We’ve already explored the benefits blogs can have on your business. We’ve even explored podcasts in a business context. But what about vlogging? (To the uninitiated, that’s video blogging).
Videos are multi-sensory by nature. They are considered the future of content marketing by many and have been for several years now. Video content is also a powerful, and often underexploited, a way of communicating with your target audience as a business. It’s also great for brand visibility. It’s easy to digest and requires less effort from your audience than reading a blog article.
You may also find videos appeal to an audience who may be impervious to more run-of-the-mill ads. By engaging potential customers with something they want to watch while simultaneously (and perhaps subtly) including a call to action, you can reach audiences that pass right by other ads.
There’s a Way For Everyone to Vlog
These days, most people carry two cameras in their pocket attached to their smartphone. Additionally, editing software for smartphones is increasingly commonplace, with the likes of Adobe and PowerDirector with free (or very low-cost) offerings.
You should definitely consider getting in front of the camera! People love this, and it will take your video to the next level.
But if, like me, the idea of getting in front of a camera gives us a flashback to those times you switched on your cell phone camera, only to be horrified as you’re presented with a horrifying, un-photo-ready face (because it’s gone to the front camera by mistake), then fear not! There are other ways to tackle it without getting in front of the camera yourself.
Most of us know the frustrated actor/presenter who would probably be the face of our business without too much encouragement, but equally, it might surprise you how much people relate to your minor nerves – so don’t be shy about taking the plunge. The gift of the gab, and on-screen presence is an invaluable asset, but these skills can be learned and developed!
And of course, if you really can’t find anyone, you could go in an altogether different direction. You could do an off-camera tour, opt to animate a video (if you have the budget), or just use captions and stock images with a voice over—but be aware that if you opt for the latter, you are straying away from what is typically deemed a vlog.
What Should it be?
Presuming you go down the more traditional route, there is no limit to the topics you could cover. The easiest way to plan is to think about what you (or your business) knows that would be useful to your audience.
Until you’ve got a big following, make your focus ‘Crowd Building’. This means content people will find useful that doesn’t have the goal to convert to a sale. This is the second level, once you have achieved a following.
Share a strong opinion, get your tribe behind your message—rouse them. Make the video conceptual or principle based. Build yourself as a leader in your subject. These videos work best on social media—don’t forget Facebook Live is a great, informal way to share content. Not only do they serve as proof that not everything has to be ‘produced’, and as with all live broadcasts, there is an innate intrigue surrounding them that can work in your favor.
Where people want some help, right here, right now. Addressing the main point points of your target market. Technique and tip-oriented, immediately useful. Best on YouTube and Google
Videos, in general, are most successful when they answer an industry-specific question, demonstrate a quirky or creative idea, or do something that is plain off-the-wall. People love a story, and a more simple diary-style entry, if kept interesting, could be enough for your hardcore fans. You may be surprised how your day-to-day activities can be of interest to people. Take inspiration from shows like How It’s Made. What seems normal to the workers is extraordinary to people outside.
Looking for a few good ideas to get started? Here are some options. Keep in mind that you should find something that allows you to be authentic. If it’s not your ‘style’ then try something else.
- A customer ‘pain point’ you can solve. Focus on only one point or area in each video. This will help keep it specific.
- Tips and tricks specific to your industry—can you save people time?
- ‘A day in the life of . . .’ Go through various roles in your company, or talk about your own life. People love the personal touch
- Interview your customers, or if you’re (for example) running a beauty salon, you could use before, during, and after shots of a makeover.
- Something radical, but entertaining—read poetry, sing a song. Don’t be too X-Factor about it, just remember what you do doesn’t have to be directly related to your business to be good content marketing!
Our article on Podcasting has an excellent section of topics, many of which could easily transfer to Vlogs. Much of the tips in that article are also equally relevant to Vlogging.
Vlog Presentation Tips
Here are a few tips for keeping your vlog interesting and effective.
- Have at least one person on camera in your Vlog (if possible).
- People want to be entertained—however you get your message across, using personable and/or comical language will help engage your audience.
- Think outside the box with your presentation and ideas.
- Title your video with what people are likely to type into a search engine when looking for the question you answer: ‘Should my business be vlogging?’ might be a good alternative title for a video on this subject.
- Don’t forget a call to action. Do you want people to comment, share, subscribe to your mailing list, or something else? Facebook and Twitter both contain some really neat tricks in their paid advertising options for video, allowing you to link to your website if people click on the video. Have a play with some of these options to see what works best if you go down this route.
Choose your role from one of the following before you start, so you are clear on where the video is headed from the off:
- Commentator – you’re an authority on the subject taking a neutral, narrative position.
- Teacher/instructor – be seen as an active expert.
- Interviewer – collaborative, halo effect. Shine the light on the person who can say it best.
- Inspirer – sharing big ideas and concepts to motivate others.
- Storyteller – using metaphor and examples to make the point.
- Rant and rave or riff – be short, direct, emotive.
Releasing Your Vlog
You may have been thinking of releasing your blog exclusively to your website, however, for several reasons, it may be worth considering YouTube, Vimeo or similar platforms instead.
If your video is hosted on these, it’s still really easy to embed in your website (for YouTube, simply navigate to your video on YouTube and click Share, then Embed and then paste into your site’s code. The process is similar on Vimeo and others). If you’ve placed a link to your site within the video or written/said it throughout, then you benefit from additional traffic from those who might organically find your video on YouTube itself.
Don’t be afraid to upload your vlog in multiple places either. For example, if you plan to use it on social media, you will often get better results posting it directly to those platforms.
If you do end up uploading your video into more than one place, don’t forget to consider stats on all platforms when determining how useful the video was. Don’t sell yourself short by forgetting you uploaded in multiple places!
Turning Your Vlog into Advertising
Boosting your Vlog into paid advertising is the natural next step—especially if it’s been going well for you.
According to Invesp, we are served, on average, staggering 1700 banners a month, but only view around half. Not only that, a shocking 8% of users are responsible for 85% of clicks to display ads. This statistic is mind-boggling when we consider what it means; that so few Internet users are swallowing up so much of our advertising budgets.
To anyone who has carried out banner advertising on social media (for example), and seen the conversion rates, this statistic will probably resonate with your own experience. Is this type of person who wantonly clicks ads for a pastime likely to be beneficial to your business? Statistically, it doesn’t look promising, so another way of getting your message out there might help.
The way videos are served by platforms like Facebook is also a good reason to consider Vlogging. Social Media sites tend to autoplay videos these days, and if you sponsor a video, you most commonly pay per 3-second view.
Bear in mind that in 3 seconds of video (the default setting of what Facebook counts as a view in its paid advertising), you can convey a lot more than a banner, with the added potential of creating something that encourages a viewer to watch more.
Before you go to town investing in equipment or techniques, just try it with what you have! Bite the bullet, stand (or get someone else to stand) in front of your camera, and see how your customers react. If it does well, you will know you’re onto something!