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."