Five strategies can help advertising post-production houses improve their margins and smooth out the cyclical nature of the market. It’s time to evolve your offerings, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and look beyond your usual pool of clients.

Today, post-production houses have to deal with a competitive market, lower margins, and cyclical work – one month might see you flooded with work, while you might have trouble breaking even in the next month.

To smooth out these hills and valleys, and improve their competitiveness, a lot of post-production houses are diversifying their operations, and opening up new ways of creating business. In the process, they are finding ways to make the challenges in the market (namely, lower budgets on the part of clients, and changing forms of advertising) work for them.

This post covers five ways that savvy post-production houses are evolving their operations, in order to diversify their revenue streams and bring in new business and clients.

Strategy 1: Beyond advertising

Where else can your post-production capabilities be put into play? Today, with the technology and tools at our disposal, we can be more flexible than ever. We can adapt our skill sets to other industries.

Look at partnerships with production houses that shoot corporate videos, or longer form web videos, even weddings or music videos. The budgets may be lower in these spaces, but they will help pad out the quieter months.

Be clear on what you bring to the table, and play to your strengths: what can production houses or new clients in these markets expect from working with you? Are there particular visual aesthetics or editing styles that define your work? Or is it the precision, speed, and professionalism that comes from working in the commercials industry?

Strategy 2: Swim upstream

Start offering production capabilities as well: build a team, hire creative directors and writers, and offer both shooting and post-production to advertisers and other clients.

Avoid competing with your existing agency clientele by targeting potential clients who have lower budgets. These clients typically cannot afford creative or full service agencies. By offering add-on production capabilities, you can pick up their business.

This will be a balancing feat: while sticking to a budget, you will need to keep production values high and the narrative compelling.

If you are going into production, you can also use online platforms like Vimeo and YouTube to build a following.

Strategy 3: Offer other content types

Traditional advertising has been transformed, and we need to be more flexible than ever, working across many different forms of video and even other media, like audio or still photography.

Just as many stills photographers now offering additional value by shooting short video content, post-production houses can also start creating repurposed versions of material: branded content, short films, behind-the-scenes compilations, Internet video series, etc.

With 4K and above resolution now available, high quality frame grabs footage can also be a compelling value add for clients who want still photos for print ads or more static forms of online advertisements.

The key to succeeding in this is to understand your client (or potential clients), how they use content, and what their needs are.

Strategy 4: Go downstream and offer distribution

Post-production houses can differentiate their offerings, cut down on wasted time, and open up another stream of revenue by adding on advertising distribution as a service for their clients. It also makes sense – rather than passing the files over to yet another party, you can save clients time and money by directly shuttling your output to their final destinations.

In the past, post-houses have been reluctant to dive into the distribution side of things, deeming it too much of an investment, too complex, or too risky. This was certainly the case when they had to physically package and ship tapes and drives around the country.

Today, with digital advertising distribution and a new generation of web-based platforms, ad distribution and delivery services can be quickly appended to your operations with minimal risk, initial investment, and very easy and fast training.

With modern ad delivery solutions, you can deliver to a wide range of destinations from a single unified interface, quickly order spots, and be assured of delivery and the quality of your delivered spots.

Strategy 5: Offer captioning services as an add-on

Whether it’s a corporate video or a TV ad, accessibility is a hot topic today. While many regard captioning as a complex and manually intensive service, the fact is you can add captioning to your service offerings, without having to create an in-house captioning team.

Modern ad ordering and distribution services integrate captioning as part of the solution. It can be as simple as checking a box during the ad ordering process to get a remote team to transcribe the audio and time the lines accordingly.

The result? Minimal effort on your part, but great up-sell value for every ad.