Video blogging is a fantastic way to add a little extra personality to your blog and offer visitors deeper insight into your business. It can, however, be a daunting prospect! We’ve put together a few helpful tips and some links to other excellent sources of information on video blogs (vlogs), to help you on your way to video blogging success.
1. Source your talent
Just as movie stars are integral to the film industry, your video will depend on your onscreen talent. Your quest for success starts by finding someone within your business who is comfortable in front of the camera.
Be prepared to look beyond your CEO, marketing team or PR department. Further investigation might reveal a secretary with hidden stage presence, who could actually be far better at reflecting the online face of your business.
2. Research your topic
Whether you’re intending to deliver the video blog yourself or are preparing a script for another member of your team, be sure to thoroughly research your topic. Give any onscreen stars ample time to familiarise themselves with the subject matter too.
This will ensure your video blog flows naturally and will reduce the need for a full (and often staid) script. Instead, you can just refer to prompt sheets, to keep your mind on track and prevent those embarrassing blank moments.
3. Set style and tone
Are you going for a formal presentation, or something a little more light-hearted? Are you striving for an upbeat sales pitch? Or trying to instill a more reflective, considered response in your audience? You will need to consider these points from the outset, when pulling together potential ideas and dialogue for your video blog.
Don’t be afraid to try something new – your video blog doesn’t necessarily need to be you talking to a camera – you could interview customers, create a sketch show or talk show, walk around your business talking to your team or, as this video from Philips International shows, you can get your team involved in something a little more fun!
4. Add structure
Having thought about your tone, you need to structure your video blog – with a clear introduction, delivery of the story and/or key messages, a summary and recap of key points and, finally, any call-to-action. Your structure doesn’t need to be set in stone, just something to ensure that, by the end of the video, you have informed, entertained, delivered your message and encouraged your desired response in your audience.
Try to keep your video length short, covering only one key message. People often skim read written blogs and can be equally impatient when it comes to viewing videos. It is far better to create a short series of video blogs rather than one epic movie which, in reality, most viewers will merely skip through.
5. Location, location
The choice of location is absolutely vital. It needs to reflect your business and enhance video itself. Under no circumstances should it detract, or distract, from the video blog. Avoid untidy backgrounds, they don’t give a very good impression – the audience doesn’t need to see you ‘warts and all’. Professional but not overly formal usually works well.
You’re looking for somewhere that doesn’t distract the viewer and won’t distract you when you’re recording the video either. Good lighting is important too. And avoid anywhere with background music or noise as these will interfere with your presentation, could incur copyright issues, and will also make editing difficult later on. Always make sure you have permission to film on your chosen site, from the location owner.
6. Setting up
You don’t necessarily need to invest in expensive filming equipment. Whatever you opt for, just make sure it is working and is positioned correctly. Think about your own position too. Most television interviewees are positioned slightly off-centre of the screen, facing towards the centre of the screen, usually with their head and upper body in view.
Also consider whether you intend to talk to the camera, or slightly off-screen. It is worth doing a few takes of each, to see which style you prefer.
7. And ACTION!
Even Hollywood stars require a few takes, so be prepared to have a few run-throughs before you perfect your video blog. Whether you need to present flawlessly throughout will depend on whether you intend to edit the footage afterwards. If you do have editing software, it’s worth running through the video blog a few times, from different camera angles and distances. If you’re going for a one-shot take, allow plenty of time and patience.
Stay calm …and breath slowly between takes and during filming. If you’re filming yourself, you can actually become more tense than if you can laugh-off your mistakes with a colleague. In this situation, try to imagine a friend behind the camera and reassure yourself that the one advantage of filming yourself is that nobody will see the outtakes!
8. Cutting room floor
When you’ve finished, download your footage, save an ‘original’ version and then create a copy to play with. Although you can upload your video straight to YouTube or your blog, there is lots of great editing software out there – some of which is free.
So if you’ve got time, why not get creative and add effects, music and text to your video?
9. Post and share
You can post your finished video directly on your blog or upload it to another site, such as YouTube, and post a link to the video on your blog. Either way, be sure to share, discuss and promote your video wherever possible.
Don’t be afraid of your critics; there may well be some – even blockbuster movies can be torn apart by film critics – but you can use all the debate about your video as a chance to reach out and connect with your audience.