In the world of online video, the vlog is the most accessible form of video creation. Turn on the camera and start talking about your life, right? Though it looks that simple, there is a lot of work behind the scenes that make vlogs engaging and interesting to watch.
We spoke with vlogging authority Amy Schmittauer about what she believes is the biggest mistakes new vloggers make and how they can become a vlogging boss. Amy, who literally wrote the book on Vlogging — “Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill it Online with Video Blogging” — has been vlogging since 2009 and has made it her business to share her knowledge about marketing and savvy social media through vlogging.
Mistake #1: Not Posting Frequently Enough
One of the more common mistakes beginning vloggers make is having infrequent posting schedules. A user will post one video and when they don’t see the millions of views pouring in, they get discouraged. Amy points out, “Consistency is important because an audience wants to know that, literally, when they subscribe to something they are subscribing to something. There [has to] be more for them to be able to watch.”
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Solution: Go in with a plan. Amy proposes starting with what you are able to do on a regular basis. What are you able to do right now? Amy suggest that you make sure you, “…make a video and do it regularly because you need to show up often in order to be memorable to people.”
If you can only post once every two weeks, then let your audience know that’s when they can expect you.
Mistake #2: Worrying Too Much about Tech
Another mistake that happens is that new vloggers will worry so much about technology that they won’t even get started, or they’ll wait until they can get better equipment to move forward with their next video. Amy shares, “I find that a lot of people get paralyzed by gear and they need to buy all the things get all the right stuff before they can get started and feel like it’s right.”
Solution: Use what you have and cover the basics. All you need for solid online video is internet access, HD video — which your smart phone most likely has — light and sound. “Don’t worry so much about the gear…” Amy exclaims, “Go stand outside where there is daylight use your smartphone that’s in your pocket and make a video!” She continues on to say, “…the reality is it doesn’t matter how great your golf clubs are if you are a terrible golfer.”
Mistake #3: Cult of Negativity
Many vloggers who are looking to grow their channel will look to drama or negativity to draw people into their channels. Amy observes, “…negativity makes the news and positivity has a harder time [making] the cut. The same goes online, and I think people [believe] they have to be negative inside themselves… in order to convey sort of that drama level with a thumbnail or a headline.”
Solution: It’s all about personality. When people watch YouTube videos, they are looking for you, so you have to be aware of how you want to set the tone of who you are on camera. You have to ask yourself “…are you trying to be yourself on camera or are you playing a [character]?” Amy continues, “If you are playing a role, then maybe that whole kind of dramatic negativity makes sense, but if you think people want that from you, that’s not sustainable if it’s not really you.”
It’s ok to be negative if you’re funny or that is part of a character choice, but generally people watch content that makes them feel good. It’s easier to be positive, especially if it’s coming from an authentic place.
Mistake #4: Rambling, Disorganized Thought
“The average daily vlogger makes a big mistake in thinking that every moment of their day is interesting for the vlog.” Amy declares. She notices that some vloggers will, “…either sit down and ramble or they document absolutely everything and think it’s a piece of art.” This isn’t a good strategy for keeping viewers engaged.
Solution: Go in with a goal and tell a complete story. Even though vlogs are typically documenting everyday life, Amy reminds us that we are all storytellers. She believes,“It doesn’t matter what’s in the video; you have to tell stories. So how can you do that the best way possible?”
Leading up to the launching of her book, Amy made a daily vlog for 30 days showing the behind the scenes of releasing her first published book to the world. When deciding to document her life for 30 days, Amy established that she was, “…not just vlogging everything throughout the day. Every video has to have a plan or else it’s like hey guys ‘I woke up hey guys and I’m eating breakfast now;’ no one cares. But if you craft a story out of your day that’s different.”
Mistake #5: Not Enough Self-Promotion
One of the most prevalent mistakes vloggers make is not promoting their vlogs on their networks outside of YouTube. Amy believes this to be largely due to people spreading themselves too thin, by being on every social network, and promoting their vlogs like a paperboy, throwing their content on all their social feeds then driving off.
Solution: Understand your social media platforms. Many people forget that the first word in social media is social. When promoting your vlogs on social media platforms it’s important that you are already active and visible on the platform.
Amy notes that it’s all about context. She explains, “[what] people forget is that every social network is different. Consider them all parties… YouTube is like a big sleepover, Snapchat is a rave, Facebook is a family reunion, Twitter is a networking event and Instagram is Fashion Week. So how do you take that video and then customize it for all of those locations so people actually give a crap about it?”
She concludes, “adding context to [promoting your vlog is] going to be a better version of you promoting yourself because you are taking the context of the party into consideration and I think that’s we have to do and that means being a viewer and being a user, and a lot of people forget that.”
When it comes to vlogging on YouTube, there is more work that goes into it than just turning on the camera and talking for ten minutes. As Amy has shared, people watch vlogs for the engagement they have with the vlogger and the value they bring.
As you grow your vlogging presence remember that it’s the story, personality and plan that you put in place that is going to put your channel on the map.
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