People aren’t reading as much as they were, as it turns out. According to a study from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans are only reading 19 minutes a day. Contrast this with a recent report showing that people are watching over 1 BILLION hours of YouTube video per day. (I know this isn’t apples to apples, but those numbers are both staggering in their own right.) This is one of two reasons why you should consider adding videoblogging to your content marketing plans.
How to Get Started With Videoblogging: The Strategy
Strategically, this is a marketing effort and should be treated as such. The goal of video blogging is to create media that is more personable and that helps your buyers and prospects connect more with you and your company. In a big company, this means the marketing department owns the creation of these kinds of video assets, but if you don’t create video with the employees that people want to actually learn more from, this won’t go far. If you’re a small or solo business, you’re all the departments anyway.
At Owner Media Group, we categorize videoblogging as “connective media,” meaning it’s media you create to better connect your company and brand to the buyer and prospective buyers. You could make the case that some video blogging efforts would be “solution media,” which is where you offer a solution to a challenge a prospective buyer might face. (Hint: this piece of content you’re reading right now is solution media.)
This is “wide end of the sales funnel” activity. You’re not going for a conversion here. You’re building video assets that earn some attention. That attention earns you the right to sell and serve. Make sense? That’s why you’re doing this strategically.
Get Started with Video Blogging: The Tech
I know. This is what you’re most nervous about. It’s actually the easiest part. And I’ll tell you a secret: Most people start small and cheap, get REALLY expensive at some point, and then retreat to kinda cheap midway through realizing that they over-bought. If you save yourself that middle step, it’ll save you a lot of money and a lot of sadness after the fact.
Start: You can start with your smartphone. There’s a video creation button right there. On an iPhone, it’s inside the Photos app. In your Android phone, it’s in the camera. In both cases, you can find the video button reasonably easy. There you have it. Your first videoblogging tool.
The Camera: When you want to step up even just a notch, you might look for a point and shoot camera that has decent video. My fiance Jacq told me to get the Canon G7X Mark II because it’s what Casey Neistat uses (famous videoblogger). She used it for her VeggieMighty videos and I loved the quality so I got one. (Hers isn’t the Mark II, but she got hers right before the new one came out.)
You can buy something bigger or fancier, but what I like about the G7X is that it’s still small enough to stuff in my pocket, and yet powerful enough to shoot really decent high definition footage. Here’s my first videoblog from my project to show you an example:
Can’t see the video? Click HERE
Pretty good quality, right?
Lights: You will want to consider lighting options. Naturally lighting is best. Because of all my work with webinars and digital courses, I had two of these lights. If I didn’t (and maybe I’ll get one of these later), I’d buy one of these Diva Ring lights. It seems to be what all the cool kids are using.
Sound: For now, I’m using the built in camera’s microphone. If you want to get REALLY clever with sound, you can always get something like a Zoom recorder and then edit in the audio to your video. (I do NOT do this but only because it’s a lot of work and I edit my own stuff. Pros often DO do this. Up to you.)
Editing: I’m on a Mac for right now so I use iMovie, which is easy. I’ll say that Final Cut Pro X is easy enough, too, but costs a bit more. When I bought Final Cut Pro X, I ended up thinking that iMovie did all the stuff I needed and that maybe I over-purchased.
If you’re on a PC, there are lots of choices. I can’t seem to get someone to point to what is the closest to iMovie. They mention Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere Elements, and a few other options.
For mobile video editing, check out We Video. This works really well.
Whatever the case, pick and learn the basics of something. It’s not as hard as you think.
Hosting: I have been experimenting with WHERE to put my video. I can tell you that I shared links to my YouTube video on Twitter and LinkedIn, and got only a few hundred views. I uploaded and posted a new copy of the video directly to Facebook, and it already has over 600 views and counting. You can also choose to host it via some private platform with built-in software on your website (I don’t recommend this, but you CAN), or on another platform like Vimeo and the like.
My experience so far is that two uploads – one to YouTube and one to Facebook, and then sharing links to that video wherever else you want to promote it, is probably good enough.
NOTE: It depends on your strategy and on your prospective buyer and on the subject matter. We’ll cover this a bit more in the content segment coming up.
Storage: A quick note about storage. Video can take up a lot of space on your hard drive. For the 7 minutes of produced video I made above, it took around 4 gigabytes of space for all the related files. I have two recommendations:
1.) Use a file storage and backup solution like Dropbox.
2.) Buy an external hard drive like this one and store your video files there after you do your editing and upload the final product to YouTube and Facebook. ( This is a 2 terabyte hard drive and it’s only $70 USD!)
Okay, so that’s the basics of the tech. REMEMBER: you can really just do this with your phone, WeVideo, and YouTube. Super easy. Don’t get worried about the tech. Use what works best for you.
Let’s go into the content creation tasks.
Get Started With Videoblogging: Content Creation
What should you create? Remember up at the top of this post when I mentioned that the majority of your videoblog efforts should be what we call “connective media?” That means your goal is to connect with the people you’re hoping will buy what you sell. By connect, give people a sense of who you are and how you are, and what you do when you’re not working with them.
If you’re not even a little bit scared of this whole concept, I think you’re not listening. I’m saying, Be YOU on camera!
If you’re in a big company and the marketing department owns videoblogging, I’m not recommending that you shoot lots of videoblogs from the marketers. We all know those aren’t real people. (I’m kidding! No, I’m not.)
Go find the people doing the work. Sit the boss down for some interviews. Get as much footage of the “behind the scenes” as you possibly can. (But always have a process in place to ensure you’re not accidentally videoblogging company secrets or any other materials that might put you in some kind of legal jeopardy. For Buddha’s sake, don’t just run around and shoot video willy nilly in a big place.)
If you’re in a small or solo company? Shoot whatever you think will endear you to people while still being true to your brand and your business. I included all kinds of shots of my messy desks and work tables. Holy cats, with unfolded laundry on them and everything. Was that smart? I don’t know. Except people wrote back and said, “Wow, I’m messy like you!” See? CONNECTIVE. I connected. (Maybe not for the best reasons, but hey!)
But let’s get into it a bit more.
You can start out by hitting record and rambling. It’s okay. It’s pretty much the starting point of every videoblog (including mine). But eventually, story rules. People don’t want to watch you just for the novelty of watching you.
This post by Susan Moeller over at the Content Marketing Institute has some good insights. For instance, she mentions that a post should have the 5 P’s:
- Portray a path for change
- Point towards peak experiences
My take is that if you want to create connective media and solutions media, you want to cover a mix of the following:
- Random behind the scenes daily moments
- Interviews with experts (but very off the cuff and informal interviews)
- Process videos showing how something is made or executed
- Outside-of-work views of professionals people interact with, like showing off hobbies and such
- How-to videos of any kind
- Help that guides your potential buyer to success in any form or fashion
- “Recipes” that involve not just your product but ideas related to the space you serve.
- Origin stories. Everyone loves a “how it came to be” or “the old days” look at a product or service
- Thoughts on the future
- Conversations and round tables with people inside and outside the organization
- “Our Great Customer” interviews where you talk to people about what they’re doing (without pushing too hard about your product)
You could pick any five TYPES of content above and have plenty to cover. Don’t go crazy trying to invent new content ideas. Just work to deliver as much value as you can by creating stories in the spaces covered above.
A Little Secret: One way to get better at videoblogging is to watch more video blogs and see what others are doing and how they’re doing it. Jot down the flow of things. Look at documentaries. Look at interview shows. Start taking notes for how a story is created.
Here’s something to think about when it comes to editing, for instance. Watch how other shows are put together. Pay attention to some of the technical details such as “how often does the video cut from one image to another? In the 1980s, the average number of cuts per minute (switches between images on a screen) was around 30. On average today, it can be as high as 60 cuts a minute (or yes, one per second). And by the way, our eyes and brains have adapted to look for and anticipate (and want) this faster style of video cutting in our viewing. (That’s why you’ll see lots of cuts in the “better” videobloggers’ work.)
Is Videoblogging Just for Business to Consumer Marketing?
No. Business to business is a powerful setting for videoblogs and this kind of content marketing. Look: a white paper can be very helpful and videoblogging isn’t made to REPLACE something like stats sheets and all that. It’s two different things.
Use video blogs to reach and connect with people on a more conversational level, to give people a sense of who you (and the company are) behind the scenes – and with the top button unbuttoned to boot. You know? Not so stuffy.
You can do great work in B2B and B2C and in super small and giant mega companies. The actual value in a videoblog is in reaching and connecting with people that you hope to serve, and giving them a bigger sense of who you are and what you’re about in and around those things that you create for them.
Where Should I Start?
This is the easiest part. Just hit record. Practice being in front of the camera. Practice making little stories. Even if you don’t PUBLISH them until you feel more and more confident.
Take your smartphone out, find the video setting inside the photos/camera app, and hit record. Look at your weird head for a while. Push stop. Push play. Delete it. Do it again.
That’s what we all do. That’s how we all start.
(Until you get ready to be more strategic about it.)
And then, if you want more help? I’m here for you.
Chris Brogan is a business advisor, author, and CEO of Owner Media Group. He’s only recently started building a regular video blog but has been blogging since 1998, podcasting since 2005, and making video of one sort or another since 2006. Learn more at chrisbrogan.com