How to Choose the Right Video Partner

For many social media and marketing professionals, professional video production is not something you’re involved with every day. So how do you know which video production company to choose?

coffee_shop2First, have a clear idea of the purpose and objectives of your video. This informs how the video will be used and drives many of the subsequent content decisions, like the tone, treatment and type of video. 

Here are three main questions you should be prepared to answer:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What problem are you trying to solve?
  3. What action do you want your audience to take?

Search for Potential Video Partners
Not all video companies are created equal. Some specialize in certain industries or production techniques, like animation or aerial video. An easy place to begin your search is by starting with the video resources your company has used in the past and what the experience and final result was with this firm.

Here are some other options to get you started searching for a video partner:

  • Ask for referrals from colleagues in your industry.
  • Search the web for local video production companies that fit the type and style you need for this project.
  • Find your city’s online production guides that list all of the major video production companies in your area. One online resource is Production Hub: ( 


What to Look for
While you’re learning more about each potential partner company, create a list of video companies that interest you and jot down some notes about each one.  Here are some questions to keep in mind:

  • Do they have experience in my industry and how important is that?
  • How transparent are they about who they are, the type of video work they do and their level of experience?
  • Does their website clearly define their video services, specialties and include samples?
  • Do they have social media sites, video channels and a LinkedIn profile? If so, take a few minutes to browse through those channels.
  • Do they have an online video portfolio of samples? If so:
    - Do they provide samples of recently produced videos?
    - What types of video projects do they work on and do these projects seem similar to yours?
While reviewing video samples, here are some things to look for:
  • Good storytelling: Does it grab and keep your attention? Is it engaging?
  • Videography: Are the shots well composed, in focus and well lit?
  • Graphics: Are the graphics well done, tasteful and appropriate for the piece?
  • Sound: Is the sound quality good, easy to understand and the music mix  appropriate?
  • Relevant: Were the samples similar and relevant to the piece you are asking them to bid on?
  • Are there any online reviews or customer testimonials you can access to get a sense of their clients’ overall satisfaction?
  • Does this company’s branding and personality seem like a potentially good fit for your company?

Start the Conversation
Creating a video is a highly collaborative process, and you want to make sure you’re working with a production company you feel comfortable with and can trust. Their responsiveness, professionalism and attention to detail during this stage of the process will really help you decide which company works best for this project.

Being able to talk with someone from each production company about your project is important for several reasons: You want to make sure they have a good understanding of your project, you can gauge their level of genuine enthusiasm, and you’ll come away with a first impression/gut instinct about each company. It also gives you a feel for their communication style.

Reviewing Estimates
While your reviewing the estimates, look for:

  • Comprehension: Did the producer understand your project goals? Did they listen closely and convey the details correctly in the estimate?
  • Treatment: Did they provide a detailed explanation of how they would approach the creative treatment of your content and project?
  • Plan and schedule: Did they clearly map out the production plan and create a schedule if you asked for it?
  • Price: Is the price quoted close to the amount you were thinking? Was there enough detail provided to explain where all of the resources would be allocated? Did any of the costs seem questionable?

Ask for References
If you are still undecided or need more assurance, you can ask for references. Here are some great questions to their references:

  • Did the company work within your budget?
  • Did they deliver the product on time?
  • Were they able to advise you on best practices?
  • Did they give you fresh ideas while also understanding your company’s needs and limitations?
  • How quick were they to return phone calls and answer emails?
  • Was the process positive, collaborative and enjoyable?
  • Do you feel you received the value you paid for? 

You don’t need to be an expert in video production to create a great video. You just need to hire the right company to help you. We hope that by using this guide, you will find the best video production partner for your business.

Tim has been in the media production industry since his days as a U.S. Navy shipboard news anchor in the 1980s. Tim has a BA in Visual Communication from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He has been President of Mastcom since 2002.