How to Think About Video for your Business: Types, Prices, Strategy

Written for client Sightworthy, a video marketing agency:


Last week we held our first live webinar on “How to Think About Video for your Business,” hosted by co-founder Aneri and one of our NYC-based videographers, Jesse Chorng of Skillshare. In case you missed it, we’re going to drill down into the key points we covered.

Our core goal is to make video marketing easy for every company in the world. The way it used to be done is companies would spend tons of money to make big TV commercials and that was their video marketing. Not so sustainable, right? Companies moved with the times and are now spending that ad budget towards things like Facebook advertising and online video. We can help decode all the pieces that go into making videos for you — what type to make (explainer, testimonial), what distribution channels to use, and how to optimize.

We have some mouth-droppingly crazy stats for you on this, too. Like these:

  • So far this year 75% of Internet traffic is video
  • On Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube combined, the daily video views are 21 billion!

These insane numbers are only projected to keep growing in the next few years. Video is here to stay and companies will need to figure out how to do it or risk falling behind.

As we’ve seen with vastly successful examples like Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos (2.5 billion views and counting), video is a lucrative way to get eyes on who you are and what you’re doing.

We know your burning question is “Where do I begin?” The biggest hurdle is often thinking that what you create has to be live footage. It doesn’t. Here are some of the easiest types to make:

  • Screencast — This is capturing something on your computer screen and doing audio over it. You can use free software or your existing computer’s microphone to get started, or just do a slideshow. Great way to test what type of content resonates with your audience.
 Screencast — Skillshare

Screencast — Skillshare

  • Stock footage — Using pre-existing footage (from sources like Shutterstock or Videoblocks) and will require working with a video editor to cut scenes together, and add in voice and music.
 Stock footage — GoAbroad

Stock footage — GoAbroad

  • Animated — Requires hiring a designer/animator to actually create the scenes, which you’ll then record voice over. Anything can be animated — your logo, drawings you already have, and then music can be added over it.
 Animated on Facebook — EV-Box

Animated on Facebook — EV-Box

  • Live footage — Refers to on-location shooting and live interviews. This is the most-involved from a pre-production, production, and post-production standpoint. Great way to represent your brand if you want to go on camera.
 Live footage — WorldWide101

Live footage — WorldWide101

OK, so now you know more about what your options are for shooting. We’re sure your next question is along the lines of “How much is this gonna cost me?!” To break it down:

  • Content and production — Often people need help figuring out what available content they have and how to use it (or if it’s usable). This can include tasks like creating an outline or a complete script.
  • Type & amount of stock media — You can have your videographer find stock footage for you or do it yourself through a site like Video Supply. The quality of stock media has improved greatly, and often looks user-generated and very on-trend. Using it is a great way to get content out fast.
  • Complexity of motion graphics — Depending on what you do, you’ll need to consider the cost of creating a logo, animating key concepts, or having assets created.
  • Filming on-location — When capturing live footage and doing interviews, you can cut costs by finding a good location (good natural light, low amount of ambient sound) to make filming smoother. When working with people, they can vary in how nervous they get when being filmed, so you might have to film a lot of takes to get 30 seconds of good footage.
  • Amount of footage — This is the biggest factor in the cost of a project. For example, if you film for 8 hours, but only need 2 minutes of footage…that’s a lot of editing time you’ll be paying for.
  • Distribution strategy — You need to determine what your end goal is with your video before you start. Some things to consider: where will it be hosted (Facebook ad, blog, website?), and what audience is it intended for. Figure these things out ahead of time, because the longer you sit on a video, the less relevant it becomes.

How Can Sightworthy Help?

Our goal is to make it super-easy for companies to create lots of video content that fulfills their goals. We do this by offering:

  • Templates — We have a whole series of video type templates for things like app videos, testimonials, educational videos, etc. All you have to do is pick a template and distribution channel, and we’ll match you with a vetted videographer in your location with expertise in those areas.
  • Marketplace — The average turnaround time for a video is just one week so time from concept to distribution is very fast, especially since we require you to choose your distribution channel ahead of time.
  • Performance data — Our service includes providing great data based on whatever distribution channel you choose. If you use Facebook, we can tell you how many app downloads your video drives. We can also tell you what type of video performs the best for you (ex: number of clicks on stock footage vs. animated). This will help you make smarter decisions about your videos moving forward.

Sound good? We have even more good news — clients we’ve worked with so far have seen measurable increases in their website traffic, organic Facebook reach, and Facebook post clicks.

For example, our client WorkMarket posted a video on their website and got a 10x increase in traffic after only 30 days. This is a huge jump and is possible now not only because video is so engaging, but because both Google and Facebook are pushing video up way higher in their search results.

Clients like EV-Box are getting great results on Facebook because of them favoring video over text/photos for organic reach: they got 3x their usual organic reach and 2x as many post clicks on their video posts. It’s a great marketing channel for telling your brand story and getting more engaging content out there to reach your potential customers.

Brand Copywriting: How to Get it Right

Marketing copy that grabs your attention is either effortlessly cool or unbearably cringe-inducing. Hubspot recently profiled a few companies who are getting it right and also distills the learnings from each great copywriting example into some actionable tips.

We’d like to share some of our own thoughts on how to consistently write great marketing copy that hits all your goals: to grab and hold your target audience’s attention amidst all the other social noise, get them interacting with you on social channels, and keep them coming back for more. Ultimately, we hope this relationship-building is also leading toward more lead generation, more sales, and more brand awareness of your products/services, but first things first.

While it’s true that other forms of media are successfully grabbing the lion’s share of consumer attention (Vine, SnapChat, Pinterest, Instagram), the written word will never lose its impact.  Especially when it comes to translating your brand vision, voice, and mission. What’s a picture of a Nike shoe without the tagline “Just do it”? It’s fantastic to show all of this through great video campaigns and the perfect graphic image, but we think the combination of showing AND telling is where the lasting power of brand messaging lies.

As the Hubspot blog puts it: 

The continuity of a brand, despite the advent of new media, hangs on the tenor of a singular voice.

The B2C Marketing Voice: Selling a Brand Vision

Some of the most successful brands out there (Red Bull, Levi’s, Xbox, Nike) know exactly who their audiences are and how their interests align with the brand’s vision. They’re not going to waste their time coming up with universal copy that appeals to everyone and offends no one. They know exactly who they’re selling to and why.

Hubspot uses Red Bull as a good example of this: their social campaigns, or a stand-alone Instagram post, probably won’t make sense to the average person. Your Midwestern grandma has no clue what a “#HippieJump” is, much less how a hashtag works, so their picture of a snowboarder grabbing massive air with this tagline won’t mean much: “Son, rise. #HippieJump for @arthur_longo #snowboard.”

But to their audience, it’s cool, it’s clever, and it’s inspiring. The Red Bull customer is into extreme sports, video games, and anything edgy so they can cater to these people directly and not worry about who they might be alienating.

Companies who don’t know their audience opt for the safe (read: no one gets fired) option and over explain so everyone gets it.

You want to be in a position where you don’t have to explain what your brand is about and what you represent – it’s evident in every product, every ad campaign, every image, every social post, and most importantly, every nuanced and highly-targeted piece of copy. People who connect with it are “in the know” and like that feeling of belonging to a larger community. You know there’s a community of Red Bull drinkers even if they aren’t instantly identifiable, just like there’s a huge and highly active and vocal community of Xbox gamers.

The B2B Marketing Voice: Press Release on Steroids

Almost every B2B company I’ve worked with as a social media consultant also had a full-time Content Marketer and a full-time publicist on staff. When you’re selling a product or service to other companies, you can’t fake it if you don’t have a good brand story. If you’re selling CRM software to companies in all different types of industries, for example, and they all have the common goal of managing their customer databases – they’re going to need a compelling reason to subscribe to or buy your software instead of the many other options out there.

This is why every piece of copy about your business has to be aligned and consistent: your Web copy, your product descriptions, your social media channels, your infographics, your press articles. It’s a lot to manage, and it amounts to every business also being its own publisher.

HubSpot uses Intel as an example of a non-sexy company that nonetheless has created a compelling and exciting story. They make semiconductor chips – if you’re not a tech nerd, why should you care, right? People do care, because they’ve created a brand message and copy that inspire. Their slogan is: “Look Inside.” This is a clear call to action that expresses Intel’s brand promise of innovation. It also doesn’t exclude anyone.

Intel also pushes this message out across all their ad campaigns and Web copy. They’ve created IQ, which is a series of well-developed case studies and press releases that are presented like a virtual magazine. It’s updated daily, so content is always fresh. It also always highlights some aspect of Intel’s offerings: their computer chip is basic but mighty. It’s the heart or brain of a computer and that computer is involved in every type of technological innovation out there.

Intel’s IQ tirelessly looks for and presents stories that point back to how Intel is relevant. You can’t get better press than stories you create yourself and push out in the right way.

Your message is your brand

Whether you’re B2C or B2B, and no matter who your audience is, your marketing copy should be as true, unique, and inspiring as your brand. Written copy is the heart of your branding, and what you combine it with to get audience attention (video, ad campaigns, social) is the conduit for that heart blood. Your social media strategy is only as effective as your brand messaging – the most successful companies have both closely integrated and working together to grab (and keep) the love and loyalty of your target audience.