Video is really having a moment; one that will probably last a while when you consider its reach. Twitter says a post with an attached video will get 28 percent more retweets. Facebook says its video viewership doubled from 4 to 8 million during the latter half of last year. One tech firm predicts two thirds of all Internet traffic will be video by next year.    

So, you get why video marketing’s important and you’ve made some room in the budget for it, but now you have to figure out how to get it done. Should you perform a Google search and hire an advertising agency to manage the project or go straight to a production company with your big idea? After all, that’s where the photographers and editors work, so it seems logical to go straight to them, right? Plus, skipping the ad agency could save you thousands of dollars.  

The shorter, more direct path is entirely possible, but there are some things to consider. Here are some questions to think about: 

1. Why are you producing a video? To gain new clients? Proof of performance? Just to show off?
2. What type of video do you want? A thirty second commercial? A two minute video for the website? Something shorter for social media?
3. When do you need it?  

If this is your first video project, you may not know all the answers. Start with an ad agency if you really are at a loss on how to come up with a concept for a video that will deliver your message. If you already have the basic framework for one, most production companies will have producers who can flesh it out. They should be willing and eager to help you sort through the myriad production options while keeping your goals and budget in mind.  

Whatever route you choose, take a look at a company’s previous work on their website. Do they specialize in comedic videos? Can they provide quality graphics and animation? Do you want your video to look like someone shot it on their smart phone and uploaded it to YouTube? Some production companies will insist slick and polished videos are the only way to go. You want people who will embrace your vision, take your concept and shape it, not completely overhaul it. If the company has done a project similar to what you have in mind, they are the easy choice.  

Once the project is complete, a production company will typically deliver it to you and be done, aside from electronically storing your clips and graphics. If you don’t have a marketing or distribution plan for the video, the ad agency route may be best for you. Be warned, some public relations agencies will be able to post your content on Facebook and Twitter, but not really know how to create a digital marketing strategy. If you’re spending the money on an ad agency, it should be full service, offering broad social media skills and website management with people on staff who have experience in media buys so they can maximize exposure on your budget.  

And speaking of budgets and the bottom line, video appears to be a pretty safe bet. More than half of the world’s marketing professionals say it gives you the highest return on your investment. Consumers are more likely to share a video than any other form of content. There’s even a chance you could win the marketing lottery; your video could be so clever or shocking or sweet or memorable, it goes viral. So, just like the video medium itself, you will also have a moment and your company will thrive.   

Brian Annakin is the vice president of production at IMS Productions.

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