Want to Be the Next Steven Spielberg in Video Blogging? Here are 12 Things You Need to Start
Unless you’re from a different planet, you already know how much impact a blog can have not only in marketing a business but in pushing an idea or an advocacy. It’s that handy tool anyone can use to influence the right people.
You also know that video content is now being hailed as the king of all content. In fact, 54% of consumers would rather watch a video instead of looking at an image or reading an email.
Experts also predict that by 2019, 80% of the content you see online are in video form.
Now, you may have embedded a few videos here and there on your blog. That’s a great start, knowing how well that could attract more traffic to your pages.
But imagine what kind of impact you can have if you revamp your blog and start delivering it in video form.
Interesting thought, huh?
Well, YouTube alone has over 1.5 billion active monthly users.
Yes, that’s how much reach you can have on this platform alone. What more if you start taking advantage of other available platforms as well?
Of course, this isn’t exactly going to be a walk in the park for you. The written word is still the easier way to deliver a message. But we want successful and impactful, not easy.
What kind of equipment do you need?
Will you be comfortable enough to talk in front of a camera?
How do you promote the video blog?
These are just some of the few questions that will start running through your mind the moment you start considering starting a video blog.
But if it makes you feel any better, you’re not the only one considering taking the leap. In fact, research shows that 48% of marketers are adding YouTube as one of their distribution channels this year, with Facebook Video coming in a close second to the list.
Here are 12 things you need:
12. A Microphone
And not just any microphone – a high-quality one.
Although you might think that amazing video resolution should be on top of your mind, remember that it’s the audio that will be key in delivering the message. No matter how clear the video is, if your audio is fuzzy, no one will understand what you’re trying to say.
Your audio can also be reusable. You could think about converting your audio into a podcast, for example. You can also use your audio as a voiceover for any of your presentations.
Don’t trust the microphone already built into your computer. Not all smartphones and cameras have the best mics, either.
Do some research. You should be ready to shell out anywhere around (or below) $100.
Check reviews online and see which brands professionals use. If your budget isn’t that high, you could always find online recommendations for mics that deliver decent audio without breaking the bank.
You have to consider your environment as well. Some microphones may be awesome when used in an enclosed room but would suck when used outdoors. So when getting recommendations or checking out reviews, you may want to think about where you plan on doing your video blogs.
Make sure you learn how to tweak your audio settings as well. Even if you have the best microphone in the world, if your audio is not balanced, then all your efforts could be put to waste.
Also, don’t forget to test your audio EACH TIME you start a broadcast. Just because it worked well the last time does not always mean it will do the same thing today.
2. Proper Lighting
Your lighting could spell the difference between a low-quality video and a professional-looking one. This is why you have to understand what three-point lighting is important.
The illustration above tells us that you need to focus on having three lights set up – a backlight, a key light and a fill light. With these three lights, you can make sure you and your entire setup will be clear enough to be seen.
Your key light serves as your primary light. But that doesn’t mean it has to be trained directly at your subject. As much as possible, this should be positioned around 45° from the main subject. This brings in some interesting shadows, giving your video more depth.
The fill light lets you cover dark areas around your main subject. You can use this in two ways – brightly so that you can balance your subject’s appearance, or dimly so that you can get that film-noir effect. Place this around 45° opposite your camera, making sure that it is at the same level as your subject’s face.
Your backlight adds even more depth, separating your subject from whatever’s in the background. This should be placed on your subject at a 45° level trained down towards the back of the neck of your subject. Make sure it’s less bright than the other lights, never brighter.
The good news about lights is that you don’t really need to spend a whole lot to get decent lighting.
However, you should also understand that the cheaper your lights are, the quicker their lifespan is.
If you want to make the most out of your investment, might as well go for more expensive but longer-lasting lights.
What if you’re shooting in an area where there’s a lot of natural light?
Well, that only means you have less equipment to set up. Treat the sun as your key light in terms of positioning. This should give you the ideal brightness on video.
But I have audio! Why do I need captions?
While our first advice was for you to invest in achieving the best possible audio, 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. And this number isn’t surprising at all. Remember that this is a mobile generation, and people are consuming content while they’re on the go. Some of your audiences may be at work, or they may be in a room filled with people who cannot be disturbed.
Adding captions to your video ensures that your target audience will get the message clearly even if the video’s on mute. This increases your engagement rate, with 40% of captioned videos receiving more views. There’s also an 80% increase in chances of people watching and finishing your entire video if you have captions.
So just because you love watching videos with audio blaring out from your speakers does not mean you’ll discount the viewing experience of those who do not have this liberty. Adding captions will allow you to invite more people to view your video blog regardless of where they are and what they’re doing.
4. A Camera
When it comes to your camera, remember that it’s not just about the price – it’s more about reliability.
Choosing a camera should be about knowing what conditions you’re shooting in – same conditions as when you’re choosing a microphone or considering what lights to use.
For example, how often do you think you’ll be shooting outdoors?
Outdoor shoots would mean that you may not have access to a power source all the time. So you’ll need a camera with excellent battery life.
Memory would also be an important consideration. Can you imagine running out of space just when you’re at the peak of your content? Make sure you have enough storage space. Always be ready with your memory cards.
If you’re planning to shoot video on the go, you may want to think about the size and weight of your camera. You don’t want to have severe back issues lugging a heavy and bulky camera around.
Think about what the ideal video format is as well. You can have your videos in .mov format, or you could choose between .mp4 or .avi. To help you choose, think about how you want to edit and export your videos. Think about how you want them to be distributed as well.
Of course, some of you may be wondering whether your smartphone or your computer will be okay to use.
For now, that’s fine. Especially if you’re under a strict budget, whatever you have could work. Just make sure you still consider saving up for better equipment somewhere down the road. After all, a real professional needs the right equipment, and you don’t want your video blogs to look like they’re made by an amateur.
5. Screen Capture Software
While having you in the middle of the screen may seem like an ideal setup, sometimes, you’ll find the need to show what’s on your computer screen as well. In cases like these, a screen capture software would be necessary.
When would this software be useful?
These would be great if you plan on demonstrating something on your computer screen. How-to videos are popular online, so you can just imagine how much easier it would be if you can actually show them what’s happening on your screen instead of merely explaining how to do it without the proper visuals.
6. Editing Tools
Don’t worry if you didn’t get it all in one go. Don’t be completely bothered if you feel like it lacks something. That’s what video editing tools are for.
Yes, even the most professional-looking videos you see online have probably been edited in one way or another.
If you’re an Apple user, iMovie could be the best option for you. It allows you to do your work across multiple devices, making the job easier for you. As for Windows users, Movie Maker proves to be a popular choice.
Why is editing important?
For one thing, editing allows you to piece different segments together. You can actually film different sections separately to make it easier to focus on one thing at a time.
Editing also allows you to make improvements in terms of audio and lighting. You can also add a few effects here and there, but not too much that it ends up looking unprofessional.
7. A Call to Action
It can’t be just you doing all the talking. It’s always best to encourage some participation from your audience as well.
Ask them to leave a comment. That’s always the best way to increase engagement.
Even better, don’t just ask them straight up to leave a comment. Ask them a compelling question. This should elicit a few controversial answers, or maybe spark a few friendly debates here and there.
In case you have specific goals, like increasing your social media following, for example, you can also create a CTA focusing on that. Ask them to like your Facebook page, or to follow you on Twitter.
Once your audience starts responding to your CTA, make sure you acknowledge them. Respond to comments and answer any questions that they might leave. Take note that it shouldn’t matter whether their comments agree with your stand on an issue or go against it. Engagement is engagement.
8. Distribution Platforms
YouTube is, hands down, the most popular video distribution platform there is. That’s an obvious choice right there.
YouTube also allows you to, later on, repurpose your videos, so that makes it easier for you if, in the long run, you find the need to do it.
But just because YouTube attracts billions of people every day does not mean it’s everything you need to succeed. Use other platforms as well.
Social media would be another evident step aside from YouTube. You can choose to share your YouTube videos on these social platforms, but it’s also smart to create some native video content as well.
Send links to your videos through email, and post them on your website as well. Grab every possible opportunity to spread the word.
It can’t be just you on the screen all the time. If you really want to make your video blog as informative as possible, you’ll invite people who can add value to your content.
Think about people you can interview. Look for influencers who can vouch for your credibility. Keeping all the attention trained on you will eventually make your audiences feel like it’s not really about them. And in this customer-centric era, content HAS TO BE about your audiences.
You can even consider inviting celebrities if you have the connections. Bring in anything that will make your content feel fresh and exciting every now and then.
10.Character and Attitude
Can you imagine watching some guy talking about video marketing in the same way your high school chemistry teacher would explain the table of elements?
Unless you were lucky enough to have experienced a fun and exciting chemistry class, you’ll know where I’m getting at here. You’ll probably end up snoring in less than a minute.
This is why being a great video blogger doesn’t just mean choosing the right topics or using the latest equipment. It’s also about knowing how to engage with people and showing them the kind of personality that will make them want to sit up and listen.
You can choose to be comical, or you can add some humor to your discussions. Just make sure you’re still thinking about how professional your audience expects you to be. If you’re targeting middle-aged financial executives, for example, you may want to turn the casualness down a notch.
Stay away from content that could hurt your brand or name as well. You have to make sure that you stick to how you want to be seen by your audience.
11. A Purpose
Have you ever watched a movie that’s so confusing and all over the place, you forgot what it’s supposed to be about in the first place?
That’s what happens when you don’t have a firm purpose in creating each video blog.
Before getting started on each segment, think about what your goals are.
Are you trying to get a point across?
Are you hoping to teach your audience something new?
You see, it can’t just be about excitement and entertainment. You need a clear purpose in every video, otherwise, your success will not stick for the long-term.
This makes knowing your audience even more important. Think about what they would probably be most interested in. What kind of questions do they have? You may be able to help give them solutions to some of their pain points. This does not only give you a one-time view, this gives you a solid following.
Last but not the least, you’re going to have to be consistent if you’re serious about making a name as a credible video blogger.
You can’t make this a whenever-I-have-time thing. You have to put this right on top of your priority list, especially if you also want to be your target audience’s priority.
You can post your video once a week, or you can do it once every two weeks. It’s up to you. Just make sure you create a nice schedule or pattern that will tell your audiences when to expect your posts.
Consider yourself warned – it’s not going to be an easy road. The great news is that with all the effort also comes great success. So start investing in the right equipment, start adopting the right attitude, and start getting your message across. Just follow all our tips, and you’ll be on the road to video content stardom in no time.