If you are just starting out in the world of vlogging, first of congratulations. Second of all, there are much to learn and many things to take note of. You need to know where to start, how to market yourself, how to keep subscribers, the list just keeps going.
To make it a little easier, I have written down not 10, not 15, but 19 tips that is very useful for you now when you are in the early stages of vlogging. Check out all 19 tips down below and good luck with your vlog.
1. Select Your Niche & Stick with It
Don’t be one of those vloggers who is trying to capture everything all the time. While it’s totally fine to incorporate fun bits and pieces of your life as “b roll” or complimentary content, your videos really need to have a primary focus. For some vloggers, that beauty, fashion, and makeup. For others, it’s travelling, pulling pranks, or a hobby/sport.
Once you pick a niche for your vlogs, you need to stick to it for consistency’s sake. Many of the most popular vloggers on YouTube today, like CrazyRussianHacker/Tarus Kul, have tried multiple channel ideas before they came to one that actually worked. When giving a niche a try, give it at least 6-12 months of consistent posting and hard work.
2. Don’t Spend Money on Expensive Equipment
Your phone is good enough in the beginning, don’t delay your vlogs because you tell yourself that you need to go out and get the newest, fanciest equipment. When you are just starting as a vlogger, all you really need is your new smartphone and a basic editing program.
Now, there is an exception to this rule: if you’re vlogging about something like photography or music, you probably want to go the extra mile with a high-quality film camera or high-quality audio so that the vlog can fully represent what you do and how good you are at it. Otherwise, your phone is good enough for now!
3. Don’t Spend Money on Expensive Software
There are several free programs when it comes to editing a video. When you first start out, all you need to do is learn how to use a basic software like iMovie so that you can cut out scrap pieces of content, slap on your video intro, and maybe add some transitions or music here and there. All of that can easily be handled in your computer’s native editing software, no need to spend money on expensive programs that are going to take months to master.
This is a really important point to make because too many would-be vloggers get caught up in trying to pick out the latest and greatest cameras and software. They just end up wasting their time and money and ultimately getting discouraged from vlogging altogether.
The best free video editing software, in my opinion, is Lightworks. It can be a bit overwhelming if you are new but watch a few tutorials on YouTube and you are set.
4. Pick the Right Spot to Record
Now, since you aren’t going to be using expensive directional microphones or fancy editing software to silence background noise, it’s important that you make your recording environment conducive to your work. This means vlogging somewhere that there won’t be a lot of foot traffic interrupting you or noises that are blocking out your voice.
In general, vloggers can vlog just about anywhere if they have something like this Selfie Stick Tripod on Amazon to film with. If you find noise levels are high in the places where you want to film, it may be best to get a lavalier microphone that plugs into your phone’s audio jack. The one I have and recommend dearly is the Rode smartLav+, which you can find on Amazon.
5. Be Yourself
Don’t go about putting on a persona for your YouTube channel. Vloggers are supposed to stay true to themselves and give others a glimpse into their daily lives and passions. It’s hard to do that if you’re running around pretending to be someone you’re not! Instead, stay true to who you are as a person.
If you find that YouTube drama is beginning to seep into your channel and affect how you act on camera, you need to take a step back and separate yourself from it. That’s what the most successful YouTubers do time and time again, and it works. Don’t get involved in the mess!
6. Plan to Grow
Start your channel with growth in mind. This means you need to always be brainstorming ideas and possibilities to expand your channel later. Write all of these ideas down! When you first start, that initial motivation and momentum should be maximized to get your channel as far as it can possibly go. Focus on one topic per vlog and try to vlog each and every day.
Also, don’t forget the power of a remake. Sometimes, you just have to go back when your channel is bigger and better to remake an old video that could have been done better. Plenty of vloggers do this with great success, so don’t be afraid to vlog about topics that can be redone or repurposed later.
7. Share Your Vlogs Everywhere
Sharing your vlogs is the best way to get the word out there about your content! While you should hope that other people begin to come along who want to share your vlogs for you, you need to be the first person to spread the word.
Share your vlogs on all of your social media networks and tell your friends and family about it. Ask them if they’d please leave a like and a comment and if they’d share it with some of their friends. That kind of engagement will boost your ranking on YouTube.
8. Jump on Big Trends
Challenges and other trends can do wonders for helping your channel grow, especially if you happen to be lucky enough to get in early or even be the channel that starts one! Just avoid stupid and dangerous challenges, like the Tide Pod Challenge, which not only endorse life-threatening stunts but may also get you banned from YouTube because of it.
9. Reply to Comments
When people leave a comment and interact with your channel, don’t be too proud to respond. Fans love it when you interact with them and it goes very far in fostering loyalty to your channel. When people leave a comment, respond back, even if it’s just a “Glad you enjoyed it!” response.
Also, while replying to comments, use this opportunity to go ahead and block any user who seems to be abusive. You have every right to do so, especially if the person is leaving toxic comments that ruin the experience for your other viewers or for you.
10. Comment on Other Vlogs
When you get started vlogging, don’t be scared to go out there and try to interact with other vloggers. Not only will your comment get seen by viewers who may be interested in your channel, you may also open up the doors for collaborating with these vloggers in the future.
Look for vlogs that are relevant to what you are vlogging about and leave a kind comment. This tactic works especially well to get you exposure if your channel name has “Vlogs” in it as it tells other people who read your comment that you are a creator and not just a commenter. That helps encourage them to click through and see what type of content you’re posting.
Just, whatever you do, don’t leave a comment saying “Check out my videos” as that’s just spammy and self-promotional. It’s a good way to get your comments banned from other channels and even experience some backlash.
11. Stick to the Schedule
Make a schedule and stick to it. This should mean vlogging daily if at all possible when you’re first starting your channel. In about 3 months’ time when you have 90-100 videos published, you might choose to knock this back to a few times a week so that you can focus on producing high-quality content without draining yourself of time, motivation, or ideas.
But, it’s really important that you get to that 100-video threshold because it will help you get more exposure and help you qualify for the YouTube partner program sooner rather than later. At 1 video per week, it will take you forever!
Once you choose a posting schedule, make sure you mention it in all your videos. For instance, you can say “Tune in next Tuesday for a new tutorial” so that all viewers know when and how often they can expect fresh content.
12. Learn YouTube SEO
Understand how ranking works. This is a really big tip but it’s one many YouTubers overlook because it seems complex. In reality, there are lots of tutorials out there that will help you understand YouTube’s ever-changing ranking algorithm so that you can stay on top of things.
From writing a good title and description to including a custom thumbnail and selecting keywords wisely, YouTube SEO–when done properly–can seriously help you outrank the competition.
13. Cut the Unnecessary Stuff
Six clips on the same thing are not interesting, maybe it’s enough with 3? Learn to cut out what’s not necessary. Sure, when filming, you might want to take multiple shots, just so you can choose amongst them later for the one with the best sound, lighting, reaction, etc. but you shouldn’t leave them all in the video.
You should also be certain to watch your videos in full before publishing them. Even big-time YouTubers sometimes make the mistake of leaving in a clip they meant to cut out. You’ll hear them repeating themselves or making a mistake and then re-taking it to correct it and it will all be in the final video!
That’s a sign that they got lazy with the editing and, by the time they decided they were through, they were too tired to even watch their own video in full. That really sets a bad vibe for your channel.
14. Ignore Negative Comments
This goes back to the earlier tip of blocking anyone who seems to be negative or toxic on your channel. When you do get these comments, you shouldn’t really bother reading them through or even responding to them. However, you should take constructive criticism to heart. On the other hand, when someone truly negative does come along, don’t waste your time responding. Delete it and block them!
15. Learn How Lighting Affects a Shot
You probably haven’t gone to film school, and that’s totally okay. But, that’s no excuse not to set out and better yourself by improving your filming skills. There are actually lots of tutorials out there to help you learn how lighting affects a shot and what you can do to make the final video look very high quality. An easy way to get better lighting as well is to get this portable lightning thingie from Amazon, that you can attach on both your phone or a camera.
You can also learn some tricks of the trade to maximize whatever equipment you may be using, so don’t stop learning and improving!
16. Listen to Your Audience
Remember: take constructive criticism to heart. Constructive criticism is positive/negative comments that come from long-time subscribers or people who are expressing real interest in your channel and seeing you succeed.
Maybe they’ll say, “Hey I love this video! Really creative twist, but could you fix the camera shaking? It’s making me sick.” This is a well-known example comment because may new vloggers don’t realize the importance of filmography.
If your camera is shaking, sliding, or not focusing, that’s something a commenter may point out to you. In most cases, they are trying to help you not harass you, so don’t get block happy with these types of comments.
17. Start a Website
Your website will act as a “home” for your subscribers where you can sell merchandise later if that is something you would like. The website might include complimentary blog posts that feature your videos, giving a bit more background, along with other exclusive content that might prompt someone to click through to your site. You should also set up an email list to go along with it.
18. Always Improve
The channel is never perfect. Remember, take constructive criticism to heart and never stop learning how you can do things better. Always be working to improve your channel, whether that means trying to improve how you film, how you edit, or what you talk about.
As time goes by, you’ll find yourself getting more and more comfortable both in front of the camera and behind it. By always improving, you are giving your subscribers more and better content to look forward to. Just about every YouTuber out there has improved since they first started. Just go back and look at your favorite vlogger’s first videos from a couple years ago and you’ll see some prime examples of this.
Maybe their camera has gotten better, maybe their film skills have gotten better, maybe their speaking skills have gotten better–maybe all of the above! As you get more used to vlogging, you’ll find yourself coming up with new and better ideas and presenting things in new and creative ways.
19. Keep Going
There may be days when you wake up and you just don’t feel like vlogging or you have no idea what to speak about. When that’s the case, simply turn on the camera and see what comes to you. Maybe it will turn out to be a hit video for your channel, or maybe it will turn out that you don’t want to publish it at all.
That’s why it’s important that you have a backlog of ideas, so you always have a list to look at and spark some motivation to vlog for the day. If you decide to eventually switch from a daily schedule to a few times a week, you can also film more often than you post so that you have a backlog of videos you can publish for days or weeks when you’re feeling sick or just not up to it. That will help you take a “vacation” from your vlog without getting off schedule.
Whatever you do, just keep going! You will get there. Building up a loyal following takes time and commitment. But, all that time and commitment will pay off if you just stick to it, stay true to yourself, and remember what you set out to do.
Give your vlogs meaning, give your subscribers value, and have fun doing it. Now, get started with you vlog!