Visual content is an essential tool in every marketer's toolbox. But if you're not strategic in how you plan your content production, you can end up spending more than you want to -- or have to.
1. Create a visual language.
Taking a moment to step back from the design at hand to view the bigger picture can actually save you money in the long term. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is probably the right choice, especially if you're planning to create multiple visual assets in the future (and you probably are) or if you're putting together a visual campaign.
First, you should define a visual language that will serve as the guide and blueprint for all visual content moving forward. It should outline a brand-approved or campaign-specific design style, color palette, font treatment, icon style, illustration style, and photography/videography style (when applicable).
This saves you both time and money in the long run because you don't have to go back to the drawing board every time you're planning a new piece of visual content. What's more, if your visual language is approved by all stakeholders, they'll be more likely to approve of any subsequent assets designed according to those specs. This can prevent your design team from having to implement lots of edits and changes in direction -- and that helps your bottom line.
2. Design a visual workbench.
A visual workbench is a collection of assets -- from icons to illustrations to graphs -- that are highly relevant to your brand. They might be icons representing your key product types, or data visualizations with key industry-related stats.
Because they're so useful, these are assets that you can use again and again in everything from internal presentations to social media micronarratives to conference collateral. So if you have them made ahead of time, in compliance with your defined visual language, you'll be able to develop new marketing materials much more quickly-- and get faster stakeholder approval too.
3. Pay attention to animation style and length.
Even so, there are a number of ways you can make sure your next motion graphic stays on budget.
The first consideration is length. Especially when your video involves animation, every second will add to your budget, because it can take hours to animate even one second of a motion graphic.
Another consideration is audio. If you opt for stock music, it'll save you some money. But custom music can follow the visual and emotional rises and falls of your motion graphic in a way that stock just can't, so many brands find it worth their while.
Other factors affecting cost can be harder to visualize for those who aren't animators themselves. Long story short, certain types of animations take a lot more time than others. Ask your animation team what your options are based on your budget, and they'll be able to make some recommendations.
4. Make each asset go further.
While a visual workbench will certainly include a lot of assets that you can repurpose as needed, you have other resources, as well.
Let's say, for instance, that you've designed a new e-book you want to market. You don't have to create whole new designs to share it with the world. If you need social media assets, use key graphs, icons, or illustrations from your e-book. If you want to make the eBook landing page look great, do the same thing. Utilize these assets for any advertisements that point to the ad, as well. You can even use different assets in subsequent, related blog or social posts.
Follow these four strategies, and you'll be able to produce great content on almost any budget. You'll also be able to produce entire campaigns without breaking the bank.