Vlogging has become the new normal, and everyone is a part of it. Gen Z’s are doing it, Millennials are doing it, moms are doing it, and industry experts have embraced it. Vlogging has shaped into a sub-culture on the internet that showcases lifestyles and hobbies from the personal view of a vlogger, and it’s never been more popular. Over the past 5 years, according to the Google Trends report, vlogging has recently peaked in popularity on YouTube in Canada.
With its popularity heightened by the pandemic from people spending more time online and indoors, this personal viewing experience creates an intimate connection between the vlogger and the audience, connecting over topics and sharing passions in the form of video content.
Recently, Wolfe Street Studios (the video and photography division of adHOME) has published a few vlogs, sharing valuable industry tips, insights, and lessons learned from a growing 17 year-career as a creative in photography and videography. In preparation for recording and releasing these vlogs, adHOME’s Director of Video and Production, Michael, shares his notes on the basics of vlogging.
What is a vlog?
A vlog is short form video content that document’s a person’s life or expertise. Vlogs are created to connect with an audience through shared ideas, experiences, and hobbies. What makes a vlog isn’t the content, it’s the person in-front (or sometimes behind) the camera. For example, a cooking vlog focuses on the creator’s experience or thoughts while creating dishes, while a cooking show would focus more on the subject, from an objective point of view.
How to start vlogging
Defining the content
The very first step to starting a vlog is defining the type of content you would like to create. Having a crystal clear idea of what that content will look like will make it easier for viewers to understand what to expect from your videos, while also making it more likely for the relevant viewers to follow and subscribe to your content.
Establishing guidelines is a great strategy to help define content, as it will allow viewers a consistent experience over time as well as creating a unique style. Some vloggers prefer scripted content, others prefer brief talking points instead. Once the content is defined, you’ll be able to assess how long the production process will take, to determine a posting schedule.
What’s equally important to defining your content is ensuring that the content you want to create has an audience for it. To understand the demand for your niche, start by searching the web for that topic and get an idea of how popular it is. Look at website results, video views, and social media engagement. Additionally, you can use the Google Trends reports to get an idea of popularity over time, and popularity by region if that is relevant to the topic.
Finding your fit
Discovering how you fit into the niche you want to talk about is the next big step into becoming a successful vlogger. Depending on how competitive your topic is, it becomes increasingly important to determine and develop your personal brand that is unique in the space. Videos need to be interesting and enticing for your audience to stay involved, and with vlogs focusing primarily on the personality, developing a personal brand is very important. Above all, be genuine, letting your personality shine through will help connect to your audience.
In Michael’s case, his vlog’s value proposition is offering content that comes from extensive knowledge and history in the industry, along with a unique visual style and outstanding quality. After determining how you fit into the industry, it’s important to be able to present that in every vlog and determine that it won’t get old over time.
Building an online presence
Building an online presence is something adHOME is very experienced in, working with our clients in varying industries and verticals. When it comes to vlogging, an online presence is vital since the content can only be consumed digitally. Therefore the vlogs shouldn’t exist on a single platform. When starting out, in order to maximize audience reach, you’ll need to adapt your video content to expand to several networks. When publishing on all social media platforms, you’re maximizing your potential audience reach. Additionally, you’ll gain valuable insights into which platform is best suited for this type of content for you. Some vloggers exclusively published on LinkedIn because that is where they receive the best reach, while others only publish on TikTok because that is where their audience is.
When starting vlogging, it’s best to take a shotgun approach to building an online presence. It’s more involved and will require more time than just one platform, but the insights and exposure you’ll gain from publishing on all platforms will be worth it.
Optimize and track your performance
Putting time and effort to develop the best content possible will have no purpose if people can’t find it, and in order to do so you’ll need to learn how to properly do SEO (search engine optimization.) You can learn more about it from another one of our blog posts, but in short, SEO is vital to the success of any digital property or vlog. Proper keyword research and optimizing your content for SEO can make or break a video’s success, therefore a significant part of the video production process should go towards it.
Now that the vlogs are out there for the world to experience, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate their performance and your approach as a whole. View count is an important metric to consider when evaluating the performance, but it isn’t the only metric that matters. Engagements through comments, shares, or likes are equally important because they can help with the discoverability of the vlog. Therefore having a good understanding of what videos work better than others will help shape and improve the vlogs over time.
For more information on vlogging and other industry insights, we recommend subscribing to the Wolfe Street Studios YouTube Channel, where Michael shares his experience working as a creative in the industry. In his most recent video, Michael outlines valuable tips to staying creative during a pandemic!