WHAT IS A VIDEO BLOG?
A video blog or video log, sometimes shortened to vlog (pronounced ‘vlog’ or ‘v-log’) is a form of blog for which the medium is video, and is a form of web television. Vlog entries often combine embedded video (or a video link) with supporting text, images, and other metadata. Entries can be recorded in one take or cut into multiple parts. The vlog category is popular on YouTube.
Video logs (vlogs) also often take advantage of web syndication to allow for the distribution of video over the Internet using either the RSS or Atom syndication formats, for automatic aggregation and playback on mobile devices and personal computers.
Blogging + Video = Vlogging
Video blogging helps you build connections with your viewers like no other blogging format.
In theory, anyone can video blog, or ‘vlog’, as long as they have a camera, an internet connection, and something to say.
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How to make a vBlog
1. Have an overall idea beforehand of topics you want to cover in your vlog so you feel prepared. It may help to jot down your ideas in a Word doc or on a piece of paper and keep it nearby during your recording, and refer to it when you need to.
2. Make your vlog during a time when you are alone so you don’t have to feel paranoid that a family member might hear you and think you’ve lost your marbles.
3. Do a few practice runs first just to see what you’re working with. Do you talk really fast? I do when I’m nervous. Does your camera pick up distracting background noise? Is it too dark in the room? Is your camera angle off? Watch your practice runs and see what you can change.
4. Tell yourself that you are not under any pressure or obligation whatsoever to succeed the first time. If your vlog sucks, delete it! No one needs to see it but you. Try again later or maybe even another day. Perhaps you just aren’t in the right mood.
5. As weird as it feels to sit there and talk to yourself, just go with it and be yourself. That’s what your readers want to see!
6. If you mess up or want to cut something out, you don’t have to stop and start all over again. You can edit those parts out with a video editing program. The one I personally use is Windows Live Movie Maker. It’s free and easy to use.
7. If you talk about something in your vlog that you want to refer your readers to after listening, be sure to provide links below the video.
8. Try not to make your vlog too long in order to keep everyone’s interest.
9. After you make your vlog, upload it to a video hosting site like YouTube or Vimeo and copy and paste its HTML code into your blog post.
10. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t like the way your vlog comes out. Just like regular blogging, it definitely takes some time to get into your flow. And it doesn’t have to be perfect! I enjoy seeing bloggers act human so if you mess up completely, I’m pretty sure your readers won’t hold it against you! After all, they are on your blog investing their time into watching your video so there’s a good chance they like you regardless.
Tips on starting a vlog on YouTube
DO find your own style: Vlogging is a great way to express your own personal flair and style. Being the controller of your own creative content allows for you to truly be free in your expression and opinions. So above all else: Be yourself.
DON’T just copy someone else: Nothing is more detrimental to your vlog than to just be copying someone else’s style and format, as audiences may feel there isn’t anything new to be offered. You want to attract your own audience, not someone else’s. Whilst it is completely okay to take inspirations from other successful vloggers (and it can be extremely helpful to do some research), be sure not to just mimic them. No one likes a Ditto.
DO try to keep a regular schedule: Whilst this is not compulsory, it can be helpful in growing a subscription list because audiences may prefer to have a regular stream of content from you. It also keeps them hooked when they know there’s more coming. Just be sure that you create reasonable expectations you can meet.
DON’T make it a chore: Vlogging should be a platform you are comfortable in. If you do have a schedule, but you don’t feel like vlogging, inform your audience (such as viaFacebook and/or Twitter). People have sick days off work too. Don’t force yourself to produce something if you’re not confident it will be content you are proud of.
DO accept helpful criticism: As with any other form of creative content, it’s important to be open to helpful criticism. Even if your vlog content on YouTube may be free entertainment for them, it shouldn’t stop you from taking well-thought-out comments from people to improve yourself. Vlogging should be as much for your audience as it is from you!
DON’T be fazed by haters: An unfortunate, dark underbelly of the Internet is that “haters” and “trolls” roam it freely. If you don’t know what those two words mean: Welcome to the Internet. In short, they are people that maliciously target people online, out of no logical reasoning or evidence. Try to ignore them. If they have no backing to their criticism, try not to let their hateful comments get to you. They are doing it for their own sadistic pleasure.
DO be consistent with your content: Whilst it may be good to cover a wide range of topics in your vlogs, ensure you’re not stretching too much. People tend to like a general expectation to be met, and when you suddenly verge off into a different style, it might not be met with warm reception. Your subscribers are there for a reason. A one-off vlog that tackles an isolated matter or incident is mostly acceptable, but try not to jump from style to style too much. Instead, evolve and develop your style into a format you’re comfortable with.
DON’T be a bore: It is key to remember that this is free content on YouTube. People watching on YouTube aren’t mostly looking for serious, heavy content, and will not hesitate to skip over something unappealing. If you want to talk about serious things, it is completely doable, so long as you’re confident that your audience is the right kind to receive it well. News and scholarly topics can be equally tackled well if you have the right presentation with it.