The Eight Most Common Mistakes People Make When Producing A Special Interest Video –and How You Can Avoid Them!

By Steve Yankee

There’s no doubt that people are making big dollars producing their own special interest videos…but for every one that hits big, there’s another four or five hundred videos made and released to the marketplace that never even sell adequately enough for their producers to cover their production and development and marketing costs. Why do so many people fail at this –even with good products and good production?

There are a host of good reasons for bad results:

1/ YOU ONLY HAVE ONE PRODUCT. It’s damn hard to produce and market and sell and be a big success on just one title. When your product line is just one item deep, you can’t spread your advertising and marketing costs over several items. Unless you’ve hooked up with a big national bookstore chain like Walden’s or B. Dalton, if you’re selling a single DVD retailing for, say, $19.95, your advertising costs are simply going to eat you up.


Have you been reading too many stories about Jane Fonda’s workout tape making hundreds of millions of dollars? It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to retire on the proceeds from just one special interest video or instructional video. My advice here is to get real. Set reasonable goals for your product(s).

3/ YOU HAVE LITTLE OR NO MARKETING SUPPORT. You can build the best mousetrap in the world, but if you don’t attract the people who WANT that mousetrap –and attract them with an urgency to your message so they start beating down your door, checkbooks in hand –you’re going to be sorely disappointed. If you want to motivate a prospect to buy a product, you have to reach them often, promise real benefits, get them to react swiftly to your offer, then follow up with the goods!

4/ YOUR MATERIAL HAS NO BROAD INTEREST. How many people want to know “How To Make A Swamp?” It’s sad but also very true; a lot of informational DVDs are merely ego-driven productions. You want your name and your face on that DVD; your client wants to be captured on camera, telling us everything he or she knows about collecting lint. If you REALLY want to make money with a video or a series of the same, you have to direct your products at a marketplace that either has a pain you can relieve, or an aspiration that you can help them accomplish.

6/ YOU’RE SPENDING TOO MUCH ON PRODUCTION. It doesn’t make sense to sink $10,000 or more into a Special Interest Video that will net you half that much in a year. Get reasonable.

7/YOU OVERSPEND ON PACKAGING. Unless you’re selling directly in stores where eye-catching point-of-purchase packaging is an absolute must, you don’t need expensive packaging. If you’re selling by mail, you can get by with a Amaray library case and a simple insert label you design and print yourself. The cost of expensive packaging can exceed your production costs, and it’s just not necessary.(Editor’s Note: For retail sales on Amazon or other retail sites, you will to need to invest in good cover design.)

8/ YOU HAVE NO PUBLICITY OR EDITORIAL SUPPORT. It’s unfortunate that many special interest video producers start their publicity efforts only after they’ve got a product or two in their hands. This is detrimental to your sales efforts! You should be doing your publicity well before you’ve got your product ready for release! This publicity should include a press release to those magazines, newsletters and newspapers, radio and televisions stations who would be interested in your new product. And this release should be sent between 75 to 90 days before your product will be ready for sale.


Make no mistake about it; there’s good money to be made in special interest videos. Just remember that the road to success is always a little bit rockier than you might first guess. Luckily, there’s been a lot of travelers on those roads already; observe them, model after them –at least the ones that have navigated successfully, that is! And remember to keep your eyes on the benefits that the customers will attain with your program, and NOT on the program itself. Finally –start small. That way you can accommodate the inevitable growth that will occur when you do things right, time after time.