What's a Vlog?

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Video streaming services like YouTube, DailyMotion and Vimeo have changed the way people consume media. While content was previously controlled by traditional media gatekeepers who decided what could and couldn't be broadcast to audiences on TV, online services give content creators the opportunity to publish whatever they want directly to an audience. This hugely expanded the amount of content available to audiences and created new avenues for people to express themselves. One of the most rapidly growing and meaningful new ways to communicate with an audience is through a "vlog."

What's a Vlog?
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What Is a Vlog?

Vlog, which is short for "video blog" or "video log," describes a video format in which creators talk directly into the camera about a topic of their choosing or document events or activities they're attending or involved with for their audience. While this defines vlogs fairly concisely, many vloggers take the format in new directions, and you don't have to feel confined by any specific format. Provided you make regular videos on a topic that interests you, including but far from limited to your own daily life or pursuit of your hobby, you are a vlogger of some description. Vlogs are often personal, but this doesn't necessarily have to be the case.

How to Make a Vlog

You can create a vlog with minimal equipment provided you have a good idea and the passion for producing high-quality content. Think of a topic or an overall intent for your vlog. Take inspiration from well-known vloggers like VlogBrothers, Casey Neistat, Zoella, Shane Dawson, PewDiePie, Charlieissocoollike or anybody else you like. Avoid copying anyone's content, but being inspired by another vlogger can cement an idea you have. You can choose any topic that isn't illegal, but ideally, select an engaging topic that allows you to put your spin on it. Be unique and choose something you're passionate about.

Create an account on a video-sharing platform. This isn't the most exciting step, but it's crucial to set up your account properly so that people interested in your content can find your videos. Choose a memorable username and avoid jumbled strings of letters or numbers. Taking time over your channel design helps too, as does a clear description of what your channel does.

Get a camera or use your mobile phone to record your first video. If you don't have a high-quality video camera, you can still make a great video, but if you have the money to invest in high-quality equipment, it can make your videos more visually appealing to viewers. Choose your topic carefully. It helps to come up with 10 or more ideas (or finish 10 whole videos) before you get started to cement the purpose of the channel and the type of content you plan to produce. Making a video as a response to a popular video helps you gain some attention for your content. Edit and upload each video: One every day or two is a good pace, but work at any regular pace you're comfortable with. Promote your video on social media and communicate with followers or fans you gain.

Types of Vlogs

Vlogs are a versatile form of content, and there are many different types of vlogs commonly found online.

Lifestyle blogs are the simplest type of vlog and involve taking a video diary of your day-to-day life or activities. You can focus this on a specific activity you're involved with. Examples include traveling around a country, training for a sports event, or discussing your day-to-day life.

Beauty, fashion and fitness vlogs are another popular type of vlog, and these are intended to help viewers look better or live healthier.

Reviews of products, films, TV shows or books provide a regular source of video material and attract viewers who are considering watching or buying whatever you're reviewing.

Pranks or comedy videos can be entertaining and are a popular form of vlog, or you can focus on commentary on pop culture or gossip.

Gaming videos, whether they are "let's play" videos in which you record yourself playing video games, instructional "how-to" style content, or walkthroughs are other types of vlog.

Informative how-to or educational videos on other topics can be valuable to viewers, particularly if you're an expert in the subject matter in question.

Vlog Ideas and Tips

You might find getting started with your vlog challenging, but you can be inspired by other vloggers and use tips to tackle common problems that arise for new vloggers.

Start with a simple project to get your vlog started. Choose a prank you can perform on unsuspecting friends or members of the public, or record a screencast to help viewers perform a task on their computer. If you can attend an interesting event or witness a rare natural disaster or the aftermath of one, you have a good hook for attracting viewers to your channel. You can find somebody famous, semi-famous or with specific expertise related to your topic to interview or record a documentary on your chosen topic. For a simple start, choose a topic you're interested in and have something to say about, and talk to your camera.

Tips come in many forms, but some are more important to a new vlogger than others. Arguably, the most important advice is to upload content regularly and reliably. If you upload interesting content every day or every other day, you're more likely to build an audience than if you only upload every two or three weeks. Think about what you can manage, but one video a week should be a minimum, and ideally, you should schedule a regular day for uploading.

Keep an eye out for trends and events in your niche that are likely to interest viewers. If you have your finger on the pulse of your subject, you might be able to catch the next big topic before it takes off. Create social media accounts for your channel, and try to comment on other blogs or vlogs that address a similar subject.

Establish the right tone for your videos. A friendly, conversational style punctuated with humor puts your audience at ease, so they feel more like they're talking to a friend than being lectured.