Fancy Starting a Vlog? Here's What You Need to Know
A vlog essentially means a virtual log, and is fast becoming a new way of blogging. (Okay, it's not that new, but it's becoming mainstream.) You essentially record yourself and post it onto the internet, which people watch. There are dozens of virtual logs out there, and essentially comes in the form of something sat facing the camera and talking about things that are pertinent to them. It can be a great way to feature your expertise in a niche, or you can use your skill as a vlogger as an added benefit to choosing you over other freelance writers.
If you fancied starting one, then good for you! There are certain things you need to make it a success. These tips can help you get started. You may have already thought about some of these, but if not use them and apply them to your setup.
There are certain things you need to do before starting your Vlog. First you need a camera to record yourself. You need to find the best vlogging camera for you. If you can’t afford one then you could use your phone if the camera is good enough. At least make sure your phone camera is over 12 megapixels. Otherwise the video will look grainy.
You also need to think about what kind of platform you want your vlog to rest on. YouTube is extremely popular, but you may want to post it on your blog to make it more accessible. Youtube is easier to access, but you are making more of a statement by posting it from your own website. Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Snapchat are all good options, too.
Choose Your Niche
You need to ensure you have some form of niche. Something that makes you stand out will pull people in. Check on the more popular vlogs and see what they are doing that attracts success. You need to do the same thing, but with a spin.
What are you an authority on? What are you good at? What makes you unique?
Now that you have your vlog setup you need to start attracting people to it. They need to know it exists to give it a chance. You can help by shouting about it. Okay, not literally.
Comment on similar videos linking back to your own.
Tell people on social media, friends included.
Offer to guest star in other people's videos that share the same topic.
The more people that know the more they will talk about it and you can’t beat word of mouth as the main pulling point for your new videos.
As you post, the comments will pour in, some critical, others praising. You need to reply to the good comments and act on the bad feedback. Use suggestions to turn bad videos into good ones by listening to your critics.
Of course, there will be a lot of trolls, especially if you post on YouTube. If a person isn't offering constructive criticism that you can use, ignore them. Don't let it make you give up. You can do this!
Don’t Make Your Vlog a Slog
You’ve been uploading new videos and keeping a close eye on the view counter. You keep refreshing the pages, but the view counter for your videos just aren’t going up. The only person who seems to be increasing the view count is you, and that’s only because you keep refreshing the page to check the view count. Ha!
This is a disastrously common scenario for many vloggers out there. The fact is, vlogs are a dime a dozen - or maybe even a dime a hundred these days - and, while it remains an exciting medium, you really need something that will make you stand out from the crowd.
And on that note, let’s dive into the first common mistake that new vloggers make...
There’s Nothing Special About Your Vlog
A lot of vloggers aren’t really saying anything new or offering anything particularly funny or wise. They’re simply regurgitating what more popular vloggers are saying. While this may have worked for a few people who managed to get rich while basically ripping off the likes of PewDiePie, by and large the rip-off artists are called out as such right away and fail to grab an audience.
There needs to be something about your vlog that really compels people to watch more. Here's some ideas:
Do you have a funny voice that makes your friends howl with laughter? Use it! A good example is Chelcie Lynn. She creates characters and videos them living their lives. The results are hilarious.
Do you have a unique way of seeing the world? Make sure that shines through. Don't stifle it in the name of fitting in. My favorite example of letting your freak flag fly is Chris Crocker. He's funny, poignant and adorable, all wrapped up in one package.
Do you like putting a spin on an old classic? BUG Bradford (my kiddo) makes parodies of TV shows and songs. While she's not a pro yet, a rendition of one song has gotten close to 30,000 views.
Your Editing Isn’t Any Good
Never, never, never underestimate the importance of good editing. The best vloggers out there tend to have great editing skills they use to make their videos funnier, clearer and more enjoyable. In fact, many of these vloggers find that the real creation of their videos is in the editing, not the filming. Resources like Training Connection may be able to help you.
The Videos Are Too Long - or Not Long Enough
People love to talk cynically about how ruined our attention span supposedly is. While the damage the internet has wrought upon our attention spans is a myth, it’s important that your vlog isn’t longer than it needs to be.
Of course, it depends what your niche is. A video that’s too short may not grab people at all. The sweet spot for many viewers seems to be somewhere along the four to seven minute mark, especially if you lean more towards comedy. Social commentary may take on longer forms; for example, a historical and economic video about Brexit will actually attract more viewers if it’s over twenty minutes!
You’re Not Interacting with Your Audience
The best way to engage your audience, beside making great vlogs, is to actually engage with them. This is why you need respond to reasonable comments on your videos, as well as use social media to converse with followers.
Twitter is a particularly good platform for vloggers. You can also use social media to follow and interact with bigger vloggers who may end up paying attention to your videos and giving you a wider audience.