Haven’t you heard? Vlogging is the new blogging.
Google’s latest YouTube user stats survey shows that, compared to 2016, there are now 75 percent more YouTube channels with over one million subscribers.
Whether or not you want to become the next big YouTube celebrity or just want to grow your business or brand, video blogging is a lucrative skill you can start learning today–but it’s also one that takes some time to refine.
Follow these steps and learn how to start vlogging today:
1.) Choose your topic and name
Just like when you begin a blog, you need a central topic that you are able to vlog about on a regular basis. As of December 2016, the four top content categories viewed by YouTube users were music, comedy, how-to and entertainment/pop culture. What are you knowledgable about that you can teach to others? What are you passionate about that you can discuss on a daily or weekly basis without boring your audience and yourself? And you need to consider your target audience as well. Think about your perfect viewer—who is he or she? Finally, depending on your topic, you’ll need to find a strong, memorable name that stands out.
2.) Do your homework
Watch other vloggers, even those who aren’t specialized in your chosen topic. Watch the popular ones, and study their setup, their methods, their gestures and expressions. How exactly do they keep their audience amused and coming back for more? Your vlog might be an educational one, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! If you are aiming to create a vlog full of creative tutorials and DIY advice, check out these popular vloggers who are doing exactly that.
3.) Create your setup
Where are you going to record the video? Do you have a tidy, distraction-free background? Do you have bright lighting that creates a clear, professional quality video? Will your setting be free from outside noise while you’re recording? Are you dressed professionally or at least in an appropriate manner?
4.) Get the right equipment
You don’t need to spend a fortune to start your vlog. In fact, you probably already have what it takes: a smartphone with HD video quality or the HD video camera and mic in your laptop.
As Amy Schmittauer, best-selling author and creator of the YouTube show Savvy Sexy Social writes on her blog, “The more content you create, the bigger impact you have. And with your smartphone, you can vlog anywhere.”
If you want to step it up a notch, go for a high quality camera with HD video, a tripod, and an external USB mic. You don’t need to buy special recording or editing software unless you want more intricate videos and have the time to learn how to edit. As you start off on your vlogging journey, you can simply record and upload directly to YouTube, which has its own basic editing features. Of course, becoming a master of editing can make all the difference, like in the massively popular vlog of Casey Neistat, who recently ended his daily vlog (with almost 6 million subscribers) to pursue other opportunities.
If you need to make an outline or write down your thoughts word for word—by all means do it. But don’t read from your notes when you record, or your viewers will be fast asleep in no time. Shoot as many practice takes as you need until you can speak comfortably without glancing at your notes. Have some friends watch your video, and ask for their feedback. It’s essentially about being authentic and relatable to your audience. If you are upfront and honest, if the viewers feel a connection to you, like they would with a good friend—your audience will grow.
6.) Engage the audience
Ever watched a TED Talk from one of your favorite authors and felt rather disappointed by her underwhelming speech? That’s because being a great writer doesn’t necessarily make you a great speaker. In one of her vlogs, Amy points out that “Your personality is going to be a very, very big part of that content. So you need both….Stop compartmentalizing whether you share your personality or just a tutorial. It can be the same.” It may not happen in the first few episodes, but eventually, you’ll find a way of speaking about your topic that will engage the audience because it lets your unique personality shine through and reveals the passion you have for your subject. Matt Day is a photography vlogger, and it’s his authenticity, not a wild and wacky personality, that continues to attract subscribers.
7.) Set a schedule and stick to it
Just as you (hopefully) did with your blog, you need to stick to a consistent publishing schedule for your videos. You can record five in a day if you want, but then make sure to publish one episode every Wednesday or twice a month, or whatever schedule you have established and announced to your viewers so they know when they can expect to get fresh content from you.
8.) Let people know your vlog exists
After all the hard work of putting together your first vlog, it’s time to put on your marketing hat and make sure your episode gets the views it deserves. If you’ve already got your hands in several social media platforms, build up some suspense with your followers by letting them know you’re starting a vlog. You don’t need to give them a specific date if you aren’t sure, but you can drop little video clips or photos to show your progress and stir up excitement. And if you haven’t used social media to market yourself before, now is definitely the time to dive in. Setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts is also a good way to connect with your audience to find out what kind of topics interest them, what kinds of questions they want answered and get general feedback about your vlog. Check out fitness vlogger Casey Ho of Blogilates who has amassed over 1.2 million Facebook followers and 1.4 million Instagram followers.
And when you’re ready for a break from all the serious vlogger research, check out this entertaining vlogger-themed movie Love.com (originally Amor.com) that’s currently showing on Netflix.
For more surefire ways to jump into the world of vlogging, check out the upcoming CreativeLive class on How to Vlog Like a Boss with Amy Schittmacher. Also, be sure to download Amy’s super helpful Vlog Like a Boss Gear Guide which will give you all the tips you need to get started!