The obvious problem with joining the crowd is that you’re liable to get trampled, and the popular video markets, such as weddings and commercials, are pretty crowded. When the competition is thick, it’s harder to get noticed because there are more people going after the same projects, some of them better established and with more experience than you.

When the competition is thick, it’s harder to get noticed because there are more people going after the same projects, some of them better established and with more experience than you.

Perhaps the answer is to leave the crowd altogether and focus on a more specific market. Creating a successful business is said to be about finding a need and filling it. How about finding a need that no one else is trying to fill, then becoming the go-to person in that specific area?

Here are a few examples of some niche markets to get your creative juices a’flowin’:

Real Estate Videos

Holding an open house is an important component in getting the sale, and a well-crafted real estate listing video can be a great way to get people there. Some agents shoot their own, but having a professionally produced video with high production values and careful attention to detail will pay off greatly in terms of increased exposure and greater interest.

Training Videos

The opportunity to produce training videos is immense. The internet is filled with videos providing instruction in weight loss, stress relief, automobile repair, learning a new language, business strategies — the list goes on. Sales training programs, for example, can sell for many thousands of dollars. Showing these trainers the benefits of adding your professional touch will ensure your piece of the training video pie.

Content Marketing Videos

While creating the aforementioned training videos, don’t forget to also produce the marketing videos that will drive traffic to the trainer’s website. This is the heart of content marketing; pique the interest of the target audience, engage, then direct them to the website where they can respond to your call-to-action.

For example, an in-home health care company might produce testimonial videos from happy clients who are the recipients of their excellent service. They will also have videos introducing their staff and caregivers in order to put a face to the services they provide. If they are growing, they will have a video that describes the benefits of working in that field and for them in particular.

Product Videos

Manufacturing and distribution companies have hundreds, even thousands, of items in their catalog, many of which could use a great video describing what they are used for, how they are used and why you should own one — now!

For example, Newegg.com has a video center with over a hundred videos showcasing different products they offer. AppliancePartsPros.com includes a Watch Video link below the pricing information of many of their products. A repair technician shows you how to locate and replace that very part on the exact model of appliance it applies to. How cool is that?

Milestone Videos

Many families and cultures celebrate certain milestones they wish preserved with video. Bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras, school graduations and so on. What milestones take place every day all around you in your area?

Ever hear of Lifetouch? Their name is practically synonymous with school portraits in many areas. Talk about repeat business; they serve the same families year after year after year. How many schools are in your area? Perhaps you can become the go-to person for school graduations, plays and sports events.

Funeral Videos

Like weddings, funerals bring family members and friends together from far away. Capturing the people, their emotions, the speeches and eulogies will leave a lasting legacy of the departed for the entire family. Further, making a respectfully captured, unobtrusive video of the ceremony available to those who were unable to attend provides a valuable service. Memorial videos to be shown at the ceremony are another way to help a family pay their respects.

Family History Videos

Every family has a history worth documenting. How many times has a family lost an elder member and thought how much they wish they had somehow preserved their stories? Was your parent or grandparent a war veteran, perhaps a POW? Who do you know that was in New York on 9/11? Or, maybe Grandma has a hilarious story about a great aunt that just needs to be recorded for future generations. All these people have unique perspectives on events, and maybe you will be the one to bring them to the world.

And don’t limit yourself to shooting only new footage. One project I did involved digitizing old family vacation and reunion VHS and Hi-8 footage then editing highlights together with old photographs and music onto DVDs. It was so well received and appreciated that several referrals ensued.

Finding Your Niche

Open your eyes to the possibilities all around you and you will find that special niche that is just right for you. Be creative and think of every possible opportunity to produce video and you will find an abundance of work, healthy profit margins, very little competition and a whole lot of fun.

Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mark –

    Great insight and certainly something that most must think about when deciding to take on videography as a line of work.

    Briefly about me, in 2012 I set out to start my own local video production outfit. Deciding to focus on small family events, speaking engagements, etc. As a one-person show, it would be hard to make those huge Michael Bay inspired wedding videos, so I chose practical and professional video for a modest budget.

    Early on I got some decent work, putting it out there to friends and family that this is my new business. Within a few months I was doing weddings, lectures, and even a police academy graduation that came out amazing for the family that hired me. I even became a fixture at my kids school recording school performances and selling copies of the DVD’s directly to parents. I was becoming the “video guy” in my area. Truthfully, that’s all I wanted. To be known in my area as the guy that can shoot video and hand over a finished product that is not the same old, one wide-angle shot for 90 minutes.

    I use professional equipment including a Panasonic AG-AC90 camera, I have lights, lav and shotgun mics, mini digital recorders and tascam 4 ch recorders, tripods, and sliders. I edit exclusively on FCPX, and with a lifetime subscription to effects, graphics, music and stock footage via Digital Juice, I have an incredible set-up for one person.

    I charged modestly, and turned over finished projects pretty fast. Marketed heavily to people in my circle, joined networking groups and even joined a local chamber of commerce.

    While all that sounds glamorous, but truthfully the jobs did not come at a steady pace, but they did manage to come in at a rate that allowed me to constantly re-invest in equipment, and also give me time to learn from others in the field. However losing jobs to kids that record on ipads or the thought that “Uncle Johnny” with his camcorder can do this, gets tiring. I have given bids to people only to see them get low-balled by someone else.

    In your article, I tried just about all of those options, and I have done a video or two for just about all of them, but nothing ever stuck. I even took to the family history videos that I really wanted to monetize. I gave a quote to someone almost 2 years ago, they thought my price was too high and now her father recently passed. I did another one that was fully realized as something that could play on the history channel, and I never even got as much as a thank you from the person.

    My wife allowed this to continue for almost four years. There is a lot of pluses and minuses with freelance work. I was there to pick up my kids from school and the schedule allowed me to film my own documentary last year, but the pay was something else.

    So after four years my wife and I had a heart to heart about freelance work and the need for a steady 2nd income.

    Just recently I took a job for a publication that wants to increase their presence on the web, I was hired and just started this week. It’s exciting and frustrating at the same time, because now with a commute and work, 12 hours of my day is spoken for. Personal projects and other video has now been pushed to more of a hobby.

    The nature of this line of work is not steady and certainly not something that is easy to budget, especially when you are getting started.

    So as a warning to readers, it’s awesome and rewarding and fun if you can get steady work, but this particular service is the first to get cut when a wedding or event goes over budget, or people will try to get you to work for me.

    Most people outside of this line of work do not understand the value of what we can do with the skills many of us have. There is no guarantee that money will just come pouring in.

    I approached several businesses over the past 4 years and most declined because they had no budget for it.

    Lastly, NEVER work for the promise of more exposure or future paying gigs, they never happen. With weddings setting the down payment and security deposit early, so when things run over budget your video services are already secure.

  2. completely understand your point Mark DiNatale – it has to be the case in many industries getting hammered with the expansion of either cheap technology, wide spread supply, or DIY capabilities.

    I’d also say that this article is about as bland as you can get. My swing on this is to be as outlandish as you can think of when pursuing “your niche”. Hell real estate, family history, even training videos can be produced with a bunch of stills and iMovie or even Splice on a mobile application. No, we’ve gone way over the edge and to get noticed, it’s got to be different, wild, shocking, artistic, complex, goofy, add your own description here but you get where I’m going. To your point DiNatle as a freelancer there are not enough of those gigs to both conceive, create, and service to cash flow and/or build your empire on, it takes a group, luck, network and timing. Keep shooting brother.

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