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Making the Most of Your Video Production Budget


In today's "everyone owns a camcorder" world, making a video or finding someone to do that for you is easier than it has ever been.  Chances are good that at some point, you, or someone in your immediate family, has made a video and shared it around.  But does that experience translate to being able to make videos for your organization, company, or group?  The answer depends on what kind of video you need to make and what your other job responsibilities are.  Certainly, having some experience shooting or editing video won't hurt and will give you a better understanding of the process.

Whether you decide to take a do-it-yourself approach or hire a professional, answering these five questions will help you get the most bang for your video buck.

1) Who is my audience?  Be specific and thoroughly describe who you want to watch your video.

2) What message(s) do I want my audience to take away from the video.  Again, be specific and list everything you want them to know and why.

3) What other media could be used to convey the same message(s)?  The key to any successful communication is matching the message to the medium.  If something would work better in print, or on the web, figure out how all the media can work together to convey the message(s) most powerfully.

4) What is the definition of success?  Ultimately, this is the question your boss is going to ask you (or the most important question you should ask yourself, if YOU are the boss.)  Think about the answers to the questions above, then ask, "If the video is successful, what will have happened?"  The answer usually involves stating what your audience, or a key portion of it, will have done as a result of watching the video.  For example, "10% of the audience of our viral video will have clicked through to our website, and 1% overall, will have purchased our product," or "roll out of our training video will result in a 10% reduction in calls to our customer support call center."  Carefully defining success will guide your decisions throughout the production process, so this step is critical!

5) How much should we budget for the video?  Now that you have defined your audience, message(s), communications plan, and success the final step is determining your budget.  While many people answer this question with the obvious "as little as we possibly can!", the real answer should flow naturally from your success criteria.  For example, if your current cost per customer acquired is "x", the maximum budget for your video should be "x" times the number of customers you think you can acquire using your video over a given period of time.  Or, if your current cost per support call is "y", an appropriate maximum budget should be "y" times the number of calls you can reduce by employing a training video.  While this is not an exact science, it should certainly give you a good starting point.

Once you have answered these five questions, you are now ready to get into the fun part:  planning your video.  You can learn about this process in an another post.