Instructor Guide – How to VLOG

Learn ways to master the art of video blogging on Travitor. We’ve got some guidelines to get you comfy with the art of video blogging, otherwise known as “vlogging.” And remember, the more you practice, the better you’ll likely become.

Here you will learn:

  • WHY video Blogging is so effective.
  • WAYS creators vlog.
  • HOW you can get started right away.

Build a direct connection to your students.

Talking to viewers in an authentic way on camera can create a deep and long-lasting connection to your viewers. Essentially, many of them consider you a friend and expert.

It sounds easy enough, right? Just sit down with your camera and start chatting away. But the reality is, this isn’t that easy for a lot of people. After all, the lens can seem kind of scary, and being in front of it can feel like public speaking. BUT -- if you can work past that feeling and push your comfort zone a little, there are huge potential benefits.

The benefits of video blogging

Consider some of the benefits to video blogging:

  1. Vlogging gives your students access to the real you, and this can help create a more loyal learner that’ll follow you, whatever you do or wherever you go.
  2. Connecting with people like you: Viewers will get to know the real you, opening up the potential for people who share your same interests and sensibilities to meet and talk with you and to each other.
  3. Uploading videos that are often easier to make: Video blogs typically aren’t as hard to produce as other videos. Sometimes, they’re simply recorded with a hand-held camera or phone, and all in one take. Therefore, it can be much easier to make a lot of videos. With the easier-to-make videos, you can operate more sustainable and consistent content.

5 ways to be conversational

Not sure how to actually set up a video blog? Here are some popular types. One thing to note is that they’re all conversational, using a relaxed or informal tone. It’s like you’re there in the room talking to a friend. Which of these strategies might be best suited for your course?

  1. Personal topic: The first thing a lot of people think about when they hear “video blogging” is someone documenting a day in their life. This is effective because the creator is opening themselves up to the audience and sharing some of their inner thoughts. Audiences can find this fascinating because it feels like they’re getting a peek into someone else’s life.
  2. General topic: With this type, you can still talk directly to your viewers in a personal way, but the subject is something more general, like a product or a process.
  3. Storytelling: Telling stories into the camera is another great way to be conversational. Perhaps it’s what happened last week or a funny story. Maybe it’s funny, sad, or simply interesting. Either way, a compelling tale told well can make for a very watchable video blog.
  4. Supplemental videos: What if you don't want the main videos you produce to be video blogs? You can still be conversational in supplemental videos. These can be separate from your main content or attached to the beginning and/or end of videos. This could be a casual greeting to your viewers beforehand or a call-to-action afterward, like a Q&A video.
  5. Responding to comments: Viewers are usually super excited to hear you call out their name in a video. Responding to comments - especially on camera - shows that you’re listening, you care what they think, and that you’re willing to interact. All of this builds fan loyalty. If you don’t want to make a video blog like this, simply responding in the comments can help. Learn more about making a Q&A video.

TIPS:

  • What are some funny or interesting stories that you could tell on camera?
  • Does it make more sense for you to make video blogs separate from your main content, or as a part of it?

12 production tips to be great on camera

All right then! Let’s dig into the details and talk about what you should consider when getting ready to talk to the camera. Keep in mind -- this typically works best when you’re authentic and let your true personality shine through.

  1. Have a point: Successful vloggers often have a singular point that is made clear in the title, which they deliver in the video. Have a clear idea of what you want to say, and stick to that topic - a list of bullet points can help you stay on track so you don't ramble.
  2. Pick your location: The location can communicate a lot about who you are and what you’re talking to the camera about. Experiment with shooting while seated at your desk, or while walking, which can add interesting visuals to the background.
  3. Think about your look: Viewers decide if they want to watch a video within the first five seconds and how you present yourself can matter. Do you want to appear polished and clean cut? Or perhaps cool and casual?
  4. Find the light: Bright, full lighting is usually ideal as it maximizes image color and sharpness. Soft light is most flattering on skin tones, whether it’s sunlight through a curtain or diffuse light from an electric bulb. As a general rule, try to get your eyes to sparkle!
  5. Frame your shot: Consider placing the camera as close as you’re comfortable with, keeping in mind that some of your viewers may be watching on small screens. Think about the height of the tripod and your position in the frame. Some creators like to have their head directly in the center, while others like placement towards the sides. And last but not least, don’t forget to focus the camera!
  6. Be close to the mic: It’s best to start with a clean, clear recording since the sound is sometimes more critical than the picture quality. If viewers can't hear you, your message might get lost. Try to get close to the camera mic, or get an external “shot gun” mic with a range that will reach you. For more on good audio, dive into our Instructor Guide – Physical Demonstration
  7. Choose your tone: Your tone is your general demeanor or attitude, and it’s directly tied to your brand. What do you want to communicate to your audience about who you are? Cool? Confident? Sarcastic? Wild? A lot of creators are high-energy and super positive, but you don’t have to be. Experiment with your tone and allow it to evolve naturally over time. In general, it's a good idea to sit or stand casually and to speak as if you're addressing a single person.
  8. Get comfortable: Practice, practice, practice! Make video after video, even if you never upload them. Watch what you've recorded and make a checklist of what to improve. Chances are, you’ll get better and become more comfortable. When you're ready to evolve and grow consider uploading the videos and get live feedback from your audience.
  9. Add energy: Most successful creators tend to really amp their volume and enthusiasm. Once you feel comfortable enough on camera, consider trying this yourself. If you’re normally at a 5 by way of energy, try to turn that dial up to an 8 or 9 to really show your passion and to get viewers on board. Of course, if your preference is a cool, calm demeanor instead, that also works.
  10. Lead with awesome: Leading with awesome is all about “front-loading” your video with the best part, or teasing it out. This can help capture viewer attention and keep them from clicking away. 
  11. Edit for pacing: If you’ve never heard of jump cuts, chances are you’ve seen it. This is an editing technique where you make cuts in the middle of the same shot, or of similar shots to remove the “uhs” and “ums” and edit together segments. Love it or hate it, it’s a way to improve the pace of your videos and make them more narratively pleasing. Some people make cuts in the middle of sentences, some after each sentence, while others don’t use jump-cuts at all and anyway is fine. Just remember there are millions of other videos your viewers could be watching, so try to keep them engaged with your content.

Remember to package the video in a way that’s true to its content. Try and make your title and description reflect what you’re talking about. We call it “delivering on the promise of the video” so viewers are happy that they watched it!

Above all, talk about what you love, be yourself, and try not to be overly critical of yourself. It’s uniqueness and authenticity that makes a video vlog enjoyable to watch.

Need help? For help with filming and editing your course, Travitor offers a special discounted rate for Travitor customers! Learn more

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