How To Start a Vlog 101: Everything You Need To Know

So you want to be a YouTube star? Or maybe you’re simply an expert who wants to share important knowledge with the world. Regardless of why you want to start your own vlog or what you plan to feature, there are some best practices that ensure your vlog channel gets success that goes beyond the approval of your ever-supportive Aunt Sally.

Heed the following step-by-step tips to create a top-quality experience, generate lots of viewers, and position yourself to generate revenue through your very own video productions.

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What’s a Vlog?

Short for a video blog or video log, a vlog is a blog in video form. Think of it as your own little TV show or channel, only it’s on the web, produced by you, and presumably starring you (or maybe your super cute pet).

There are a number of platforms where you can create a vlogging channel and publish video content. The most-viewed and successful vlogs are YouTube channels, but there are other platforms where you can publish like Instagram and Twitch.

While the vlog format is video and the publishing medium is the web, the rest is limited only by your imagination. Your vlog can be instructional or performance art, documentary or comedy in style. It can include nothing but video or video plus text, images, and other fun features that help you get your point across and entertain. It can be shot in one take or expertly edited.

What Makes a Good Video Vlog?

A vlogger recording a makeup tutorial

Just because you can make your vlog about anything your heart desires doesn’t mean you should. After all, you want an audience, right? So forget any notions of real-time live snail races or one-take reenactments of the entire__ Old Testament. There are known ways to attract viewers and turn them into loyal followers.

Here are some vlogging tips to live by.

Develop a Niche

Unless you’re the most fascinating and famous person in the world, you aren’t going to snag a huge or even medium audience on your winning personality alone. You need a subject matter that viewers are interested in and will come to rely on you for.

Decide what you plan to specialize in and make sure there’s an audience for it. Fast cooking, quick home improvement tricks, makeup tutorials, gaming, and fitness are all great video subjects likely to garner an interested audience.

Select something you’re passionate about. It’ll come through in your work and keep you engaged and excited to come up with new video ideas.

Identify and Speak To Your Target Audience

Once you know your niche, you can begin to identify your ideal audience. Think about who will be interested in what you’re showcasing. Make sure your video, graphics, and written and spoken language appeal to them. For example, the tone, graphics, and attitude of a vlog about Formula 1 racing would look, sound, and feel very different than one showcasing the fine art of knitting.

Deliver Value

The key to great content, whether blogging or vlogging, is to provide value. Value can be in the form of education (like how to naturally get rid of mice or change your car’s oil or play guitar) or entertainment (think commentary, music, or your own version of “Saturday Night Live”).

In either case, it has to be compelling enough that the viewer feels they get value out of the time they spend watching you. Schmooze ‘em or lose ‘em.

Maintain Pro Video Quality

Nowadays you can make a top-quality, full-length film on your iPhone or Android using your smartphone’s video camera, so there’s no excuse for poor-quality video. Successful vloggers know it’s critical that videos are clean and clear with great audio and visuals. (We’ll get into the tools to help you do this later in this article.)

Be Distinctive

As the saying goes, everything’s been done before. But it hasn’t been done in your unique style. Adding your own personal touch to video blogging can be the thing that makes your chocolate chip cookie tutorial stand out from the gazillion others out there. (Remember the chef who got 740K views for telling viewers to just “Put the f*cking turkey in the oven”? Case in point!)

Find ways to make yourself or your channel or show stand out. Low-hanging-fruit opportunities include video titles (utilizing search engine optimization so they can get found via Google search), your video intro (create a trademark opener), your outro (leave a lasting goodbye), and any catchphrases that you can coin and perpetuate. (Hello, Cardi B’s “Okurrr.”)

Publish and Promote Consistently

The concept “Out of sight, out of mind” is real. Make sure you have enough good topics to cover on your vlog to create new content regularly. Create a content schedule to keep yourself on track and develop franchises (like tips, reviews, or recipes) that people can come to expect when they watch your vlog.

Now that you know what to publish, let’s address where to publish.

Vlog Platforms Worth Considering

How to start a vlog: A camera and microphone sitting next to a laptop

YouTube is the king of user-generated video content, and it’s a fantastic platform to use. But it’s not the only place to establish yourself among video bloggers. As video becomes a more established and popular medium for content of all kinds, the options continue to grow. Other popular platforms include:

If you want to try out various video formats, reach more audiences, or target a different audience than the YouTube crowd, these platforms will help you do it.

Best Practices for Top-Quality Vlog Production

Once you know your subject matter, style, and preferred platform, it’s time to get to production. Let’s cover the basics on how to do it right.

Have the Right Equipment

If you’re just joining the world of new vloggers and aren’t sure of your level of commitment, don’t bother investing in a lot of equipment just yet. A quality smartphone camera will get you started and may even be enough for the long haul. The more you get into vlogging, the more you’ll learn what you need to create your dream vlogs.

Depending on what you’re vlogging about, you may find you need some or all of the following:

Make Sure Your Vlog Channel Is Well-Branded

Adobe Spark channel banner template for a travel vlog

https://www.adobe.com/express/create/banner

If you’re investing in outstanding vlog content, you should put similar effort into branding your vlog channel. This is also easily done with free online tools. At a minimum, you need:

Need a refresher on the importance and best practices of branding? Read a step-by-step guide to defining a winning online identity.

How To Generate Revenue Through Your Vlog

Maybe you’re starting a vlog just for fun and have no expectation of compensation other than accolades from your friends and family. But if you’re serious about vlogging, you should think about how to earn money doing it.

There are many ways to get paid through vlogging that don’t include selling yourself into a pay-per-view boxing match like Logan Paul. All of them start with making great content. People won’t begin to throw money at you until you have an audience they want to reach. So build your content library with an eye on attracting an audience the following ways:

Once you get an established audience, you can optimize any or all of these revenue streams:

Pace Yourself

Like anything worthwhile, building a successful vlog takes time, discipline, and commitment. You won’t become the next Dude Perfect overnight. So, take it one vlog at a time. Start with an epic first video that introduces yourself and your vlog and go from there, taking cues from your most popular videos and evolving with your audience’s preferences. With patience and effort, you’ll be on your way to establishing yourself as a bonafide vlogger.