There’s no question about it: you definitely need a blog for your business. Whether you hire a blogger to write it for you, or take the time to pen the posts yourself, a blog is an indispensable marketing tool for both business to business, and business to consumer companies. But what if you’re not much of a reader yourself, or you prefer to reach people via a different medium? If this is the case, video blogging may be the answer for you.
Video blogging is an influential and powerful method of reaching an audience. Not only this, but is a highly effective way of presenting content and is often shared strongly across social media networks. With this in mind, we’ve created our “Complete Guide to Video Blogging” to help you decide whether video blogging is right for you, and to demonstrate how you can best take advantage of the benefits on offer.
Image courtesy of philipbloom.net/?p=24586.
What is video blogging?
Video blogging, or “vlogging,” as it is sometimes now called, is a method of blogging that’s becoming increasingly popular on the Internet each day. The purpose of video blogging is to create a video that elicits a reaction or response from your online audience and also gives your audience the ability to get that little bit closer to you through visual aid. In many cases, a video blog is created and posted once per week in order to create a continuous series. In this method, video blogging fits right into a schema that most of us already have: the idea of a short weekly sitcom. Some of today’s most popular video blogs include Charlieissocoollike, Wheezy Waiter, and Internet Killed Television. Companies that successfully use video blogging as part of their marketing campaigns include Stonyfield Farms and Southwest Airlines and offer some fantastic insight into how to build an audience when starting out.
Below we’ve provided an example of a video blog entry provided by Stonyfield Farms:
What tools do I need to be a video blogger? 6 essential tools.
- Camera – Of course the most essential tool for a video blogger is a camera. Some video bloggers create their posts using nothing more than a basic web camera. However for higher production quality, you may want to invest in a video camera or higher quality digital camera or custom web blogging tool. Some of these cameras are only about the size of an iPhone but will allow you to record high definition video, and easily upload your video using a built-in USB which are highly convenient. If you really want to get serious about capturing pristine footage and producing high-quality videos, you can choose to invest in a digital SLR camera which can take both stills and motion picture. This type of camera will allow you to create video blogs with very high sound and picture quality and is the choice of many digital professionals these days.
- Tri-pod – Depending on what type of camera you select, you should also opt for fitting a tri-pod to camera. You’ll need something sturdy and portable. Shaky videos are only good if you want your blog to look like “The Blair Witch Project”. Tripods are one of the best investments you’ll make as a video blogger.
- Lighting and a backdrop – Before you begin video blogging, consider what’s going to show up in your video. If you want to give people a glimpse of your business, then a video blog with your office (and ideally your branding) in the background will work well. Selecting the right backdrop and setting for your video can really enhance your brand and reinforce your message. For example, Stonyfield Farms’ videos feature natural lighting and outdoor interviews with the company’s co-founder, Gary Hirshberg, against a backdrop of leafy green trees and sunlight. This enhances their wholesome, organic and healthy brand ensuring the customers receive the same feel they would via the print and web marketing.If you want to create a virtual or “interactive” background, you’ll need what is called a chroma key background. Shooting your video against a chroma key background will allow you to add in photos, videos, or images at a later date. It’s somewhat similar to the way a greenscreen works for a meteorologist. Chroma key backdrops are green or blue, because these are the colors that contrast best with human skin tones, and can be purchased online at camera supply stores. Alternately, you can also purchase chroma key paint, and use it to paint one wall, or a polystyrene sheet that can be leaned up against a wall.
- Microphone – Digital and web cameras have microphones on them. But if you want to be able to record your voice clearly, without any of the sounds around you interfering, you’ll need a lapel microphone. Lapel microphones are an excellent way to record great sound and are not too intrusive so the audience won’t be paying attention to them (especially if you wear a dark color).
- Video editing software – If you want your video blogs to appear polished and professional, you’ll need to make use of some video editing software. Popular video editing programs for bloggers include Windows Movie Maker and Adobe Premiere (for Windows users), and Final Cut Pro (for Mac users). These programs offer a range of basic to advance video editing technologies and allow both editing of sound and video footage on the timeline.
- Hosting site – Once you’ve completed your video blog, you’ll need to upload it to a hosting site in order to share it with your audience. Many video bloggers choose YouTube simply because this site’s audience is so massive; over 800 million unique visitors come to YouTube each month. Other popular hosting sites include MetaCafe and Vimeo. All three of these sites allow users to upload their videos, then embed them in their website. The other reason video bloggers upload their videos to these sites is to avoid nasty bandwidth charges. Because the video content (which is generally large in size) is hosted externally, the cost of traffic is not charged to your hosting account nor stored on your hosting which does not eat into your allotted monthly limits if you’re using a professional web host.
What are the advantages of video? 5 advantages to video blogging.
Today, the popularity of social media marketing is a video bloggers best friend. All it takes is a few clicks for a video to go viral, so the amount of exposure that a video blog is capable of receiving is huge. Recent research has shown that compared to written content, videos are more frequently shared. Simply put, people enjoy watching videos. Plus, there are 5 additional distinct advantages to running a regular video blog.
- Videos lend themselves to spontaneity – Once you get used to working with your equipment, videos can be fast, fun, and easy to create. If writing is not your strength, you may find yourself ruminating over the proper way to formulate a text blog post. With a video blog post, you don’t even necessarily need a written script. If it feels natural to you to jot down an idea and some notes, then take them and run with it. Trial that. Video blogging can be less formal and very effective if you maintain a connection with your audience.
- Your viewers can put a face to the company name – It’s easy to read a blog post and not get a really good idea of who’s written it. Video blogs take away the mystique. They immediately allow viewers to put a face with a company’s name. This can help your company seem more human and relatable, which can also help you to create an enhanced rapport with your customers and foster a relationship of trust as well.
- Video blogs offer an interactive element – Video has the ability to be powerfully persuasive. How many times have you heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Because video blogs are interactive, they can help your prospective customers to feel connected and invested, therefore helping to increase your conversion rate.
- You can show instead of telling – As an editor and a former high school English teacher, something that I’ve told writers countless times is, “show me, don’t tell me.” With the written word, this can be difficult to do. However, with video, you show! Video blogs are an excellent venue for how-to and tutorial blogs. They are also great tools for introducing a new product or service, since video blogging allows you to actually show how the product is used. Because video allows you to be demonstrative you can really outline the key points of a product or service and is also why infomercials on televisions are so successful.
- Video blogs can help you to stand out – If you’re looking for something to make your company stand out from the competition, a video blog may be your answer. Video automatically allows your company to appear more transparent, which again, allows you to establish rapport with a customer. Even something that may seem mundane to you can offer a prospective customer a glimpse into you, your values, and how you run your business. Remember, that in business, trust and relationships is everything, and video blogging is a great way to build both.
What types of things should I keep in mind when I begin to video blog? 5 tips for your video blog.
There aren’t a whole lot of specific rules when it comes to video blogging, so try out different ideas and see what generates the best response from your viewers. However I’ve found these 5 tips to be very useful and effective when putting together an online video.
- To start with, if you’re having trouble thinking of content ideas for your video blog, watch some videos online and take notes about what you think works and doesn’t work. What format and length is most appealing to you? Do you prefer a humorous tone or a serious one? Maybe a little of both? Some popular video blog topics today include:
- Food and wine
- Art and design
- Lifestyle (mom blogs, fitness blogs, etc.)
- Social change
- Crafts and hobbies
If you already have a niche topic, look at presentation styles and try to conceive the best way to present your content to your audience so they are likely to share that content and stay engaged.
- Even if you’ve never created a video before, don’t be nervous about getting started. New people are creating both written blogs and video blogs every single day. A video blog may make you feel more vulnerable, because you’re showing your face to the world. But showing your face creates a level of transparency, which is good for any business.
- Don’t get too self-involved. Remember, the point of a video blog is not just to talk about yourself, but to elicit a reaction or response from your online audience. So ask yourself: why is this information relevant to my audience? Why should it matter to them, and how can they use it? What will my viewer gain from watching this video?
- Before you create and post your first video blog, practice in front of the camera a couple times then watch the video and critique yourself and the image you’ve projected. If you wish to create intimacy, frame the shot up close. If you wish to appear confident, make sure to sit up straight and give yourself room to gesture with your hands a bit. Try to make eye contact and avoid saying “umm.” Smile.
- Lastly, all the same rules for written blogs apply for video blogs: keep them focused, create content that is valuable and applicable to your audience, and ensure the start of your video blog captures your audiences’ interest. Try to publish posts on a regular schedule also. All of these rules will help you to build a faithful audience, and to achieve great success with your video blog.