If you’re an aspiring vlogger or YouTuber who wants to get started but you don’t know where to begin, we can help! The following tips will help you understand what equipment you need and what platforms are best for you and your brand.
Which platforms to use?
There are a few different platforms out there that you can upload or host videos on, but ideally, YouTube is the best platform to use if your goal is to be a full-time vlogger.
Even after all of these years, YouTube is still a very large platform that continues to grow and is still seeing success from content creators. Those creators also gain revenue from this platform. It’s an easily accessible platform for both vloggers and viewers because you don’t need an app to watch videos and you can watch from virtually any device: phone, tablet, laptop, or smart TV.
IG TV is still a relatively new concept (especially in comparison to YouTube.) The viewership isn’t as high as what you could get on YouTube, so many vloggers build their content on YouTube and then promote it through IG TV, Instagram Stories, and social media posts.
If you want to brand yourself completely outside of the YouTube platform and separate yourself from other YouTubers, consider uploading your videos to your website. If you choose this route, keep in mind that this will significantly change how people find your videos, the number of views you get, and possibly your revenue. YouTube is an easier platform to brand yourself on, and they often do the promoting for you by recommending your videos to other users. It’s also easier to see your subscribers and viewership through YouTube in order to track who and how many people are watching your videos.
What equipment do you need?
If you plan on using your laptop to record your videos, make sure your laptop has a built-in webcam or invest in a good-quality camera that can record high-resolution footage.
A smartphone is an adequate piece of recording equipment if it can record up to 4K. If you can afford to, we suggest investing in a DSLR recording camera and tripod. (Check out the 7 best vlogging cameras for 2020 for in-depth info.)
For the best microphone, make sure it's compatible with your computer and high quality for recording or doing voiceovers. If you know you’ll be standing or sitting a far distance away from the camera, you’ll need a portable microphone that you can attach to your clothing.
For lighting, it helps to invest in softboxes, which are what professional photographers use. Or a simple ring light will suffice as well.
Recognize your target audience
Now that you know what you need to get started, you need to know who you’ll be reaching and why.
First ask yourself, what is my purpose for vlogging? Are you trying to educate and inform people on a particular topic? Are you trying to demonstrate something and show how-to and DIYs? Are you showing off your life and adventures? Or maybe you’re documenting your travels or a health struggle and you want to take your audience along?
Answering the why will help you to define the who, and help to establish your niche audience.
For example, many YouTubers are self-proclaimed “makeup gurus” who show their audience step-by-step makeup looks, allowing their audience to follow along. While they do their makeup they also tell stories, make jokes, and are just an overall source of entertainment for their viewers. Through this niche of friendly, approachable make-up tutorials they have garnered an audience that comes back to view their content week after week because they know what to expect.
People enjoy watching a variety of activities, so think about what you want to showcase and who your audience might be. It’s important to keep your audience in mind every step of the way because they matter. They are the ones watching your videos.
Outline your videos beforehand
Don’t go crazy on making a script or even sticking to a script; this will make you sound robotic and monotonous. But it is important to have an outline with key talking points to keep you on track when recording your video so you don’t ramble. And don’t worry, you can always edit out the awkward pauses or the parts where you stumble on your words.
Recording: use the right tone when talking
The first 10-15 seconds of your vlog is what counts. This is what is going to lure your viewers in. You don’t have very long to capture their attention and keep it, so make sure you’re upbeat, inviting, and informative right off the bat.
Use the right tone when talking to your audience. Remember, your audience is made up of people just like you. They are not numbers, statistics, or viewers. They’re people who are there to be entertained so talk to them like you would talk to a friend. Be engaging, be friendly, and be enthusiastic about what you have to say. If you’re excited about the topic you are focusing on in the video, they will be, too.
Ask them questions and ask for feedback. Talk to them as if they were really there.
Recording: look at the camera, not the screen
Looking at the screen looks awkward and disjointed so be sure you look at the camera. The camera is truly the lens into your audience. By looking at the lens you’re looking directly at your viewers and making eye contact with them. You can’t see them, but they can see you, and it's crucial you make a good impression.
Cut out meaningless content
After you record, trim down your content and edit out meaningless banter that your audience will not care about. Sometimes it's hard to know what content is worth keeping and what isn’t. It can help to ask your audience directly what they want to see and what they like.
Ask your audience to leave feedback in the comments, as this can help you edit and cut your future videos so that they only include content that your audience is interested in.
Include a call-to-action (CTA)
Whenever you’re creating content for social media always include a call-to-action.
Whether it’s a Livestream, a blog, an Instagram post, an Instagram story, or a vlog, make sure you are giving your audience a place to go next. This CTA gets your audience involved and engaged with you and reminds them about your brand.
That CTA could be asking your audience to subscribe to your channel for future videos, asking them to follow you on other social platforms, asking them to donate, sending them a link to your Patreon membership page, or asking them to get involved with an organization or charity you are a part of.
Always make sure you include links to your other social media platforms in the description of your video as well.
Uploading: YouTube SEO
When uploading to YouTube, be mindful of SEO and tags. These tags will tell YouTube what your video is about so that it can be recommended to viewers based on common interests. This will help your video gain more views and traction.
Interesting thumbnails and titles
Eye-catching video titles and thumbnails will help lure your audience in and lead to new subscribers. While YouTube can automatically select a thumbnail from a screenshot in your video, professional vloggers and YouTubers create their own. Using photo editing software like Canva or Photoshop you can create images, and text with eye-catching colors to entice your audience.
Make sure your video title is interesting, too. Nobody likes clickbait, so remain honest and authentic!
Use YouTube analytics to improve future videos
Through YouTube Creator Studio, you have access to analytics that tell you about your audience gain and retention and also how well your videos are performing. These analytics can tell you exactly how long people watch your video and when they decide to stop watching. This can help you determine what content they want to see and what they don’t want to see, so you can make improvements to your next video.
Promote your vlog to other platforms
Once your video is uploaded, it is time to start promoting! We mentioned some great places that you can promote your vlogs above such as IG TV, and Instagram stories. But you should also make sure you post on the feeds of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, post to any other social media platforms you use like Snapchat or TikTok.
Post a small segment of your new vlog to your stories or feed (about 15-30 seconds long) to provide your followers with a glimpse of what they could be watching if they checked out your entire vlog. If you’re able to, include links to your vlog or channel.
Post consistent, quality content
You won’t gain traction as a vlogger or YouTuber if you don’t post consistently. Don’t rush your content or put out less than your best, but if you don’t post for a month at a time it could hurt your viewership. Try to post consistent, quality content at least once or twice a week.
Making a career out of it
Some vloggers make money doing it. Many of them utilize the AdSense feature on YouTube so that advertisers can show their products and commercials before or during their YouTube videos. YouTubers can’t monetize their channel until they have reached 4,000 watch hours and 1,000 subscribers at which point they can submit their channel for review to partner with Google AdSense.
Another way to make money on YouTube is to partner with companies and act as a sponsor for them. In your videos, you can sponsor their products or services to your audience, much like an influencer collaboration. Through these brand deals, you can generate revenue. You can also make and sell merch of your own brand and set up a Patreon where subscribers pay you for other types of content on a weekly or monthly basis. There are many ways to make money through vlogging but it's crucial to grow your brand and your following first. Many YouTubers don’t make money from this until they’ve reached 1 million subscribers.
What defines your success
Money doesn’t have to be the only means to being a successful vlogger. Content Career wrote, “Becoming a successful vlogger requires that you define what success means to you. If it means making the most money, then you will likely need a large and in-demand audience that advertisers/sponsors will want to market to. However, if becoming a successful vlogger means building an engaged group of people who support your content, then you will need to work on marketing your content to the right audience, fostering a community, and thoughtfully interacting with them.”
We hope this inspires you to get started on your vlogging adventures! Tell us in the comments... what your vlogs will be about and how you’ll be branding your channel?