Vlogging has evolved into the new norm. Toddlers, teenagers, mothers, and industry gurus all do it… Carl Douglas compares it to kung-fu fights in 1974. So, what should you know about vlogging? Where can you find out more about it? What if you built a website and then faked it until it worked? There is a solution somewhere in the middle.
It is not necessary to have a degree to become a vlogger, but it is not as simple as hitting a button. An audience, a platform, a purpose, and other factors are all required. But don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds to put it all together.
Check out this beginner’s guide to vlogging to learn everything you need to know about vlogging, from deciding what to say to make money.
What is a vlog?
A typical vlog lasts about five minutes and records the creator’s life. A vlog is a combination of the words “video” and “blog.” It’s basically a filmic rendition of the kind of stuff you’d find on a standard blog. Vlogs communicate with their audience by sharing thoughts and experiences.
Vlogs differ from other types of video material in that the vlogger is the main subject. For example, in a trip vlog, the creator discusses his or her experiences and ideas, whether through voice-over or in frame. Travel videos, on the other hand, tend to focus on the place objectively.
Vlogging can be divided into two types: “talking heads” and “follow me around.” The camera remains stationary in speaking-head videos as the vlogger speaks about a topic or takes the viewers through a procedure. This type of vlog frequently includes make-up tips and cooking videos.
Meanwhile, ‘follow me around’ vlogs show creators taking clips as they move between different areas throughout the day. This vlogging approach is particularly popular for travel and ‘day in the life’ films.
Can you make money as a vlogger?
Yes, that’s the short answer. Of course you can, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many people interested in becoming vloggers. Forbes reported that the highest-paid YouTube vlogger in 2019 was Ryan Kaji, an eight-year-old boy who made $26M.
Vlogging is a fairly straightforward and accessible way to make money online, although you won’t be making seven-figure salaries any time soon. There are four main ways to make money from videos:
Advertising: On most video hosting platforms, creators can include ads in their videos. A vlogger gets paid every time an ad is seen or clicked on. Even if you do not have a large following, this is still a great way to monetize your content. However, you cannot get rich off of it. Most of the money actually goes to the video hosting platform in the form of 3 cents per 1,000 views.
Subscriptions: You might be able to charge viewers a subscription fee based on the type of vlog content you create. With platforms like Wix Video, you can easily set up a monetization system. These types of content monetization can benefit cooking vlogs and other vlogging experts in their respective fields.
Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing falls somewhere in the middle in terms of difficulty and payoff for vloggers and brands. Businesses usually link their products to videos created by content creators, and usually offer discount coupons in exchange. Vloggers get a percentage of every purchase made by viewers.
Sponsored content: It is also the hardest to obtain the most lucrative form of video monetization. Vloggers who accept sponsorships are paid by businesses to mention their brand in their videos. However, you will first need to build a following and establish your online presence before reaching out to brands.
How to start a vlog
Now that we’ve answered the question of ‘what is a vlog’ and you know how to make money from your videos, take a look at this step-by-step guide on how to start vlogging:
- Determine your niche
- Watch other creators
- Find your voice
- Invest in the right equipment
- Create a vlogging space
- Choose a vlogging platform
- Define your content
- Edit your videos
- Optimize your content for SEO
- Track your performance
- Work with others
Step 1: Choose a niche
To become a vlogger, you need to define the type of content you want to create. Your niche will allow viewers to know what to expect from your videos, increasing the likelihood of relevant audiences subscribing to your channel.
Fitness, food, make-up, travel, unboxing, and gaming are some of the most popular vlogging categories. While you don’t have to stick to one of these fields, make sure the content you create is in demand.
Search YouTube for the topic you want to learn about. View the top results to see how many views they have. After that, look at the number of subscribers on their channel profiles. Your idea might need to be rethought if the average subscriber count is too low.
Step 2: Watch other vloggers
You need to get inspired after you have decided what kind of content you will create. Check out content similar to your own. To observe how the vlogging field has progressed over time, you can browse vlogs by popularity as well as by publishing date. Find out what makes the most popular vloggers in your niche different from their competition.
To learn how to vlog, as with any other skill, you must pay attention to what those with experience do in the field. As you spend more time on this step, the more knowledge you will have to build your own journey on.
Step 3: Find your voice
In order to be a successful vlogger, you must develop a unique voice. When you start vlogging, you need to think of yourself as a brand and your content as a product. Video content needs to be interesting in addition to being aesthetically appealing and enticing to the audience.
What can you offer your audience that no other vlogging channel can? It could be years of experience or outstanding visuals. Make sure whatever you choose will be present in all of your videos, or the majority of them, and won’t date over time.
Step 4: Invest in the right equipment
In order to make a vlog, you will need different equipment. Traveling the world and baking a carrot cake wouldn’t require the same tools, right? Additionally, your budget and technical skills will also be key factors in this decision.
Generally, you should keep in mind six main pieces of vlogging equipment:
- Camera: Depending on the kind of content you create, the best camera for vlogging varies significantly. Despite the popularity of mirrorless cameras nowadays, some may benefit more from DSLRs or action cameras. Examine the different types of cameras available, and then choose the one best suited to your needs.
- Lens: You need to understand that, when using an interchangeable lens camera, the lens you use will have a significant impact on your work. Among all types of camera lenses, vloggers tend to select wide angles because they require less maneuvering space and enable you to include more in the frame. Before choosing a specific glass, check other options that are within your budget.
- Tripod: The star of any camera accessory across the majority of genres, a tripod or stabilizer is a must as you learn how to vlog. If your footage is shaky, no matter how good your content is, no one will watch it.
- Microphone: In addition to unstabilized images, bad sound is a major turnoff for vlogging audiences. You’ll still need a microphone even if you plan to use free music on most of your videos.
- Lighting: Indoor recording requires artificial lighting. Adding artificial lighting to your gear is a great idea if you plan to record only outdoors. Your footage will always be clear, as well as soften shadows for an even appearance.
- Editing software: Last but not least, you will need the right tools to turn your footage into a video blog. There are several free video editing software programs that produce great results, despite the fact that professional editors can be quite expensive.
Step 5: Create a vlogging space
You know those moments in reality television shows when the stars answer questions or provide additional commentary? The background is always the same: the furniture comfy but perfect; the decorations trendy yet not distracting. The secret is that those areas aren’t just a quiet corner in the homes of the reality TV stars. They are actually staged sets created specifically for the purpose of shooting that footage.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you do away with your children’s playroom so that you have space to create a vlogging set, but I do suggest that it’s a good idea to designate one area of your home or office where you typically film your videos. Take the time to look at the following before you decide to film
- Lighting: Are you in good, natural light? If not, can you bring in additional light without too much hassle?
- Sound: Life doesn’t stop while you vlog. Be sure not to choose a location too close to noisemakers such as the dishwasher or laundry room.
- Decor: Before clicking Record, look behind you and to the sides to see what your viewers will also see. Although it’s nice to think that they’ll be looking only at you as they hang on your every word, the truth is that they may be zooming in to figure out where you are in that family vacation photo over your right shoulder.
Step 6: Choose a vlogging platform
There are many platforms where you can build your identity and showcase your talent. It can be overwhelming to choose the right online platform with so many options available today.
We’ve rounded up the best vlogging platforms to help you succeed as a vlogger. Let’s take a look.
By far and away, the most popular video platform is YouTube. In fact, YouTube claims to have 1 billion+ active users each month, with 300 hours of video uploaded every minute. Creating your own YouTube vlogging channel — which is free and relatively simple — allows you to tap into an existing audience that is simply mindblowing.
Unfortunately, with the vast amount of content uploaded every second of the day, it may be tough for your content to grab the attention of that audience.
Even if you don’t choose to create and promote a vlogging channel on YouTube, you may want to upload your content to that platform for a couple of reasons:
- File size: Uploading your content to YouTube rather than to your blog directly helps you clear the file size hurdle on most blog platforms.
- Ease: Most blog platforms provide you with an option to upload video content directly from YouTube.
- Organization: Perhaps you’d like to just occasionally upload a vlog post to your current site. By uploading them to YouTube first, you’ve also created a place that holds all your video content in one easy-to-find location.
A social media platform that allows users to share photos and videos, Instagram has rapidly gained popularity as a large userbase with around a billion users. In addition, Instagram Reels and Instagram Video have added video to the platform.
You can vlog about your daily routine, travels, and more with Instagram Video. You can upload short clips of your vlog to Instagram Reels to catch your audience’s attention, as short videos are trending in the digital age. In addition, Instagram Live and Stories will allow you to build stronger relationships with your followers.
Using Instagram’s powerful advertising options, you can promote your vlogs and reach the right audience through hashtags.
A great way to find a viewing audience is to create your content on one of the most popular online platforms — Facebook! Facebook videos autoplay in newsfeeds, grabbing the attention of viewers. Platform options include playlist creation, des- ignation of featured videos, and the option to include a call-to-action at the end of the video.
Using TikTok, you can create quick and engaging vlogs with short videos that last 15 seconds to 3 minutes. With video, you can play around with filters, add soundtracks, and use cool effects.
Vimeo is another highly popular video platform that has less of the junk content than you’ll find on YouTube. Ideally, this means that your con- tent has a higher probability of being viewed and a smaller chance of receiving the kind of inappropriate feedback that users sometimes experience on YouTube.
One of the most popular streaming platforms and a favorite with beginners, Twitch is visited by more than 15 million people every day. The platform’s commitment to live-streaming has a lot to offer vloggers.
Live-streaming lets-plays have always been a popular feature of Twitch. The introduction of the IRL category opens up other niches for the platform. On Twitch, IRL includes content besides gaming streams such as art creation, reaction videos, and GRWM (get ready with me) streams.
You can also do Q&A’s in the live chat, thank your audience for donations, and welcome new subscribers.
Step 7: Define your content
It’s important to establish guidelines from the very beginning of your channel in order to maintain a uniform appearance. Subscribers will be able to see exactly what to expect when subscribing to your channel, both in terms of content and style.
Decide whether you will improvise or script your content. There are some vloggers who simply set up the camera and start talking while others create detailed shot lists in advance.
Once you choose your vlogging style, you can estimate how much time it will take to create a video and set a regular posting schedule. You should aim to make a new video at least once a week as a rule of thumb.
Step 8: Edit your videos
Certainly, many vlogs are filmed on the go and posted to the Internet with no editing whatsoever — and that is absolutely okay! But should you wish to polish your content before putting it out there, tons of tools are available to you to do so.
Start by checking out the computer you already own. Your computer might have come with a program such as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. These types of video editing programs are typically incredibly user-friendly, with drag-and-drop features and even the ability to upload directly to YouTube.
These standard editing programs also feature some nonstandard tools, such as ones that give you the ability to share directly to social media and add an underlying soundtrack. With just a bit of time and practice, your vlogs can feature captions, credits, and more!
As you begin to play around with video editing for your blog, keep these things in mind:
- Focus on audio over video if forced to choose.
- Don’t go overboard with special features such as transitions.
- Keep your video length to an easily consumable period of time.
- Know how you want your video to look and sound before you begin the editing process.
Step 9: Optimize your content for SEO
Your next step as a vlogger is to ensure that people are able to actually see your content once it is published on the internet. To accomplish this, you must learn how to do proper SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is one way to improve the content of web pages so that they are more visible on search engines.
Despite the fact that SEO practices are common knowledge by now, many are still unaware of the significance of video SEO. Make sure to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to proper keyword research and metadata practices.
Step 10: Track your performance
No matter how many people view your vlogs, your work isn’t over just because they’re out there. Identify areas that can be improved as they perform over time. Be attentive to viewers’ comments and ask for constructive criticism on your other platforms.
Learning how to vlog is ultimately about learning from your experiences and constantly working to improve your work, both in front of and behind the camera.
Step 11: Work with others
After you’ve created your brand and published a few vlogs, start building relationships with other creators. Make genuine connections with other vloggers in your field before offering partnership opportunities.
In this case, friendships are more important than business for two reasons. You’ll eventually be able to create content that is much more interesting and enjoyable to watch. Furthermore, it is much better to be regarded as interesting than as a money-grubber in the long run.