Digital Marketing, Thought Leaders

What to Do Before Hiring a Video Production Agency

September 18, 2020

by Torrey Tayenaka

Founder, Sparkhouse

Jumping into video marketing is an exciting time, but picking the right video production agency can be difficult. In this article, we will go over the factors that will help ensure success on your next video project.

Many companies today are getting into video marketing or trying to figure out ways they can use video marketing in the future to promote their business and brand. 

However, it can be quite challenging to get a handle on what you should look for in a video production agency, especially if this is your first time shopping for this particular kind of service. 

Like most marketing endeavors, video marketing is a bigger investment and needs to be taken seriously to get your money’s worth. 

Finding a solid partner in a video production agency that you can work well and grow along with will be a key ingredient for success in your video marketing journey.

4 Steps to Take Before Hiring a Video Agency:

  1. Look to your own team
  2. Build a list of candidates
  3. Refine your list
  4. Watch out for red flags

1. Look to Your Own Team

Before starting your search for a video production partner, you should first take some time to review your own team’s marketing style, branding guidelines, and marketing strategy. 

If you haven’t already, make sure to break down what your team is all about (company identity) and what you are looking for before beginning your search. Get as many possible members of your management team involved to accurately flush out the following aspects:

Style/Branding

What style of branding, image, or presence does your company want to represent? For example, there are big differences in how an older, established financial firm or law firm might approach a video ad versus, say, a startup tech company or apparel brand. 

Do you want to project an image that is serious and professional, humorous, quirky, or strictly upscale? Brainstorm with your internal team regarding the type of videos you want to create and try to find examples of competitors or companies you are aspiring to be like.

It may help to conceptualize your ideas through a video storyboard. 

Rough storyboard

Source

By visually depicting the characteristics that embody your company’s style and branding, you’ll be able to have a clearer picture of what you want.

Marketing Strategy 

Your overarching marketing strategy will heavily influence what types of videos your company needs, as well as where the videos are going to live or be used. 

Do you have a plan to use Facebook and Instagram ads with your videos? Or are these videos better suited to be featured on a website, e-commerce page, or tradeshow booth? 

Make sure to outline a clear plan detailing your comprehensive marketing initiatives for the year, in addition to how you wish to integrate videography into the plan. Do this step before searching for a video production agency.

2. Build a List of Video Producers

It’s easy to search a few keywords and find the top 5 listings. But don’t be too narrow in your search, since the results can be heavily biased upon things like which businesses spend the most advertising dollars.

Put a little effort into doing a comprehensive search with different keywords, then narrow down your options by process of elimination. 

Browse Agencies on Google

Google is always a great place to start your search. Search for video production companies that fit your style and strategy as well as are located in your city or region.

Also, make sure they’re top-rated video production companies with an extensive background and a variety of samples to show off.

Review Ratings and Reviews Websites

Never underestimate the power of a great reputation! Look into review websites that have already vetted video production companies and can give you real feedback on how top-rated agencies are faring in the public eye. 

Sites like Clutch, Yelp, and Google My Business are a few trusted places to start. 

Ask Around for Referrals 

Do you have a colleague who has already made a marketing video that’s worked for them? Ask who helped them produce it. 

If during your research, you happen to come across a video that moves you, you can always reach out to see who produced that video and get the agency contact.

3. Refine Your List

To help pare down your list of possible video production companies, use the following characteristics:

Portfolio Items

Now that you know what style of video you are looking for, you’ll want to start honing your search to help you find an agency that has a portfolio similar to your company’s work. 

Look closely at their collection of videos, their list of past clients, team member bios, and other pertinent details to see if they’ve done work within your industry, and/or work along the lines of what you need right now. 

Some agencies are very specialized and only produce a specific type of video (or videos for specific industries), while others might have a wider range of creative and can execute almost any style of video.

Quality of Video 

All videos are not alike! High-quality videos stand out from cheaper productions and are way more likely to get people to take notice of your company.

Look through each production agency’s portfolio to check and see that not only are their featured videos produced in great definition with clear sound and visuals but also that all of their videos are at this same professional level. 

Your goal is to find a production team that is consistently producing top-notch products.

Responsiveness of the Company

When you finally find a few agencies you think maybe a good fit for your company or brand, the next step is to reach out to them. The contacts should be responsive and eager to learn about your project. 

If they are slow to get back to you, it can be a sign that they may be too busy to dedicate time to new projects, or are simply bad at communication. 

First impressions do last, and you’ll want a team that is dedicated to you and your project. 

Video production team 

Source

As you have these initial correspondences, pay attention to cues that feed into whether the company is detail-oriented or not.

Production Process

A solid video production company should have a structured production process that they use to make each of their videos. A step-by-step process is crucial not just to tap into their creative side, but also to keep their management and account communications focused on success with each project. 

If it’s difficult to get them to explain their process to you, or the process sounds too simple, too confusing, or doesn’t make sense, it’s a sure sign that they are inexperienced or haven’t taken the time to develop a proven process to assure your video’s success. 

Make sure the company you choose demonstrates and fully explains their process to you before getting started. Your team should have a good grasp of the steps, timelines, and milestones of the entire project from the kickoff.

Production Budget

How a company approaches budget will always be a huge factor when hiring a video production agency. Smaller teams and freelancers might be a good fit for small projects under $5,000, but most small- to medium-sized video agencies will charge closer to $20,000–$50,000 for a project or campaign.

Then there are large or high-end agencies that won’t be able to work on anything less than $150,000. Know which type of agency fits you best and be honest with your budget upfront to find a good fit.

Contract Details

Ask to review all the contract terms before agreeing to a project. Take note of certain inclusions, such as the number of revisions permitted by the agency at each phase and if there are fees for exceeding those terms. 

Look for any other fees that are outlined as “out of scope”; there shouldn’t be much if any. 

And lastly, be on the lookout for language expressly concerned with ownership rights of not only the final video but also video footage, project files, etc. You don’t want to pay a bunch of money for a video, only to find out you don’t own it after all is said and done!

Flexibility 

This may be more of a loose question, but try to push your video marketing agency to see how flexible they are in regards to timeline changes, adjustments, etc. 

Making a video is always a moving target, and you want to make sure your team is willing to adjust to fit your team’s needs along the way.

4. Watch Out for Red Flags

What are some signs you might want to steer clear of with certain video production companies? Keep the following in mind as you make your decision. 

Past Experience

Make sure the team you end up hiring has a large library of successful projects and clients to attest to their video prowess. 

With today’s technology, it’s much easier to start a video production company than it used to be, so you want to be certain the one you are working with is established and experienced.

Reviews

Search online for positive reviews. Again, if a video production company doesn’t have a decent amount of reviews with positive feedback, there is a good chance they are hiding something.

Client References

When interviewing video production companies, don’t forget to ask for references. The agency should be able to provide you with real, verifiable past clients who can be reached out to for references and honest feedback.

Additional Fees

When reviewing the video production contract, look out for excessive rules or fees in the language. Some companies will lure clients in with a low starting price, then proceed to nickel-and-dime their customers throughout the entire process.

Go With Your Gut When Hiring a Video Production Agency

In the end, your relationship with the video production company you hire is one that will impact your video results and your bottom line. You want to feel good about the team and how they work, from start to finish. 

So, trust your instincts and opt for the company you feel you have a strong connection with. Chances are, the team you can put your confidence in from the start will be willing to go the extra mile to make you a great video.

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