What to consider when adding drone photography to your content marketing

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It's a bird, it's a plane...nope, its a drone. And they're everywhere. Like seriously, everywhere.

More and more brands are incorporating drone footage and photography into their content marketing as drone technology becomes more accessible, affordable, and easier-to-use. And moreover, the content output is a seriously impressive way to grab your audience's attention from a fresh perspective ( literally, its fresher at 400ft in the sky).

I'm not saying that aerial images are right for all businesses. If you're selling small e-commerce products online or you're a jewellery company, or perhaps you have a tea shop, drone photography might not be a good fit. You have to ask yourself what the medium would add rather than what you can add to the medium. However, if your looking at improving your content marketing and have a businesses in one of the following areas, drone videos and photography might be an excellent way to give your brand a boost:

1. Hospitality and Real-Estate ( Resorts, Boutique Hotels, Airbnb's etc)

2. Travel and Tourism (Festivals, Tours, Safaris, Adventure)

3. Vineyards or Agriculture

4. Sports and Personal Training

5. Architecture

6. Automotive

7. Event or Wedding Planning

Rather than seeing drones as replacing traditional aerial photography, they should be seen as an alternative instead. Unlike aircraft photography, drones provide more options in terms of price points and usability, even allowing DIY enthusiasts a shot at the pilot’s seat. It is important to first weigh your options and budget before deciding to go ahead or forgo the use of drones. With the growing number of photography methods now available, it is essential to consider all of the options and do the appropriate amount of research to find out whether or not drones are the right investment for your business.

So, here are some considerations to think about as a business owner or marketing manager when considering Drone technology.

1. Think about your company’s common practices.

If you're currently struggling to get the shots you need, perhaps a drone is for you.

Do you often take aerial photographs or videos? Do you typically require employees to climb tall surfaces? Do you find it difficult to convey what your company actually does in less than 10 images? Do you frequently have to collect information about a wide land area? Consider whether a drone could help you accomplish these tasks more safely and efficiently.

2. Should you hire a drone pilot or train an employee in-house?

I particularly love this quote:

"Owning a drone does not a pilot make.” 
 

Allow me to share a little personal experience: I spent a couple wine harvests shooting with Argento Wines in beautiful Mendoza, Argentina. Adding drone footage to the mix was the perfect way to show the beauty and breadth of where the company was located and the size of their wine production each year. However, it was the first time I'd used a drone for commercial purposes other than some test runs in a field, and let's just say it takes a little practice and finesse. Elements like rain, humidity, visibility, and especially wind play a large roll in the ability to control a drone. After a couple crashes and 4 lost propellers, I hired a pilot and did it right. I also learned a ton and was able to do it the next time round.

3. What permissions do you require to fly a drone for commercial purposes?

The short answer is a lot. The longer answer depends on where you are using it.

Drone laws vary greatly from country to country and it also depends on whether you are flying a drone for commercial purposes, personal, over private property, or in a public space. Think about this very carefully before you hire a drone pilot, a photographer, or go the DIY route. I once saw a guy get beaten to a bloody pulp on a public beach for using a drone and clearly pissing off a very jealous boyfriend. I also saw a duo of teenagers get hauled away by Parisian police before they'd even launched the drone near Notre Dame. If you want to learn more about drone restrictions before flying, consider this country-by-country resource and get familiarised with the rule.

4. What kind of budget do you need to buy a drone that will work for your business?

Drone prices range from $100 to $10,000 depending on the size and capabilities you need.

The cost varies, depending on the drone’s features, such as the camera quality, durability, and battery life. The cheapest drones are priced around $100 - you can buy these at a kiosk in a mall, but I wouldn't advise using these for business purposes. Prices can reach $10,000+ as you get into drones that can fly at altitude and film for long periods of time. As with any investment in technology, it is important to consult with knowledgeable, reputable vendors to determine the best drone for your business’s needs and budget.

Here's a quick list of some of the most popular pro-sumer drones that businesses use in 2017:

DJI Phantom 3 Professional

DJI Phantom 3 is one of the most preferred drones for commercial uses and aerial photography because of the excellent price to quality ratio. The video quality in 4K is excellent and the drone is very easy to control and fly. The UHD Video Camera combined with a 3-axis gimbal gives you super smooth videos, crystal clear photos and great features. The battery life is particularly good for the respective class.

DJI Inspire 1 Pro

The DJI Inspire Pro is targeted at professional photographers and cinematographers.A micro four thirds camera system is the main innovation of this model. The ZENMUSE X5 series of micro four thirds camera has interchangeable lens compatibility, an optimized dynamic range, easy remote focus control and aperture control.

3DR Solo Drone

3DR is a popular company in the world of drones. Solo has a very clean, functional design and using the drone and controlling its functionalities is also a relatively easy task.The video-game style controller can be easier to use and more intuitive than the DJI controllers for some first-time quadcopter pilots. The push of a single button will be sufficient to make the drone take off, pause flight mid-air or begin capturing footage and shooting photographs. Solo is powered by twin computers and it’s advertised by the manufacturer as the world’s first “smart” drone. The drone comes with flight time of around 20 minutes per battery, a range of 0.5 miles and an HD camera with a gimbal for added stabilization.

5. Hire a professional to help you get creative

Just like regular photography or video, aerial images demand planning

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Ever bought a piece of technology thinking it will revolutionise your work, only to realise you don't really know how to use it? I still have a bedazzler from 1993 and nothing I did with it is worth talking about. Apart from it being a horrible device, I just didn't put much...art direction into my bedazzlling decisions.

The same goes for aerial photography. Inviting this new medium into your content marketing means you need to plan and execute creative ways of showcasing your business and brand. The same aerial shot of your hotel over and over again isn't adding a lot to your Instagram feed. Even if you decide to invest in a drone for your company, consider hiring a photographer, videographer, or art director to help create a storyboard or shot-list to keep the content fresh and original.

Summary

Drones will continue to make waves in the content marketing industry in 2017 and hopefully these above points will help you consider as to whether or not invest in this equipment for your business.

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