Video Production Company: 20 Things You Must Know When Hiring One

It was Valentine’s Day, 2005. While everyone was at home, crying under the covers with a pint of Cherry Garcia, watching The Notebook for the third time that day (I’m probably just speaking for myself) the world would change forever. Yes, lovers of cat video compilations, this was the day YouTube was founded. It would take two more months for the first video to be uploaded but, despite its head start, this video would not be the first to reach the critical 1 million view mark. That honor belonged to an advertisement for Nike.

And so began a new age, one that allowed everyone to share their videos from giant advertisers to that neighbor of yours with the funny-looking dog (you know the one). By June 2006, there were 65,000 (!) videos being uploaded every single day. Today, online video accounts for 74% (!!) of all online traffic.

This phenomenon has not been lost on businesses; 85% (!!!) of them now have staff dedicated to video. They know where the eyeballs are and they understand the importance of getting their message in front of them. How about your business? How much time do you spend on video production? Do you treat it like an afterthought or do you give it the same attention you give sales, strategy, and revenue management?

Whether you’re savvy enough to formalize your video approach or you’re just getting started, your success depends on your video production–and the experts behind it. So with that in mind, let’s jump into the 20 Things You Must Know When Hiring a

Video Production Company

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1 – You Have 8 Seconds

That’s the average attention span. 8 seconds. Less than a goldfish, more than a fruit fly. If you want to sell yourself and your business, you’re going to have to break the 8 second barrier and grab the viewer’s attention. You can’t be coy, you can’t be boring. Your video must be engaging and at the same time must always be driving to the call of action because–reality check–there will always be viewers who don’t watch to the end. Lots of them. If they don’t know what you’re all about in less than 8 seconds, you’re dead in the water.

But hey, at least the goldfish you find there will have a longer attention span.

2 – Join the A/V Club

Remember the kids in A/V club? With their cables and mixers and microphones? Maybe you were one of them. Well, here’s some news for you: they were ahead of the curve. They knew the potency of audiovisual presentations before the mainstream spread of online video and understood that video appealed to the 3 main learning styles: visual, aural, and kinesthetic.

If you want people to learn about your business, there’s no better way to do that than with video. It can reach the greatest number of people in the greatest number of ways and can act as the face for your business. Is that a truth that you’re ready to face?

3 – A Thousand Words… And Then Some

Pop quiz, hotshot. If a picture is worth 1000 words, how many words is a 60-second video worth? Hmmm. 1000 words x 30 frames per second x 60 seconds… carry the 1… and the answer is 1.8 million words. That’s War and Peace almost three times over.

Now imagine the impact a 60-second video for your business could have–nearly 2 million words worth of impact in less time than it takes to order a pizza. This is an unprecedented level of information density and, if your competitors are producing video while you’re not, you could spend a lifetime trying to catch up to the impact they’re making.

4 – Employee of the Year

Describe your model spokesperson. Surely they’re driven, talented and charismatic. They work hard and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Overtime. Weekends. Holidays. But can they work every day? Not just every day, but every HOUR of every day?

Of course not. But video does. A top notch video designed to effectively connect with your customers and clients is always working, always available to anyone who has internet access. If done well, this video can become your sales spokesperson. Perhaps your Employee of the Year, too.

So save the humans for the human work–relationship management, selling, support–and let your business’s video be the 24/7 spokesperson you never knew you always needed.

5 – Video Democracy

Remember what we said about the first video to reach 1 million views on YouTube? It was a Nike ad–a big business ad. But that was 11 years ago, and while big businesses dominated the online video scene for much of the last decade, 55% of SMBs believe video is a must. Governments have also joined in, along with startups, independent entrepreneurs, and organizations of all sizes. This has been made possible due to a perfect storm of the growth of video platforms, increased video viewership, and the advent of the viral video.

Simply put, you no longer have to be a corporate giant to make an impact with video. All you need is to know your business, your customers, and to have a great video team behind you.

6 – The Rise of the Screens

In a recent Nielsen report, it was revealed that Americans spend 10 hours a day in front of a screen. For an average viewer sleeping 8 hours a day, that’s more than 60% of their time spent in front of a screen!

We all know the reason for such a statistic: phones. Between 2011 and 2016, smartphone usage among adults more than doubled–from 35% to 77%–and this growth is showing no signs of stopping. This means people can watch online video on the go, whether it’s when they’re stuck in line, carpool traffic, or on their lunch break. It also means they’re watching something with all those screens and if they’re not watching a video representing your business, they might just be watching one that represents your competitor.

7 – Let’s (Not) Bounce

Every business owner knows the importance of a website. They also know that the worst thing you can discover about their business’s website is that it has a high bounce rate, i.e. that people are leaving after only viewing one measly page. If your website has a bounce rate of over 50% you may be in serious trouble because, not only are potential customers leaving, but a high bounce rate negatively impacts your SERP ranking, making it even less likely new potential customers will find you in the future.

But there’s good news. Placing a video on your website, such as one explaining your business or your products, can reduce bounce rate by up to 34%. That’s 34% more potential customers staying to find out what your business is all about and, if they do, they might just tell their friends about too.

8 – The New Word of Mouth

Let’s talk social. You know–the Facebooks, the Twitters, the Instagrams, the Snapchats. Each time a new social platform takes root, many dismiss it as just a fad, only to often find that within a few years–or even a few months–this new platform has grown into a new way for people to share with one another. From 2008 to 2017, Facebook went from 100 million users to 2 billion. Twitter’s monthly active users went up 10x in a similar time frame, from 30 million to 300 million.

And, on Facebook alone, there are 8 billion video views a day and with each view there is an opportunity for viewers to share that video with one of the other 1,999,999 people on Facebook. This makes social media the new word of mouth and, if your business’s video is on social media and is interesting and engaging, you could become the next thing everyone is talking about.

9 – The Search Is Over

We talked about the danger of high bounce rates, but video can do more than prevent search ranking decay. It can actually improve it dramatically. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, only beaten by (and coincidentally owned by) Google, and having a high quality video will be reflected in Google’s search rankings.

What’s more, users will immediately be able to see your video’s thumbnail, giving them crucial visual information in a sea of otherwise pure text. This means that your business will stand out to potential customers in ways that businesses without a video presence can never hope to match.

10 – Always. Be. Connecting.

The year is 1960. John F. Kennedy has just debated Richard Nixon in the first televised presidential debate in history. JFK was deemed the winner, thanks largely in part to his on-camera personality and Nixon’s poor physical showing. To put it another way: JFK connected with viewers. Nixon did not. The rest is history.

Video gives your business the opportunity to connect with customers on a personal level, allowing them to see that you strive to do more than be profitable but to also provide services for people in need. Your business becomes human by appealing to your customers’ humanity.

So what will it be? Is your business going to be a JFK or a Nixon?

Let’s take a moment…

If you’ve been following along, you know that video can connect with your clients and customers in a personal way, providing them a 24/7 resource to learn about your business. You know that video appeals to all the main learning styles and that its impact is massive. You also know that your clients and customers are spending more time in front of screens and social media, and that an engaging video will yield returns in how they share the video with others and in your website’s search rankings.

But for all this magic to take effect you have to make a great video. It has to be captivating, informative, and with a professional level of polish. And the best way to achieve this is by working with a video production company. Here’s what you need to know when selecting one.

11 – True or False?

It’s tempting to do whatever it takes to get someone’s attention. But if you produce a video for your business that isn’t true to who you are and the services or products you’re selling, all you’re going to do is alienate potential clients and customers. And if you do that you may very well have to deal with the social media word of mouth machine again–but this time it will be working to disparage you.

A quality video production company will accurately reflect your business and create content that you can stand behind and be proud of.

12 – Know Thyself (and Thy Brand)

When was the last time you saw a video for a law firm that leveraged zany, slapstick comedy? If your answer is anything besides Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul, then all we can hope for is that you’ve never went ahead and hired the firm. And you know why–comedy has no place in the professional setting of a law firm, just as regression analysis has no place on the stage of an improv troupe, and theoretical mathematics has no place in, well… most settings.

You need to make sure whatever video you have for your business uses production techniques and ideas appropriate for your brand, which might mean sitting down and defining exactly what your brand is. Failure to do so could attract the wrong audience while pushing away potential customers and clients.

13 – …and know others, too

The flip side of knowing your brand is to know your audience. Who is the fictional everywoman who will use the products or services your business has to offer? What’s their age, their profession, what hobbies and interests do they have? Where do they spend their time? What do they like? What do they dislike?

If you don’t know this before seeking a video production company, they’ll have no idea how to target your video appropriately.

14 – Find Your Sherpa

There’s a difference between a professional venture and a passion project. Both have their place, but to attempt the former without guidance from an expert is a formula for failure. So find your sherpa for your business’s video content, a group of experts who can guide your vision to the places you want it to go. There’s a reason they’re professionals and it’s because they’ve done this before. They know the ins and outs, the pitfalls and the opportunities you can’t see. Trust them.

15 – Do It Right or Don’t Bother

There’s a time and a place for participation trophies and your business isn’t one of them. The cost of sloppy execution isn’t just lackluster sales or tepid customer reviews, it’s brand destruction that could set you on a wayward path that will take years to come back from.

Which all means you need a production company that knows what they’re doing. Don’t shy away from asking for example videos or looking through their website to gauge the quality of their work. It’s certainly better than the alternative a low-quality production company has to offer: lost money and lost time.

16 – Check the Resume

As you’re asking your production company for examples of their work, also ask or research on your own who their past clients were. Quality always reigns over quantity, and if your potential production company has worked with clients that are high caliber–or perhaps have even made videos you and your friends have seen and shared among one another–then you can have a reasonable expectation that any work they do for you will also be quality work.

17 – Measure Twice, Film Once

We’ve talked about hiring a production company who can get your vision right, be on brand, and will do a job you can be proud of. But in case you are still not convinced, consider another folly of hiring a cheap video production company: you will probably have to redo their work eventually. And when you do, you will be paying twice for the same service (and if you’re very, very lucky you won’t be paying even more than that in lost brand equity and missed sales).

Why waste the time and the money when you can do right the first time around?

18 – “Dammit Jim, I’m an entrepreneur not a videographer!”

You have a business to run and you know full well everything that entails. You can’t be splitting your time between your business and the business of video production, no matter how much you think you can do it all. A good video production company will have high end equipment that you would never dream of investing in–top-of-line cameras, lighting, access to actors that you likely won’t have on your own.

What’s more, they’re professionals with a deep well of experience and training, just as you are an expert in your own field of business. Just as YOU wouldn’t have someone go the DIY-route, the services your business has to offer, you shouldn’t try to replicate the professionalism that a top notch video company offers.

19 – Tempus Fugit

We’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating: time is money and your time is valuable. Every moment of your time has to be accounted for in the growth and success of your own business, so don’t siphon off your time doing work that a video production company can do on your behalf. Rely on them. Remember, they’re your sherpa and your guide to engaging, compelling video content.

20 – Make a Top Notch Choice

Last, but certainly not least in our roundup of what you need to know when seeking a video production company: hire us, Top Notch Cinema. We’ve worked with clients such as Dollar Shave Club, Bonobos, Vanguard, and The Four Seasons. We have professional script writers, talent scouts, high-end equipment, and analysts who can work expertly with the overall budget for your video. And all you need to do to get started is fill out a short questionnaire, discuss a few concepts with us, and then Top Notch handles the rest–with your approval, of course.

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