ve even started our own series of videos that aims to help our clients produce videos that drive results.
As you’re producing these videos make sure you plan how to distribute them across all of your content channels. So be sure to connect with your website team to understand how to properly load them onto your site.
But loading your video onto your website, even with your web team’s help, doesn’t automatically lead to success. You need to drive eyeballs to the video. So, think about how you can promote your video on your social media channels. If you have a web team, work with them to understand what types of posts have worked best in the past. Consider leveraging video elements that will capture your audience’s attention. Think about strong visuals, powerful messaging, and thought-provoking content. Demonstrate to your audience that you’re aware of the latest challenges they face and trends in the industry.
4. Understand How Much Video Costs
Probably one of the most common discussion points we have with clients involves budgeting. That’s always an… interesting conversation. At the end of the day, when it comes to video, the trick is to make sure that you don’t over or underpay for what you need.
You should think of budgeting in three phases: Pre-Production (i.e. Planning); Production (i.e. Filming) and Post Production (i.e. Editing).
As you figure out your budget, ask yourself if you’re looking to find a partner that’s a video “Executioner” or a “Creator’. If you’re looking for an Executioner, that means you more or less have your ideas ironed out and just need someone to help bring it to life. A Creator means that you want a partner that will help you develop or flesh out the ideas you have for your videos. You should be prepared to spend a bit more for the Creator partners.
You can spend upwards of a few hundred dollars for an Executioner partner in Pre-Production. The end price ultimately depends on the level of complexity of your project (i.e. single interviews in one location versus multiple interviews in multiple locations). In a Creator partnership, expect to spend a couple thousand dollars and up in Pre-Production, as they’ll spend more time getting to understand your brand and audience as they develop concepts. Sure, you might get lucky and find a partner that might be cheaper but that’s an instance where you’d better have a solid reference (better yet two) that they can indeed do what they say and that they understand what you’re looking for from them.
Production can cost anywhere from a couple thousand dollars, to tens of thousands per day. It all depends on the complexity of your shoot. Lower budget shoots often consist of one simple setup that leverages your own team in your own location. Yes, you can find cheaper options – but again – this is where you better have multiple references and confidence that they can pull it off. Cheaper production costs also typically mean longer days for you and your team on set, and more work for you upfront. Budgets below a thousand dollars per day often mean a one or two-person team which equals longer set-up time and breakdown time. Conversely, budgets that creep over $10K per day typically have larger crews; more complex or multiple setups; professional talent; special equipment, etc.
Video Content Library
We’re always harping on video content libraries because planning for a video content library can save you a lot of money in the long run – especially during the Production phase. The more content you can create for your library per day, the better. Interview-driven content is great for this, as it provides the opportunity to cover a variety of topics quickly, and you’ll get a variety of perspectives (as opposed to uniform scripted content). You can still collect a lot of variety with scripted videos – just make sure you allow for the proper time to develop enough of them in Pre-Production.
There can also be a pretty big variance with Post-Production as well. You might spend a couple hundred dollars to get a 1-minute video… or tens of thousands.
One of the biggest determining factors in Post-Production budgets is if your videos include or consist of motion graphics. The level of motion graphics plays a factor in determining your budget. A simple logo bump and lower-thirds package based on your brand guidelines can add about a thousand dollars to your budget. 2D animations, integrated graphics, transitions, or even 3D animations start driving your cost up depending on how much you need. The bonus here is that this design can then be updated across all of your videos.
Non-graphics videos include stock footage and footage you’ve filmed. The easiest way to think about your budget is by the number of decisions your Editing team needs to make (i.e. A straightforward, scripted video, typically tends to be the quickest to edit). The length of the video also determines the complexity. It might be an hour, but if it’s just deciding which camera to cut between, that’s pretty simple. That type of video is much easier to edit than a 3-minute interview-driven video where the Editor needs to craft together a variety of 1-minute videos.
Obviously, with so many different industries and needs, there is no one solution. You need to think through how video can be incorporated as a part of your overall strategy; identify opportunities where it can most help your team; think about how your audience watches it, and understand the costs. That’s a lot to consider… which is why we are offering free 30-minute consultations for video assessments in 2023. So, give us a shout. We’d love to help you out!