Like blogging, vlogging (video blogging) is a way to share your insights on a subject with an online audience. However, vlogging goes beyond the text of a blog post, transforming your content into an audio-visual broadcast. If you’re interested in vlogging, but don’t know how to start, here are some tips:
The first thing you’ll need is the right equipment, and the good news is you don’t need much, just a camcorder or a web camera and a good microphone. Also, for a vlog that has a more polished look, you’ll want to learn how to use video-editing software. This will enable you to add music, subtitles, etc. to your vlog. There are numerous online programs like Wax or Zwei-Stein Video Editor that you can download for free. Also, Apple iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are both easy to use and come pre-installed on Macs and PCs.
Once you’ve assembled your equipment, I recommend experimenting. Test the sound quality of your microphone; make sure there is sufficient lighting where you’re recording your vlog and figure out how you want to look on camera. Remember that vlogging is a form of communication, so you want to not only be visible (no low lighting), but also intelligible. Most vlog “episodes” should be one to three minutes, keeping the amount of bandwidth needed to host them to a minimum. Therefore it’s a good idea to rehearse your content. At the very least, I recommend preparing a script or some type of plan before each video so that you can deliver concise, focused content. Finally, don’t be afraid to have fun with your vlog. Depending on your audience, you’ll want to be more than just informative; you’ll also want to be candid and entertaining. Like blogging, it’s important to pick subjects you love and can explore in a series of posts. One episode doth not a vlog make.
After you shoot and edit your vlog, it’s time to post it online. Most vloggers post on video-sharing sites such as YouTube or Vimeo. However, WordPress is also a great place to privately host your vlog, and many WordPress themes have been created especially for vloggers who want to express their unique personality or professional expertise. Regardless of where you post, make sure to tag your videos and make them fully accessible to your audience. Title each entry and write useful, searchable descriptions that are more than just a five-word blurb. Finally, before publishing your vlog to the Web, test it one last time to make sure it’s working the way you want it to; your audience will thank you.
Remember that you’re vlogging in a community environment. This means it’s not only important to respond to constructive commentary on your own blog, but you should also seek out and interact with other vloggers. Once you start commenting on other videos, you’ll discover that this interaction can inspire new videos of your own or lead to collaborations between vloggers that generate positive publicity for both parties.
To further encourage your endeavors, here are three of my favorite vloggers (some language NSFW). Who are yours?
- Natalie Tran (aka communitychannel) is one of YouTube’s most popular vloggers, known primarily for her self-deprecating and observational humor.
- The Nostalgia Critic offers hilarious commentary on the entertainment of a not-so-distant past. For those who grew up during the 80s or 90s, prepare to have your childhood favorites skewered.
- Starving Designer is a vlog community on Vimeo. Styled as a “semi-reality” show about the creative process, this is storytelling that will amaze and inspire.
Megan Jeffrey is a graduate student in the MCDM program at the University of Washington. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo. She has worked as an account assistant for Verdin Marketing Ink, a community manager for Serra Media and as a HubPages.com columnist. Megan is currently the social media strategist for the UW School of Drama.