Planning your video blog
By Guy Anderson
Whether you have an existing business blog or are starting from scratch, we cover everything you need to know to get started with video blogging, plus download our FREE video service comparison chart
In our Content Kitchen video What is video blogging? we gave an overview of the video blog and how it could benefit your business, plus we offered 3 tips for getting started. In this post we dive much deeper and offer a comprehensive guide to getting your video blog off the ground.
Who is this post for?
You might already have an existing business blog and would like to add a video element to it. Or maybe you want to start a new video blog from scratch. Either way, by reading this post you’ll learn:
- what a video blog is,
- some examples of video blogs,
- the process of creating a video blog,
- two different video blog formats,
- how to choose a video hosting service,
- the equipment and software needed, and
- our top tips on all of the above.
What is a video blog?
So, first things first. A video blog is a series of videos that you create and embed into blog posts as part of your regular blogging.
If you’re not already blogging regularly, read our post Downward facing blog: Do you need to be blogging as a yoga teacher? to find out why you should be!
So, why would you want to start a video blog? Here are 3 strong reasons:
- Video is a great way of building a relationship with your audience because they can both see you and hear your voice.
- It’s also a great way to establish yourself as a subject matter expert.
- The way people engage online is changing fast and video now generates far more interest than text or images alone. Usurv recently surveyed 1,000 UK adults and found consumers are 39% more likely to share an online video than a text article and 56% more likely to ‘like’ it. The survey also found that 59% of people are more likely to watch a video if it has already been shared, commented on or liked by someone they know.
Examples of video blogs
Despite what many might think, video blogging doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. You don’t need lots of clever graphics or animations, and you can easily record your videos on your smartphone. At Wildheart we think iPhones are the best for this.
Here are some examples from our own clients, who are publishing simple yet successful video blogs:
- Yoganatomy Questions: David Keil of Yoganatomy creates video blogs to answer his reader’s questions about yoga anatomy.
- Meetology Minutes: Jonathan Bradshaw of The Meetology Lab publishes a weekly 3-minute video blog sharing science-backed insights into social interaction.
- Wildheart’s Content Kitchen: And of course, here at Wildheart Media we answer your content marketing questions in our 2-minute video blog on the first Friday of each month.
The process of creating a video blog
If you have an existing blog, we’d suggest taking a look at the blog posts you’ve already created and see how you could add video to them. Could you add a video introduction to a particular topic? How about a tutorial guide for something you’ve mentioned in a written post? Or perhaps there’s an important update you’d like to share since a post was first created?
If you’re starting a new video blog you’ll need to decide on your theme or topic. This will differ for every business so think about what your business offers, how you want to position yourself and, most importantly, what will resonate most with your audience. If you need some help coming up with categories for your new blog, check out our video What are blog categories and should I be using them?
Once you’ve established the topics you’re going to cover, you’ll need to follow these steps for each video you post:
- Record your video
- Upload your video to a video hosting service (not your website)
- Create a blog post
- Embed your video in the blog post so that it appears on your website
- Optimise the blog post for search engines so that people can find it
- Repeat on a regular basis
How your blog and videos fit together
Your videos and blog posts should fit together seamlessly. Make sure the title of your video matches the title of your blog post. You should also use the text of your post to expand on the topic – by adding links to other pages on your own site or to useful resources focused on the topic that will be of benefit to your audience.
As always, SEO (search engine optimisation) is important for helping people find your video content. Make sure you fill in the SEO data for every post you publish, including SEO title, description and focus keyword.
Two types of video blogs
To get you started, let’s take a look at two of the main video blog formats.
‘How-to’ video tutorials
This type of video uses a technique called screencasting where you record your voice as well as what you’re doing on your computer. This is a great way to show your audience how to do a particular task, as they can follow your exact movements on the screen.
Check out our Image resizing video to see exactly what we mean.
We create our screencasts using Quicktime, which comes as standard with all Apple laptops and desktops. You could also try Screencast-O-Matic, ScreenFlow (for Mac only) or Apowersoft’s Free Online Screen Recorder.
Pros: This is a super low budget way to get started with your video blog.
Cons: People get to hear your voice but they don’t actually see you.
Bonus tip: You’ll need headphones with a mic to improve the audio quality.
Talking to camera videos
In this type of video you speak directly to camera on the topic of your choice. When making these types of videos you need to remember to:
- make sure you put your audience first by choosing topics your customers are asking about or would benefit from,
- prepare what you’re going to say and stick to your topic or script,
- keep it short and concise – avoid rambling monologues!
- don’t forget to smile 🙂
Pros: Speaking to camera is a great way for your audience to both see and hear you, which helps to build trust and credibility.
Cons: It can be quite time consuming to get a good delivery, as very few people are naturally good behind the camera. Do several takes and choose the best one.
Bonus tip: Be warm, inviting and welcoming. Always watch what you record and take time to improve your delivery.
How to choose a video service
You’ll need to find a video hosting service to upload your videos to, so that you can embed them on your website. Here are 3 of the most popular video services:
YouTube is by far the biggest and most searched social video platform. It’s owned by Google and has a very large audience, However, it’s not considered a very professional platform, so it may not be right for your business.
Vimeo is favoured by filmmakers, animators and other creative professionals, and has a community of creative types. If this sounds like your audience then this platform could be for you.
Wistia’s main use is for on-site videos, i.e. embedding videos on your website, rather than as a social video platform. It’s primarily used by small businesses and startups and has become the go-to platform for promotional videos for many small businesses. This is the video service we use here at Wildheart.
We’ve created a handy comparison table showing the main pros and cons of these 3 platforms. Hit the button below to see the chart.
Video blog kit list
Here’s what you’ll need to actually do your video blogging:
Talk to camera videos
- iPhone: 6 or higher with lots of hard drive space – 64GB is good.
- Tripod: Joby is a good brand.
- Mount: to attach your iPhone to the tripod, e.g. Shoulder Pod S1
- Microphone: we use Sennheiser Lavalier mics – high quality audio is really important.
- Lighting: for a guide to lighting your video on any budget, check out Wistia’s Lighting on the Fly article.
You can shoot your video using the software on your iPhone, but we recommend buying FiLMiC Pro. It’s what we use here at Wildheart and gives you all the features of a professional video camera at a fraction of the cost:
“FiLMiC Pro turns your mobile camera into a broadcast worthy high-definition video camera, enabling you to create stunning video content with unprecedented control and customization.”
If you want to add royalty-free music, animation and graphics to your video, then you’ll need to do some video editing and create some graphics. At the very least you should top and tail your videos with your branding. You can do some simple editing in FilMic Pro, like trimming your video, but it’s touch based which is very fiddly. Depending on your skillset, you may require the skills of a graphic designer for this.
Tip: Even if you have an in-house team or the skills to support extra production, avoid the urge to over-produce your video. Keep it simple and let the content of your video shine. Remember that your videos will take time to build an audience so you need to go the distance. Think in terms of years rather than months.
Some video editing software you could try:
- Final Cut Pro – by Apple
- Movie Maker – free video editor from Microsoft
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC – comes with Adobe Creative Cloud and is quite complicated to set up, so it’s only really practical if you already use Creative Cloud
Over to you
We hope this article has equipped you with everything you need to know to get started with your video blog.
We’ll leave you with our final tips:
- Stay focussed on your themes and topics – remember your blog categories.
- Keep your videos short and sweet – it’s increasingly harder to keep people’s attention online so the quicker and simpler you can get your message across, the better.
- Be consistent – decide on your blogging schedule and stick to it.
- Think positive and remember – you can have a lot of fun with video blogging!
Now it’s time for lights, camera, action!
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