I vlog sometimes. Not often because it just isn’t top of mind for me, but it’s something that I enjoy watching from others and like doing. I just need that little kick in the pants, and I received it from two places while at Type A Conference. You’ll be seeing more of me – literally. This session? Vlogging for Bloggers: From Keyboard to Camcorder with Christie Crowder.

I have also posted other Type A Conference recaps:
Keynote session with Chris Garrett
Don’t Rank Me: Getting Past Scores and Numbers with Kelly Whalen and David Binkowski
Time Management with Amy Bair
Taking Over the World with Google+ with Lynette Young

Christie Glascoe Crowder @chatterboxgc

I am ChatterBox Christie. I’ve been blogging since about 2006. I consider myself a lifestyle blogger. I blog about whatever I feel like and am heavily caffeinated. I’ve done reviews, a little vlogging, I used to have an online blog talk radio, and more. I try to be clever and creative and still candid at the same time. I talk about life or movies or gadgets or anything. This session is not going to get too deep into equipment and editing. It’s more about getting comfortable adding vlogging to your blogging life.

Why do people vlog? People love to watch videos. There are more people watching videos on YouTuve and Facebook than people uploading them. It adds traffic to your site when you embed video into your site. It also encourages them to hang around on your site. When people are watching your video, they are also seeing all the other cool things on your site. It also shows you – adding visibility. Plus, it adds to your credibility, and it’s fun.

Don’t just do it because everyone is doing it. It should be something that means something to you personally and something that means something to you professionally. If it doesn’t do anything for you, don’t do it. If it gives you an icky feeling inside, don’t go there. The whole reason we’re here is because your blogs meant something to you to begin with, then they started to mean something to someone else.

Why should you vlog? It’s great if you want to amp up your presence and show the world that you’re here. It’s fun to do something different and jazz it up a little bit. It also is a step outside your comfort zone, which is a good thing.

Why haven’t you started vlogging? How many don’t have time? You don’t have studio space. You don’t have camera or crew. Makeup and wardrobe challenges, production challenges, and a fear of being on camera are the big reasons. But let’s change your perception on vlogging. Vlogging can be faster than blogging. It’s great if you’re stressing about how to make something sound good on paper, but it would be much easier to just tell someone. That’s where things can come much better in your own voice. If you’ve got something to say that you want to get out to your audience, you really want to make it sound good or funny or you want your audience to get the feeling that you’re trying to evoke. It’s so much easier if you just talk about it. You should use vlogging in addition to your existing blog, not in place of your blog. You don’t have to do it consistently or become a solid vlogger.

When you vlog, you want to be professionally personal. That means you don’t need to have a camera crew, and the like. Just have yourself put together with your hair brushed. You want to convey who you are and what you do. If you are about being a hippy, wear your tie dye. You want to be personal. Don’t panic when you’re vlogging. It’s supposed to be fun.

With vlogging, it isn’t so important to be consistent. It isn’t something where you have to do it every day or a certain number of times a week. You don’t have to put that much pressure on yourself. It can be a once in awhile thing, unless you have specific goals that you’re trying to accomplish. You may want to save it for the show me posts. The interviews, the how tos, the review posts. You don’t have to do it all the time. It isn’t like blogging where you have to be so regimented and consistent where you hear all the time that you have to have consistency.

If you want to be a media type that is always on camera, then you want to be more professional with it. You want to vlog all the time. If you want to be a tv star, then you will have to vlog a lot. But if you just want to make it an enhancement to your blog to whatever you are trying to do, then do that. Do what feels right to you.

Change your perception on production. You want to stay in your technological lane. Whatever you already have – your Flip, your phone, etc. – is fine to use. You want to be presentable and have the light to be in front of you so that your face is lit. You don’t want to have so much stuff around you that it will distract the eyes from you. Have nice surroundings, wear solid colored clothing – anything that accentuates your face. And you want to look like you; don’t wear a ton of makeup or jewelry.

You can have the background be your home. Outside can be great, but be careful of the sounds of outside – maybe use an external mic or be sure that you are close enough to the camera. Don’t sweat editing… keep it simple while you’re getting started. The basic computer editing will be fine. I put a slide in front saying what I’m going to talk about then a page at the end with credits. The thing for me is that I feel good that I did it and uploaded it and finished it. If you stress about all this, you’ll never do another vlog. Just be you.

Getting comfy on camera

Relax. How many of you get bogged down with what you’re going to say? I do that, too. I like candid videos, not so much the scripted videos. For me, I like to seem as real as possible on camera, but at the same time I want to know what I want to say. I sometimes will write it out a bit. If it’s a confessional or a chat, then I’ll wing it. If I want it to be more polished but still me, I’ll write out what I want to say, read it to myself so that I know what I want to say, then put it aside.

I don’t go on camera with a script. It might take a couple of takes to remember everything. Winging it can work if you know everything pretty well. If it is something you know really well, winging it can work. It’s like telling your friend about the product; you don’t need a script for that, right? Think about treating it like Skype. You are just Skyping with a couple hundred people.

This is taped, so you can do it again until you’re satisfied. Practice off camera with an audience. I’m a closet vlogger. I don’t like anybody around or watching me when I record. In order for some of you who are camera shy be more comfortable knowing you’ll have an audience, you may want to practice in front of your kid or your pets or your spouse. Or have them hold the camera for you if you don’t have an iSight for your computer.

Be a representative of your blog. If you’re a runner, wear your Spandex. If you’re a gardener, wear your gardening gear. Check out what else is out there to see what people like you are doing when they vlog. Be influenced, be inspired, but never copy… be yourself. Take what you learn from the veterans out there, the great vloggers that you see out there. See the techniques they use and then be yourself. If you’re in the same blogging niche as someone you admire, do it differently and step your game up.

Content for the Camera Shy

There is safety in numbers. Enlist a supporting cast – your kids, your family, your sister, your friends. Get someone else on camera with you to buffer that a little. It adds a little bit of camraderie, especially if you’re using other blogers in your niche. If you don’t want to do it by yousrelf, get some other folks in there to do it with you.

Use video footage and/or photos with voice-overs. That allows you to minimize face time. You don’t always have to be on camera to vlog. Your face doesn’t have to be on camera the whole time. It can be photos with your voice as a voice over with just a little of you in the beginning and a little at the end. As you get more into it, you’ll get more comfortable on camera.

Audience Questions

What do you use to edit your videos?

The software that you have on your computers is fine for beginners. iMovie or Windows Live Movie Maker work just fine, and I’m pretty happy with it.

How long should videos be?

I would say no more than four minutes for a video. Two to two and a half minutes is ideal. If it is going to be a long video, it had better keep people engaged from beginning to end or you’ll use them. When you are putting together a 2 minute video, it can take a long time depending on what your subject matter. Get on the camera and start talking – start doing video diaries that you don’t publish to get comfortable on camera.

I sort of do a description of the videos when I upload to YouTube, and then I tag it correctly. When I post it on my blog, I will also tag it and include some text to introduce it just in case no one wants to watch the video, they still know what it’s about. Most of my videos are product reviews or for other brands, along with some tutorials on SheStreams.

If it is going to be a tutorial, people are more engaged because they are trying to learn something. You don’t want them to be too long because they start to get boring. It can be longer than the two minutes you see elsewhere. It all depends on your subject matter.

Do you upload to YouTube or Vimeo or both?

YouTube is more popular than Vimeo. I’m a visual person, and Vimeo looks better to me, and I like the way you can do your channels. It’s just not as wildly popular as YouTube. If you want, upload to both. It doesn’t hurt anything.

Danielle Smith: My recommendation for SEO would be YouTube – it’s your number 2 search engine behind Google. When you search “how to knit” – it will show video and text links. You need to fill in the description, title and tag it appropriately.

(still Danielle) You can also increase your SEO by replying by video on YouTube. When you click in your comment section on YouTube, it will ask you if you want to reply via video. It will instantly start to load all your videos. You simply choose which one is applicable to the video you just watched, and you’ll start to show up on the sidebar, so start to get more eyeballs. Look for other people talking about the same topic and use your video as a reply. You’re working YouTube, and your video is just like any other format. You don’t actually type in a reply for this. Don’t do it for something that isn’t relevant because that’s spamming, but look for other videos that are on that topic and how they were tagged then tag yours similarly to drive traffic.

Can you make money on with vlogging, too?You can monetize video by including it with a brand’s campaign. You’re creating a relationship that way. You can monetize via YouTube with a promotional arrangement like AdSense. There are a lot of organizations like Mad Grab that are trying to take over YouTube with communities. They are going to sell advertising and want people in the community. You have to generate a lot of views in your channel and create a community in your channel first. They’ll control what they want you to do. You’ll need to comment on other videos, to start to get your notice up. You’ll need to comment on other videos to generate the views of your videos by doing this to create your own community.

If a brand approaches you to write X posts for a campaign, ask if some of them can be videos so that it isn’t as intimidating for you to write that much, and they may like it because it gives a good visual for them, too. Working video into your brand relationships is how you can make money from those relationships, too. It’s a lot of work, especially if it doesn’t come completely natural to you, but it can be well worth it for a lot reasons. You want to be compensated for those, too.

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