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How to Get Started Video Blogging

Lots of people have been asking me about video recently. Partly because I am pretty vocal on Twitter about finding it difficult but keep doing it anyway, and partly because I have been encouraging my clients to do more of it.

If it is so hard, why do some people make it look easy? And if it is so uncomfortable, why bother?

Fact is technically it does not have to be difficult. In fact I am going to show you that it is very easy technically.

There are many benefits, not least of which are the traffic and attention aspects that you get from video, but also because people really respond to being able to see and hear you.

Video blogs, where all the content is video, are becoming increasingly popular. Man on the Go is one. Here is a video I contributed over there about the best seats to choose on a flight (of all things).

Most people, however, use video occasionally. Either to mix up the content and keep it fresh, or just where visual is more appropriate than words.

Why Video is Hard

My problem with video is because of the performance. I have the technical side pretty much perfected and it really isn’t tough once you know how. Darren can set up his camera and talk out a video on one take. Chris is another “video natural”. You might be the same. I am not.

I’m a writer rather than a natural performer.

The good news is it does get easier! Just practice. The more you do, and the more constructive feedback you get, the easier it becomes. There are more tips and strategies of course but practice really does make the most difference for most people.

How to Do a Video Post in 5 Minutes

Want to know the easiest way to just do video? YouTube.

Go to YouTube, register or log in. Go to “Upload Video” and you will see there is a feature now where you can record direct from your desktop webcam!

Once you have recorded your video you can use the Embed feature to copy the embed code:

Remember though to paste it into the HTML editing tab of your blog rather than “Visual” otherwise screwy things happen when published.

What if Your Video is Not Public?

If you want to run an online course, and most of my video is this type, then obviously YouTube is not a good answer. Fear not though, you can still do it far more easily than it seems.

I use Flowplayer which allows you to embed videos into your WordPress posts that, unlike most Flash-based video players, will even work with iPad and iPhone. There are WordPress plugins that make the whole thing easier but if you are doing for-profit then you really need a license.

Summary

Don’t get caught up thinking that there is a whole lot of super-technical things you need to overcome. Really the hardest part is doing it. You can improve everything incrementally.

Of course there is gear you can buy, techniques for audio and lighting, and obviously ways you can improve scripting and performance, but the main thing is to try it and see if you and your audience like it.

Let me know if this is something you would like me to talk about more or if there are questions you would like answered. Also let me know your own experiences. Looking forward to seeing what you have to share in the comments …

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this post, Chris. I love doing videos. But I still struggle with the technicalities. How to get a top quality resolution – but make it load fast.

    Also, how to make sure everyone can see it on their various platforms.

    I’m a Mac user and have got Final Cut Express as editing software. But I’ve recently been using Camtasia. It doesn’t have the editing finess, but I can mix personal video, screenflow, and text.

    But, again – there is the problem of exporting for top performance AND loading sped.

    For us a A-List Blogging most of our videos are just for members, so Ustream isn’t really an option. We usually use Vimeon with password protection.

    • That’s a good idea, Chris. Although for me it would be tricky bysiness to record without the option to edit afterward.

      Mary and Alberto: For protected videos, I suggest to use S3 Amazon to store the videos/audios and a plugin that can handles the video embedding. If S3Media Stream is a plugin that comes in two flavors; Joomla and WordPress. It protects your videos against theft using 2 methods, expiring URLs and streaming.

      I wrote a whole series of tutorials on how to use S3 Amazon as a storage space for your rich media. If you are interested, have a look here: http://www.miracletutorials.com/s3-amazon-web-services/
      I hope this is useful to you.

  2. I don’t usually do video but a little while ago I held a storytelling session about my RTW trip. I didn’t think about the techy pieces but allowed a camera in the room to tape it. I posted up the first piece this week. It’s not very good b/c the lighting is dark (it was a live slideshow) but I’m excited to try a new format on my blog. I think people liked it! I would try harder next time to think about the posting of it when I plan the taping.

  3. Thanks for touching upon this Chris.

    I have been actually contemplating this topic for sometime now, though procrastination coupled with a slight fear (of some sort) has held me back – not good!

    I guess hiding behind text is a much easier option, though diversifying into other streams of communication is definitely a requirement now as opposed to an option.

    Did fear or lack of confidence initially effect you Chris (or any one else)?

  4. I’ve been gearing up to do video on my blog as well. My goal is to start with the new year. I would love to hear more of your ideas, suggestions and challenges. Like you, I’m more comfortable writing – not so much on being a performer. The computer can be a nice shield can’t it?? It’s an uncomfortable feeling for me and I don’t feel natural at it and a little fearful … but if it’s a fear … then all the more reason to challenge myself and overcome it, I guess we all just need to push onward and do it!

  5. Video posts are on my plans. The technical aspect have been taken care of, and yes the problem is with me.

    Tough I have a background in theater, appearing in video is a different thing. But I’d be sure to try it out in the coming months. 😀

  6. Chris, I agree that video is absolutely great. YouTube is a great resource. Uploading from your webcam, however, works only if you can get the video you want in one take. And I cannot, since I expect myself to sound and look like the guy who does the news or sports on TV and, well, there are very good reasons why I am not doing news or sports on TV. But, yes, video is a requirement, as Sohial points out. It may be time for me to JUST DO IT and let the ers and ums fall where they may!! Thanks for the post, man!!

  7. Every conference I have attended I have had a good number of people say that they want to/need to do video but haven’t started yet.

    I agree that it doesn’t have to be difficult or a big production. Just start and practice. I have improved just as you said – incrementally – over the years.

    I started making videos for online in spring of 2008 and I’m totally addicted now. In fact, I have a whole site about vlogging tips and I started from scratch. No background in film-making or TV – just a love of video.

  8. Thank you, Chris. Wonderful info, well-done. I haven’t done video yet, but I’ve done some public speaking and teaching at a college. Maybe those skills will help me when I make the jump.

  9. Hy tankyou for the tips. I have a question (sorry for my english). I’m creatin some video for a membership site. For my site i use bluehost but i think is not good for store a lot of big video. There do you suggest to store the video for protected download (i will use amember for protect the membership). I see at amazon S3 service, what do you think?
    Thank you from italy

  10. The only time I’ve been on a plane was a short flight to Amsterdam back in 1998. So never really experienced hours on end sitting in a seat.

    I hate being hemmed in, so I would prefer an aisle seat,

    I also get bored easily so any journey longer than half an hour where I’m not in control i.e. driving, I get really fidgety and antsy. So I’m the worst person to sit next to and I would like to move around.

    So the only way to keep me still would be to knock me out 🙂

  11. Hi Chris.

    All settled in Canada? The north misses you, buddy. Make sure you come back for #PodCampUK next year!

    Back to the plot.

    It has taken me the longest time to figure out why I like and loathe video blogging in equal measure.

    As a podcasting consultant and coach I adore video blogging when it comes from the heart, or is used as a communications channel for the right reasons.

    Suddenly EVERYONE wants to video blog yet the vast majority could do the job better using audio only. I say “better” for two reasons: Video blogging works if you’ve got a product to showcase or a top tip to share through screen capture or similar; video blogging is next to useless if you want to captivate the widest possible audience when they’re at their most prone and likely to be enchanted – aka on the bus, walking home, or running a treadmill mile.

    In these situations, listening is the most likely – and safest – way they’ll consume your incredible content.

    Video blogging is ace on an ethereal level, however if you want genuine impact conveying a message that doesn’t NEED to be visually consumed, I still suggest that audio is the best way possible of achieving your goals.

    Dave Thackeray

  12. Bravo, Chris.

    I started doing videos about two years ago when I broke my wrist. Writing was challenging, even with a dictation program. I loved the immediacy of video, and my readers did, too.

    I find the biggest barrier to doing video is feeling you have to do it right. I get grat responses to imperfect videos. So, people, just do it.

  13. I guess I’m the only person on the web that doesn’t really like video stuff. I mean some things need it to show you what is being discussed or whatever, but for a blog post?

    Sorry, but I can read a blog post much faster (and even just scan through it where appropriate) than watching a video. A 5 minute video takes me 5 minutes, not to mention the buffering time, the amount of household bandwidth it uses (small pipe), etc.

    Sure, it fits sometimes, but I think it gets overused. Just something to consider.

    Bruce

  14. My blog is only tiny, so this isn’t perhaps as pertinent to me as for the big business whizz-kids, but I have tried on numerous occasions to put youtube videos on my posts and it just doesn’t work! The closest I can get is to put up a link. The format on wordpress is apparently simple, I follow it to the letter. but it defeats me every time.

    What I’m really interested to know ‘though is how a computer dullard such as I am could incorporate audio stuff…there are times when I think it would be good to include dialect readings, etc, but I just don’t know how.

    • Hey Elizabeth!

      Embedding YouTube videos into your WordPress blog literally should be as easy as you say – simply adding the embed link you grab on uploading a video to YouTube. Have you made sure the video is safely uploaded first? If the video hasn’t uploaded correctly, then you’re right – the link will be shown, rather than the video. One to check.

      If you need a hand with adding audio in, hit me up with a quick email through my website (click my name above). I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to figure something out between us!

  15. Thanks Chris,

    To be honest I find the whole techie side of video a bit daunting but it is my target to myself to have a video intro on my site before the end of the year. There, now I’ve said it publicly!

    Cathy

  16. Hello Chris.

    Video blogging is a great way of engaging your audience in a visual manner because they can actually see the action happening. You don’t necessarily have to be in the video. Interestingly there are many websites on the Internet offering video making services for a small fee where you can tell them what you want in the video and they created within a couple of days. There is a PC servicing company who is uploading multiple videos on YouTube sharing small tips on how to take care of your PC without spending much money. The basic idea is offering something that is useful, in an interesting manner.

  17. Chris,

    I agree with you. For me it’s not the technical aspects of making a video that makes it hard; it’s the performing bit. If I video myself and replay it, I am always horrified at how I look and sound. Do you know of a good video series that shows you how to look and sound good on video?

    Terry

  18. I have one suggestion for anyone ready to give video a try – please (please) think beyond the visual part of the process. I’ve watched a LOT of video tutorials the last couple of months learning about the technical side of setting up my website. While there is a lot of really good content out there, it’s amazing to me how many people post videos with such poor sound quality . . . sound is too low or there’s background noise. A few speakers have had such thick accets it’s impossible to get everything their (trying) to say. Thanks!

  19. A friend taped me doing sonnets and put them on youtube. Now I’m trying to do it alone. I appreciate all the help I can get since using the computer at all is a challenge. To see those youtube sonnets just enter in the youtube search box, sonnet Ackerman, and I think you will get some of them. Sonnetchallenge has found me. Hope some of the English teachers out there do so. I’ve studied all by Shakespeare, Wyatt, Howard, Sidney, Spenser, Drayton, Daniel, Lodge, Fletcher, and translations of the continentals. No fancy credentials other than a BA, but I know the subject of the sonnets and have been a keynote speaker before a teenage audience 3 years in a row. I was told later that I’d created a bunch of sonnet scholars. Once teens know the secret subject, they devour those Elizabethan poems.

  20. For me the problem is exactly that…just doing it. I get too lazy to set up the camera. Thanks for the inspiration to get off my lazy butt and just do it!

    One WordPress plugin I love is called Smart YouTube. It makes it super easy to embed a youtube video. All you have to do is cut and paste the url and add a v to the address like so: httpv://url. once that’s done I just center it I’m done.

  21. I totally agree with you about the power of video, the facts are that websites with video rank faster than those without, and having video on your website generates more credability, these are facts that can be substantiated. 9 months ago I did not know how to use or create video, but you have to go through the learning curve, like all things it is hard at first until you learn the ropes. I have captured my whole learning process to help others who understand the power of video but don’t know how to get started. Also thankyou for your blog articles which I enjoy.

  22. Great writeup Chris! Suggestion…if you’re not immediately comfortable with your image on cam, start off small via screencasts. A lot of the time when you’re doing video (at least for me), you’ll be referencing things on screen. Instead of being in front of the camera, you can start off just being the voice. This is a great way to test if your customers are into video, and a great way for you to feel slightly less self-conscious about the whole ordeal. If you’ve got a hit on your hands, making the transition to being in front of the camera will eb ten times easier.

    Thanks again!

  23. This is an excellent post. Thank you, Chris.

    I need to get started with video and you have moved me one step nearer.

    You mention licences. I would like to create material to support our training programmes. Is this where you think a licence of some sort will be needed?

    MA

  24. Great post Chris! You are totally on target – the technical side is really easy now. What’s challenging is feeling comfortable on camera. But with the explosion of video blogging, video skype, facetime, etc. it’s important! Some colleges now include a video component to their application process.

    I wrote a book that is light on the technical side and heavy on exercises to find your video voice and get comfy on cam. It’s called ‘Naked Lens: Video Blogging & Video Journaling to Reclaim the YOU in YouTube’. You can check out free chapters at http://www.videoregeneration.com or http://bit.ly/nakedlens.

    Glad I found your blog.

  25. Thanks for the post. I am just delving into the world of video blogging and it’s nice to read posts aimed at beginners. I think vlogs are great at standing out and catching interest, so hopefully I can get it going.

  26. Great post Chris.

    Im not much for showing my face off on camera, so i prefer to use Camtasia studio to make audio/slide videos. I find this work realy well for youtube presentations and allows me to visually display my target URL to viewers. I find this style gets a much high conversion rate for traffic.

  27. Thanks for the great information on video blogging. Videos are a great way of engaging your audience. I think you might want to link the article you have on fear with the article on video blogging, because they sound like two sides of the same coin.

  28. I don’t like video either. For me it felt very, very awkward and unconformable.

    But I did it anyway. I can’t tell my clients they need to experiment in video if I haven’t tried it myself.

    And, my readers loved it. I’ve had no less than 5 people asking when the next one is.

    My advice? Just be careful with video 🙂

  29. Thanks for the advice, David. I’ll keep your e-mail close by incase I need it.

  30. Thanks for the advice. I am one of those people who would like to video blog, I’ve tried making videos but I have a hard time talking in front of the computer. I always don’t continue to post the awful videos. Do you have any tips on how to build confidence when it comes to video blogging?

  31. Just did my first video post review although strictly speaking its not my face in front of the camera, think I need to work up to that one. Its weird hearing ones own voice back. Lots of bad habits in my first vid already like breathing too loudly and smacking my lips together. Hey ho shall keep doing it and hopefully perfect the art.