How Do you pick the right production company for your video project?
First of all: Congratulations on taking the first step in your video journey! As multiple studies have shown, video content is one of the most powerful marketing tools. Video raises brand awareness, increases traffic to your website and social platforms, explains your products and services to your target audiences, and of course, generates more leads and sales.
Hiring professionals to handle your video content is the surest way to maximize your ROI. Although you may have a general notion of the concept, goal, and overall style for your video, a video production company will have the experiences and resources to bring your vision to reality. They also provide many additional services and options that you may not have thought of, including the knowledge, tools, and abilities to meet your marketing requirements.
But not all video production companies are made equal. So how do you select the very best one for your specific project?
What are your goals? Identify them, and create a content brief
Why exactly do you want to create a video? What should it accomplish? Are you able to handle some aspects of the process (like drafting the script), or do you need a production company that can take care of it all?
Consult with your team to identify your objectives, and identify what your team can or cannot provide. This will set you up for success and make the process much simpler. You’ll be able to pair yourself up with an agency that understands your goals and is prepared to achieve them.
Tip: Choose one staff member to be your production partner’s main point of contact. It’s more efficient to limit the number of people who will be participating in conversations (be it by phone, email, or in-person) throughout the production process. Of course, the rest of the staff can offer opinions – but having one person consolidate those opinions and relay them to the production company can help smooth the conversation, saving you time and money.
A great next step is to create a content brief. Let’s run through it!
What should be in your Content Brief?
See above for a great example video to send as part of your content brief
A content brief is a written summary of your goals and requirements that you send out to your prospective production partners. You can make it short or long, but ideally, it should always include:
- Your goals
- A ballpark budget
- The project’s due date
- Pertinent details about your company and target market
- Example video(s) that illustrate the main things you are looking for
- Any other essential facts you think your future video partner should be aware of
This is useful for the companies you’re reaching out to, and also for yourself. Putting these items in writing helps you clarify them and get to the point faster. Write clearly and succinctly – otherwise, the production companies will make incorrect assumptions and take guesses.
It’s ok if you’re unsure about some aspects of your project. You can collaborate later with your selected agency to develop your concept later.
Bonus tip: Send your content brief to 3-4 companies via email, and request to schedule a video chat or phone call to go over it and answer questions. This will save you time, and help you weed out companies that don’t answer quickly and professionally. Many communications are by email – so you want to make sure the company you hire responds quickly, intelligently, and clearly.
What is your ballpark budget?
Assess your budget before reaching out to video production companies. Every project is different, and any project can be scaled up or down depending on the production values you’re going for and your resources. Budget variables include gear, crew experience, script complexity, location requirements, motion graphics vs. simple editing, delivery timeline…and more.
Ultimately, a reputable company will want to put every dollar on screen, so let them know approximately what you can afford, even if it’s just a ballpark. This will help both you and the company faster determine whether or not you are a good fit.
Here’s the most important piece of advice regarding budgets: The cheapest price usually results in substandard work which won’t accomplish your objectives.
What makes a video production company right for your project? Portfolio and Specialities
One of the first things you should look at as you start searching for companies is their portfolio. It should be simple to locate – just seek sections with names like “Portfolio” or “Our Work.” See Indigo’s for instance.
Then, look at a handful of the work examples. Evaluate the company’s general caliber and aesthetic. Does their work match your expectations? When it comes to video services, quality is non-negotiable. Your audience’s view of your brand is significantly influenced by what they see. Customers won’t trust you or your company if your videos are subpar.
Technical expertise is only part of a high-quality video. Ultimately, storytelling is key. In order to engage viewers emotionally, each video should tell a story that embodies your brand identity and conveys your company values.
Ideally, find a company with experience in your field and in the style you want to produce.
For instance, a production company that specializes in comedy may not be particularly strong when it comes to gathering heartfelt testimonials and natural responses from interviews.
So ask yourself: what qualities and abilities distinguish a company? And are they relevant to your specific goals and audience?
Any company can put a nice website together, and show you only what they want you to see. In the worst cases, some can even steal another company’s impressive work and present it as their own.
One of the best ways to check up on a company is to see what real customers have posted about them on trusted platforms (Google, Clutch, etc.) The number of reviews and the average rating are great metrics to start with. But make sure you read many reviews fully, and look up the people who wrote them on LinkedIn to ensure they’re legit.
What is the best next step? Set up a meeting
Once you have identified the 2-3 companies you’re most interested in, set up a meeting – via phone, video, or in-person – to discuss the project in detail. Live interaction with the company’s staff will help you determine if your values and culture align, and give you a strong sense of whether it’s a partner you can trust.
To make sure the meeting is productive, prepare a list of questions ahead of time.
What questions should I ask?
Here is some questions to help you guide the conversation:
- Can you help me come up with concepts for the video that will fit our vision?
- Do you have a qualified scriptwriter on staff?
- Do you provide actors?
- What kind of cameras do you use?
- Can you describe your process?
- How much participation is anticipated from my team?
- Do you have access to a studio or furnished set?
- Who will be my point of contact?
- What factors might result in a budget overrun or schedule delay?
- How much time does a project of this scale typically take to complete?
- What does your post-production process look like?
- When can I anticipate receiving the finished product?
- Can you help distribute the video once it is completed?
Conclusion: Do your research, and don’t cut corners
It’s wise to compare options before choosing your production partner. You will likely get widely different quotes. Keep in mind, a price that’s unusually low is almost certainly a red flag that they are inexperienced, or desperate. Choose a company that can work with your actual budget, and make the most of it. Quality, aesthetics, specialties, values, production process, and marketing expertise should all be taken into account as you look for the perfect partner.
We pride ourselves in exceeding expectations in all the above categories, and we only take on projects we know we can knock out of the park. So reach out today, and let us blow your mind!