You’ve likely seen your share of vlogs online, and you might even follow a few. After all, vlogging has grown into a wildly popular platform in recent years, and people of all ages and walks of life, from artists and celebrities to students, housewives, and businesses have created vlogs to connect with others who share similar hobbies and lifestyles. Have an interest in making pirate jewelry? There’s a vlog for that.
What Is a Vlog and how is it different than a regular video?
In simple terms, a vlog is a video blog that captures life on camera and is published online. Unlike other videos you might see on Youtube, Vlogs are typically narratives that provide a more intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the content creator. They are often taken from a selfie perspective or in front of a computer, with the content creator addressing the viewer directly. Vlogs often leave in outtakes and recording imperfections to add to the realness of the video when compared to traditional, professionally edited videos. Of course, there is no clear cut categorization or hard and fast rules for vlogging, and each content creator has his or her own style and approach.
Knowing what a vlog is, however, does not tell us how to make one or how to make it successful. In reality, most vlogs come and go without ever growing a following or making any impact. Still, starting a successful vlog is easier than you think. We’ve looked at a number of famous vloggers and compiled a list of things their vlogs have in common. In this guide, we’re going to share eight tips we collected to help you start a vlog and become a better vlogger:
1. Research Other Vloggers
One of the first steps you should take to become a good vlogger is to study the work of other vloggers, both the good and the bad. The best and worst vlogs will teach you what to do as well as what not to do.
For example, how do your favorite vloggers frame their shots and in what environment(s)? How do they break down and present their information? Do they use music and graphics to supplement their delivery? How long do their videos usually run, and what kinds of comments do they get? How do these traits compare to vlogs that are less successful? Understanding these elements will help you create a stronger vlog.
Pro Tip: Successful vloggers often use an effective SEO keywording strategy for driving traffic to their channel. You can use YouTube itself to help you find the best keywords to use in your titles and description, as well as other services like Google AdWords or SEMRush. Just make sure to use keywords appropriately. If you use keywords as clickbait and mislead your viewers, you will not only disappoint your viewers but also rank lower and get fewer recommendations for new audiences.
2. Find Your Formula & Stick with It
If you find yourself short on ideas or struggling to find an interesting topic to discuss, try to remember why you started the vlog in the first place. If you’re truly interested in your topic, there will always be something to say about it. Stay true to your vision and look for ways to add to the conversation.
One way to approach content creation is to create a formula. The best vloggers stick to a consistent formula that allows them to engage their audience with a familiar approach, regardless of the topic. They can effectively introduce their topic, engage their audience, and end the vlog to positive reviews, even if the content is lighter for a given post. This is why we stressed the importance of studying others in the previous step.
Pro Tip: Start each video with a bang. A study by Microsoft in 2018 revealed that most people have an attention span of eight seconds, which means you should put your best foot forward in the intro; don’t save the best for last.
3. Choose the Best Equipment for Vlogging
For vloggers, portability is key. It’s important to choose easy-to-use, yet portable equipment, including the following:
- Cameras & Lenses
- Tripods & Gimbals
- Audio Gear
- Video Editing Software
These days, you can get by with using your phone in a pinch, but some gear is better in the field than others. For instance, you can find a list of the best vlogging cameras here. Depending on the type of action you cover, some on-location shoots may involve a considerable amount of movement. For such instances, it’s worth looking into gimbals that are compatible with your camera. You’ll also need a good travel tripod to stabilize your footage when you’re not on the go; you don’t want your viewers to suffer through shaky footage. It’s no secret that photography and videography both depend heavily on good lighting. Whether you’re shooting in-studio or on-location, there’s a lighting solution for you. And lastly, sound is one of the most underrated and crucial aspects of creating good video, whether for a vlog or other purpose. You can find a variety of audio gear that is well-suited for vloggers. We’ll talk more about video editing software below.
Pro Tip: In most instances, you don’t need to use the best gear from day one. Don’t let your lack of access to premium gear derail your goals for creating and building a vlog. If you build good content, viewers will come. You can always start with a handheld smartphone or other small camera, like the Osmo, and then add to your arsenal down the road when your finances permit. If you’re experiencing success on your channel, it’ll better justify upgrading your gear.
4. Make the Most of What Makes Vlogging Unique
Vlogging is unique among other mediums in terms of its visual appeal. In essence, your vlog is like your show, or your contribution to Internet television. Like other mediums, vlogging requires that you consistently turn out content to stay relevant. However, the visual aspect of vlogging that makes it unique also requires that you provide on-screen entertainment to accompany your ideas, whether that be switching up the environment (rather than shooting live from your couch for each episode), using dynamics in your speech patterns to break away from a monotone delivery, or using clever animation and edits to hold your viewers’ attention.
Pro Tip: You can engage your viewers more by talking directly to them in your videos. This approach works best when you use your genuine, authentic tone. Another way to interact with your audience is to ask them questions in the video and ask that they answer in the comments, which you should also respond to as often as possible. If your audience feels like they are a part of your vlog, they will be more likely to stay tuned and come back.
5. Edit for Success
Editing can make or break a vlog post. It’s one of the most important parts in the entire process. You want your video to make a deep impression on the audience, and not in a bad way. We’ve already mentioned that you should find a formula that works for you, and the same is true for the editing process. A good edit will follow a logical sequence and firmly capture the audience’s attention. The best edits can make an ordinary video shine. So, invest in your education to learn some video editing skills and take advantage of user-friendly video converters to streamline your vlogging workflow.
Pro Tip 1: The large file size of videos can use up a lot of room on your flash drive, and they take forever to upload and share online. It’s worth looking into video editors like the Canva Video Editor, WinX Video Converter, which will allow you to quickly convert video to smaller formats (such as H.264/AVC) while maintaining high quality resolution.
Pro Tip 2: Make sure the music is legal. There are several royalty free music sources you can subscribe to (such as Artlist, Premium Beat, Soundstripe, Music Bed, and others) in order to use affordable, quality music in your vlog posts. You should also be sure to credit the musicians and royalty-free source in your video description to further avoid any potential copyright issues.
6. Choose a Video-Sharing Platform
Once your post has been polished in post-production, it’s time to share your video online. Consider your target audience and choose a suitable video-sharing platform. YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for vloggers, and Instagram & Insta Live is also a popular choice. Both are free to use and offer analytics. Other options include Vimeo, Twitch, Daily Motion, and Flickr, among others. Not all options are free to use and some are more user-friendly than others with various pros and cons. Be sure to research your options and commit to one or two platforms, lest you spread yourself too thin across multiple platforms.
Pro Tip 1: You can repurpose a single piece of content for multiple platforms. For example, you can create your original video on Youtube, which is best for longer form content, and then cut up clips for Instagram and TikTok, which are better for shorter clips.
Pro Tip 2: If you choose a platform like YouTube, be sure to completely fill out your profile. Doing so will help your channel rank better on the platform. The same is true across social media. Complete your channel description, include thumbnails and banners, and make a trailer to break down what your vlog is about.
7. Build Your Audience
Once you have a product, in this case a vlog, you need an audience. There are several ways to build your audience and make your vlog successful. One way is to update new vlogs to your channel regularly to maintain interaction with your audience. In fact, interaction marks another way to build your audience. Visit vlogs similar to yours and join in the conversation in the comments. You should also regularly respond to comments left on your posts.
One of the quickest, most effective ways to build your audience involves collaborating with competitors. Don’t think of others in your field as the enemy. Instead, if it’s feasible, turn your competitor into a collaborator. The relationship could (and should) prove mutually beneficial. Given that your followers share similar interests based on your like-minded content, each of you stand to benefit and reach a wider audience with a single vlog post (or consider an ongoing series if the collaboration proves a success). Whenever you approach another vlogger for a collab, it’s best to be yourself, be authentic in the reasons for reaching out, and try not to spam a bunch of potential collaborators solely for your benefit if they’re not genuinely a good fit for your audience.
Pro Tip: Schedule your content in advance to keep yourself accountable for publishing videos on a consistent basis. If your publishing schedule becomes routine, your viewers will know to return to your channel at a certain time and look forward to your upcoming posts. You can include your schedule in your videos or video descriptions, as well as your “About” section or video trailer (if you have one, which we recommend).
8. Set a Goal to Define Success
We’ve talked about ways to become a better vlogger and run a successful vlog, but you really need to define success for yourself to know whether or not you made it. It helps to set goals before you get too far into it. Some people want to reach a certain number of subscribers while others want to develop a steady stream of sponsorships. Others, still, simply use their vlogs to break out of their comfort zone and don’t expect to “go pro.” Whatever goals you set, give yourself some flexibility so that you can adjust and pivot along the way.
Pro Tip: Give yourself time to achieve your goals. If your goal includes vlogging as a full-time job, you should be realistic about how long it might take to get there. Popular vlogger Austin Null (formerly of The Nive Nulls vlog) told “Video Influencers” on YouTube it took two to three years of balancing his vlogging with his day job before he was able to make the switch to become a full-time vlogger.
We hope you enjoyed these tips on how to start a vlog and become a better vlogger. While it’s true that pretty much everyone can become a vlogger, only a small percentage will find success in the field. If you follow the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to creating engaging content with an effective strategy for building your audience and finding success.