Video is a key component of a marketing strategy. It builds awareness for companies, help prospects make decisions, and differentiates companies from the competition.
However, not all video content is produced in-house. For many B2B marketers, it’s important to leverage the resources of an external partner - a video production company.
I’ve owned two video production companies and have supervised the production of many videos at Motion, so I wanted to share with you how to partner with a video producer and create a video you’ll both be proud of.
1. Prepare a Project Brief
One of the first steps to finding the right partner is developing a project brief.
A project brief is a summary that covers the high-level scope of a video project. Creating one lets you think clearly about what you want to achieve.
If you want to commission a marketing video, for example, your priorities will be different than for an internal video.
Thinking through these points helps you focus on the key deliverables and outcomes you seek for the project.
Some important project brief components include:
A company overview provides video production companies with an introduction to your company beyond what is on the About Us page.
A company overview tells potential partners things like the brand position your firm holds, and what differentiates it from the competition.
Build an audience profile to help video producers understand the individuals or organizations you’re trying to reach.
Identify some of the ways these audience segments interact with your company. How do they perceive the business? What form of communication appeals most to them? For consumer-facing video projects, this is especially critical.
Defining the target audience will also help you connect with a video production company that understands how to reach these types of individuals.
By establishing a clear objective for the project, you’ll have the ability to conduct meaningful conversations with vendors.
Ask yourself: Is the video designed to enhance an existing campaign? Will the video content be used off-site (like on YouTube) to generate traffic, or will it enhance your current website? Will it be attached to a brand awareness objective?
How long do you plan the entire project to take?
If you need a quick turnaround, it’s important to be upfront with potential partners and determine their bandwidth. Develop a realistic goal for the project and discuss timeline early in the decision-making process.
Your budget determines the types of vendors you can hire.
Choosing a vendor without having a budget is dangerous. Doing so may mean that you waste time – both for you and for the vendors you aim to hire.
2. Find Potential Vendors
Once you prepare your project brief, you’ll be able to talk about project specifics with suitable vendors. Start by seeking out recommendations from any trusted sources you might know (Clutch features a list of video production companies).
In addition, look at video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo to find videos that you love. Online portfolio sites like Behance are also an excellent place to find video production vendors based on their past work and clientele.
Sites like Wistia’s Video Inspiration Gallery can help identify videos aimed at specific business objectives.
Wistia’s inspiration gallery includes a variety of videos that showcase vacations, home goods, and social media presences.
Keep in mind that as you identify vendors, you should look at those who have produced work that reflects your company’s values and ideals.
Be careful not to focus on a vendor’s reel alone, since it’s specifically created to “dazzle” you. Instead, look for the most recent projects the vendor has completed. Evaluating the end product gives you an accurate picture of the firm’s capabilities.
Once you identify videos you like, find the companies that created the videos and get in touch with them.
3. Speak With Vendors
The next step is to get in touch with video production companies and set up a meeting. This is when your project brief comes in handy.
However, rather than just emailing or sending the brief, it’s important to have a conversation with a representative at each production company. The conversation doesn’t have to be long, but it’ll help determine whether you’re a good match.
During the call, walk vendors through the scope of work your project entails. Provide as much detail as you can.
If you have any questions for the vendors, make sure you ask them. Get to know the team behind each vendor.
The call allows you to get a sense of how the production company approaches projects. Here are some key questions to consider:
- Can you describe your staff?
- What parts of a project do you outsource? What parts are done in-house?
- What types of projects have you recently completed that are similar to the project I’m proposing?
- How does your revision process work? How do you handle feedback and develop new versions?
- Who will be our primary point of contact throughout the project?
- Based on the high-level scope we’ve discussed, what’s the general timeline for a project like this? Are you able to work with the timeline that we expect?
- What are general price ranges for projects like mine?
Finally, ask them if they have any questions for you.
4. Obtain Proposals, Not Quotes
Once you’ve identified a list of firms you’d like to work with, invite their proposals. This is how you’ll identify the video production firm that best understands your vision.
A vendor’s proposal will provide a detailed approach, including timelines and a precise cost structure.
Since you had preliminary discussions on the phone, you should be able to obtain more accurate proposals.
5. Clarify Proposals and Conduct Follow-Up Calls
Go through each proposal with the appropriate stakeholders to understand what each vendor suggest for your project.
Note any feedback or questions. After an internal review, meet or conduct a phone conversation with each vendor and let them walk you through their proposal.
At this point, it’s important to verify the details of each proposal so you can perform a proper evaluation. If you’ve noticed some inconsistencies between the proposals, this is the time to seek clarification.
For example, if one firm proposes 2 rounds of revisions but another firm offers 4 revisions, make sure you understand why. In addition, if you see major cost differences between proposals, ask each firm to break down their cost estimates.
6. Evaluate Proposals Based Upon Criteria
By now, you’ve whittled your list of vendors down to the most suitable for your organization.
You’ve had an opportunity to see the type of deliverables they produce (reels, video samples and proposal documentation) as well as hear how they interact with potential clients.
Look at the proposals at hand and match them to your criteria in step 1. The firm that comes closest to fitting those is the firm you should partner with.
Selecting a Video Partner Requires Time and Info
You can produce videos internally for a lower cost, but when you turn to professional partners, it’s important to have a process for choosing the best partners.
Who you choose directly affects the kind of video you receive. This six-step process helps you identify the most suitable video production company for your organization.
About the Author
Tristan Pelligrino is the co-founder of Motion, a national production company focused on helping businesses reach their audience through video content. He started his career as an IT consultant working for large organizations like PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, and Oracle. After an early career in consulting, Tristan branched out to create a leading regional video production company and digital marketing firm, and he is now focused on spearheading the growth of Motion.