So you’ve decided to start sharing your wealth of information with the world. You’re determined to position yourself as a thought-leader, dishing out profound and witty insights and accumulating flocks of followers; but when it comes to actually writing, it’s like beating your head against a wall.
That’s where video blogging can become your best friend.
What is video blogging?
Video blogging – vlogging – is essentially taking what would have been a written article, and presenting it as you would to an audience. It’s speaking into a camera and connecting with the world. And it’s flexible; you can use video, images, cartoons, graphics or nothing more than your pretty chatting mug. The trick is to be as clear and compelling as possible with the message you want to get across and then illustrate it with verbal imagery that your audience will connect with and remember.
Who is doing it?
Everyone! From tea-cozy wearing hippy herbalists to tie-toting industry emperors. Vlogging works really well for a range of users.As an entrepreneur, you can use it to bolster awareness of your brand, product or service. You Tube’s advertising model assists exceptionally well with this. Bloggers fit into this category as well, as they are trying to position themselves as experts in their specific fields. Vlogging gives you a platform to work on your personal brand. It can also be a powerful sales tool.
What should I be doing?
Here are some principles and guidelines for getting started:
1. Have a reason.
You need to have a reason for creating your vlog. There needs to be some value that you want your audience to see and take note of. Simply put: you must have something to say and they must get something out of watching you.
Granted, some of the most shared videos have content that is asinine and of no real value to the audience, but that stuff doesn’t build businesses. The real value in the medium lies in sharing great content that is of benefit to your target market, and which will build your brand and entice people to your offering.
2. Prepare your content.
This is the most vital part of your entire YouTube strategy. The look of your channel is important, but the content that you put together is paramount. This is why people are coming to your channel; not to see you but to benefit from your ideas; and it is what will ultimately make them decide to use your services or not.
Here’s where the magic of social media comes into play: If your content is good; really good; your audience is going to want to share it and comment on it. The more thought you put into making it worth sharing, the more successful your vlog will be.
This engagement and sharing is what marketers all over the word are striving towards. Engagement is incredibly important because it allows your audience to give you feedback on, quite literally, what they want. The sharing that goes on among your viewers is important because it replicates your messages, sometimes exponentially.
Always take note of the feedback your target audience gives you, because you need that input to make changes to your offering and improve it.
3. Name your vlog.
The same rules that you would usually use when naming an article, a product or a child still apply here! The name needs to be catchy. Vlad the Impaler lives on in history. Neil the Impaler just wouldn’t have cut it.You should also factor good Search Engine Optimisation methodologies into your name. Simply put, it needs to feature the keywords that your audience would be searching for when looking for what you have to say. For instance, "Ways to make the audience take notice of you," would not be found in a search for "public speaking tips". A better idea would be to name the video: "Public speaking tips to make your audience take notice of you!" Always ask yourself what keywords people would logically search to get to your type of content. You will get the opportunity to add these keywords to it when you load your vlog onto www.youtube.com.
4. Got the look?
Your outfit and the background determine the marketing tone of your vlog. Fortunately, vlogs can be relatively informal. You don’t need a film crew (the camera on your computer will do), and the background can quite acceptably be your study. Just bear in mind that a gym vest, a barking dog and a clock hanging skew won’t serve your brand well. Put some thought into what your target market will ultimately see; it informs their first impression of you.
One simple tip is to turn on the houselights, even during the day, for a rich, well-lit look.
Simply put, remember that there needs to be some syncronisation between the real you and the vlog you. Ultimately, you want these people to meet you in real life; and if there is no sync; trust and repeat business will be thrown out the window.
5. All the usual communication rules apply
Top of the list: You have to be interesting. Sure, a vlog is essentially a way of marketing yourself or your offering, but always put the value up front and the advertising at the end. You should aim to hook interest early (in the first 10 seconds), hold their attention with solid content, outline your ideas with brevity and impact, and then conclude before it gets boring. Your personal energy in the delivery also helps.
Leave them hanging and wanting more; this will start to breed a following for your vlog.
6. Doing your first one
Film it on your PC (or a camera, if you’d like to go a little higher quality). Save it on your computer. Open a YouTube account, and click on ‘Upload.’ Then follow the prompts. When you upload the video, it will give you the opportunity to add ‘tags,’ such as ‘Public Speaking,’ or ‘Leadership,’ or whatever will logically drive viewers in your direction.
You can get fancier with editing equipment if you’d like, but some very successful vlogs are simply an expert talking to an online audience about a topic that interests them.
7. Keep it up!
If vlogging is part of your strategy for being found, then you need to take a long term view. It will work if you keep at it. The more content you have, the more you can be found, and the more likely it is that your videos will have longevity and translate into business.
This means that you might consider dividing your points into a series of vlogs, and rather do ten individual vlogs of one minute each than a single ten minute info dump.
That said, there’s no real time-limit to a vlog (apart from YouTube’s 15 minute maximum for standard channels). If you’re interesting, they’ll keep watching. If you’re not, they won’t. But short, sharp and snappy tends to work most effectively.
The most important part?
Start! Start today. Vlogging is not the kind of thing that takes months of preparation and over-thinking. Search for some vlogs according to keywords that interest you, watch them, and evaluate what you do and do not enjoy. Don’t copy them. But ask yourself what works for you and try it out.
Here is an example of one of our vlogs, on the topic of Positioning Yourself as an Expert:
Remember: positioning yourself as an industry expert is a combination of knowledge, personality and sustained publicity. Keep your quality high. Use your personality to make it engaging. Keep it up!
Now go try it for yourself. Happy vlogging!
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @jingo27 or read his insights into social media marketing at: www.jonathanhouston.co.za. Follow Douglas on Twitter: @Douglaskruger, or see his motivational speeches and skills-development articles at: www.douglaskruger.co.za