Video for business: 5 tips for creating great content

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Making a video is easy right?

These days all you need to do is pick up your smartphone and start shooting, then upload to your favourite social media channel.

Boom, instant viral success.

Well, maybe that happens occasionally.

The truth is that even what appears to be the most casually shot content you watch on the web is often carefully crafted to look that way by experts.

Making great footage that will capture the imagination of viewers is a lot harder than it looks.

I’ve been very lucky to have worked as a film producer for over a decade on over 500 projects - including TV adverts, fashion, sports, large scale events, education and animation (#humblebrag - I even had a short film win a BAFTA after being shown at international film festivals).

However, if you have just decided that video can be useful for your business – how do you go about commissioning a good one?

The process could be daunting if you’ve never done it before.

To save you time and money I’ve put together some simple tips that will make the process a whole lot smoother.


Set your objectives

Like any other piece of marketing or sales tool, you’re much better off designing your video around a defined goal.

Think about the specific aims of the campaign you have in mind. Whether this is brand awareness, a product launch or to drive sales.

The clearer your purpose the more production companies can craft exactly what you want – and pinpoint how it can help your business.

Be crystal clear on your key messages and don’t try to convey more than three or four ideas in a 2-3 two to three-minute long video.

A short clip content with a clear message will speak louder and be much more memorable than a longer video filled with layers of information.

Decide your budget

The oldest question in the book is “How much would it cost to create a video?”

Well, it depends.

And yes I know this is not the answer you're looking for!

However, good video production cost varies from project to project and is based on many factors like scripting, filming, and editing time.

Generally, more budget you can allocate to the project, the better the output will be.

That said you can do very clever things with a small budget if you are clear on what you want to achieve.

It is usually much easier to be upfront and say “I have £3,000 - £5,000, what sort of film can I get for that amount?” as it allows the producer to work within your expectations rather than quote you for a Hollywood blockbuster production.

A good agency will walk you through the costs associated with different types of video formats, and they should be transparent about pricing before work begins.

Choose a film partner you trust

No one wants to watch bad videos - and definitely no one wants to waste money on a bad video.

Finding a producer or agency you can trust is necessary for an honest, productive and creative relationship.  But which one to choose?

My advice is to shop around. Having a selection of quotes and proposals to choose from will give you more information about the video production industry, and this will better prepare you for deciding.

Always ask for examples of work, most of the time you’ll find a portfolio of previous work is available on request.

Try to find a production house with examples of previous work that are like the video you want.

If they’ve done it before it will be much easier for them to produce something in a similar style with a clear understanding of the production time and budget.


Think carefully about the format and script

Think about whether your video will be interviewee-led, presenter led or just voiced over.

The content format depends on what type and style of video you are creating.

Why is that so important?

Well, the format of your video will often determine whether or not people watch it, and it’s an essential part of making sure your company is conveying the right image.

 If you are not sure what style is best for your video, simply ask your video partner and they will guide you through the options and create a proposal that is tailored to your needs.

Be realistic about your timescales

Allow as much time as possible for production.

Video requires careful crafting and planning.

That means meetings. And sometimes even more meetings until you’ve cracked the overall approach – and that’s before you’ve even set up a camera to start filming.

It often takes between four to six weeks from concept to final product.

Let's look at the production stages to better understand the process:

1. Pre-Production - In this stage, you and the production team will agree key messages and visuals for inclusion before producing a script and planning the shoot in detail.

2. Production - This includes filming with a camera crew and director. Other parties might be involved such as actors and presenters.

3. Post-Production - This is where the magic happens, and the filmed footage is edited together. This may include recording a voice-over, adding graphics, composing a music score or soundtrack and animations.

So there you have it, my top tips for starting your video project off on the right track.

If you are thinking of commissioning any kind of video content - from short clips for social media to super slick brand promo spots - feel free to give me a call and pick my brains.

Before you know it we could be at the BAFTAs again…


Michal Wdowiak | Content producer

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