Director of Inbound Training and Video Strategy, Inbound and Video Workshop Trainer, Creator of the Facebook Group ‘Film School for Marketers’
August 13th, 2019
If the title got your attention, it’s for good reason.
Perhaps, right now, you’re spending thousands of dollars a year on video production and don’t have much to show for it. Or, perhaps you’re looking to start the new and exciting journey of adopting video at your organization and are wondering where to invest.
Well, if you fit into either of those categories, I think you’re going to appreciate this article. Honestly, this is a problem that isn’t openly discussed nearly enough.
The problem is this: outsourcing your video content is not a viable, long-term option.
These companies have high view counts, highly qualified sales leads, a shortened sales cycle due to video content, and buyers that are more trusting. Not to mention they have happier, more productive sales and marketing teams.
But, could all that success be attributed to a single factor? Perhaps not. There is one thing, however, that stands out amongst these highly effective media companies.
They don’t outsource all of their productions. In fact, anywhere from 90-100% of their content was produced by an in-house videographer and using the subject matter experts within their four walls.
This leads us to an important question: “Why on earth is outsourcing such a big problem?”
Well, I’m glad you asked. Although I can’t give you one definitive answer, I can give you a series of contributing factors that, once put together, point out why this is such a problem.
And, if you stick with me to the end, I’ll also tell you when you should outsource your video production. As with all things, there are exceptions.
1. It's more expensive than insourcing
Let’s first establish a reasonable baseline to compare cost. Let’s say in this case, you want to produce two videos per week over the course of a year. That’s roughly 100 videos, or if you’re following the “They Ask, You Answer” methodology, 100 of the questions that your sales team answers every week of every month.
We can assume the average cost of each video will be around $1,000 or more. That’s about $100,000 in fees alone to receive your video content.
Even still, we have to factor in the cost of your staff scripting and preparing to star in the content, reviewing and offering feedback to the vendor, and uploading or optimizing the content on your video host or website once you have the videos.
The cost of insourcing is but a fraction of that. If you take the average salary of a videographer at around $50-60k and even add an impressive $15k video equipment budget, you’ve still significantly reduced costs. That includes all of your pre-production, editing, and uploading process as well.
2. It doesn't produce a great video culture
As the digital age continues to move forward, we see the trend of video content and its effect on buying behavior. This makes developing a strong culture of video, communication, and education increasingly more important.
Having a strong culture of video means that critical members of the organization understand the what, why, and how of great visual communication and contribute to ongoing efforts. This applies to sales, leadership, marketing, customer service, and subject matter experts alike.
It's essential for key members of the production to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.
3. You won't achieve the optimal video output
I have to admit, I don’t buy into the philosophy that “more is more.” In fact, if success with video was simply a numbers game, that would make things a lot easier.
Nevertheless, you can’t argue with the numbers.
Of those clients we’ve worked with, those who were most successful, are in a stride of about 2-3 videos per week. There are contributing factors to this, but at the end of the day that’s a lot of content available to their sales team — and a lot of answers to questions that prospects are looking for.
So what does that have to do with outsourcing? Given the agile nature of video production, you’d be hard-pressed to find a production company and develop a process that allows for this type of output.
How could they deliver that much on a consistent basis? They have other clients, other projects, travel time, and they have to export and send out every video for feedback.
We can’t forget that pre-production and strategy have to change hands multiple times before you can even shoot a project.
They say things like “It just felt like a conversation. I forgot the camera was there. That was so much easier than I thought.”
I like to think that’s my superpower.
But more than likely, it’s the same reason why videographers we’ve trained hear the same thing. We need a familiar face when we’re in unfamiliar territory — and it makes a big difference.
Now, there are certainly many caveats to this point. I have many friends who are video professionals and have the ability to make people feel great on camera, and I think that’s wonderful.
It’s not as common as we’d like it to be, though.
When I’m shooting with my colleagues, they know we’re on the same team, they know I’m not judging them, they know I’m not going to make fun of them later, and they know that I care about them. That’s because they know me.
It’s for this reason that outsourcing, in many cases, causes problems with on-camera performance.
When should I choose to outsource my video production?
If you’ve read everything above, and it did not cause a stir in you to run out and hire a videographer, you’re not on the opposing side of the argument.
As I mentioned above, there are exceptions, and if you are one, you may relate to these things.
You should probably outsource your production if:
You have complex needs that justify the need for a full team of video professionals like a director, audio technicians, grips, etc.
You’re a startup and only need a few videos to showcase your product or service
You’re ready to insource, but you need to bridge the gap until you hire and train an in-house videographer
You have an event or project that has larger needs than a single videographer could realistically handle
You have complex animation work that can’t be completed on-time, on-budget, or on-brand using your current in-house staff
Given all of this, why are most companies still outsourcing?
Their conclusion: “The increase in companies either going in-house or using a mix of resources suggests that more companies are investing in hiring employees to create video content or helping their existing staff get skilled up in this area.”
If this is where we’re headed as organizations, we have to simply recognize the problem that exists with outsourcing and figure out what it means for us.