It’s a funny sounding word that’s short for “video blogging” and a great option for blogs that cover teachable or demonstrable topics.
Some might argue that vlogging isn’t as effective as it used to be, since “everyone” is doing it.
But the truth of the matter is a lot of the videos floating around out there are poorly made, so if you’re putting out high quality, useful content you’ll still stick out from the crowd.
Here are some simple tips to help you get started:
1. Get a good camera
Crisp video and clean sound is one of the easiest ways to make sure your vlog is better than 90% of what’s out there. I’m a big fan of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i since it’s affordable, easy to use even if you’re a beginner, and it shoots fantastic still photos in addition to really high-quality HD video.
2. Use a tripod
Make it easy on yourself. A tripod keeps you from having to worry about shaky hands or whether you’re still in the shot. Handheld is a pain if you’re shooting by yourself. If you’re filming in your office or a small space, consider using a sturdy desktop tripod.
3. Find a quiet location
It’s best to use a clean, quiet room without a distracting background. Avoid filming outdoors since the background noise can be distracting. Avoid wearing stripes or bold patterns.
4. Make sure we can see you
Low light results in grainy videos and grainy is good for bread, but not so much for video. Make sure you shoot during the day with plenty of natural light. If you don’t have a quiet room with lots of natural light, you can fake it with a simple kit like this one to brighten things up a little.
5. Get rid of extra head room
You should frame up a medium shot, from the chest up. Also make sure that you’re close enough to the camera for your viewers to see your facial expressions hear you clearly.
6. Use a script
The best video blogs out there may loook unscripted, but they’re not. Writing out what you’re going to say before you say it will save you a lot of time. You don’t have to follow your script verbatim, but use it as a blueprint to make sure you’re not forgetting any important points.
Be yourself and speak to your viewers as if you’re talking to a good friend. Just don’t talk too fast. Most viewers won’t bother rewinding if you’ve sped through some important information. Remember that you can edit to make your video shorter, but not longer.
8. Edit on the cheap
You don’t have to spend a lot (or any) money to edit a good video. iMovie and Windows Movie maker are beginner-friendly and come with your computer. YouTube even has a decent video editor now, so if your videos are under 15 minutes (which they should be), you can edit them directly on Youtube after uploading them.
9. Keep it short
Edit your video so that it gets right to the point. Numerous marketing studies have shown that most people will stop watching a video after 30 seconds if it hasn’t grabbed their attention by then. Open with a call to action or summary of what you’re going to talk about, then hit each point clearly and concisely. Under 2 minutes is ideal.
10. Save 1000 words
If your video is mainly you talking (as opposed to teaching or walking through a physical tutorial), it’s a good idea to add some visual variety by inter-cutting images, captions, charts, or graphs.
11. Video SEO
Before you upload your video, use keyword research to give it the best possible title. After uploading it to Youtube or Vimeo, tag your video with your keywords. This will help your video get discovered through relevant search engine results.
12. Keep your files safe
Since even small videos can take up a lot of space, it’s a smart idea to invest in an a good external hard drive. For one thing, it’ll keep you from using all the storage space on your laptop or desktop. Secondly, it’s a good way to safely backup all of your files and data in case anything ever happens to your computer.
13. Consider transcription
Transcribing your video is always a good idea, since there will be occasions when someone isn’t in a place where they can watch your video but they still want the information you have to offer.
Vlogging can give you a break from regular posts, or you can use it as your sole method of blogging if you have the type of personality that people would be happy to watch and listen to on a regular basis.