This week I’m sharing exactly how to start a vlog for your business. I’ve also got an awesome freebie for you; the workflows I use when I’m doing my own vlogging. You can see exactly what steps you need to take for each vlog that you make, and what steps you need to take to produce your vlog as a whole. So, make sure you download that…
Before we start I just want to mention that vlogging, like blogging, is an extensive topic and what I talk about today is going to touch on a lot of different subjects. They are too in-depth to cover in one post. I already have posts on a lot of them, however, so link in the related content – be sure to check it out…
Why Should I Start A Vlog For My Business?
I’ve done a whole post on the importance of video marketing, and the power of video marketing. If you’re at all unsure about the value of vlogging and why you should start a vlog, be sure to check that out.
For those of you who are already fully on-board with the vlogging revolution, and ready to get started I’m going to dive right in….
The Two Things You MUST Do First…
Before you do anything else there are two things you have to do that are vitally important and you have to do these before you do anything else.
The first one is to really hone down your niche as much as you possibly can; figure out exactly what your niche is and what you’re going to be vlogging about. Refining your brand so it’s fully in line with your vision will help you a lot with this!
You also need to get completely clear on your ideal client.
The Most Important Part Of Starting A Vlog…
The next thing you need to do is another unmissable step. I can’t stress how important it is. You need to make a plan.
Vlogging is a form of content marketing – the key word there being “marketing”. You are not just recording videos, willy-nilly, about whatever takes your fancy. You need to be very clear on the objective you have for each and every video you record. You need to have an overall strategy for your vlog as a whole, so that every single video you record builds to a greater purpose.
Your videos need to naturally feed in to your products and services so that you can promote them in a soulful manner. You also need to take into the need for content upgrades and freebies to include with your vlogs to get people on your list.
If you’re wondering how on earth you’re meant to do all of that, don’t worry, I’m in the final stages of working on a brand new free challenge for you which is going to help you do exactly that. It’s the Divine Blogging Challenge and it’s a taught version of my signature service, The Divine Blogging Design, and exactly how I plan content schedules for myself, and my clients.
That is going to be out very soon. Until then, check out my blog post on it…
Boosting Your Confidence And Allaying Your Fears…
You’re going to want to spend a little bit of time boosting your confidence and allaying any fears you might have around vlogging.
Some of you may be gung-ho, really confident, and quite happy to get on. Other people might be on the fence and not really sure what they’re doing. Some people might know that they should be vlogging, but the thought puts the fear of God in them.
Believe me, this is perfectly normal; I have experienced all three reactions at various points.
The key is defining exactly what your worries are surrounding the vlogging process, then finding practical ways to allay those fears.
My Biggest Hangup…
For example, one of the things that really bothered me before I started vlogging (and it’s going to sound utterly trivial, but it really messes with your head when you have a hang up like this) was my hair!
It may shock you to know this, or you may have already realised, but in all my vlogs I’m wearing a wig!
There is a really good reason for that. I am bipolar and for the last few years I’ve had to take some really strong medication to help me get better. I’m now coming off that thankfully, but it did serious damage to my hair. It all fell out at one point. It was so short it was buzz-cut. Since it’s grown back it’s not been very healthy!
My confidence in the way I look with my own hair is rock-bottom. I feel shitty. So, I just made the really simple decision to buy a reasonably good quality wig. I got it on Amazon for £12, not much. I just stick it on every time I am recording a post. It’s not perfect, it’s not as good as having my own fabulous natural hair, but it’ll do.
To be perfectly honest, even people that know me in real life haven’t realised I’m wearing a wig in my videos – they just think my hair recovered! So, if you’ve realised it’s a wig, you’re very on the ball, well done!
You can do things like that to allay all your fears. Even seemingly trivial concerns about how you look can have a significant impact on how well you come across in your videos, how successful they are, and your productivity as a vlogger.
If you’re not comfortable recording videos, you’re not going to want to do it.
And when you’re putting this amount of time and effort into starting a vlog, you really need to be comfortable doing it.
You need to be able to just get on with it; you can’t be stuck procrastinating about every single little detail, or you will never get started.
I have another post on The Perils of Perfectionism, because this vlog was supposed to start last year and it didn’t, for months, because I spent months procrastinating. So, make sure you check that one out.
Being Realistic About Time…
You need to be realistic about the time requirements for vlogging on a regular basis. This is going to depend very much on how often you want to do it. You may decide, when you start your vlog, that you’re only going to release one vlog a month. Perhaps even one vlog every two or three months. Once you’re up and running you can build from there to do it more regularly. Or, you may decide that you don’t need to do it more regularly, and stick the schedule you start with.
If you’re not vlogging very often, the time requirements aren’t too bad. But if, like make, you are going to be doing a weekly vlog, or even more frequent videos, you really need to be realistic about how much time that is going to take.
It is going to take you a lot of time.
A lot goes into a successful vlog, and when you start your vlog you need to carefully consider what you will do yourself, and what you will outsource. The more you do yourself, the more time it’s going to take you.
Components Of A Vlog…
There are a lot of pieces that go into the puzzle of vlogging. If you’re going to do all of it yourself – and you can do all of it yourself. For the first three months of running The Write Copy Girl vlog I did everything myself bar transcripts (which I’ll talk about in a minute). It’s completely possible to do it all yourself, but if you are doing, it all takes a phenomenal amount of time.
It’s actually ridiculous how much time it takes.
Autocues Vs. Off The Cuff…
It takes me even longer because I record everything off the cuff rather than having a script on an autocue. The level of technology and your equipment is something you need to factor into the time requirements.
If you have an autocue and you can read a written post straight off your autocue, the amount of time you spend editing (or the amount somebody else has to spend editing) is going to be an awful lot less. BUT you have to factor in the time it takes to actually write the script that you put on to the autocue.
I used to spend two to three hours a week writing my weekly blog post. That’s time I no longer spend writing because I record my main weekly post off the cuff. So, that’s two to three hours for each post that I don’t have to spend writing.
The flip side of that is that I spend at least an hour, usually two, editing each post because I’m talking freely. I babble. I screw up and have to go back and repeat things that I’ve said.
So, it’s a trade-off. If you have an autocue you’ll have to write the script for it; if you don’t have an autocue you’ll have to edit more.
Pin Down Your Process…
You need to really pin down the exact process that you’re going to use to start your vlog; how much you’re going to do yourself; how much you want to outsource to somebody else; and then you really need to assess how long it’s realistically going to take you.
Figure out whether you actually have that much time. If you don’t it’s no good thinking, “I’ll find the time somewhere.”
There’s a finite amount of time in anybody’s life.
You can’t make more time.
If your plan for vlogging is going to take more time than you have, you either need to outsource more or vlog less.
And it’s okay, either one of those things is perfectly okay. You can outsource as much or as little as you want; you can vlog as frequently as you have the time and inclination to.
Remember, you can always build on it. So if you don’t have time to do it often initially, that doesn’t mean that you’ll never have time to do it.
I’ve touched on this already but the next thing you really are going to have to consider is technology. This is the part where a lot of people get stuck, and it’s usually because they think they need to have a lot of fancy tech.
The truth is, you can start a vlog with nothing more than an iPhone, or any smart phone with a camera on it. You can do it with a laptop, or any computer that’s got a webcam on it. If you’ve got anything that is capable of recording reasonable quality videos you can start a vlog.
You don’t need all the bells and whistles.
If you want to see my vlogging set-up, I did a behind the scenes post when I first started. …
I do use a proper camera on a tripod, but that’s only because I already owned the camera and tripod. I didn’t buy that specifically to start a vlog, I had it anyway. If I hadn’t already had a DSLR camera, I would have used my webcam or my smartphone.
The thing with technology, like time, it’s best to start where you’re at. If you don’t have a DSLR camera, if all you have is your camera phone, or all you have is your webcam, that’s fine; start where you’re at.
If you are at all like, “Oh, but I can’t start a vlog like that! It’s not a proper vlog!” go and look at your favourite vlogs on YouTube.
Where equipment is concerned there are a few basic things that you need, but you can get these in various forms.
The two things you absolutely have to have are a camera capable of recording in video and sound so it needs to have a microphone on it.
You also need light. As I said, your camera can be any kind of camera. Your light does not have to be an actual light.
I have a professional photography light that I borrowed off a photographer friend, which is where all the light is coming from in my videos. Take a look at the vlog version of this post at the top of the page – it was pitch black dark outside when I recorded that! I record a lot of my content at night, because I’m busy on client work during the day.
The light in my videos is coming from a professional photography light. It’s is brilliant because it means I can record at any time of day or night and I always have enough light.
If you don’t have a light (and like I said, I borrowed this one, I didn’t buy it. Unless you happen to be a photographer you’re unlikely to have one already!), all you need is a very bright sunny day and a big window.
Or, you can go outside, which makes it even better; natural light is in many ways better than fake light.
Beyond that you might want a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod you can prop your camera up on anything that’s handy. If you’re using a webcam then it will prop up on your laptop or computer. If you’re using your camera or phone you might want to prop it up on some books, or anything that will keep it steady and keep it level.
You can hold your camera yourself, but I don’t advise doing that. Your picture will be shaky, and you’ll spend too much time worrying about where the camera is pointing, and not enough time thinking about what you’re saying.
You need something to keep your camera steady BUT it doesn’t have to be an actual tripod.
As mentioned above, you might want an autocue. I certainly would love an autocue, and I intend to buy one at some point. At the moment, that’s just not on my list of priorities. The reason for that is that they require a reasonably large investment to get an even semi-decent one. And the majority of reasonably priced autocues require you to have an iPad or tablet (which I don’t currently have, meaning I’d have to buy one of those too!). The only one that I could find that worked with my smartphone needs importing from overseas. While the actual autocue isn’t that expensive, the import fees would make it very expensive.
I decided very early on that I was just going to do without an autocue. For now, at least. I may buy one at some point in the future.
Your priorities where technology goes might be quite different to mine. If you are not capable (or comfortable) sitting, talking, and getting it all out on your own.
If you need a script to read off, then the autocue might be a vital investment for you. It may be that you genuinely can’t start a vlog without one. If that is the case Amazon do sell them. Just type in autocue and you will be able to find one – but I warn you, they are quite expensive.
Who will write your script?
If I was writing the script for my vlog I would write it myself. But I am a copywriter, that’s what I do!
I talk an awful lot about how copywriters can help you in your business. This applies to vlogging as much as it does to blogging.
If you are thinking that a vlog is a good way to get around having to hire a copywriter for your blog, you may actually be right.
If you can get in the flow and articulate things well enough to talk off the cuff into the camera, and still get your message and all the vital information out there, exactly as you want it, with all the details you need to include, then great. You’ve avoided the need for somebody to write your content for you, and you’re still not having to do it yourself – brilliant! You’re golden!
But if you need a script to work off, because you’re not confident enough, you don’t know the topic well enough, you can’t find the words to properly articulate exactly what you want to say, or you would simply get things done more efficiently if you were working off a script, then you might think about having somebody write it for you. If you haven’t already, claim your free blog post (don’t worry, they come ready-to-upload to your autocue. Just be sure to let me know you need a script, and what format is required!).
If you’re not working off a script you are going to have to get your vlogs transcribed. By that I mean you need to get somebody to produce a written version of everything you’ve said. This is really important; just because you’ve got it on video, doesn’t mean you don’t need to publish a written blog post version of it as well.
If you look at my posts here on The Write Copy Girl website, you’ll see that every week I a video with the written version below it. The reason you need to do this is that, this way, you have all the benefits of blogging as well as all the benefits of vlogging.
People can choose; they can read if they prefer; or they can watch if they prefer. It’s entirely up to them.
Don’t presume that everybody is going to want to watch.
Also, even if, in the unlikely event that absolutely everybody would rather watch than read, having the written post is still vital for your website’s SEO. You can’t just throw out all the tenets of blogging because you’re starting a vlog.
You still need to blog!
The good news is the fact that you have recorded the vlog means you’ve already got the content.
You shouldn’t be spending massive amounts of time creating two different versions of the same thing. Repurpose it!
Either write a blog post, put it on an autocue and record it based on a script. Or, do it off the cuff; record a video; edit it (or have someone edit it) to your liking, and get a transcript done.
Creating video content i a twofer. You get two in one. And if you’re really savvy you can do even more than two in one. You can convert your video into a podcast. You can chop up up the written blog and use it as posts on your social media. You can pull short quotes and create Tweets, or memes.
You can do so many different things once you have your content in video form.
That’s the key.
Record all your content in video form and you can turn it into anything else.
That being said, transcribing videos is a very time-consuming, tedious process. It’s just a black hole of nothing, and you can get it done on Fiverr for $11.
Where To Get Your Videos Transcribed…
My experience with Fiverr, I will admit, has been a bit hit and miss. The good transcribers that will do a vlog for $11 will only do vlogs of 20 minutes or less for that price. If you go over 20 minutes, the good transcribers will charge you $40-60. That’s a lot of money. There are a few sellers on there that do longer videos for less. I have found them to be incredibly unreliable. They either don’t deliver at all or what they do deliver is gibberish (usually because they use talk-to-text technology rather than actually listening to the words and writing them down).
If you want to avoid Fiverr for quality or length reasons, I can highly recommend Rev.com. They charge you $1 per minute for transcripts. Rev.com is also very good if you want captions to go on your video.
The other alternative is to outsource it to a VA which is what I’m in the process of doing now.
How Much Of My Vlog Should I Outsource?
As I mentioned, there are a lot of different elements involved in starting a vlog. Some of them you will be perfectly capable of doing yourself. You may be perfectly capable of doing all of them yourself, but that is very time consuming. Some of them, you might find, there are people who can do them better than you can.
For example, I’m sure there are video editors out there that can edit videos better than me. But at the moment I edit all mine myself.
At the time of writing this I’m doing everything for my vlog with the exception of getting them transcribed. I will, however, soon be upgrading that system to include more outsourcing.
I’m in the process of finding a virtual assistant to transcribe everything for me, edit everything, put it all into my blog post, and then put it all into my newsletter. That is really taking everything off me apart from the actual recording, editing and uploading of the videos.
Start Where You’re At…
It’s okay to start doing everything yourself, and slowly add people to help you out; it’s okay to start off having somebody do absolutely everything for you, other than sit and talk to the camera.
Start where you’re at.
Start with what you are comfortable doing, but this is really key, start with what you can afford.
Bear in mind, one way or another, you’re going to have to invest a lot in a vlog like mine.
A regular weekly vlog will cost you a lot, either in time or in money.
If you do everything yourself that’s going to take you a lot of time. If you outsource some (or all) of it, that’s going to cost you a lot (I spend £15-£30 per week on my transcripts, depending on the length of the video for the week. And that’s the only thing I currently outsource. It soon adds up!).
I’m going to touch on how vlogs can help you earn more money in a minute, but that doesn’t happen straight away.
When you first start a vlog, it isn’t going to instantly start earning you money; it’s going to take time. If you’re spending money on vlogging right from the start (and that includes buying fancy equipment at the beginning), I would really advise you not to.
You don’t need to, you can start with whatever you’ve got.
And it’s better to wait until it’s earning you enough money to cover those costs – and some – than it is to expend resources that you’re not sure you’re going to get back. I can’t guarantee that your vlog is ever going to earn you money; I’m not in a position to make that guarantee.
So, if you put that money in initially, you need to do it knowing you might not get it back. That’s just a risk; why would you take it? You don’t need to. You can start simply and build on it.
Editing Your Vlog…
Once you’ve recorded your vlogs you are going to need to either edit them yourself or have a video editor do it for you.
I haven’t actually experimented with outsourcing editing at all, so I have no idea where you might do it or how much it might cost. It’s something that I prefer to do myself because I am a total control freak. I am capable of handing control for certain things over to other people; editing is not one of them! It’s my face, and I’m putting it out there, and it’s my words. I want them how I want them and I don’t want anybody else in control of that.
You may not have that issue. You may be completely comfortable handing it over to somebody else; you might be a total technophobe and the thought of having to actually edit these things yourself might bring you out in hives.
If you are doing it yourself I can highly recommend some software called Movavi. It’s very reasonably priced and I use it for all my videos. It’s got everything you need to edit, and also to compress your files so they’re a lot smaller, and you can upload them more easily.
Where Should I Publish My Vlog?
Speaking of uploading… The obvious place to publish your vlog is YouTube.
You are going to want to start your own YouTube channel when you start your vlog, even if you aren’t intending to use YouTube as your main platform.
Even if you want your videos on your website you still need somewhere that will host them for you. You upload them to YouTube and you can then embed them on your website really easily. When it comes to sharing your vlog, the simplest way to add them on most platforms is to embed them (as I have with the video for this post). YouTube gives you a code that you simply copy and paste for each of your videos. You can also link directly to the video on YouTube.
But, for certain platforms, you’re better off uploading your vlogs separately.
Facebook is the perfect example of this. Facebook have worked really hard in recent years to develop their own video platform and you will find your Facebook reach is phenomenal if you upload your videos directly to Facebook, rather than sharing YouTube links. That is simply because Facebook prioritise videos that are hosted on Facebook above other content.
Facebook will share your video more if you upload it to their site. Your organic reach will be a lot more for a video hosted on Facebook than it will be for a video hosted anywhere else.
It’s actually a good thing, because it’s building your content on your Facebook page. You have a video section on you Facebook page and all your videos will be on there. It gives people a lot more to look at when they’re on your Facebook page. Better yet, it makes your videos easier to find – rather than having to scroll all the way down your timeline, to look for any videos you’ve shared via a link, they are an intrinsic part of your page, right there at the top.
That’s really important!
Top Tips For Vlogging…
Use The Golden Trident…
Check out another post called The Golden Trident, which goes through my three key steps to take when blogging. I know it’s about blogging, but all three of the steps apply equally to vlogging!
Batch Your Content…
Batch your content as much as possible! If you’re recording one video, make sure you record at least two! Once you’ve gone to all the bother of setting it up, once you’ve got yourself in the zone, and you’re in the flow of recording, keep going as long as you have time, and as long as you are comfortable. The more you get done in one go, the more efficient you will be overall.
You NEED A System…
This may well be the most important thing I’ve said in this whole post.
You need to have a really finely tuned system that takes you step-by-step through everything that needs doing, for each and every video you make, and for your vlogging efforts as a whole.
To help you out with this I’ve put together a freebie for you which includes all my workflows. There is a main workflow that takes you through how to vlog as a whole; then there are three different workflows for how to create each of your videos.
The reason there are three is because I’ve done them based on different levels of outsourcing. The first is totally do-it-yourself. The second is a middle ground version, where you might want to start outsourcing the elements that tend to be better when done by others.
The final one is really an absolute #Girlboss method that involves you literally sitting and talking to a camera to record a video, and doing nothing else.
The Value Of Starting A Vlog
Just before I go, if you’re been reading and thinking “God! That sounds like a lot of work” you are right.
Vlogging is a lot of work.
But, any kind of concerted content marketing strategy is going to be a lot of work. Whether you are blogging or vlogging, if you’re doing this right, if you’re really serious about content marketing, it takes a lot of work but it is so worth it.
To give you a real world example of this. I recorded this post on April 3rd. At the time of writing this, I’ve been vlogging for three months, since the first week in January. For the month of January not a great deal happened. I put out four posts, and I got good feedback but, in terms of profit, nothing really changed.
In February, however, my profits doubled.
In March they increased again.
I can’t predict April’s income yet, but based on the amount of repeat monthly business I’ve signed in the last two months, and inquiries I’ve already received, I’m expecting it to increase yet again.
I’m not going to say that is exclusively down to the fact that I started a vlog. There were a couple of weeks where I was running an AdWords campaign – that resulted in a few little bits of business coming in. So a little bit of that extra profit was from elsewhere.
But the vast majority of that increase in profits was due solely to the fact that I started a vlog.
How Does Vlogging Earn You Money?
If you’re wondering exactly how vlogging resulted in profits, the answer is really, simple.
People get to know you, like you and trust you a lot more easily when they can see you. When they can hear you. When they feel like they’re actually interacting with you and getting to know you as a person and almost as a friend.
There are people who I have had in my networks on social media for years who have never expressed an interest in paying for any services from me before but they have known about me. Then, suddenly, I started vlogging and they became interested.
The vlog has been educating people about the value of my services and about the quality of my knowledge and capabilities. They have got more confidence in my ability to deliver what I promise.
Also, the vlog gets them really fired up and passionate about the possibilities of what they can do if they have the right copy for their business!
The vlog has already more than paid for itself. The amount of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears that I’ve poured into my vlog has more than paid for itself already. I’m anticipating that to continue into the future.
Vlogging is so worth it!
I have seen that result without any promotion of my videos. Without any advertising on my vlog. Without anything other than sharing it in my social networks and promoting it as much as I could for free.
I’ve sent it out to my list each week; I’ve shared it in networking groups that I’m in on Facebook; I’ve tweeted each video.
I haven’t done anything else.
So, month one, don’t expect much to happen; month two, you will start to see a shift; month three (because remember, it always takes at least three months for any new marketing to take effect), is where the magic is really going to start to happen.
Be sure to download my fabulous vlogging workflows freebie to help you out and don’t forget to share your new vlog with me when you’ve got it set up! I would love to watch it.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, do please like it and share it. If you have any questions for me comment below, I’ll see you next week…