6 Tips to create your own VlogAs a professional video and animation producer I am constantly reminding my clients just how important and powerful video can be to promote their business, brand, product or message.
Of course, there are videos and animations that simply must be professionally produced. A poorly produced video can do more damage than good.
But there is also a medium that allows the distribution of low cost, on-brand videos, perfect for businesses of all shapes and sizes; a Vlog.
Successful Vloggers share information that resonates with their audience
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So, what is a Vlog?A Vlog in simple terms is an online video diary, or video log. It's a great way of sharing your thoughts, experiences, knowledge and general points of view with anyone who wishes to view your Vlog.
It imitates the original (and more familiar) “web logs”, where the word Blog was derived as a shortened version of the word “weblog”.
Vlogging is a great way to let the online world meet the real you and get to know who you really are. For more tips, see Alba’s post on building a personal brand here.
As something anyone can do with little to no budget or professional input needed, it's a great way to start testing how video can boost your online presence and reach. It is a amiable and humanly way to promote you and your brand and offer that personal approach many expect when communicating online with a business.
Here are 6 tips when thinking about starting your own Vlog.
01. What equipment do I need to make a Vlog?To get started you’ll just need yourself, your camera, personal computer and/or mobile device (both with camera) and a quiet place to record. Making sure your room is quiet is important as one interviewee found out on the BBC recently – you never know what’s going on behind you.
There is other equipment available that will improve the quality of your Vlog like microphones, high quality cameras and lighting but these are optional and might be something you want to research as you get more seriously into the world of Vlogging.
If you are thinking about a stationary view, should be considering apparatus to hold your camera/phone such as a tripod.
You should also consider where you are shooting and what lighting this gives you – is this natural or artificial? What would you prefer?
And what kind of audio equipment does your camera have? You may need to consider an external microphone to ensure the sound quality is up to scratch. Nothing worse than poor sound quality on a video you really want to hear.
02. How do I decide what content to Vlog about?You can Vlog about absolutely anything of interest to you. However, I would recommend Vlogging about subjects you are knowledgeable and confident in discussing is a good place to start; so, identify your niche and focus on this.
If you run a business or are trying to promote your personal brand then Vlogging about what you do can be an effective way of communicating your message. Successful Vloggers share information that resonates with their audience - this could simply be;
• Behind the scenes of your working/personal life
• Expert information & advice
• Sharing experience
• Practical demonstrations
• Product promotions
• Current affairs
• Future trends
Find what content your audience can engage with. The master of personal brand content and seriously engaging an audience is Gary Vaynerchuk - check him out if you have never heard of him, go find him; he's everywhere.
There are many Vloggers out there so to cut through and create a following of interested viewers you must focus on quality. Quality is directly proportioned to your results. So have a clear objective and ensure your activity is completely focussed on success.
Quality comes in many forms and does not mean a full video production. Ensure you are dedicated on delivering the correct Vlogging experience that leaves your audience where you want them. Ask yourself;
• Is the production style what my audience want?
• Are the topics of content resonating with them?
• Do I bring variety in my content? Do my audience want variety?
• Did my audience do what I wanted them to?
• What did I do with their response?
This final point is key – Vlogging is not a one way conversation. You must listen to your audience and converse back; can you interact live on camera with them or do you need to respond via social media after the event? You MUST build engagement into your Vlogging Strategy.
There are 1000’s of Vloggers out there, but here is a list of the top 100 YouTube Vloggers. Study who is out there – it will allow you to understand what builds engagement, relationships and trust with audiences. It will show you what the industry considers ‘quality.
03. What length should the video be?The length of video plays a role in how people absorb your message. Facebook are now considering longer-form video options, whilst YouTube are looking into reducing 30+ second advert length options, there are many ways to find the optimal video length.
Here’s what I recommend you should be thinking about when deciding:
What are you trying to achieve
Your objective should dictate your video length. If you can give your customers what they want in 2 minutes, why would you create a video that’s longer? But if you are seeing a further spike in success after 30 minutes, then perhaps you should consider long form content. Once you have set clear objectives, test video length and formats with your audience and measure their success. See Tip 6 for measuring your success.
What does your audience want
Think about the engagement experience from their point of view – why do they watch your videos? When do they watch them? How do they watch them? Where do they watch them? These will all factor into your length of video. For example, if your audience watch your Vlog on their phone, on the bus, for advice, then think about how long you have to capture their attention Vs other distractions they have like Facebook.
What are you trying to say
Your message is your core USP (unique selling point) so this needs to be easily conveyed and easily digested by your audience. Make your point in a way only you can – this will play a factor in video length.
What is your distribution strategy
How are you looking to promote your Vlog once it is live? Are you looking to cut it into mini-videos including highlights of the episode? 6 second videos play in autoloop on social media, meaning shorter videos can act as great promotion. This could determine your video length, or particular ‘chapters’ within your episode are considered.
There is no hard and fast rule on length of video, so testing is required to find the optimal length with your viewers. Perhaps you need to consider a variety of lengths dependant on the message you are conveying on a case-by-case basis. Always tie it back to ‘did it help me achieve my objectives?’
04. Where do I post my Vlog?So you have the equipment, you decided on what you are going to share with your audience and what you want to achieve; you now need to decide where you will post your video for it to be seen.
YouTube is the obvious answer and as the world's second largest search engine it can be a great place to grow your brand.
YouTube is great, but it is what is called rented space. You do not own YouTube, you have simply built a profile on the platform (same goes for Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc…) so you should be considering building a space you own. Like a website! Incorporating your video from YouTube onto a site is really easy..
There are so many platforms to build a site, from simple, affordable drag-and-drop technology, to sophisticated html coding platforms. You could even speak to a marketing consultant/agency to get help and advice. So do the research – you’ll get a greater understanding of your needs as you assess the platforms and then you can choose what suits you best.
Much like a blog, your Vlog is now consolidated on your website, meaning you now have your content housed in 1 easy manage space that you own. This will help with SEO performance, ranking in search engines and your audience experience.
05. Frequency & DistributionWhen getting set up for a Vlog, you decide how frequently you are looking to post. This is important, as it will determine when and where you need to be when Vlogging; for example, if you are posting real-time in a studio every day, then you need to be at your studio every day – but if you cannot be, then it plays into how frequently you Vlog.
Regardless of whether it is daily, weekly or monthly, you should always determine your frequency by considering your audience needs, and your objectives.
Frequency also effects your distribution strategy.
If you Vlog 100 times a week, but no one see’s it, is that helping you achieve your goals? Probably not. Prior to launching a Vlog, you must consider how you plan to get your content to your target audience.
Video is a flexible medium that can be shared, embedded and linked to from most marketing channels. Get to know your audience, and ensure you utilise the channels they would expect you too.
We have already spoken about hosting your video on YouTube, and embedding it on your website, but here are a few more tactics you could consider as part of a Vlogging Distribution Strategy:
Social Media Promotion
Video is perfect for all social platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. Make sure you post all content into you profiles organically. Think about how often you want to re-share the post to ensure maximum reach as often as you can. Use a #Hashtag to appeal to relevant audiences
Is this a post you want to put paid promotion behind? LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & Twitter make it very easy to promote content and offer sophisticated, yet easy-to-use targeting tools to help you.
Do you send out an Email Newsletter? You should – and your Vlogs should be included. Ensure you gather emails addresses where you can on your website and then update your audience with your latest content. It is a great way to engage at their leisure to ensure they didn’t miss anything.
Do you run online events through Facebook Live or Twitter Q&A? This is a great way to promote your Vlog as it allows the audience to engage directly with you and see you in your natural habitat. Subscribing to your Vlog is the natural step.
Its also a great way to offer your existing audience something different.
06. MeasurementLast, but absolutely not least, measurement. In order to know if what you are doing is working, you have to measure your performance. There are several very easy to use packages that you can plug into your site; I would recommend Google Analytics – it’s free and brilliantly clear.
A YouTube page comes with analytics built in, as does Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Make sure you have clear KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure your Goal.
Here are a few you should be considering when working with Video:
• Video Views – How often was your video viewed?
• Length of View – How long did they watch it for?
• Cost-Per-View – How much did you pay for it to be promoted Vs how many times was it viewed?
You also need to consider overall measures:
• How many Visits to the website? Unique & Returning.
• How many pages did they visit? How long did they spend on the site?
• Did they convert – Sale, Download, Sign Up.
By implementing Primary and Supporting Objectives and you can consistently optimise your content to match what your audience want.
Now to start VloggingThese are some basic tips and points for you to get started. Go do your own research, look at some of the successful Vloggers online, search for similar subjects that you are hoping to Vlog about and think about how you are going to fit Vlogging into your schedule.
My advice would be to do some research and get used to recording yourself on camera. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone but practice will definitely help
If you are serious about giving it a go then you will need to dedicate a few hours a week in the initial stages to recording and uploading your Vlog. This time will reduce as you learn more about what you are doing and it becomes a natural part of your week.
Once in a routine and posting regular Vlogs, your audience will grow and your feedback and measurement metrics, should tell begin to direct you into what your audience want.
Stay tuned as my next Blog will be a Vlog and will look at more in depth ways of creating a successful Vlog. If you have any questions or suggestions on what you would like to see then please comment below.
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