iven the image that heads up this post, you’d be forgiven for supposing that I’m going to say, “Yes, it’s too expensive.” Just look at all that kit. lights… Camera… Bankruptcy. Video just seems expensive as a content medium and if you’ve largely discounted it from your content marketing, you’re not alone.

Agreed, if you tried to set up your own video production facility then you’d be looking at many, many, thousands of pounds. But, unless you are going to produce video content for others, you don’t need that. Or even anything approaching that. There is no shortage of ideas when it comes to finding inspiration for low-cost video production concepts. Youtube creator academy and Entrepreneur both have some good ideas for how to cut costs.

However, in the wider picture of your content needs, if you want to use video you need to work out what place in your content strategy it’s going to occupy and how it will meet your content aims. I want to take a look at a few common types of video content and how you may be able to leverage them without a high outlay.

Explainer Videos

Let’s take a look at one I made earlier.

I regularly do videos like this for my customers and they don’t cost the earth. Depending on requirements setting a budget in the low hundreds might be enough. Explainer videos must be written carefully to both hold attention and sell your product or service correctly. An off the shelf video from one of the many “do-it-yourself” providers might look OK, but it’ll be too generic to really do its job, which is to prove to the viewer that you can resolve their problem or quench their need. Explainer video’s sit well in the middle of the customer journey, after they have identified you as a potential solution to their issue but before they get too technically involved in what you are offering. Explainer videos are super-shareable and are a great way to dip your toe in the water of video content.

About Us Video

Another great way of showing what you do and how you do it is the About Us video. It differs from an explainer in that it seeks to show off your people and processes and only shows your product or service as an adjunct to the main theme of the video. It’s here that you try to show off your business’s unique personality to potential customers – make them fall in love with your company. There is no doubt that it’s possible to spend some serious money on an About Us video, however, here is one that totally nailed it for a lot less :

Guess how much that cost? Lower.. No still lower. $4,500.  Seriously. So the takeaway from that video is that you don’t need to spend mega bucks to get an amazing About Us Video. It’s also a chance to put some humour into your brand (just don’t go too far). *Disclaimer – I had nothing to do with the production of this video (I know you didn’t need me to tell you that).

Another great example of this type of video content is from social giant Twitter. It’s liable to make some people cringe so hard they miss the best bits, other people loved it. There is nothing wrong with trying out some “Marmite” content (some love it, some hate it) but make sure you don’t waste precious content budget on a turkey. Twitter has a few Dollars to spare, so they went with this :

OK, so this really works because everybody knows Twitter could spend $100,000 on a video if they wanted. Twitter didn’t say how much this cost, but it won’t have been that cheap, despite the way it is portrayed. This might not work for you but offers a way to reduce costs by focusing on the lighter side of the message you’re trying to get out. However, my point is this, if you get your concept right, it doesn’t need to break the bank to make an About Us video.

The Vlog

Here is where video really starts to get interesting for content marketers. A consistent Vlog has a large number of possible benefits if done correctly. You’ll educate your potential customers more easily, you’ll turn your existing customers into brand fans and you’ll get better leverage when it comes to shared content. All of those come with the caveat of getting it right in the first place, though. Thankfully, you’ve got a wealth of examples to follow. You’ve got a subscriber list on YouTube, don’t you? Of the channels you keep going back to, what is it that makes you love them so much? Is it the awesome storytelling, like Casey Neistat, or the really helpful tutorials like ChefSteps? One of the best methods here is to look at what is going on in the Vlog scene in your industry. What are your competitors doing? Don’t imitate, but do get ideas and locate a space you can occupy. However, please make sure you’re in it for the long haul. There is nothing sadder than a company YouTube channel with two poor quality videos that a two years old. You’ll need to be able to turn out a least one video a week for many years to see your channel have any hope of getting the traction you are hoping for. In addition to that, it’ll take you a while to get into the swing of things and find your own style. Depending on the style and content of your Vlog, you may be able to get away with a good quality mobile phone and some cheap lighting accessories. Given the potential content kickback, that’s a steal.

Where does that leave your content strategy when it comes to video?

Given that we’ve established cost is not necessarily a barrier to entry,  the primary question becomes one of commitment. Can you, as a company, commit to having video as a standing part of your content lineup? Let’s take a look at some generic ideas for a basic video content map ;

  • You produce an explainer for each key product or service, then do a series of Vlogs breaking down the key ideas using a simple whiteboard style, all presented by your MD or marketing professional.
  • You produce a high value about us video for the whole company, then give each department a smaller budget to create a video on what they do. That feeds into a Vlog looking at issues in your industry and how you’ve solved them.
  • You jump right into a Vlog, creating helpful tutorials on how your product can resolve common issues that everyday people might have.

All of the above will leverage video, but with different creative and monetary entry costs. Being a smaller company doesn’t mean you can’t join in; you don’t have to have a physical person presenting the videos. It’s important to make a quick, but realistic, plan so that you can compare video to, say, the cost of doing a podcast or creating an e-book. However don’t simply ignore video because you’re worried about cost, but might be missing out on creating the next YouTube hit channel.

If you’d like to chat with someone who’s been there and done it, I’d be happy to give you some more ideas and a guide to the costs involved. Do get in contact if that sounds helpful.

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