You trust your tailor with your suits, your accountant with your money and your mechanic with your car. So why are you producing your company’s videos in house? If sufficiently prepared, you will almost always save more in the long run if you hire the right professional for the right job, rather than trying to learn the expertise you need to do it on your own. Based on our experience connecting thousands of businesses with professional video services on a monthly basis, here’s what you need to know before you hire a professional video production company.
Define your vision. As a business owner, you most likely already have a marketing plan with clear goals to reach, and you know the personality of your business. Are you sophisticated, luxurious and calming? Or maybe your business is fast, edgy, clever and appeals to a specific market like teenagers or working moms?Your ideal video should reflect your business’ distinct personality while solving some of your company’s marketing goals. For example, if one of your main goals this year was to increase user engagement on your website, it’s okay to have a fun, slightly silly animated video. Who knows? It may go viral.
When it comes to expressing that vision, consider whether you want to be in your own video. If not, select a spokesperson from the office or even a reputable PR rep to be the face of the videos. After all, people hire people, not companies.
Do your research. Once you’re clear on the vision, search video sharing sites like Vimeo, YouTube or our company ProductionHUB for examples of videos you like (and don’t like). Be very specific in searching the specific genres you decided would be a good fit for your company: corporate video, Public Service Announcement (PSA), webisode, commercial, etc. If you are having trouble finding ones you like, you can always perform a detailed Google search, like “Corporate Video Production in New York” or “Animators in Chicago” to view and compare local companies. Then, make sure to find styles that match your company’s personality.
Request a quote. Next, request quotes from at least three of the companies whose video style you liked best in the particular genre you researched. In your e-mail, be very detailed upfront about what you are looking for in terms of the following:
- Desired time frames and due dates
- Length of video
- Comparable work (cite examples)
Before you decide on an appropriate media company or freelance provider, be sure to:
Review credentials. You want to be able to compare one company’s reel to others in their specialty. How do they present their portfolio? Is it laid out explaining the case study “problem” and solution or just artistically showing off the bells and whistles? It’s crucial you don’t just hire an artist but a business-minded creative who can listen to your needs and visually produce a piece to help you solve a problem or reach a specific demographic.
Ask for references. While online recommendations are great, nothing beats having a client reference you can call and ask about the experience with each vendor so you can find out for yourself.
Okay, you’ve decided on a vendor. Before you sign your video away, take these last few precautions to ensure a smooth experience.
Make sure they are insured. Protect your production—better to be on the safe side early on than regret it later.
Don’t pay all upfront. Paying half at the start of a project and half upon completion or by thirds is standard.
Have a deadline. Ensure it is mutually agreed upon, in writing and clearly outlined. Make sure to add an addendum any time something is removed, added on or changed that may affect the cost of the production.
Request master files. Make sure you request the raw files along with the final deliverable of the finished product. You may want to add elements to your site or future promotional materials down the line (possibly with a different company).
Secure rights and licenses. You want to be sure you have, or obtain through your vendor, rights to all of the photos, b-roll (supplemental footage inserted as a cutaway to help tell the story), design elements, logos, quotes, artwork, audio and music prior to starting so no one is waiting on you at any point in the production and tacking on unnecessary hours.
OPEN Cardmember Katrina P. Diamond is the director of marketing for ProductionHUB and is responsible for marketing strategies and tactics, media relations, advertising, brand management, and assists in business development initiatives. John M. Pokorny is president and founder of ProductionHUB, an online marketplace for broadcast TV, motion picture, pro video, live event, corporate and digital media production.