It’s pretty clear at this point that if video isn’t already playing a significant role in your overall content strategy, you’ve fallen behind. While you may not necessarily want to dabble in every possible platform that supports video, from Instagram’s IGTV to Facebook Live, you should include video as part of your overall branding and engagement.
And particularly if you’re already a blogger, becoming a vlogger is a natural extension for your audience to get to know you better. Even though I have been on YouTube for well over 10 years, it’s really only in the last year or two that I’ve been posting on a regular schedule. The weekly vlog is the driving force behind that and it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable, learning experience. Here’s what I’ve enjoyed the most.
1. The Idea Generation
For better or for worse, I’m the kind of person who can’t stop thinking. I even think about thinking. And as I lie awake in my bed trying to fall asleep, I can’t help but think that I may be thinking too much about thinking. I think. The vlog provides a channel (no pun intended) where I can direct this kind of energy, coming up with new ideas for new videos, as well as new, creative shots that I’d like to implement in my videos.
This goes beyond the actual topics or subject matter of the vlogs too, because I’ve started to dive into different filmmaking techniques and strategies, for instance. Very early on, I learned about the “whip pan” and I used that in a couple of vlogs. I’ve played with fun transitions like the standard vlogger “smash your hand into the lens” trick.
This is all a lot of fun and many of these ideas could not have been explored in the text-based format of a traditional blog.
2. The Sense of Community
It’s true that there is a certain community among bloggers, particularly those who cover the same niche. It’s also true that being a “vlogger” or a “YouTuber” automatically helps you forge common ground with other “vloggers” and “YouTubers” too.
Just as I would have never met John Chow and I may not have gotten to this point in my career had I not started blogging in 2006 (even though I’d been writing online since 1999), I would not have met several other great individuals had I not decided to start vlogging in late 2016. We rally together to support one another, because we recognize that we are not competing against one another.
3. The Creative Editing Process
This might come as a shock to those of you who have never done video before, and it might be even more shocking if you’ve found yourself knee-deep in a late night video editing session. Get this. I actually enjoy editing the videos. This feeds back into my insatiable appetite for creativity, because I’m always discovering new and fun techniques to explore.
I enjoy digging into the details and utilize techniques like J-cuts and L-cuts to add a whole new dynamic to my vlogs. I like looking for the right b-roll to use, or the right music to play in the background, and deciding exactly when I want a certain part of that audio clip to cut into the next scene or where I want it to fade it.
There is great enjoyment to be derived when you achieve a sense of flow in your work and editing vlogs allows me to get into that kind of groove.
4. The Instant Validation
Even though I’ve authored two books at this point and co-authored one more with John Chow, I think I still prefer blogging over writing a book. Part of that has to do with format, probably, but it’s also about that sense of instant gratification. When you publish a blog post, it’s immediately “out there” for the world to read, comment on, and share.
A vlog works in much the same way. You put it “out there” on YouTube and you immediately see those numbers and views and reactions start coming in. This instant “hit” can be wildly addictive and that’s a big part of why I’ve been able to keep up the vlog for as long as I have.
5. The Gear Shopping
I know. I know I’ve said that you should start with whatever gear you already have. You can get started for $200 or less and have a perfectly adequate setup, but what you’ll soon find out with vlogging is that it can become a bottomless pit of possibilities. And yes, that includes all the gear you can pick up along the way.
At one point, I was still using a Flip MinoHD before I “upgraded” to a $100 Canon point-and-shoot. While my kit is nowhere near as fancy or as expensive as other vloggers, I have moved on to using a Panasonic micro four-thirds camera with a wide-aperture lens, a Rode microphone, multiple tripods, multiple lights, and a slew of other smaller accessories too.
I don’t normally like shopping, but I do really like looking for new stuff that might make my vlogs better. Call it a guilty pleasure if you must.
Do you vlog regularly? Why or why not?