Branded Commercial Video Production on a Budget: Here’s How
Today, audiences expect quality from branded marketing. They also expect variety. As it stands now, a billboard and an advertisement in the newspaper aren’t enough to make an impact on would-be buyers. As such, companies of all sizes (and specifically those with limited marketing budgets) are turning to commercial video production.
And for good reason – commercial video is an excellent way to sell a product or service and make an impact on customers.
If you’ve considered producing commercial video, now is a great time to take the leap. In this post, we’ll cover the ins and outs of creating branded videos, and why investing in the process now is a smart decision.
Let’s dive in.
What is Commercial Video?
Today, there are several different types of commercial video, and each is flexible enough to adapt to a variety of brands and circumstances. Consider producing any of the following to grow your company:
While Vlogs, or video blogs, don’t necessarily sound “commercial,” they’ve become a popular asset for brands breaking into commercial video. The reason is simple: vlogs are inexpensive to produce, deeply personal to your brand, and ideal for promoting engagement.
Additionally, few companies have vlogs, since many choose to spend their budgets, instead, on polished business intro videos. By creating vlogs, you can stand out in your field. For a great example of a vlog, check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s videos:
One of the primary purposes of commercial visual marketing and video production is to demonstrate thought leadership. And what better way to do this than to interview other thought leaders? Because of this, interview videos are some of the most common types of commercial video content.
In addition to showcasing the experience and dominance of a brand, interview videos also help build relationships and grow trust with consumers. For an example of a brand that does it well, check out Microsoft’s interview videos:
Chances are, you’ve probably participated in a webinar. Webinars are live or pre-recorded videos that serve a wide variety of purposes. They can host Q&A sessions, for example, facilitate product demos, or offer roundtable interviews with industry thought-leaders.
Additionally, webinars are high-value and low-cost, which makes them a very accessible way for low-budget brands to access commercial video production. Not sure what structure your webinar should take? Here’s an excellent example webinar, offered by HubSpot, which covers how brands can best use social media.
Presentation videos (think TED talks), have become hugely popular, and for a good reason. Presentation videos are short, powerful, and created specifically to a unique audience. Combining the educational value of a webinar with the compelling narrative of a vlog, presentation videos are ideal for showcasing leadership and helping your brand gain the recognition it deserves. Here’s a great example of a TED presentation, from lifestyle guru Tim Ferriss:
Not a TED-level brand just yet? Don’t worry – you can film your own presentation videos – without the benefit of a national stage. Consider how Moz’s Rand Fishkin used to do it with his “Whiteboard Friday” presentation:
As you can see, commercial video is incredibly flexible. No matter what your brand’s goals are, there’s likely a type of commercial video to support it. In addition to the types of videos listed above, brands also create demo videos, marketing-specific brand videos, event videos, instructional or how-to videos, animated explainer videos, testimonial videos, live videos, VR and AR videos, and more.
When is the Right Time to Invest in Commercial Video Production?
The answer is simple: right now. Video has been blowing up for a few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. To illustrate this point, here are a few statistics to consider:
- According to a report from HubSpot Research, upwards of 50% of customers want to interact with branded videos more than any other type of content
- Simply adding a video to your landing page can boost conversion rates by over 80%
- Emails that include the word “video” in the subject line enjoy 19% higher open rates
- 90% of customers say videos help them make buying decisions
- In 2018, 93% of businesses reported that they earned at least one new customer on social media, thanks to a marketing video they produced and shared
- 45% of marketers plan to incorporate YouTube in their marketing strategy in the next year
- YouTube reaches more consumers ages 18-49 than any broadcast or cable TV network
- 64% of users say they’re more likely to purchase a product after watching a branded video
- Adding a video to a landing page can increase conversions by as much as 80%
- When a website includes a video, visitors spend an average of 88% more time on it
Video is a popular tactic that continues to grow. It’s only going to get more popular in the coming years, and the time to hop aboard is now.
Where to Start
Ready to get started with commercial video production? Here are a few tips for planning your videos:
Map the Video Out
The first step is to start planning your video. Before you begin recording or writing a script, you need to understand the purpose and direction of your video. Think of this as the roadmap that informs everything else. Having a clear understanding of the intention of your video will allow you to direct all future decisions, from framing and editing to content and type.
Here are a few questions you should answer about your video at the outset:
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the goal of your video?
- When and where will you publish the video?
- What is the budget for your video?
- Do you have creative requirements?
- What ROI metrics will you track for the video?
2. Write the Video Script
Some commercial videos are unscripted. This is common with vlogs, for example. Even Dollar Shave Club’s iconic launch video only had a loose script to work off of. Most commercial videos, however, have some type of script to guide them.
Scripts are essential for a few big reasons. First, they guide the structure of the video and prevent you from spending more time editing than you need to. Secondly, they keep the video organized and ensure you hit on all your desired talking points.
If you’ve never written a video script, you should know that there’s an art to the approach. Hire a skilled scriptwriter to help you write the script and set the video up for success.
3. Collect Your Equipment
When it comes time to shoot a video, you can DIY it in-house, or hire a team to film the video for you. If you DIY it, you’ll have to collect your equipment ahead of time. Today, it’s possible to shoot a high-quality commercial marketing video with the iPhone in your pocket.
Some people, though, prefer to use professional camera equipment, like DSLRs, which provide more control over shooting settings and can create a more polished result. Keep in mind that professional camera equipment will involve a learning curve unless you have someone on your team who is familiar with the tools.
4. Find Your Team
If you’ve never created a commercial video in-house, you should know that you have a few options: you can DIY it, hire an agency, or bring in a single, experienced videographer to help you. Here’s a breakdown of each approach:
- DIY. DIYing your video is less expensive than any other approach, but it’ll also be lower-quality. It’s not impossible, though, and there are several great platforms you can use to build your own commercial videos. We love Wistia.
- Hire an Agency. Video production agencies deliver beautiful work, but they’re too expensive and too slow for most startups, small businesses, and growing brands.
- Bring in a Videographer. If you want some professional assistance, but aren’t willing to shell out for an agency, consider hiring a sole videographer. Not only does this allow you to create a better finished product, but it opens a working relationship with a professional who can benefit your company for years to come.
Video Production Tips
Producing your first commercial video can be intimidating. Here are a few tips to follow:
Write Your Script in Google Docs Using the Table Function
If you choose to write your video script, drop it into Google Docs, and use the table function to organize your scenes. Place your dialogue or lines in the left cell of the table, and scene directions to the right. Once you’ve finalized the script, open the doc to the rest of your team so they can make edits and suggestions, if needed.
Prep Your Talent
If you’re involving a few people in the video, be sure to do a table-read before you shoot the video. Reading through the script and practicing the questions a few times seems simple, but it can go a long way toward creating a better result.
Mind Your Composition
The most successful commercial videos keep a viewer’s focus where it should be – on the presenter. If you’re shooting a presentation or how-to video, be sure to compose the shoot, so the background behind the presenter is plain and not distracting.
Commercial video production is a significant trend in marketing right now, and for a good reason. In our fast-paced, information-obsessed world, videos provide the emotional impact, connection, and behind-the-scenes glimpses customers want. If you’ve never created a commercial video before, bring in a videographer to help. The process of outsourcing your video production is easy, fast, and straightforward, and will help you create a piece of content you’ll be proud to share.
Need help creating commercial video for your company? Check out the videographers on The H Hub today!