Sunday, August 01, 2010

Special Interest Videos

by Heidi Mueller

Making special interest videos is another high income business opportunity based on the principle of shoot once, sell many times!

It is different from How To videos in that they do not give step by step instructions on how to do something. However they do address a specific topic that someone could be interested in. Topics could be quite varied: Butterflies of the Amazon, The History of the VW Beetle in Canada, The Role of Railways in Apartheid South Africa, The Contribution of the Holocaust to Music, etc.

How are they different?
How do special interest videos differ from How To videos? For one, they require a lot more research before you can start on the storyboard phase. In general the video shoots are more complicated, possibly with many shoots involving different locations, interviews, and exterior video shoots. This takes a lot more time than the one week I suggested for How To videos.

In many cases the topics are broader and take more time to address fully, sometimes even requiring more than one DVD.

The Challenge
So rather than one month, you may need to allow several months before your DVD hits the market. If money is no object for you, this is not a problem. But for many it may be a limiting factor as we could not afford to spend several months without an income. There are two approaches to address this need for financial support while you develop the DVD. One is to do other projects that earn you money, while you work on the special interest video on the side. This is quite feasible but frustrating and often the special interest video never gets done!

Another approach is to look for sponsorship to give you some financial support while you work on your special interest video. This is not much different from shooting a documentary but as it is a special interest video, there typically are companies, organizations and individuals who have a specific interest in your topic and would be more willing to give you financial support. You can offer these organizations and individuals exposure in return for making a contribution. And we are not talking about millions as with making feature films, but typically several thousand dollars.

Getting Sponsors
For a special interest DVD project, you would eventually create a website to promote it. If you are looking for sponsorships, you can offer sponsors exposure on your project website, on the back cover of the DVD case, and in the credits at the end of the DVD. The key is to make potential sponsors aware of your special interest DVD project. You MUST create the website even before you start the project – if you cannot afford to do a website, you are clearly not serious. In addition to promoting your project on the website, you must explain what sponsors can expect and how they can contribute. Follow this up with posts on relevant blogs dealing with your subject, as well direct emails to interested parties, describing your project and directing them to your website.

If most of the potential sponsors are in your local area, you should consider hosting a sponsor party! It would be money well spent. At the party, you can do a presentation about the project and show some sample clips that would be included in the full DVD. Of course you will be on hand to answer any questions – and to receive the many welcome cheques!

Selling the DVDs

Be sure to offer your sponsors free copies of the final DVDs, several for the big sponsors and fewer for the smaller amount sponsors. The DVD copies cost you only a few dollars, but with the sponsors handing them out to their clients, it is valuable, free promotion for you!

Otherwise, marketing and selling Special Interest DVDs is similar to How To DVDs. But that is a topic for another blog post.

Heidi Mueller is the owner-operator of HMueller Design in New Westminster, BC. The author is also an associate of Video StoryTellers!™ an international video services and branding program, and a guest writer for E.C. Come, E.C. Go a video marketing and production blog by Earl Chessher.

Earl is a moderator and writer for Videomaker Magazine and forums, owner and developer for Video StoryTellers! (click link for info on participating in VST) and owner/operator of CorElAnn Video Productions in Southern California.

Remember: If you market, you will make it! © 2010 Earl Chessher

1 comment:

Kim R Miller said...


You brought up some interesting points to getting sponsors for your special interest video I hadn't thought of. Getting your video project sponsored is a win/win (we've been able to wrangle a few of these types of projects) but I never thought about actively "courting" a sponsor before.

Also having a sponsor gets you access to places that would probably be hard to shoot at without permission. We've been able to shoot at the Getty, Huntington Botanical Gardens, in the bowels of the Wynn resort to name a few places.

Always love to meet others who make SIVs and understand the challenges of producing and making money from them.

And Earl, I love your tagline about marketing!

Thanks for letting me comment.

Kim, How To Sell Your Videos