Whether you are wanting to create a successful vlogging channel on YouTube or are just wanting to capture your daily life for friends and family on social media, vlogging can be a difficult experience for a lot of people.
In this article, we aim to demystify the process and give you valuable tips that could set you apart from the average vlogger and get you started on making high-quality videos that share the story you want to tell.
Tip #1: Vlog about your passions
A mistake that a lot of beginner vloggers make is creating video content on what they think other people want to see. This can be detrimental for several reasons. The first is that you’ll be faking your enthusiasm for the topics and moments you want to share. People are highly attuned to being able to understand what is and isn’t genuine. It also makes it difficult to sustain too. Topics on which you have no passion for can make it challenging to maintain the motivation needed to build up your audience or community.
Our advice is to sit down and figure out what are the aspects of your life that you truly enjoy. Is it traveling abroad? Is it finding unique local restaurants? Shopping for antiques? Gaming? Macro photography? Hiking? Or maybe just investigating events in your neighborhood? Make an objective list of niches and subjects in which you are passionate about and think about how you can make vlogs focused on those areas.
Tip #2: Overshoot and overcut
When you start it can be a daunting task to figure out what to shoot. Our best advice would be to shoot more than you probably need and cut out what you think is superfluous. Unsure on what exactly to do?
You can ask friends and family if you’re sharing the vlog on social media to give you feedback on what they think works, doesn't work, and what seems boring. The more people you ask, the more informed you'll be for the next time you shoot and edit a vlog together. If you’re releasing your vlogs on YouTube, you can use the analytics feature in the Studio section to see when people are tuning out of your videos and clicking away to other content.
Learning this can be a painful experience but it’s one that will vastly improve your vlogs.
Tip #3: Focus on story
Once you've learned the basics of using your camera and putting the footage together, put your focus on telling a story.
People are more likely to engage with content that tells a story. The most successful vloggers understand that people relate to a story on a far more emotional level. This means that they tend to build a story with their footage, rather than putting a compilation of random clips together. Stories invite your audience to join you in the journey, rather than observe it.
Tip #4: Know which hardware to upgrade first
The quality of your vlogs – whether out and about or at home – are directly linked to the hardware you use. Most people buy a camera, put it into automatic mode, and start shooting vlogs. The problem there is you won't get the best quality.
Research has revealed that the majority of people that watch videos switch away from content that has poor audio quality, even if it has fantastic visuals. Don’t neglect your audio. Invest in a high-quality microphone that fits within your budget.
After that, the biggest determiner in quality will be the lighting. A simple LED panel and light stand to hold it in position will make sure that your camera will produce the best quality that it will. It’s a simple rule to follow – feed your camera light and you’ll get fantastic results.
When you start vlogging, focus on learning your craft so that you’ll be better informed on what will be the next best gear purchase that will make a difference.
Tip #5: Make the intro count
The way people consume content has changed over the last ten years, developing a trend of consistently lower attention spans year in, year out. Research shows that the average attention span for social media and content sites like YouTube is in between 8 – 15 seconds.
Therefore, make sure you have an engaging intro to your vlog that will set the watcher up in terms of what to expect by watching the rest of the video. A popular method of doing this is giving them a glimpse of what will happen later in the video. This sparks curiosity and anticipation for what will come.
Tip #6: Be yourself
Don’t be afraid of being yourself on camera. Similar to what we said about creating a vlog for topics on which you’re passionate about, people can tell if you aren’t being yourself.
People respond better to videos where the speaker is true to themselves and lets their personalities shine in their videos. A great way to do this is to pretend the camera and lens are your friends. This method allows you to genuinely pretend like you are talking to people rather than a camera.
This will help you speak in a more relaxed, spontaneous way that is personable and enjoyable to watch for your audience.
Tip #7: Use the lens, not the screen
Cameras with flip-out or articulating screens are fantastic for vloggers because they allow you to check the exposure, the settings, focus, and overall composition. However, a lot of vlogging beginners fall into the trap of looking at the screen too much. When you look at the screen, the audience will feel a disconnect with you as it feels awkward and as if you aren't confident about your topic.
Our best advice is to set up your shot using the screen then only look into the lens while you are shooting. This will make it easier to watch for your viewers and make it easier to connect with you. The bonus benefit here is that it removes distractions from you if you focus on looking into the lens.
Tip #8: Stay away from jargon
If you are vlogging about something on which you are passionate and knowledgeable about, stay away from jargon. More often than not, your audience may not be as experienced as you on the topic you are speaking about. Jargon tends to confuse or cause disinterest, causing them to click away from the video.
Instead, use empathy and think of yourself in their shoes. Use simpler language and explanations so that you still get the message across. You’ll add value to your videos as the viewers will also be learning something as well as being entertained. After you’ve got your production quality down with great audio and lighting, adding value is the next most powerful motivator for people watching your videos.
Tip #9: Plan and script
We recommend for you to plan and script your vlogs in advance. This will allow you to come up with potential ideas for shots you’ll need (also called a shot list). It can be a word for word script of exactly what you’ll say, but it doesn’t have to be.
The most popular vloggers use an outline with the key points about what they want to speak about in the video. This allows them to be more natural and conversational. It also helps to cut down on the rambling and, therefore, editing time too!
Tip #10: Get used to vlogging in public
If you plan on doing any sort of vlog that involves you shooting yourself outdoors, you’ll need to get used to vlogging in public.
Our advice would be to start shooting vlogs in places that aren’t as crowded as the main streets or popular destinations. Try parks or local places in the late afternoons/evenings. Fewer people will be outside and you'll be less anxious about recording yourself talking in front of other people.
If you still feel nervous, ask a friend to go out with you. They don’t have to appear on your vlogs, but having a person by your side will naturally help you feel more confident and may even help you speak more naturally too!
Lastly, just remember this golden rule – most people don’t care. You may get looks as if they are criticizing or judging what you are doing, but they are most likely just curious and will go on their way.
Empower yourself with the correct knowledge
Simply taking the first step to read through this article is a good indicator that you are on the right path for becoming successful in your vlogging goals- and you’re already far ahead of other people who are only thinking of vlogging.
If you'd like to learn more about photography, vlogging, video production, and more, sign up for the FREE newsletter.