(Editor’s Note: We welcome this guest post from Andrew Ford, an award-winning video producer with 20 years of experience. Based out of the Tampa Bay, FL area, he specializes in medical video production and has partnered with numerous surgeons from across the globe. Andrew’s other interests include digital marketing, traveling, cooking and learning.)
I work in medical video production. Whenever I tell someone that, the response I receive most often is, “Cool, I didn’t even know that was a thing.” To be honest, I didn’t either.
Working in the video production industry, I knew about the excitement of being on a TV show set, the adrenaline rush of being an on-field cameraman at a football game and the strict deadlines of being a news editor. Sure, I had seen a medical show on The Discovery Channel, but I assumed that was just a regular crew on a special assignment.
How I found my niche
I was growing tired of my corporate video gig and my mother told me in passing that her hair stylist’s daughter found a job on Craigslist, so she suggested I look on there too. If you’ve never searched for video job opportunities posted on Craigslist in the mid-2000s, suffice it to say they were mostly seedy one-night opportunities at stranger’s houses. But one job stood out because it had a real job description, offered benefits and was from a company you could Google. Just like that, I had accepted a medical video production job.
My first day of work consisted of meeting an associate at the airport and heading to Arkansas to video a hip surgery. My co-worker said, “Hi! I hope you don’t get queasy seeing this bloody surgery up close.” Luckily, I didn’t. I actually found it fascinating to see how surgeons repair the body.
Medical video production is very technical and demanding, but also rewarding and exciting. You could be traveling to an operating room across the country, creating commercials or working at international trade shows. Since I loved this career, I had the drive to constantly improve. This included learning anatomy and talking with surgeons. Soon, I was being asked to produce over 100 videos annually.
How to find your niche
Almost anything you like probably has a video production niche. Most people gravitate toward wedding videos, but that niche is so large it should be considered a mass market. If you love cars, try to work at a sports network. If you’re spiritual, most megachurches have videographers. Even if your niche seems a little crowded, like the travel show category, you can put a different spin on it to differentiate yourself.
Maybe your niche will just come to you like it did for me, so don’t stress out or rush the process. If you need help, a great guide to finding your niche is Dorie Clark’s book titled “Stand Out.”
The benefits of being in a niche
I’ve found there are three main benefits as a niche video producer. It increases your value, it makes it easier to attract customers that need your services and it makes work become more fun.
I’m a jack-of-all-trades video producer, a one-man band that has developed competent skills in all areas of production. Therefore, I’m not a specialist in singular areas and won’t be winning an Oscar for Best Special Effects for a film. However, after producing over 1,200 medical videos and recording over 400 surgeries around the globe, I’ve become one of the leading medical video producers.
This expertise provides huge value and efficiency to clients that need this service and acts as a barrier against competition without this specialized knowledge. If I did wedding video with thousands more competitors, would I stand out as much?
The video below shows a typical surgical technique that I produced. This is an All-Inside ACL Reconstruction by Dr. David Flanigan.
Today, customers have lots of choices on who to hire, but less time to choose due to busy lifestyles. If a Google search result presents a generic video producer and a specialized video producer for your need, which one will be chosen? Most potential clients will pay for your niche expertise.
The naysayer may think that being in a niche limits potential business, but video production is more popular than ever. In my industry, doctors know the best way to increase their business is by promoting themselves on social media, showing their surgical skills on educational websites and/or presenting research and video evidence in front of their peers. All of it requires video, and there are a lot of doctors out there. The same applies to any niche.
Finally, being in a niche you enjoy makes work more like a fun hobby. Whether you like nature or fancy houses or music, there’s an environmental nonprofit, a real estate agent or a local band out there looking for you to make a video. Working with people that have shared interests results in knowledge share, a good time and repeat business.
Niche video production is needed. Many surgeons come to me with frustrating stories of spending hours learning how to edit something on their own or trying over and over to make a high-quality .MP4, all to have me fix their video for them rather simply. That’s why I edit video and they operate on people. When it comes to video, many people don’t love doing it and they’re not trained in it, but they know they need it to become more successful. Sounds like a good niche to me!