Many companies struggle with the question of wether to keep video production in house or to hire a professional.
There is a ton of information and many conflicting opinions for or against both types of strategies: DIY (Do It Yourself) or Pro video.
In this post I will discuss the pros and cons of each style and offer advice on why, when, and where to use both.
I’ll share with you a simple way to understand which way is best for your company to meet your audience directly.
I know it’s a little tricky because I naturally have a bias for using pro video since that’s what I do! 🙂
It’s amazing how often this question comes up in conversation.
I want to take this time to post my response in detail.
Even as a pro video producer I believe there are times that it’s better NOT to hire a video professional. I also cringe when I see companies doing video themselves with very poor results.
There are a few schools of thought out there.
1. Those who think that pro is the ONLY way to go!
2. Folks who believe to DIY is the ONLY way to fly!
3. The people who think both Pro and DIY have their rightful place in video marketing.
What camp to you fall into?
Some typical arguments for DIY video marketing.
The technology is cheap enough that I can do it just as good as a pro. Amazing low cost video high definition cameras, smart phones, and a ubiquitous amount of free or cheap editing software has given DIYers the tools to capture and edit decent images.
Youtube has created an entire culture of amateurish videos with their own look and feel which audiences all over the world still find appealing and engaging on many levels.
Video production is easier than it looks! Just watch some “how-to” videos on YouTube and you’ll be up and running in no time.
Professional video is way too expensive and time consuming. DIY video is the only choice we have right now.
Our creative team is already doing marketing. Let’s see if the can tackle this type of production.
Positive things about DIY video:
- Lower production value typically equals lower cost.
- It could be faster to produce.
- It could have a raw “down and dirty” edge to it that is appealing.
- DIY video can be spontaneous and reflect current events.
- It can have an un-staged and authentic feeling- “It is what it is”
Some negative aspects to DIY video:
- Low cost can be perceived as not caring or taking your business seriously.
- Poor image and audio quality can distract and detract from your message.
- Even though it’s DIY, it can still be a huge pain and time consuming to produce!
- Time and focus trade offs in your business might not give good ROI.
- Often times DIY projects never get finished.
Some arguments you might hear for hiring a professional.
You’ve got a lot on the line as a business. How you present your company and make a positive first impression is key. Invest in a quality video to show how you want others to know you.
It’s not as easy as it looks to do video well! I tried it myself before and I found out the hard way.
We all have our expertise. Video production is not one of them. Hire a professional to handle what they are designed to do. Engage our audience with compelling content. Tell engaging stories that resonate with our audience. Make it look and sound incredible!
Time is of the essence. We need to get a well made video out quickly to meet this new demand.
Our product needs to be explained and demonstrated clearly and concisely. We don’t have time or money to get this wrong!
Positive things about pro video:
- Professional video can have a more polished and stylized edge to it.
- Bringing in an outside company can sometimes provide a fresh perspective and objective look at your business.
- Often times professional video companies are up on the latest trends in digital marketing and image and audio capture- bringing in added value to the production.
- Many pros can help you with the really tricky aspects of video production and offer advice based on years of experience.
- Sometimes their deep knowledge of video production can help you avoid costly mistakes and find the best direction to go.
- Many pro video companies often understand the art and craft of video production and can save you time and money in the long run by getting the job done right the first time.
Negative aspects to hiring a pro video company:
- It’s not the right time to hire out based on limited budgets.
- It could be overkill for what you are trying to do.
- It can be difficult to find the right video marketing company that meets your needs.
- It may add another layer of complication for your creative team.
Wether you think pro video may be out of your budget, or you are wanting to take the reigns and try your own hand at video production…
It all boils down to one word.
What is your audiences’ expectation?
What type of image are you striving to project?
Is your client expecting to see that image coming from your company?
How will your audience be best served?
Can you meet that expectation in house?
Do you need to exceed their expectations and by how much?
How do you want others to perceive your company?
Would hiring a professional help you to meet their expectations?
Questions like these should be pondered carefully when deciding to go DIY or not.
Examples of DIY video that make sense:
- Video blogs– every business is different, but for most, it is acceptable to go low fi on the blog. Especially if you are posting videos frequently on your site and sharing to your social media channels. If done right, amateur video blogs can come across as personal, real, and trustworthy.
- Screencasts– if you’ve got a product demo or want to highlight a demonstration on your screen, this can be a fast, easy, and effective way to get video on your site. Most PCs come pre installed with screen capture software and often times all you need is a usb mic to capture acceptable audio.
- Presentations– Apple Keynote and Windows Powerpoint have made creating quality presentations fairly easy. you could even convert older presentations into videos and upload them.
When it’s better to hire a pro:
- Home page/intro- This is where making the best impression counts! The right professional will know how to capture attention, engage, and deliver your message quickly and effectively. This may require scripting, on camera talent, a teleprompter, titles, graphics, effects, lighting, high quality video and audio.
- Explainer videos– Taking something complex and explaining it simply and in an entertaining way takes a lot of experience, creativity and know how. Often times explainer videos require animations, storyboarding, graphics, effects, a voice over announcer, royalty free music, scripting, directing, and a lot of research and finesse to get it just right!
- About page– The About page is probably the most visited page on your site! Check your analytics to see what I mean. This is where you can tell your story and craft an authentic message that resonates deeply with your audience. Share WHY you do what you do and give your audience a reason to trust and like you. About page videos usually require scripting, on location shooting, lighting, quality video and audio, a teleprompter, graphics titles, and royalty free music.
- Commercials– Even if its only a 15 second spot… a lot of technical expertise and creative talent will be needed to set your business apart from the competition. Scripting, storyboarding
Other types of videos for professional production are:
- Training and safety
- Live Event
I’ve viewed home page videos that were absolutely horrendous and did more harm than good. I’ve also seen some uber slick blog videos that probably would have been better left to being shot on a smartphone and a selfie stick.
The key is knowing your limitations and strengths as a company and your audience is expecting to see or not see.
I hope this post helps to clarify things for you.
If you are thinking about hiring a professional video company and don’t know how to take the next step, I’m here to answer your questions.
Please fill out the field below and set up a free one hour session to talk about your next project. Thank you!