How do I sell drone footage?   This is one of many similar questions we were asked in a recent consultation.   So, we’re starting a new miniseries to answer questions from many of our business consulting clients –

  • How do I start a drone business?
  • How can I leverage my aviation knowledge to do something lucrative when I’m not flying?
  • What are some of the best business ideas for drones?

In this episode, we talk about drone photography/videography.

  • How do I make money by shooting drone photography or video?
  • How do I sell drone footage or photos?

And also importantly –

  • How can I evaluate the competition for my intended business, and make sure it’s actually going to be a success BEFORE I invest a ton of time and money?

 

 

ç

Transcript – Drone Business Ideas – and How do I Sell Drone Footage?

Paula Williams:

Welcome to this week’s episode. This week, we’re doing something a little bit different, and actually, for the next four or five weeks, we’re going to be doing a mini series about drones and UAVs, which is an important part of aviation, right?

John Williams:

And therefore aviation marketing.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. This is a little bit off the beaten path for us, but hopefully, you’ll find it interesting even if you haven’t considered how this affects your business because if it hasn’t already, it will, right?

John Williams:

Yes, I think so.

Paula Williams:

Right. Okay. So, I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams:

And, I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams:

And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is.

John Williams:

To help you ladies and gentlemen out there in the aviation world to sell more products and services.

Paula Williams:

Absolutely.

John Williams:

Which includes drones and UAV.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. It is the same stuff, just smaller, right?

John Williams:

In some cases, some of the drones are actually larger than some of the aircraft.

Paula Williams:

That is true. So, smaller is not necessarily the case. Over the next four or five weeks, we’re going to be talking about different topics that involve drones and UAVs. In this weeks episode – How do I sell drone footage?

Drone Business Ideas

And the reason that this is important for aviation folks is because right now, we’re in April, 2020. I don’t know when you’re listening to this, but a lot of folks are seeing a big shift in their situation, either temporary or permanent. We don’t really know at this point, but one thing that we do know is that flexibility is a very good thing, and that adapting to change is a very good thing.

Drone Business Ideas

John Williams:

Somebody once said, “The only constant in our world is change.”

Paula Williams:

Absolutely. Some reasons you might want to consider business ideas having to do with drones or UAVs, either as a supplement to your current business or as a business on its own, it’s a great side hustle for an airline pilot, or a charter pilot, or somebody else who may be having some time right now where they’re not flying as much.

John Williams:

Or at all.

Paula Williams:

Right. Or, this would be a great retirement plan for someone who is a pilot. It would be a great plan for someone who is looking into a career as a pilot in the future and wants to do something to fund their education while learning a lot of these laws and rules and everything else.

John Williams:

If you see the picture, this is actually a civilian drone. It looks like the Predator, but as you can tell unarmed.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. There’s a lot of different types of drones, and we’re not going to get into the technical details of which do what and all of those things. Right now, we’re talking about business ideas and marketing having to do with drones. And of course, my specialty is marketing, John’s the MBA. And so, you can’t have a marketing plan without business, and you can’t have a business plan without marketing, right?

John Williams:

Pretty much.

Drone Photography and Videography – One of the Simplest Ways to Make Money With a Drone

Paula Williams:

Okay. All right. This first episode, we’re going to talk about photography and videography using drones. This is probably the simplest business plan and the easiest to get started with. So, if you’ve never used a drone before, you probably want to start with something simple, but all it’s got is a camera. Okay, cool. Easy stuff. Probably not easy. I don’t know if we can call it that.

Drone Business Ideas - How Do I Sell Drone Footage?

John Williams:

The drones also, for a sake of this, they cover not just the multi-rotored things with cameras hanging below them, but also the fixed-wing version with cameras.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. And there’s lots of places where you can learn about the different varieties of drones, and the different things that are available, and the different ways of using them. Whether you want to quadcopter, whether you want to fixed-wing copter, any of those… Not a fixed-wing copter, what do they call those? The types of drones and other kinds of things. Those are things that you can learn about elsewhere. But right now, all we’re talking about is videography and photography, and there’s lots of reasons to do this.

John Williams:

And the drone platform you use for the camera matters not.

Method One – Sell Photos and Video Footage on Stock Sites like iStockPhotos and Dreamstime.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. How do you make money with drone photography or drone videography? There’s actually three primary ways, and the first and probably the most flexible, especially if you have another job or you have other obligations on your time and things like that is to sell photos and stock video. And you can go through Getty, or iStock, Photobucket or Dreamstime or any number of the stock photography companies, and they will basically sell your photos or video for you.

Paula Williams:

What you’ll want to do is just think from the perspective of who would need a photo or a video of this particular scene or this particular situation. And you would do things of buildings, you do things with beaches, you maybe some common concepts that businesses will want to use on their websites or in their advertising. You’ll want to tag those really, really distinctly so that people are able to find them using the most popular keywords. And this is where your knowledge of SEO is going to really help you, search engine optimization, because those stock photography things are basically little search engines where people can look for the photo they want or need, right? Or video they want or need.

John Williams:

Exactly.

Paula Williams:

Okay. So, that’s way number one.

Method Two  – Advertise and Network to Get Commissions

Way number two is to take commissions. This would be where the chamber of commerce, or maybe a movie company, or somebody else needs a particular piece of footage or a particular photo that can only be gotten by drone or can most cheaply be gotten by drone in the case, of a lot of this used to be done by helicopters. Now drones are a whole lot cheaper. Right?

John Williams:

Oh yeah.

Paula Williams:

In this case, you’ll want to build relationships with movie makers, with your chamber of commerce, with maybe some resorts or other tourist organizations in your area that have a reason for wanting that footage and want to pay you, right?

John Williams:

Yep.

Method Three – Start a YouTube Channel and Sell Advertising

Paula Williams:

Okay. The third way is to have a YouTube channel. And this is maybe not as lucrative. If we were to put these in order, probably the most lucrative is to do commissions. Second, would be to sell photos and stock video. And the third would be to have a YouTube channel on a particular topic. And there’s exceptions to all of this, of course. But it takes a while to build up an audience to a YouTube channel, and then to sell what they call mid-roll advertising. When you’re watching YouTube and you have that thing come on saying, “An ad will be loading in 30 seconds.” And then, people see the ad. That’s how you get paid is by hosting advertising on your YouTube channel. So, those are three ways that you could get paid for doing photography or videography using a drone, right?

John Williams:

Yes.

Paula Williams:

Okay, cool. So, we talked about all of that advertised for commissions. You want to specialize in a particular geographic area or topics that you have become known for. Maybe the Hawaii shots, if you live in Hawaii, or you’re lucky enough to live in a really beautiful area, you may want to get known for industrial shots. If you are working with industrial companies that are going to want to use those on their websites, or for marketing purposes, and things like that. But here, we’re talking storytelling. We’re going to have another video where we talk about building inspection and real specific things. But right now, you want to think as an artist and think as a storyteller. What can I shoot that is going to set up a story, or that is going to set up a film, or there’s going to set up an advertisement in a way that really draws people in and gets their attention?

John Williams:

In other words, storyboard.

Paula Williams:

Exactly, right? There’s is a particular type of art. If you have a background in photography, or videography, or film, or advertising, those will all help you with this type of  career.

Get an FAA Drone License

Okay. So, you can’t just go out and start doing this, right? Unfortunately.

Drone Business Ideas - How Do I Sell Drone Footage Legally?

John Williams:

Used to, but not anymore.

Paula Williams:

Right. Not commercially. So, if you’re going to use your drone for commercial purposes, you are going to need an FAA license. And the good news for you, if you’re already in the aviation industry, you’re familiar with the FAA. You might even have a pilot rating that will help you circumvent some of the requirements for this, or at least, meet some of the requirements for this without having to go from scratch like the average Joe wants to.

John Williams:

It won’t circumvent. It’ll meet.

Paula Williams:

Right. Okay. Forget I said, “circumvent the regulations.” The FAA is listening. Right?

John Williams:

Always.

Paula Williams:

Okay. But, you still have an advantage over the average Joe on the street because you’re familiar with the aviation industry. You’re familiar with the laws and rules. You know the FAA parts and all those things.

Paula Williams:

The reason that you’ll want to work with people who are already in the aviation industry to maybe do your marketing such as, for example, like ourselves, is that we know the terminology of the aviation industry. We understand the market, we understand the customers, we understand all of those things. So, we have a little bit of an advantage over the guy on the street, right?

John Williams:

I’d say.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?  How Do I Avoid Business Failures?

Paula Williams:

Doing marketing. Okay. What could possibly go wrong?

How to have a successful drone business - what could possibly go wrong?

John Williams:

Many things.

Paula Williams:

Okay. What you don’t want to do is go out and invest a ton of money in a drone course, and take all the tests, and go buy a bunch of equipment, and all of those things, and then, find out that you can’t get a customer for whatever it is that you had in mind. You really want to make sure that you have done the research and done the homework. The things that could go wrong are, maybe there’s somebody who’s already in your area who is doing this sort of thing that you want to be doing. You don’t want to find that out after the fact. So, you want to research the business, the competition, the market, all of those things. And that is exactly what a marketing company can do for you. Right?

Have a Great Marketing Plan and Business Plan

John Williams:

Exactly.

Drone Business Ideas - Marketing plan for drone footage

Paula Williams:

Okay. The first thing that we do is we sit down with a client, and we go through the list, the offer and the presentation. The list would be who is going to buy what you have to sell. In this case, it might be stock photography or videography. You may want to go for commission. So, we would talk about who would buy those commissions. How much are they willing to pay based on your market? If you want to set up a YouTube channel, how many other YouTube channels are there on your same topic? Those are things you want to look at in terms of the list of who is going to actually be the eyeballs for your work. Right?

John Williams:

Exactly.

Paula Williams:

Okay. Who are your customers, in other words. The offer is, what can you do better than anyone else to serve that market. And in your case, you might be able to do better than what they’ve been doing traditionally, which is buying stock photography that’s completely irrelevant because there isn’t any stock photography on your topic, or in your area, or about your subject. The third thing is the presentation. And that is, how are you going to get in front of those people?

Paula Williams:

And it might be going to your chamber of commerce meetings and passing out business cards. It might be a great website that people find when they’re looking for stock photography about Hawaii. Those are things that we will talk with you about if you do a consultation with us. So, it’s all very doable, and it is all a great idea, and it is never a bad idea to have a second income. Right?

John Williams:

Never.

Student Pilot? Retiring?  Having Kids? Just Need a Side-Hustle? – Lots  of possibilities depending on your situation

Paula Williams:

Right. So, it’s a good thing to be thinking about this, whether it is your immediate, let’s pay the bills plan, or whether this is your six-month plan, one-year plan, five-year plan, 10-year plan, you may want to put UAVs and drones on your radar as something that you can or should be doing. Right? You agree?

John Williams:

Of course.

Paula Williams:

Okay. All right. You’re not just agreeing because…

John Williams:

Would I do that?

Paula Williams:

I don’t know.

John Williams:

You don’t know?

Paula Williams:

Of course, you would.

John Williams:

How long have we known each other?

More Drone Business Ideas to Come!

Paula Williams:

A long time. Okay, so we’re going to be doing, like I said, a series of these short videos about different topics having to do with UAVs and drones. Today, we talked about photography, landscape, sports. Oh, that’s something we hadn’t talked about. Sporting events. There’s another business idea for you. Having a drone that takes video and, of course, you have to do this in a safe way, of sporting events.

John Williams:

And all kinds of permissions and authorizations prior.

Paula Williams:

And insurance and everything else. But we can figure all that out. Right?

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

A Few Drone Photography Topic Ideas

Paula Williams:

So, yeah. Sporting events are another good way of doing this. Real estate, wildlife, there’s a ton of different subjects. Even if you find that there’s a lot of people in your area doing drone photography already, it is likely that there is some kind of specialty that isn’t being covered that you could. Other things that we’re going to talk about in other videos: security, surveillance, law enforcement, search and rescue, building inspections, mines and minerals, agriculture, forestry, any number of different things. Right?

John Williams:

Ah-huh.

Drone Business Ideas - How Do I Sell Drone Footage - the Aviation Marketing Lab

Paula Williams:

Okay. This video has been brought to you by our Marketing Mab. Our Marketing Lab is for people who are looking into different business ideas or are already established in an aviation business. We provide the tools, skills, and networking opportunities to really help you flesh out your idea, run it by people who really know the market and can help you get from point A to point B. It’s so much easier to do this as a group than it is to figure everything out on your own.

John Williams:

Great group of people. They will be straight with you.

Paula Williams:

Yes, they will. They absolutely will tell you.

John Williams:

And they’ll expect you to be straight with them too.

Paula Williams:

What they think. Exactly. So, if your first video stinks, you’ll hear it. There’s lots of things that they do to help each other with and without…

John Williams:

They’ll give you good suggestions as well.

Paula Williams:

Oh yeah, absolutely. And sometimes, it’s just a matter of a tiny tweak that will make all the difference in the world to your business plan or your work product, or to your presentation, your list, your offer, any of those things. Right?

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Okay. Thanks for joining us. This has been part of our mini series about marketing for drones and UAVs. And we’ll see you next week.

John Williams:

Ciao.

 

 

How to Start a Drone Business – Download our Detailed Infographic

How to Start A Drone Business