Using drones for aerial videos is still something of a hobby in the eye of many spectators. They see people out with their drones and cameras having fun. While they can appreciate the skill involved in the flight, some see this is little more than just a pastime. The boys and their toys mentality.
This attitude is pretty unfair given the impact of drone photos and aerial video footage. We can’t watch an advert, movie or wildlife documentary without sweeping aerial shots taken from drones. Amateur video creators in the park are simply building their skills to reach these heights. There is money out there for the best footage if drone users know how to get it.
Earn Money With Your Aerial Videos
As with all budding businessmen and artists, it is all about creating a buzz and a brand. Those amateur aerial videos can’t stay hidden in a hard drive on a laptop. It needs to come out online for the world to see.
Those that want to turn pro with their drone aerial videos need to reinvent themselves. Reinvent by creating a brand name, a professional website, and a strong social media presence. By being online should ensure views, interest and – ultimately – potential repeat business and profit. The latter, social media, is perhaps the most important right now.
Use Social Media To Your Advantage
Here you have the chance to upload anything you want – providing it doesn’t somehow violate the rules of the site. The videos and clips you edit are accessible to your followers, friends. But, the aerial videos are also there for those that find their way to your profiles via recommendations and embedded content.
There are four important tools to use here: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
A YouTube channel is a great place to start because this is the ultimate platform for video content. Build a good page with regular updates and you can gain subscribers. There is a chance that you could build something of a following, even if it is fairly localized. Show people what you have made. Then, in the description, mention the location and the equipment used. Try and offer more than just the image to keep viewers coming back for more. Also, don’t be afraid to engage in conversations about the video in the comments below.
You can then add links to these videos, or clips from them, on social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter. Ideally, you really want to bring both sites into this equation, as they have different purposes.
Facebook is a great way to spread the word among friends, family and the local community. This can then spiral out into a wider circle with time. Your Facebook profile also allows for a better sense of yourself or the company you aim to create.
Twitter is different. Here almost anyone can see your tweets and content with the right likes and retweets. You can also piggyback into some interesting threads and debates. Did some reality star post some beach shots and get thousands of retweets? Reply with a video of your own beach footage and it is immediately accessible across the world.
Instagram is one of the best sites for amateur aerial videos. You may think that it is all about stills and photography, but it can benefit videographers too. Some will use this as a chance to add a still from a longer YouTube video. This shows the quality of the work and the camera involved, while also gathering interest about the rest of the film. It is also possible to embed videos onto the site.
Creating and Developing Your Website
A professional website is step 2 to a more profitable, professional existence as an aerial videographer.
Social media is an important place to connect to those interested in the footage, and perhaps your services. Yet, it helps to push the professionalism of your new business with a website. Owning your own website immediately makes you look legitimate and separates you from other drone enthusiasts. Many clients would rather browse some of your portfolio of work and contact information here.
Your own website is a good place to establish some strong branding. Are you working under your own name as an artist, or with the name of a production company? Do you have your own logo?
If so, make sure that this is clear and consistent across your content. This means the same name and logo on your Twitter handle, Facebook profile picture, website homepage and the credits on your videos. There can be no doubt that all footage comes from the same source. This branding then allows for greater recognition from viewers in the future.
Try and remember to update both the website and social media with regular content. Show people how creative and productive you are with updates on projects. Regular updates mean that you weren’t a one-trick pony with one great video, or someone that happened to shoot a friend’s event once and got a lucky break. Tell people where you are heading for a new shoot, show them stills to pique their interest. You may also decide to add written content to boost the ratings and breadth of a website. Blog posts from behind the scenes add value for amateurs that may eventually decide to follow in your footsteps.
Also, don’t forget about the importance of SEO – search engine optimization. You may assume that this is something for professionals and writers, not those creating aerial videos. Yet, a few tweaks to the formatting and some localized keywords could make a difference.
You want to be the first company on the list when locals search for “drone videos [insert location here]”. Marketing your website to new clients and maintaining relationships with current ones.
Marketing is an important practice when establishing any new brand or company. Your logo, name, and product must remain visible to all that need to see it. Social media sites are great for locating people you have never met and showing off amateur aerial videos.
You can appear in a timeline and spark a potential transaction. But, there are other tools available to those that want to maintain regular relationships with clients and subscribers.
Build Your Email List By Having Visitors Opt-In
Email marketing is a popular choice for many companies with an online presence. A small newsletter with updates and video clips helps to show off your work and direct subscribers back to your site.
It also helps to keep your name in their mind if they haven’t used your services for a while. These emails don’t have to be invasive or obnoxious to get the job done. Just allow for some frequent gentle messages to maintain that connection.
Financing Your Aerial Video Business
Some people don’t want to work for other businesses. They simply want to make a name for themselves as an artist.
This is fair enough, as long as they have the fan base and a source of income to continue with their work. We see this with podcasters and YouTube channels all the time.
Creative types find their niche outlet and audience, build a loyal fan base and make money through those channels alone. And they do so through the ad revenues. A quick ad before your new video may annoy the viewer for a minute, but eventually, will help to finance your next project.
Then there is the rise of Patreon. This service provides special perks and content for subscribers but at a small cost. The combined fees from all those fans can add up to a decent income. Some people can now live comfortably off their creative content.
Using Your Online Presence To Stay Connected With Your Audience
Connecting to people is a two-way street. It is a great start to put your amateur aerial videos out there for the wider world to see. But, it is even more helpful if these viewers have a way to talk to you about it. Twitter is ideal for this, although there is always the risk of the occasional troll. Comments sections on websites and contact forms are a little more civilized. But, people have to know how to get there first.
That it why it pays to have both forms of online presence. Connecting to people that will pay.
Earning Income With Aerial Videos
Speaking of “paying”, the whole point here was to turn pro and make some profit out of these online submissions. You want to find people that are not only happy to share your work but to pay you to create more for them. Once you are set up as a reputable brand with great content, you can start negotiating fees and costs.
One way to get started here is to narrow your output into a specific niche interest. Instead of portraying yourself as a skilled aerial videographer, you could be the ideal local source for a specific need.
Work With Realtors To Promote Their Listings
Surveys show that listings with images and videos get more viewer and interest. So, why not market yourself in the real estate game. Start by helping out a friend with the listing of their home. Put up the work on social media and real estate listing sites.
Source: REALTOR® Magazine
Promote the work on Twitter and Facebook to show others what you can do and the benefits it could have on their own listing. As word of mouth spreads, you could find yourself with some requests from other people in your area.
There is always someone planning a wedding in town that wants the day captured on film. An aerial video is the next step up from a typical DVD, providing there is the space to fly nearby without putting guests at risk.
Share these wedding videos on Instagram and on your website to show what you can achieve in this niche. Show venues how great their outdoor spaces and décor look when they add an aerial videographer into the mix.
Tag in venues and couple in stills from the videos on Twitter. They may be able to retweet your work to other couples. This opens the doors to others to contact you for their own ceremony. Use the posts to direct users to your website for full clips and contact information.
Local Tourism Offices or Chamber of Commerce
Many amateurs already have some great cinematic videos of local landmarks and national parks. They are the perfect place to practice techniques. Perhaps these local companies and tourism spots would like to use your work to promote their site on social media. If they embed the tweet onto their page, this is a great link back to your profile and work.
It is all about building profit one step at a time.
You may have to start off low to reel people in, but with time you can justify a price increase. Costs can vary based on the time spent filming, the equipment used or extras on the editing and specific requirements.
Be prepared to negotiate to get your foot in the door. It may also help to offer one small piece of content for free before they pay for something else. This is ideal for social media situations where businesses like a post and want to use it in their own social media campaigns. Tell them they can share the clip, provided they credit you, then offer to shoot something for them at a price.
This can all sound like a lot of work, but it could all pay off with the right effort.
When you add all of this together, it seems like quite a big leap. There is a jump from playing around with amateur aerial videos to setting up subscription services for regular content.
How To Become A Successful Business With Aerial Videography
The chance of success depends on a couple of factors.
First of all, you need the content. This means continuing to create interesting videos for people to share. This could be personal projects on a website or YouTube channel or more niche professional footage for clients.
Then you need the time and drive to work at your fledgling brand. Build content, social media and connections to reach a wider audience.
Finally, you need the confidence to put yourself out there with marketing schemes, subscription ideas, and price negotiations. This won’t happen overnight, but the tools above can help you turn professional and get noticed as an upcoming videographer.