How to Pay for Video

It’s the beginning of a new year, and I’m sure you have all sorts of big plans for your clients.

Of course, you’re following the PESO model, which will hopefully lead you to produce one of the most valuable types of content there is…video!

And yes, I produce videos, so I am a bit biased.

But you don’t need to take my word for it.

Time and time again the data tells us how effective videos can be.

The problem? It can also be one of the most expensive types of content to produce.

Fear not!

Today, I’m going to help you navigate some ways to pay for that production and get a good deal along the way.

To DIY, or Not to DIY

We’ll start with the least expensive production method: Do It Yourself.

It’s least expensive because if you have a smartphone, your budget is theoretically zero.

However, depending on how you look at time and money, it can cost more than you think.

For instance, how much is your time worth?

If you’re not experienced in shooting and editing video, that can be a total time suck.

Production companies can produce videos better and faster than an amateur.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to dissuade you from trying.

Here are my criteria for when you should consider producing your own videos:

  • You have $0 to spend on PR/marketing tactics.
  • Your company culture is kind of kitschy, and your customers know that about you.
  • You’re producing short social media videos (Instagram).
  • You’re going live on Facebook or other social networks.

In all these cases, the DIY option makes sense.

Paying for PR Videos

If you’re working with an established brand or company and producing videos that will primarily live on your website, you should seriously consider hiring a video production company.

Remember, your PR and marketing videos are often the first impression people will have of your business.

Your reputation is on the line.

You want quality videos that reflect the culture you want to portray.

Okay, you’re going to hire someone to produce your videos, so now you have to pay for them.

Let’s talk about how to do this in a way that removes some of the sting.

Video Production Retainers

If you’re going to produce multiple videos during the course of the year, a retainer is a great way to go.

It’s also the least expensive over the long haul.

Retainers are a win-win for both you and the video company.

And if this is something you’re going to consider, check out this blog post on video production retainers.

In the meantime, here are a few ways they can help you:

  • Saves Time: No more searching for video companies, getting multiple bids on projects, or handling all the paperwork.
  • Integration: The more you work with a single production company, the more they become an extension of your own team, knowing how you like to do things.
  • Budgeting: In many cases, you’ll be paying a monthly or quarterly fee for the retainer, which means you know how much money to budget for video production.
  • Saves Money: Cha-ching! Retainers are frequently the most cost-efficient way to produce videos because production companies will offer lower prices in exchange for a stable and consistent cash flow.

The Agency Perspective

Retainers like this are especially beneficial for agencies.

Mainly because it means you may not have to pay for the production services at all.


Let’s say you put a production house on retainer.

You now have a consistent price for video production which you know you’ll be paying every month.

Think about what this means.

You can now spread the cost across all of your clients.

You simply build it into your pricing.

Now, it’s your clients who are paying for the videos.

Not using it one month for your clients? 

Use it to produce a video for your own agency!


Pretty awesome deal.

Communications Department Perspective

If you work internally in a PR/marketing/communications department, retainers can help you as well.

If you feel like you don’t have a big enough budget to spend on a video retainer, that’s okay.

Fortunately, you’re not the only one at your company who could use video.

Consider working with:

  • PR
  • Marketing
  • Internal communications
  • HR
  • Recruiting

All of these departments need video—heck, there could even be more.

Do you think you can share a video retainer across departments?

Why not?!

If every department that can use video kicks in a little from each of their budgets, the retainer becomes more affordable.

Buying in Bulk

If you’re not ready to commit to a retainer, creating a single contract for multiple videos is the next best way to go.

Whether you’re buying five pounds-worth of Honey Nut Cheerios, or three videos instead of just one, buying in bulk saves you cash.

That’s because there are efficiencies of scale which allow video companies to charge less for multiple videos. 

From the footage the producer gathers during the video shoot, to how they plan the editing, when they know they’re working on multiple projects, it changes the way things get done…saving them time and you money.

One at a Time

Of course, you can always pay for videos one at a time.

It’s more costly in the long run, but the benefit is you’re not committed to paying for a bunch of videos.

This is perfect if you’re simply getting your feet wet in video marketing, or quite frankly, don’t have a big budget.

Start small and think about core videos (about us, product/service videos, testimonials) that will make a difference to your company or organization.

If you haven’t produced any videos at all, I recommend starting with an about us video. 

Even if you’re looking to create multiple videos, producing them one at a time is a good way to shop around for the right video company.

Once you’ve found one you like, then you can start talking multi-video contracts and retainers.

We actually recommend this to anyone who wants to sign up for our retainer.

It’s probably a good idea to date before you get married.

That’s a Wrap

Video marketing isn’t going anywhere.

All the communication trends point to more and more organizations, companies, and brands investing in video. 

Whether you’re creating videos for external PR or marketing or for HR internal communications, they’re a great tactic to use.

Are you planning to do video marketing? Which approach works for you? Do you have any others to suggest?

Share your ideas in the comments.

And speaking of video, here’s one with a few of my tips!

Photo by Thomas William on Unsplash

Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions, a video production company specializing in PR and marketing videos.

View all posts by Tony Gnau