How to Start a Vlog
With YouTubers making money hand-over-fist simply by recording the everyday activities of their lives, many people are starting to wonder how to start a vlog. Starting video blogs, or vlogs, isn’t necessarily difficult, but creating content that’s worth watching can be a bit tricky. If you’re wondering how to make a vlog, there are a few basic steps to take which you can learn in this step-by-step guide. Chief among them is thinking carefully about how to make a good video blog that will earn a following.
Step 1. Pick a Content Strategy
Before you get started, you’ll want to know how to vlog or create any other kind of video content you might be interested in making. Technically speaking, a vlog is a video blog or a video diary of one’s everyday activities. Popular YouTube stars will often make other kinds of video content and then make vlogs as a side project, filming themselves doing everything from waking up in the morning to walking into grocery stores and sipping a cup of coffee. Their main focus is often on a specific type of video content, whether it’s makeup tutorials, clothing hauls, tech unboxings, cooking how-tos, science experiments, pranks, and stunts.
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If you want to become a successful video content producer by using quality editing software, you’ll probably need to branch out beyond the vlog itself. There are some exceptions—for example, if you have an interesting or photogenic hobby, good editing skills, a high-quality camera and a sense of what people might want to watch, you could make a channel based almost entirely on vlogs without introducing other types of content. However, if your everyday life isn’t that unusual or compelling to the average viewer, you’ll want to create other types of content before you simply start filming yourself moving around your life. The exception to this, of course, is if you’re blogging for your own enjoyment alone and you aren’t worried about getting followers and making money. If the goal is to generate some income, though, you’ll want focus on a content niche.
Determine your niche by thinking about what you’re good at and what really interests you. Some of the best YouTube channels are run by people who are truly passionate about what they’re filming, whether that’s social critique, film analysis, or comedy skits. You can start by thinking of a general subject area and then branch out to consider the format you want to follow. Watch some successful YouTubers and see how they manage to make vlogging into a career. As you figure out how to start a video blog that reflects your own interests, it’s OK to follow someone else’s lead for a while. You’ll want to make your own mark and do something unique eventually, but your earliest videos don’t have to be excellent. You just need to start experimenting and see what feels right.
Step 2. Invest in Equipment and Learn the Tech Basics.
Before you can start experimenting, though, you’ll need to get the right equipment, and as you figure out your content strategy, you’ll need to learn how to use that equipment. It seems like YouTube stars have it made with a super easy job and that’s true in many ways. However, most of these people have developed skills over the years and succeed because they know the technical ins and outs of how to make a vlog. They know what equipment to use, how to film themselves in an appealing way and how to cut all their raw footage together to be compelling and engaging. They aren’t just picking up a camera and filming themselves at random. There’s plenty of this content out there and it rightfully doesn’t get a lot of traffic.
Vloggers usually have a high-quality digital camera or another high-end video recording device plus tripods (both portable and studio style), microphones, and light kits. Some vloggers use muffs for their microphones and invest in other equipment that helps refine and perfect the quality of their audio and visual output. Others purchase video drones to add a sense of drama and majesty to their videos. Quality really is key and, ultimately, excellent content needs to be presented in the right way. Fair or not, the way your vlogs look count.
Don’t let a lack of funds stop you from starting a vlog, though. Just understand that you might not find major success until you can polish up the visuals and sound used in your videos. You can also get clever and make the most of the equipment you have by experimenting and creating a lighting and sound setup with what you have on hand. As you get more successful, you can use the money you generate to reinvest in better equipment to improve your video quality.
Step 3. Web Presence and Branding
Learning how to make a video blog isn’t the only step in the process if you’re trying to gain some followers and make some money. Views alone don’t cut it. It’s not clear exactly how much money YouTubers make from viewers alone, but it’s usually not as much as you think. Some YouTubers make as little as $10 per 1,000 views and YouTube has recently changed its Partner Program to exclude channels with fewer than 10,000 views. So, you’ll actually need to attract a fair amount of attention before you can make any money at all.
That means branding yourself and setting up a strong web presence to draw attention to your vlog and drive traffic to your videos. You’ll want to be smart with YouTube’s search algorithm as well, titling your videos wisely and using appealing thumbnails that will attract attention. But if you have no presence on social media, you probably aren’t going to get very far as a vlogger. Building up a following on Twitter and Instagram will make it much easier to drive traffic to your videos than relying on YouTube searches and recommendations alone.
It’s also important to set up a website with some sort of content to support your videos. Some vloggers also have a vlog on their websites. However, most vloggers tend to keep their content restricted to social media, but your strategy should vary depending on the target audience age group you’re going for. Overall, though, most vloggers have a website to sell merchandise only. Merch and brand deals tend to be the most lucrative ways for vloggers to make money rather than views alone.