The Top 12 Tips to Running a Successful Video Blog

Blogging is one of my favorite ways to drive traffic to your website and engage with your audience.

But for those of you who have been staying up to date about the newest marketing trends, you know that video content has been on the rise.

In fact, experts predict that 80% of the global Internet traffic will be videos by 2019. More than half of marketing executives say that video content is their most profitable ROI.

Blogs that contain videos have triple the amount of inbound links compared to blog posts without videos.

So it’s understandable why you might be interested in starting a video blog.

Based on all of these numbers, it’s no secret that people love to consume video content. But establishing yourself as a prominent video blogger can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before.

There are so many factors to take into consideration.

What kind of equipment should you use? How do you behave in front of the camera? How do you promote your new video blog?

You’re not the only one who has recognized these video trends. Research shows that businesses are planning to add more content distribution channels in the next year.

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Do you see a common pattern in the top three responses? All of these are platforms for video distribution.

So for those of you that need some pointers for launching a new video blog or improving your existing one, you’ve come to the right place.

These are the top 12 tips to keep in mind if you want to run a successful video blog.

1. Invest in a high quality microphone

Audio is one of the most important aspects of your video blog. People need to be able to hear what you’re saying.

Having a quality microphone can help make sure that you’re not wasting any time recording your blog. Sometimes, you’re going to have poor video quality. It happens.

But even if your video sucks, you can always salvage the audio and use that for something like a podcast. Or you can use the audio to voiceover a presentation or something else that’s not live.

Your computer has a microphone built into it, but you can do better. Even some cheap cameras don’t have the best microphones.

If your video blog is something that you want to take seriously and do often, high quality audio needs to be a priority.

So which type of microphone should you get? I’ll be honest with you, I’m not an expert when it comes to this type of equipment. You’ll need to do some research yourself.

But with that said, you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on this investment. You should be able to find what you need for roughly $100 or less.

Just make sure that you’re able to balance your audio levels with the microphone. Test it out each time before you start broadcasting so you don’t waste time recording audio that’s unusable.

Know your environment. Where do you plan on recording the most?

There are certain microphones that are meant for different things, such as being in a large room with echoes, outdoors with high winds, or in areas with crowds and lots of background noise.

So find a microphone that’s suitable for your broadcasts. It’s worth the investment.

2. Make sure you have proper lighting

We’ve all seen videos that look unprofessional. Everything from those low-budget local commercials to your family home videos.

It’s unacceptable for your video blog to look like this. So it’s important for you to understand the concept of a basic three point lighting setup.

lighting

Sure, sometimes you’re going to be filming on the go. So it’s not always reasonable for you to be carrying around an entire studio worth of lights with you.

But if lots of your video blog content is going to be filmed in your home or apartment, you should definitely have these lights set up like the example above.

Lighting can do so much for the quality of your video. These are the three terms that you need to get familiar with.

  • key light
  • fill light
  • back light

Your key light will serve as your primary light. For the most part, it’s placed on the right side of the camera and should be roughly three feet higher than your eye level.

The key light will be the brightest of these three lights. Angle it at a downward angle so it replicates the sun and has a natural lighting effect.

Due to the angle of your key light, there will be a shadow. So you’ll need to a fill light on the opposite side of the camera to eliminate that darkness.

With two lights placed in front of you, you’ll need a back light behind you so that it looks natural. Otherwise, you may have some dark shadows on your shoulders.

The back light should be diffused so it’s the least bright of the trio.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your lights, but you should keep in mind that inexpensive lights won’t last forever. So if you’re in this for the long haul, it may be worth it to invest now and save yourself some money down the road.

Whenever you’re shooting outside of your home or office, you need to position yourself properly with natural lighting resources.

Use the sun to your advantage when you’re filming outdoors. Try to position your camera so the sun would be at the same angle as your key light.

3. Add captions to your videos

Not everyone will be watching your video with volume. So you’ll need to add captions to your content.

You’ll have much higher engagement rates if your video blog has captions. Videos with captions have 40% more views. Furthermore, the chances of a viewer watching your entire video increases by 80% if you make closed captions available.

Are you planning to share your video blog on Facebook? Take a look at these numbers.

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85% of videos on Facebook are watched on mute. So it makes sense that captions can increase the view time by 12%.

Think about all of the different scenarios when someone will be watching your video blog. They might be at work, at school, or in a room full of people that they don’t want to disturb.

Do you watch all videos with the sound on? Probably not. So make sure that you add captions to all of your video blogs.

4. Get yourself a decent camera

Let’s get back to talking about your equipment. In addition to a microphone and lights, you’ll also need to have a reliable camera.

Again, I’m not saying you need to go spend thousands of dollars on this. Just make sure that you take certain factors into consideration before you make a purchase.

Depending on where you are going to be filming, you won’t always have access to a power outlet. So battery life is really important if you’re filming on the go.

You should also consider the size of your storage cards. You’d hate to be in the middle of filming great content and run out of space on the camera.

The physical size of your camera should also be at the top of your priority list. Make sure that it’s small, easy to hold, and convenient to transport.

If you don’t have your camera with you at all times, it’s not the end of the world. You can definitely use your computer or smartphone for some videos.

But if you are really serious about becoming a successful video blogger, carrying a high quality camera with you everywhere you go will give you the opportunity to film great content any time you have some inspiration or see something that’s cool and worth filming.

You should also know the video format that your camera records.

Popular formats include .mov, .avi, .mp4. This is important to know depending on how you plan to edit, export, and share your videos. You want to make sure that the format can easily be converted.

5. Find the right screen capture software

Sometimes you won’t even need a camera to video blog. Well, at least not for all of your posts.

If you want to show your audience how to do things on your computer, you’ll need to be able to record your actions with software like ScreenFlow.

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You’ll have to pay for the software, but it’s worth it if you plan to do any screen recordings on your Mac.

For those of you who are PC users, you can use something like Camtasia instead.

There are other options out there too. But these are my top choices for Mac and PC. So you can use them as a reference point in terms of price and features if you’re shopping around.

6. Be personal and engaging

Part of being a successful video blogger means that you need to have a great personality. So don’t be shy, timid, or boring.

If you’ve got a sense of humor, let it shine.

Remember, this is your video blog. So there aren’t any rules when it comes to the type of content that you’re sharing.

Just be aware that anything you say or do could affect your personal and professional brand. So I’d recommend staying away from controversial topics. But go for it if that’s a risk you’re willing to take.

Mix up your content so it’s engaging. Nobody wants to watch the same thing every day, week, or however often you plan to upload a new video.

7. Give your audience a reason to watch

This relates back to our last tip about engaging with your audience. There are some questions that you need to answer about the direction of your video blog.

What is the point of your video? Are you teaching your audience how to do something? What are your qualifications?

Sure, video blogs can be entertaining, informative, or both. But you need to make sure that your audience has an incentive to watch.

Unless you’ve got one of the best personalities in the world, nobody is going to want to just listen to you talk about your day.

Understand what your audience wants and give it to them.

8. Learn how to edit effectively

You’ll need to know how to edit your videos before you publish and upload them. Just make sure you don’t go crazy with this.

Lots of cuts and edits don’t look professional. If you’ve got a Mac, you can use basic software like iMovie to get the job done.

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It’s great if you’ve got multiple iOS devices that you’ll be recording on.

For windows users, Movie Maker is the equivalent free software.

These tools are necessary because they can help you accomplish basic needs like trimming clips and piecing videos together.

You can adjust the audio and things like that as well. Just don’t go overboard with too many effects or it will look unprofessional.

9. Encourage users to comment

Another way to keep users engaged is by enticing them to comment on your video blogs. This can be easy if you position your videos accordingly.

Ask for their opinions. Try to spark a discussion or a debate.

If you take a stance on a particular subject, say something like, “Well let me know what you guys think in the comments section.”

Respond to comments as well. This is a great way to keep people coming back to your content even when you haven’t uploaded a new video.

If you’re handling this effectively, you could be getting new comments on videos that you uploaded months or even years ago.

10. Host an interview

If you think your content is getting stale or you need to spice it up with something new, bring guests onto your video blog.

Sure, people may love you. But seeing the same face over and over again could get old and boring.

So bring in an expert on a particular subject. Do you have any connections to an athlete, movie star, or some other celebrity? Even if they are a D-list actor, a fresh face can help you build hype for your video blog.

If you don’t have those kinds of connections, just ask your friends. I’m sure you’ve got someone in your circle or in your family who is funny and has a great personality.

It’s all about keeping your content fresh. So don’t think that your video blog needs to be about just you every time.

11. Distribute your content

Once you’ve recorded a video blog, you’ve got to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. YouTube is the best platform for video distribution.

All of my video content starts on my YouTube channel.

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The great thing about YouTube is that you can always repurpose your videos after you add them to your channel.

Post these videos to social media. Add video blog links to your website. Send video content out to your email subscribers.

If you’ve got a written blog as well, you should be writing about your video blogs and embedding links in your content to drive more traffic to your videos.

Again, I’d start with YouTube first. But some video bloggers like to use other distribution channels as well, like blip.tv or Vimeo.

12. Keep recording

You won’t use every piece of film that you record. So don’t be afraid to tape as much content as you can.

That’s why it’s important to have a camera with you as often as possible.

You can always filter through the content later and discard it if it’s not that great. Or save it to your archives and maybe find a way to use a clip for a later broadcast.

But regardless, it’s important that you’re always recording so that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Telling your audience about an experience is one thing, but being able to show them the video to back it up will make your video blog that much better.

Conclusion

With video trends on the rise, it’s a great idea to start a video blog. But with so many other people out there doing the same thing, it can be difficult to separate yourself from the crowd.

Take the tips that I’ve outlined above and apply them to your video blog if you want to be successful.

You need to start off by doing simple things like getting the right equipment and editing software.

After that, it comes down to your personality and marketing ability to get your video content out there for people to see.

Follow these basic concepts and your video blog will rapidly grow in terms of traffic, view time, and engagement.

Which tools, software, and principles have you used to drive more traffic to your video blogs?

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