I was asked by Chuck on Google+ if I had any advice for starting a vlog for those who are slow to get started. And it turns out that I do. If you’re thinking about making a vlog (or any other type of video). Here’s my advice. I hope it’s helpful for you.
I found this video to be a great motivator for me. He really nails on the head what I think a lot of people go through (if not everybody) as beginners.
Do it because you enjoy/want to do it. If it feels like a job, or you’re making something for an “audience”. It’s just not worth it. I know I talk to an “audience” a bit in my videos, but I really do enjoy watching what I’ve made myself (as well as making them)
Just do it. Take out your camera and start filming. Once you’ve got some film, find a video editor that matches your price range, and cut it together. There’s lots of them out there and they range from free to bloody expensive. Expensive doesn’t mean better either. Just try and find one that works for you. I use Final Cut Pro X, and though I know a LOT of people hate it, but it works well for me. You’ll learn as you go, and find what does and doesn’t work well for you. But your first video will not likely never be “perfect”, and the best way to find out what to do is to start doing it. I found originally that setting myself to a set schedule helped force me to put content out. It forced me to consider them “good enough”, and then move on to the next thing. I’m putting out less content now, and putting more time into each one, but I also have a personal goal of “once a month” so that I don’t end up putting it off indefinitely.
Find someone who can give you brutally honest feedback. The people who you know (friends and/or family) are likely the people who are going to watch your videos first. They’ll say things like “that’s good” or “I really like this”, but they will rarely have the heart to tell you the things that they don’t like for fear of sounding nitpicky or negative. The single biggest factor for me improving my videos was finding a friend who was able to tell me everything they didn’t like about my videos. It can be hard to hear, especially after you’ve put a lot of effort into them, but they’re often right. And if that person thinks it, you know that people who watch your videos that don’t know you will probably think it as well, but rather than tell you, they’ll just leave quietly.
Be flexible. Start with an idea, but don’t let that idea keep you from growing or changing. I started by challenging a friend to do weekly videos. Now I make nerdy crafts. It evolves, and I hope over time will continue to evolve. I like to try new things to see if they work. If they do, great. If they don’t, let them go. As long as you’re happy with what you’re making, that’s all that matters.
Read as much as you can. Read everything from “how-to” articles online to marketing books. Nalts has an interesting one about viral marketing, and what that really means on YouTube. It’s a bit dated, but a good read none the less. Making the video is half the battle. Getting people to actually want to watch them is the other half, and there’s no “easy” way to do that.
If you haven’t done so already, I’d highly recommend watching the vlogbrothers vlogs. The final motivator to get me to actually put my videos online was their channel. I started watching them from the very beginning. They were super low tech. They didn’t really know what they were doing. They didn’t have much in the way of editing, or polish and they weren’t doing it for the crazy fan base they have now. It was just 2 brothers with an idea of talking to each other over videos every day for a year, and the commitment to actually do it. I figured if they could do that, there was no reason I couldn’t do the same thing (not their idea, but just the actual doing it)
I hope that something in here’s enough to get you up and going on that thing you’ve got floating in your head as just an idea now.