Becoming a vlogger is easy, right? You just bust out the camera, hit record and talk! Then sit back and watch the views and subs roll in.
Hundreds of people try their hand at vlogging on YouTube every day. With so many vloggers out there, how the heck do you stand out? Well, the truth is most of these vlogs suck. They are poorly edited, too long and generally uninteresting.
Here are some tips you can use to make your vlogs stand out and be more watchable:
Have something to say
Most new vloggers have trouble coming up with something interesting to say to the camera, but they press record and start talking anyway. This is a surefire way to guarantee a low watch time on your vlogs.
Before you even think about pressing the record button, you should be able to answer:
Why would someone watch my vlog? Are they learning something new? Are they being entertained? Am I trying to make them laugh?
What is my vlog about? Maybe you’re sharing your best tips for fitting in on the first day of school. Maybe you’re traveling to a new city and will be trying some interesting or unique foods. Or maybe you’re reviewing science fiction literature in full costume. Whatever angle you decide on it, stick with it. Niches and concentrated content are the key to YouTube success.
Once you generally know what you want to say, rehearse it ahead of time. Write down the points you’d like to talk about and practice explaining your thoughts in a concise and direct way. Try not to go off on tangents or beat points to death. Say what you want to say and move on. This will make your content more powerful and make the editing process go much smoother.
Be ruthless with your cuts
Many new vloggers make videos that are way too long. Sure, funforlouis might average 13 minutes for his vlogs, but he’s got a huge, engaged fan base that’s invested in his story and personality. As a new vlogger, you don’t have any of this. People are very unlikely to stick around for a 10 minute vlog by some new YouTuber they’ve never heard of, even if the content is great.
We use about 5% of the footage we capture in a day, which means that a whopping 95% is cut out. Whoa! (Needless to say, our hard drives fill up quick.) If it doesn’t add entertainment value or help move the story along, we cut it, so all that’s left is the meat of the story, which is hopefully all the stuff that’s worth watching.
Check out this vlog where we hiked to the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland. We hiked for around 4 hours and shot tons of video, but cut this episode down into just 4 minutes for the vlog. What we ended up with were shots that either A) were necessary to move the story along or B) added some sort of entertainment value or awe factor.
Since our vlog is focused on the travel, we don’t do as much talking as some other vloggers do. If your vlog has a lot of dialog, use jump cuts to trim it up. Be careful though. Jump cuts can easily be overused and become really jarring and distracting to the user. Only use them when necessary.
With proper editing, a 10 minute vlog can be trimmed to 5 minutes and be a lot more powerful and watchable! This means higher Watch Time which makes YouTube happy as well as your viewers. Score!
A great story and good editing can only take you so far. As a vlogger, you’ve got to get comfortable talking to the camera.
Always stare into the lens
Many vlogging cameras have flip up screens so you can watch yourself as you’re talking. This is a great feature, but a lot of vloggers end up staring at the screen instead of the lens, so it looks like you’re staring off into space. It really makes it hard for users to connect with you.
Just like when you’re talking to a real person, good eye contact is crucial to developing a connection. Always make sure you’re staring into the lens. Treat the lens like it’s a person looking right at you. After all, that’s pretty much what it is!
This might feel awkward at first, but trust me, it’ll look much more natural when watching the footage back.
When people see someone smiling, it makes them smile themselves. You want people smiling when they watch your video, right? This is actually something I’ve struggled with since we started vlogging. I’m just not a very smiley person and it doesn’t come naturally to me. So, before I point the camera at myself, I try to put a smile on my face by thinking of something funny or just a random happy thought. This makes a huge difference to the final product. Try it!
You might have something powerful to say, but the effect could be lost if it’s not said loudly. Never whisper or talk softly to the camera. You viewers want to hear what you have to say! Don’t make them have to turn up their volume to get your point.
I’m not saying you should yell at the camera. Just make sure you’re using your most confident voice. If it helps, imagine you’re talking to a close friend or a relative. After all, they’ll probably be watching your video!
Quality comes last!
Quality is important, but it’s second to the story. If the story is solid though, having good audio and video quality can make your vlogs more watchable and feel more solid.
Nowadays, you can get excellent video quality out of a cheap point and shoot camera. Check out this post where I break down some of my favorite vlogging cameras for YouTube beginners.
If you’re on a tight budget, start with a cheaper camera. You can always upgrade later as your channel gets better. The worst thing you can do is invest in an expensive camera setup before you’ve even start vlogging!
Audio quality is also really important, maybe even more important than video quality. If your audio is really echoey or too quiet, it doesn’t matter how good your video quality, people are going to get frustrated and close your video. Even a cheap microphone can go a long way. Check out this breakdown by VloggingPro of the best vlogging microphones to get an idea of what’s out there.
We currently shoot on a sony a6000 which has a multi interface shoe, meaning you don’t have to plug your mic into a separate mic port. We use the ECM-GZ1M micrphone which doesn’t give amazing quality, but it’s miles better than the camera’s onboard microhpone and makes our vlogs much more watchable.
I hope these tips have given you some ideas of how you can improve your vlogs and make them more watchable. Remember, vlogging is a learning process. You can’t expect to create amazing content and get tons of views right out of the gate. It takes time to hone in on your niche and to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t get discouraged! Keep trying new things and always work on improving and the views will follow. Thanks for reading!