Video Blog Posts. Vlogs.
Everyone seems to be doing them now. But are they doing them in the best way they could?
Are there some tips out in the blogosphere that can be shared in order to make your foray into vlogging a more enjoyable, productive experience?
I say, “Yes!”
In addition to the video embedded here in the post, I’ll offer some additional tips, guidelines and rules of thumb that I’ve found to be quite helpful in my vlogging experience.
I’d love to hear yours as well, so please do share them at the end!
1. Start with the end in mind
I know Shonali loves that approach and so do I. What is the goal with the video post? That goal should dictate your content. Are you trying to introduce yourself to the world? Discuss a new concept? Teach someone? Tell a story about your company?
Whatever “it” is, that becomes your content.
2. Storyboard it
At a minimum, jot down a few key “takeaways” that you absolutely want to leave with the viewer. I did not do this to begin with and it shows. I rambled, took too long, and very likely didn’t make my points. Don’t let that happen to you.
Think about your takeaways, jot them down and then weave them into your shoot.
3. Who you talkin’ to?
Talk to the camera as if you’re talking to your target audience. For me, that would be potential clients or sometimes, like now, colleagues. My tone reflects that. My attitude and the level of technology, terms, discussion should as well.
4. Be yourself
I’m not Bernardo Mendez of YourGreatLifeTV, nor am I a Jill Foster from Live Your Talk. If you watch them, you know what I mean. They each have their own unique voice, style and approach to video posts. So do I. If I suddenly started shooting in front of white background and appearing extraordinarily happy and animated like Bernardo, you’d think something was a bit off.
That’s the point. I’m me. I have a certain style that works for me. We can all learn something from each other, but we should not necessarily be like the other person.
5. Strive for brevity
I did not even listen to my own advice in this video (2 to 2½ minutes); I went on for a full 3+ minutes! That’s still shorter than some, but longer than I like.
Am I worried? No. I felt like it took that long to make my points. It’s also natural to go over. Just avoid making it a habit if you can. I’m still working on it.
Use the easiest (and most effective) program you can find for your editing and publishing needs. I am a PC (for now), so I use Windows Movie Maker. Don’t even go near the Windows Live Movie Maker – it’s a nightmare and totally destroys your High Def effect! It took trial and error, one too many pixel-y videos, and a friendly email from John Falchetto offering the solution before I found what works for me.
7. Load and reload
Once you publish, review it and then head to your YouTube channel (or Vimeo…or both) to load that puppy. Once it’s loaded, embed it into your blog post, your website; anywhere you can that you own and have control over is an excellent place to host your videos.
8. “For more info…”
If you do put them into your blog posts, please remember the “readers” out there. I did not for a very long time. So, in addition to your embedded video code, you should also provide a link to the URL so that the viewer with the reader (!) can find you.
Four Ways to Use YouTube to Your Advantage
Pixability is a fabulous resource when it comes to video. I have attended at least 2 of their webinars, via my participation in HARO and have found each one to be extremely useful and helpful.
They have Pixability University (free resources) and an amazing video grader that evaluates your website, your YouTube channel, and your blog for optimal video use.
That tool alone is gold! It gave me insight into what I was missing and what I was doing right.
Specifically, load up your description with as much copy as you can. I view it as a mini-blog post. In addition, make sure you begin your description with your http:// website address, each and every time in the description.
It was a blog post from Chris Brogan many months ago that directed me to the appropriate category: Howto & Style. That was not an obvious one for me; I had previously chosen People & Blogs. Apparently, Howto & Style are one of four top-level categories that appear when you use the YouTube search function.
Better to be in the top than to be invisible, right?
For me, I use this as a back up to my blog post. Since I typically embed my video into my blog, I like for the tags I use on my blog post to work with the ones I use in my video. Often, tags are offered to you.
For some reason Clark Kent and Smallville pop up for me ALL the time. Go figure. Could be because I tag my videos with “Small Business Marketing” more times than not. I don’t know that what I do here is scientific, but I’m pretty confident it doesn’t hurt either.
This is a fairly new section for YouTube. Creative Commons literally just popped up within the last few weeks. I post weekly, so I noticed as I went through my litany of items in my check list and suddenly had a better option for sharing and attribution. Use it.
Ok, just like my video… I went a little long on this one. There’s just SO much to cover; I wanted to make sure I did and that you got your money’s worth.
Erica Allison is the owner of a small, but strong PR/Marketing firm located in Western NC. In addition to being a mom, wife and entrepreneur, Erica has become a “blogger.” She’s still trying to figure out how it happened! You can find her blogging at Spot-On, chatting on Twitter, and sharing some fun pics, music and thoughts on Facebook.