Vlogging is a brilliant way to connect with and build an audience. It can be done with as little more as much equipment as you have at the time. You can start vlogging with a smartphone and nothing more! Even though there is a low barrier of entry to creating a vlog not many people do it. On LinkedIn, for example, less than 1% of professionals actually create video content. That makes vlogging an awesome way to stand out from the crowd and build your professional brand. Don’t be thinking that this will be an easy journey, however! It’s going to take persistence, hard work and being completely audience focused. Here are the dos and don’ts of vlogging that I have learned over the production of over 300 vlogs!
The benefits of vlogging
If you need extra motivation here are the best reasons to start vlogging!
- “Easy” To Do – I’m referring here to the act of pushing record and then talking to a camera. In theory, this is very easy to do. Even your smartphone has a camera. However, to get to this stage many people need to overcome anxiety, imposter syndrome, and a lack of confidence.
- Adds a personal touch – there is no doubt in my mind that vlogging is one of the intimate ways to create content. It is all about getting your face in front of as many people as possible! You are on display!
- Show off your expertise – this is an important part of vlogging. Everyone can TELL you what they do. But not everyone SHOWS off what they can do. It is the act os showing your value that makes this a really valuable medium.
- Reach a wider targeted audience – my being clear on your audience and then sharing with them how to solve their biggest issues you can reach a bigger audience with those issues – i.e your target audience! It’s a nice way to create a natural filter for your potential clients or customers.
- Exceptional Boost To Search Engine Optimisation – vlogging really is a fantastic way to boot SEO rankings. I often embed my vlogs on my page so that people can see me talking about a topic I have written about. It also improves time on page for your analytics too!
- Establish Your Business As An Industry Leader – by dedicating a load of resources to creating content and becoming the go-to place for industry-specific knowledge you can easily become a leader.
- Create Opportunities For Sharing – I always include a call to action at the end of my videos! This gives me the opportunity to hear what other people think and also for them to share with me their knowledge. Quite often I will simply ask my audience what they do with a particular problem. It creates a lovely community feeling where I get to be on the receiving end of some value too!
- Budget-Friendly Content Marketing – you could, in theory, get started right now! Go on push record on your phone and upload it for the world to see. It will cost you zero dollars. With a simple vlogging camera, you could improve the quality of many videos! It is a really excellent way to create content on the cheap!
- It is more engaging than text – I doubt I would have seen the success of my social media profile if it had been solely text-based. There is no doubt in my mind that video content with a human face in it is more engaging than text. People love stories and you are giving them a front-row seat to yours!
Now here are my top dos and don’ts of vlogging!
Build up to daily
You may have been tempted to start vlogging because you have seen daily vlogger on Youtube or other platforms! Video makers like Casey Neistat may have given you the sudden spark of inspiration to vlog.
However, there is a catch!
These people have become well known through constant vlogging and video production. To give you an idea of how long these people have been creating content – Casey Neistat has been creating videos for 10 years! That is a very long time!
So, if you want to start making vlogs – start with weekly and then slowly increase the amount so you can find the right balance for you.
Daily vlogging takes a lot of effort and the game is to be doing it for as long as possible! Maybe even as long as 10 years!
Create templates for editing
One of the most time consuming parts of vlogging is editing – so it makes sense to make that as easy for yourself as possible.
Throughout the day of vlogging, I will end up with anywhere between 15 minutes and one hour of footage. The good news about being a sole producer is that it doesn’t take me very long to review the footage – i can just get right into editing.
In the early days I used to start a new project from scratch every time I produced a vlog. That quickly became tiresome and inefficient!
So I created a video template file that contains:
- Audio filters and effects pre-installed
- Audio levels preset
- Motion graphic templates
- Intro and outro’s preloaded
- Transition files and masks preloaded
- Export settings defined
With this template I am able to get my editing done quickly and with as little fuss as possible.
As you find out what you always use when editing your videos – I recommend creating your own templates!
Carry a camera everywhere
This is one of the most important thing I’ve learned as I’ve been creating vlogs – you cannot include footage in your vlog – if you don’t record it!
Of the 15 minutes – one hour of footage I create everyday only about 3 – 4 minutes makes it into the vlog!
I carry a Sony action cam as my point and shoot camera (one that I don’t need to set up and focus etc) and I carry a DSLR as my main piece to camera set up.
The DSLR is too heavy to carry around all of the time – but I’l able to put it in my backpack if I want better footage of an activity than my point and shoot can supply.
If It is a vlogging day – I’m carrying some form of camera – and you should too – even it it is your smartphone!
Have a routine and stick to it
One of the toughest aspects of producing a daily vlog is the routine! Once you have recorded a few and got into the swing of things – not recording is the hardest part of the routine.
I tend to be an all or nothing sort of person and so recording daily makes it easy as the routine dictates that I record.
I find it hard to do stops and starts with content creation – so you must develop a routine and stick to it for your publication schedule!
The routine you pick must be manageable and realistic for your current workload and capacity to create content.
That brings me on to the next point: Create a content planner!
Create a content planner
The importance of content planning is one thing that I learned the hard way.
Each week I write down the 5 topics that I am going to create content about that week. Check out the content planner in my free download:
The content is a mixture of topics that I know really resonates well with my audience and topics that I want to explore for myself BUT there’s a catch.
The content has to be search engine optimised for Youtube and search engines – that is where real growth occurs.
Search engine optimise the content
Keyword research is the key to creating content that will help you get a load of traffic to your website and help you grow your influence! It is the difference between producing assets that will continue to bring in leads to your website and content that is a ‘flash in the pan’ and sits on the internet without getting you any results.
Ubersuggest and Answer The Public
Both of these tools allow you to see what questions people are asking about the topics you identified above.
Using Ubersuggest to find content keywords.
In Ubersuggest type in the topics, one at a time into the search bar:
Then, click on Keyword ideas on the toolbar towards the left hand side:
You’ll then be presented with a load of topics that you can use to guide your content production. Copy and paste all of the keywords into a spreadsheet. You’ll be able to get a huge number of suggestions. Remember to click through all of the other tabs (Related, Questions, Prepositions, etc.) to get all of the suggestions.
You’ll want to do this for each of the topics you have in the list you created!
Now let’s take a look at another powerful way to find out what questions people are asking using Answer The Public.
Using Answer the public to find content keywords.
Like Ubersuggest, when you first log on to the page you will have to enter the topics into the search bar:
Once you push “Get Questions” you will be supplied with a load of questions that people are asking in search engines about that topic. They present the data in a graphical “visualization” format as default. But click on “data” and you’ll be able to get a list that you can copy and paste into your spreadsheet with all of the ideas for content keywords.
Answer The Public have a whole heap of options (Questions, Prepositions, Comparisons, Alphabetical and Related) that you can copy across to your spreadsheet. I use all of them when considering what content keywords to target,
But getting the keywords is not the end of the story! There is no point targeting a keyword that only gets searched 10 times a month. Now we need to go to get the google keyword Search Volumes. And these are available to us from google themselves.
A small caveat to note is that many people believe the information in google search volumes to be misleading. However, as a way to prioritize the content you are making, I think there is no better way to compare the keywords. It just shouldn’t be used to get an absolute number of times that the keyword is searched. As a comparison tool, however – I can’t think of anything better.
Google Keyword Search Volumes
This is the best way to get relative search volume information! If you don’t have a Google AdWords account use this guide to create an account without having to use a credit card: Click here to access the blog post. The Keyword Planner is part of the Google Adwords suite of tools. But you don’t need to spend any money to use it.
When you go to Google Keywords Planner and create an account, you’ll be presented with a page with a number of options on it. You need to click on the “Get search volume and forecasts” box.
Once you do that you need to copy and paste all of the keywords that you collected in a spreadsheet into this box:
Once you have entered ALL OF THEM press “GET STARTED”. You’ll be presented with the search volume data of all of the keywords that you’ve entered (minimum and maximum for each keyword). Download this data by clicking the download icon towards the top right of the results.
Save the “Plan historical metrics (.csv)” file to your computer and open it in your favorite editors – such as excel or open office equivalent!
Use this file to sort the keywords from high max search volume to low max search volume. If you are not sure how to do this click here for a video on sorting data. What this is doing is giving you the ability to see what is searched the most in Google search.
Clearly, choosing to write or film content on these topics is going to be worth your while. But there is one more thing you need to take into account before you actually produce content.
Manual Google search check
The last step is to take your chosen keyword and type it into Google Search to see what the results look like.
This will take a bit of getting used to but here’s what you are looking for:
- No big players – you are looking for a search result that doesn’t contain big players in the market. You’ll struggle to get noticed above their content. Google now prioritizes content based on the authority and you simply will not be able to compete for the top spot.
- Forum posts – you want to see a forum result on the first page. This means that the search engine is struggling to find authoritative results and is relying on forum content. If there is Quora, Reddit or another forum on the front page this keyword is yours to have!
- Results that do not answer the query – have a look at the results on the first page. Does it look like Google is struggling to find content that answers the question or query? If you think the answers are not very good – this is a great sign that you can reach the top with content that is extremely helpful and answers the question perfectly and in detail!
Do this for a few of your keyword options that pass the KGR test and you’ll get a feel for what is actually worth targeting. Once you have decided which ones you’ll be going after it’s time for the grueling task of content creation! But what does your audience want to see and engage with?
The last thing to remember about vlogging is that you want the content to spark conversations. So don’t forget that call to action!
Whether you are posting on a social media channel or YouTube, you have to remember that the idea to get engagement. Now, I don’t think we should be concerned about engagement for boosting vanity metrics or tricking algorithms – its about growing relationships.
I like to look at the comment INTENT. That is where you know if you are headed down the right path. If people are responding with a positive and supportive and engaged in the topic that you have posted – you know you are on the right path!
I don’t like to tell people what they shouldn’t do. Sometimes what doesn’t work for me would be perfect for someone else. In fact, letting people make their own mistakes can help them learn better than if someone was just to tell them not to do something!
So, take my advice here with a grain of salt. You can break all of these rules – this is what has worked for me however!
Don’t film everything
Even though I love that my vlog travels with me throughout my day. Pre-COVID that was heading up to the city – flying the drone, speaking to other entrepreneurs, riding my bike around the city!
However, I only film about 15 – 45 minutes of footage everyday and trim it down to 3 minutes – I get of up to 94% of my footage!
You’ll get a feeling for what is good to record and what doesn’t really work. But early on I’d say that it is better to record and not use it – rather than wish that you had recorded that one key bit of footage that ties two shots together.
The more you do the more you’ll get used to what you’ll need and what you don’t need. Also, your vlog could also be one continuous piece to camera – which is also excellent!
Don’t spend too long planning
Vlogging should have a topic and a basic narrative structure – the basic structure is what a lot of people follow naturally when telling a story – you don’t just jump right in at the end!
There is a tendency however to let perfection get in the way of progress and plan so much that the vlog never happens – or it doesn’t happen as often as it should.
The simple rule is – if in doubt press record and see what happens!
Don’t buy new equipment
Vlogging can be done with your phone or webcam on your laptop – you certainly don’t need a load of new equipment to do it “properly” (whatever that means).
I tend to only buy equipment when I feel like I want to stretch my creative ability or my current equipment doesn’t allow me to do what I want to do with my vlog.
After one year of vlogging I bought a drone – it seemed so stupid at the time but after nearly 200 vlogs I felt like I would use it reguarly – which I have!
I spend 1.5 years vlogging with my phone and a Sony Action Cam before I upgraded to an inexpensive DSLR because I wanted more shot variety in my videos.
Neither of the new purchases made my engagement any higher – they just made me feel better and allowed be to grow as a content creator.
Don’t neglect your (mental) health
Producing content day in day out is such a tough gig!
You have to put aside your perfectionist and let yourself be vunerable on line – and that can take a toll.
Sometimes that can be tough because you simply lack the energy or enthusiasm to create content – knowing when that is just a laziness vs a cry for a rest is a hard thing to distinguish between!
Sometimes it is tough because someone says somethign mean on your video or vlog. Trolls are everywhere on the internet but I take great pride in gaining trolls – it means I’m starting to get the exposure I am aiming for.
That said, a bad comment on a day when you are feeling less resilient really can be the straw that breaks the camels back!
If you are feeling blue – take a moment for yourself! Protect the ability to perform at your best – even if you have to stop for a moment to catch your breath!
Don’t forget about your audience
Never forget that you are her to entertain and provide value to your audience!
Be audience focused as much as you can be.
What value are they able to get from your video? Even if it is a good old laugh – that is value!
The more content you produce the more you’ll know what resonates with your audience and causes the most engagement!
Don’t give up
The last thing I want to say is when you start you’ll want to give up at some point.
Please don;t give in to the little voice inside!
Building an audience is all about consistency and turning up when you way you will
Check out my vlog on not giving up!