Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daisy's Digital Do's and Don'ts

Our favorite marketing guru, Daisy Whitney, is back with tips and tricks for those of us trying to figure out this whole vlogging thing. Daisy is going to be guest blogging for us on a monthly basis and she's dying to answer your questions, so ask away in the comments!

***

If I could impart only one piece of wisdom to writers who are jumping into videoblogging it's this - less is more.

Short and sweet reign on YouTube. So if you're trying out your on-camera skills or even thinking about how to market yourself or your books with video, the best way to start is to take whatever it is you were about to post on YouTube and slice it in half!

Why? Because our attention span is phenomemally low online, especially on YouTube. The online audience measurement service comScore reports that the average session on YouTube is under four minutes. So even though Internet users collectively watch more than 10 billion videos each month on YouTube, and even though the average YouTube user watches 83 clips per month on the site, they're not hanging around YouTube for very long. In Internet lingo, they come to "snack." And they want small little bites.

So give them what they want! My general rule of thumb for video blogs is endeavor to keep them under 90 seconds. I know that seems tough and I know there are a lot of interesting things to chat about in video blogs, but most viewers won't watch the whole thing. Or if they do, they'll do other things - like check email - and let your video play in the background. Rather than let them tune out, cater to their short-order needs. Give them something quick and pithy. I have found that one of the best ways to tighten a video blog is to do so in advance by writing a script. This doesn't mean you have to memorize it and it doesn't mean you have to stick to it word for word. But writing it out can help you refine and tighten your ideas before you begin shooting.

Here are some other tips if you're getting started in video blogging.

- Get a Mac. Shooting and editing videos is just easier on a Mac. If you don't have one, borrow a friend's or try using Movie Maker on a PC. I hear it's not quite as easy to use as Apple's iMovie, but it can do the trick. On your Mac, shooting a video is simple. One way to do so is just open QuickTime and hit record! Then edit it using drag and drop tools in iMovie.

-Use a light. If you shoot at a desk or table, grab a desk lamp and position it behind the computer. You don't want the light in the shot but you want it directly behind the screen so it lights your face. In video, you look better in the light than the shadows - trust me on this! Try a few angles for the light, back it or move it closer, to see what works.

-Don't fidget, swivel in your chair, or play with your hair. These can be distracting to the viewer! If you do those things, just shoot over!

-Shoot a few times, or twenty or thirty, til you get it right.

-Run a comb through your hair and freshen up your makeup before you shoot. This may sound obvious, but sometimes the simple stuff bears repeating.

-Know what you're going to talk about. Having a topic is usually far more interesting than rambling (see above about writing scripts).

-Keep the computer (or camera if you're using one) steady and on a flat surface. Shaky cams aren't fun to watch.

-Be lively! The camera is merciless. It shows every wart and that's why it helps to be your best self on camera. So dial it up a few notches. Be crisp and clear in enunciation, be playful, be buoyant. And check out this master at work. This is a video from Gary Vaynerchuk, host of WineLibrary TV, who oozes enthusiasm. Imitate him!

By day, Daisy Whitney is a producer, on-air correspondent, podcaster and raconteur in the new media business. At night, she writes novels for teens and is the author of The Mockingbirds, to be published by Little, Brown in Fall 2010. When Daisy's not inventing fictional high school worlds, she produces conferences for iMedia and provides strategy consulting to businesses on online video. She is the host of her own online newscast The New Media Minute that covers the business of Internet video and of the top-ranked iTunes audio podcast “This Week in Media."

37 comments:

Lisa Marie said...

Sounds like she had some really costructive advice. I can say before a camera heads my way I lick my lips and teeth, so they are not dry and I pinch my cheeks for a glow. I thought your VLog was great!

Hardygirl said...

Love the lighting tip. Still not sure if I'm up for vlogging--perhaps a facial first . . .


sf

Kim said...

I agree with Hardygirl. Need to get some Botox and fancy laser work done before I let that camera come near me after reading about the warts.

I LOVE her advice about keeping it short. I am one of those people who look to see how long the video is before I'll watch. If it's over 3 minutes, I usually won't bother.

Same with picture books. If there are too many words on the page, I won't buy it unless it's something incredibly phenomenal. No attention span here.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Daisy you sound like a women of many talents!!!

You have it on the mark about the attention span of viewers and how they watch lol! We love LiLa's vlog!

I don't know about vlogging...I hate having my picture taken, I won't even go there how I feel about videos lol!

Carolyn V. said...

I love this information! Can I vlog? I might be able to. Thanks.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Yay for Macs! And I had no idea the average Youtube watcher saw so many videos per month. Where do they find the time?

Oh yeah, they must not blog. :)

Melissa said...

That is great advice...all of it. Too bad I'm too bloody shy to vlog haha :)

Angela said...

Great advice! I haven't yet felt confident enough to Vlog, but when I do, I'll be back to this post!

Donna Gambale said...

Useful tips! I've been debating doing my first vlog, and this helps me feel a little more prepared!

Kate said...

Sounds like very useful advice. I think the keeping it short is particularly important...

Kate xx
http://secretofficeconfessions.blogspot.com/

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Excellent tips!!!!! I totally feel like I could jump into this vlogging thing now. Perhaps I'll get around to it. In a few months. I'm currently trying out this new drug that will grow a backbone for me.

I'm desperately envious of all you bloggers that have been able to vlog. And have done it so well (twatting aside). Seriously, how do you do it??!!

Christine said...

Wow, great advice! Especially about the lighting and writing a script. It's so easy to forget that most people we see in professional media interviews have been prepped and lit well!

Katie said...

Such good advice!!!!!! Thanks!!!!

Rebecca Knight said...

Thanks for the great advice, Daisy!

Quick question--if one doesn't have access to a Mac (sad, I know) is there an easy-ish way to get started vlogging? I have a camera on my laptop, but yes.. it's a PC.

I'm so excited you'll be guest blogging here more often! :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm not ready for a vlogging commitment yet. Now I know where to when (if ever) I am ready! :-)

Sarah said...

Awesome tips! I watch so many Youtube videos (probably like half of that 10 billion per month) that if a video doesn't hold my interest, I usually let it play in the background. So far, I haven't done that to any vlogs, but still...great advice.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Great tips! If I ever get brave enough I won't perhaps be a shadow mumbling and blathering for five minutes.

Natalie said...

Great advice! Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to try...

Kimberly Franklin said...

Great advice! I will probably never be brave enough to vlog. I love to watch them, though.

But, I absoultely (heart) Daisy and her vlogs! She's great!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

OMG I am laughing soooo hard Im crying. I mean you've seen my vlogs! The only thing I do right is keep them super short, but the bad lighting, the shaky camera work, the non editing, phone interuptions, oh and the sideways vlogging. I think I fail vlogging. But I do it anyway!

Elana Johnson said...

Excellent advice. I swear I'll never vlog. I swear it. But she's so right about "snacking" at YouTube or the fact that I open the video and let it run in the background while I'm doing other stuff.

Great tips!

Daisy Whitney said...

Glad everyone is finding this helpful so far! I'll stop by again later and check out all your blogs!
Rebecca, let's email about how to make vlogging work on your PC.

Christina Lee said...

Great stuff, Daisy!

Tamika: said...

Wow! Awesome tips Daisy! I finally know what vlog is. *Sigh*

It will be a while before I make this leap, I'm profusely shy. Can't you tell?!

Shelli said...

im going to start vlogging - do you think it matters if its in the dark?

ali said...

I LOVE Daisy! And these tips are awesome.

That guy she recommended ~ the wine guy? Awesome.

Thanks L&L and Daisy!

Alissa said...

Vlogging scares me! I think if I go this route I would have to do something very goofy. Maybe I would wear a mask. These are great tips though, and yes, not having a Mac is one thing that has kept me away from vlogging, well that and my fear of it!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I have something for you. http://frankiediane.blogspot.com/2010/01/vlog-3-and-happy-awards.html

jessjordan said...

I recorded myself once. An audition for Deal or No Deal. (Yes. You heard me right.) It stressed me out, and even though I felt like I was crazy animate, I was actually flatter than cardboard.

So, while the tips are super awesome, I think I'll leave the vlogging to you people who are good at things like that. At least for now. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice, but I'm still not vlogging! Terror! Complete & absolute terror :)

Little Ms J said...

Great advice! I'm prepping for my first vlog by getting my highlights retouched tomorrow. Then it's on, Lisa. It. Is. On.

Shelli said...

daisey rocks! great interview - ill link to it tomorrow in my marketing round up!

Dara said...

90 seconds? Wow that is an incredibly short amount of time. Lots of great advice here!

Reading that stat about the average amount of video clips a YouTuber watches makes me blush in shame. I'm pretty sure I watch 83 video clips in two weeks, not a month...

I cannot imagine publishing a vlog of myself yet. I've played around with my webcam but it's just shown me that I'm so NOT a camera person. Plus I don't think I have anything interesting to talk about. Maybe in time I'll try it but for now I just like watching everyone do them :)

Dara said...

Also, for some of the those who said they worried about not having a Mac to do a vlog--don't worry about it! I've made videos for YouTube using plain ol' Windows Movie Maker. If it's just a vlog, all you need is the basics and while a Mac may be easier with the editing, WMM isn't all that hard. Plus you don't have to buy an overpriced Mac. Unless you want to of course :)

Erica said...

Wonderful information! I have a mac already. I had no idea I could make a video with iMovie and Quicktime! Thanks for all the great tips! I don't have any questions just yet, not sure I'm ready to be on camera ;) Thanks again!

LiLa - thank you as well, great idea for a guest blogger :o)

JennyMac said...

Great advice..especially about freshening up a bit. I see the opposite of this often in interviews. Spot check never hurts, people. LOL.

Tabitha Bird said...

Cool tips. If I ever feel the need to vlog I wont look lie such a fool... oh wait... no, maybe I still would LOL :)

Don't call this a comeback

So it’s been a minute. Or 10. Or truthfully more like 2,102,400. At least we think that’s how many minutes there are in 3 years, but let...