How to go from blogger to vlogger

Video blogging (or vlogging) has taken the online internet TV community by storm, and we think the industry shift from ‘blogger to vlogger’ is exciting.

Anyone with a camera, an internet connection and something to say, can vlog, and we’ve made the move from blogger to vlogger recently too.

Vlogging is a great way to showcase your experiences and personality via the video format.

Thanks to fast internet you can upload a vlog to YouTube pretty much anywhere on the planet, whether it be from a cafe in Gastown, Vancouver or at a truckstop in the middle of Outback Australia.

The great thing about vlogging is that there are so many micro-communities which allow you to connect with like-minded people who share your passion. A quick search will connect you with thousands of communities, for example, travel, cooking, dogs, craft beer and gaming.

Travel vlogging has an enormous online community. Many bloggers have made the transition too, and are sharing their experiences with the world.

The best part is that you don’t need expensive eqipment to start a travel vlog.

Many YouTubers have opted to use their smartphone or a basic digital camera.

My top five tips for travellers to help you shift from blogger to vlogger are…

Select your niche (what are you passionate about?)

The first question you need to ask yourself is what are you going to vlog about?

Choose a niche or something you really care about. This will help you focus on topics (content) that you know or are an expert on.

Mine are travel, food and dogs. Who doesn’t love eating food and patting dogs while travelling? (wash your hands though!).

When you talk about your passions people will find you more interesting because your enthusiasm easily shines through.

I can talk about food and dogs forever.

Be specific and people (your viewers) will find you.

Keep your clips short

Try and hook your viewer in the first few seconds and spark their curiosity.

Your video should share a creative story showcasing all of your best bits filmed on an adventure.

Tell the audience what they are going to see to give them a reason to keep watching. Don’t save your best bits until the end. 

Current industry statistics show that for optimum engagement stick to about two to four minutes in length.

If you need more time don’t be afraid of breaking your longer videos up into digestible bits to create a series.

Practice makes perfect

Anyone who has tried moving from blogging to vlogging will know that talking into a camera lens is not as easy as it sounds, especially at first.

Practice makes perfect though!

Pick up a camera and start talking or you can sit down in front of a mirror and pretend it’s the camera.

It’s important to know the right angles and movements for you as you vlog.

As you watch yourself you’ll notice things that you can do to improve. The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel.

Just let your partner know in advance otherwise they might think you are to talking yourself (again!).

Be consistent

To build your audience you need to consistently upload high quality vlogs.

Your subscribers like to know that you are active.

Vlogs which are entertaining and engaging will always have an audience.

Don’t wait weeks or even months until you upload a new vlog otherwise your loyal fans may have moved on.

Stick to a schedule. If you regularly upload a video on Sunday at 8am make sure you meet the deadline.

Sound is important

Audio is just as important as video quality.

If your audience can’t hear or understand what you’re are saying they will move on.

If your videos always have poor sound quality, people will avoid them.

If you are filming in a quiet room, a good quality camera microphone will be sufficient.

However, if you plan on venturing outdoors a good external directional microphone will help aleviate a lot of background noise.

Browse Ebay and Amazon for options.

Alternatively, you can also record audio on another separate device like a phone or Zoom recorder.

Showcase ‘you’

Learn to filter your experiences through personality.

Be yourself on camera.

Viewers want to trust and connect with the person they are watching. Use this to your advantage.

Look directly into the camera and speak to the viewer.

Be friendly. Be approachable. Be yourself.

 

Do you have other tips or questions? Let us know in the comments.

 

How to enjoy social media

I can’t be the only one to have spotted all the headlines earlier this year – one of the top 10 new years’ resolutions around the globe is about quitting social media.

Yet, ironically over the Christmas break I discovered how to enjoy social media again!

As someone who works all day in front of a computer screen, and further, with a focus on digital content, I have experienced major bouts of social media burnout.

Not ideal for someone who works in my industry and actually, used to really enjoy social media marketing and strategy for business and branding purposes.

According to a survey by Bidvine, this year more people plan to quit social media than smoking. Bit extreme, but I can understand why – there’s the compulsive (and often anti-social) behaviour around checking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; pointless posts, blurry pictures, and useless information being shared; not to mention the psychological impact that many prestigious universities are studying regarding the link between overuse of social media and an increase in depression and anxiety.

After all that, why should we engage and try to enjoy social media anymore?

Well, for one thing I’d advocate social media is an excellent way to stay connected, particularly for the millions of us who travel, live or commute for jobs and lives away from family and friends.

It’s also essential for business marketing, and of course for the ever rising freelancer economy that’s had the chance to thrive thanks to technology that allows us to work anywhere.

In fact, it’s estimated that by 2020, 50 per cent of the United States’ workforce will be freelancers (Forbes, 2016), and social media provides a free, convenient and clever channel for self-promotion (which equals work contracts and income!).

I started to enjoy social media again last year, inspired by pretty locations I visited including Kent (UK) and Malta, but taking stock over the Christmas break in Ibiza was what really got me back on track.

If you’re over it all but know you need to re-discover the essential elements of how to enjoy social media again (for work, self-promotion or business), here’s what I have learnt.

 

5 ways to enjoy social media again

Don’t get caught up in broadcasting

While I love the fact we can schedule Facebook posts and Buffer Tweets, stories to LinkedIn and now even images to Instagram, it’s easy to let the robot do all the work.

In other words, I was sending a lot of content out in an automated manner (broadcasting), but by the time it surfaced to social media I didn’t really care (mostly because I forgot it would appear!).

Sure, it helped us score some blog click-throughs on content and automation is definitely helpful for the busy business-person, but I was forgetting to actually spend time on the social media channel I was sharing to.

Now I’m back to being interested in only the channels and topics that light me up (such as travel, dogs, technology and lifestyle magazine type features).

After all, if I’m not engaged, why should I expect my audience to be, and how am I going to get any fun out of the experience?

Lesson: refine the content you are sharing and browsing, to that which really interests you.

 

Schedule time for social media

Find out what times work for your audience engagement, and set up a routine that fits with your lifestyle without cutting into it.

For me, I post to Instagram first thing in the morning (while I’m at the gym on an exercise bike!), I glance at Twitter on the commute to work on the bus (and I tweet or retweet at this time); I post to LinkedIn in the evening and engage on there for five minutes before dinner, and I spend ten minutes scheduling Facebook page updates and also replying to comments or messages that have come through during the day.

Yes, I still Buffer (schedule) content, but I’m doing so more mindfully, and I’m enjoying being present on these platforms again rather than losing the momentum that can come with everything being automated.

I’m limiting the time that I am spending on each social media channel, and I have a routine for engaging – rather than compulsively checking or posting instead of talking to my friends or partner over a meal.

Lesson: schedule social media into your day, as you would organise other tasks. Also, don’t take it too seriously – we’re back to trying to having fun with it, remember?

 

Re-purpose your content

Certainly, it’s easy to be inspired to enjoy social media in a place like Ibiza – a beautiful, sunny Spanish island!

But how to keep that up when back at work and it’s raining outside? Surface your lovely older content! This might be in the form of photos, blogs, stories you’ve written, top tips, how-to instructions…

We’ve got so much content from ‘before’ we became more active on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram; it’s just a matter of having a little dig though your own archives and planning creative ways to share it.

I find a nice way to do this is to theme your days on social media – e.g. Monday could be ‘Monday motivation’; Tuesday for us is #ttot (‘travel talk on Tuesday’ or ‘travel Tuesday’); Wednesday is often inspiration or wisdom themed, and we like #tbt (throwback Thursday) as a way of sharing past adventures; Friday is also often ‘fun’ themed or a bit more light-hearted coming into the weekend.

Sort your older material into themes that work for your niche/brand and purpose (whether that be business or personal branding) and then you have it on hand ready to share without too much thought on any given day.

Lesson: this method means you’re never short of content or ideas for things to share on social media.

 

Get involved in the community

Joining groups, adding comments or starting conversations online can be time-consuming, but if you choose your spaces wisely, you can effectively grow your audience and engagement online as well as potentially discover business contacts and even make friends.

LinkedIn is a particularly important space to engage, and there are countless groups you can join to virtually network with industry colleagues from all over the world.

This is also a chance to demonstrate your area of expertise by participating in conversations relevant to your niche.

There are groups you can join on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ too, that enable you to ‘network’, share content and support like-minded people. For example, I’m a member of various bloggers’ groups and professional networks for content and communications professionals.

It can be fun sharing knowledge and getting to know others, albeit in the virtual realm.

Lesson: it’s called social media for a reason – it’s more fun if you are ‘social’.

 

Choose your favourites

As in life, we eventually learn to not spread ourselves too thin.

It’s very tempting to try to be on all platforms and there was a time I was trying to be active on up to ten spaces! It’s impossible and in the end doesn’t work for you – unless you have a team, you’ll be spread too thin both in time and content.

My advice is choose three or four that complement each other, so Cooper and I now focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; Cooper mostly manages our YouTube channel while I enjoy engaging on LinkedIn.

Certainly, browse the others out of interest if and when you have time, but as far as effectively growing your channels and having fun on social media again, stick with a manageable number of offerings.

Lesson: spend your time on the channels that you like the best, and learn how to make the most of their offerings.
What do you make of all this – have you conquered the social media vs time available in life beast? Please do share thoughts, tips, experience and your suggestions in the comments.

 

 

How to make your social media profile work for you

 

Why bother updating your social media profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or anywhere else you’re active online? Because you can build awareness around your own skills, passions and expertise in readiness for any positive career change you are seeking!

Here’s five ways you can make your social media profile work for you now.

 

What is a social media profile?

Your social media profile is the paragraph (or page) that you compose ‘about you’. You’ll spot all sorts of profiles around the web, ranging from some that say nothing at all about the person who owns them, all the way through to nicely crafted profiles that share the right mix of fun and professional elements about a person.

While it’s important (in my view) to make the most of the space you have on any of the platforms you might favour, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn, for anyone wanting to more effectively manage a professional online presence this year and next, LinkedIn is the one to polish, so it’s the social media profile I’ll allude to most in this piece.

LinkedIn is a particularly important tool for anyone who is:

– building a business

– building a personal brand or profile

– looking for a new job opportunity (now or possibly in the future)

Used effectively, you can be discovered by employers, recruiters and potential clients on LinkedIn based on your interests, experience and skills. It’s also really useful for growing your networks and influence. I’ve had success in both aforementioned areas through keeping my profile looking good.

As with anything in life, you only get out of it what you put in.

For this reason, it’s worth setting aside thirty minutes to craft your profile on LinkedIn, as well as any other key places on the web where you spend time developing or sharing content.

 

Five ways to make your social media profile work for you

Upload a profile photo

Not everyone loves having a photo of themselves on display, but in a professional setting it is helpful to give others an idea about who they are liaising with on the phone or via email.

Don’t you prefer it when you can put a face to a name?

A professional head/shoulders shot isn’t that hard to arrange these days, and this type of photo is preferable for use anywhere you are promoting yourself as an expert in your field.

While selfies, snaps taken at family barbeques or at the pub with friends are fun, consider how you want to be represented visually in a work context. It’s probably not in a blurry photo or with a glass of bubbles in your hand!

Pro tip: If you do not have access to a professional head shot for business purposes, ask someone you know who takes nice photos to snap several options of you against a clean background (e.g. white), and ensure you pay attention to the finer details like tidy hair, neat clothes and apply powder to your face if you tend to be shiny in pictures.

 

‘You’ in 140 characters

The ‘about me’ space in many of your social profiles including on Instagram and Twitter offers a chance to write a snapshot summary in around 140 characters that can showcase what you stand for.

I liken this to the 30 second elevator pitch concept; if this was all anyone was to read about you, be sure that it captures relevant details about your personality, professional intentions and experience.

 

Check your contact information

Make it easy for people to do business with you.

Always check your email address, phone number (if relevant) and social media links are up to date – it would be terrible to miss an email about your dream job or client because of a typo, incorrect link or broken alert forwarding set-up.

 

Details matter

The ‘details’ involved in the various sections across LinkedIn or even the additional extras you can add to your Google+ or Facebook profiles may take you a little longer to complete, but it’s the most important part.

Here you have the chance to share exactly what you do as part of your job, the knowledge you have that may help others, what you’ve previously achieved and what your core skills are, so don’t be shy!

Pro tip: Just as you should for any online copy (think SEO (search optimisation)), think about the key terms those looking for your skills and services might use if they were searching for you.

Be careful not to use phrases that are too clever (will others actually search for that if they need someone with your expertise?); but by the same token, if you have experience in a niche area like speaking a foreign language or coding, be sure that it’s mentioned so it appears in the search.

 

Have fun

Finally, don’t be afraid to mention a quirky or fun fact that might mean you find something in common with an industry counterpart.

For me, being a ‘dog person’  has meant I can have a joke and conversation about our furry friends with others I’ve met (online or in person) who feel the same … then we get on with business.

In any situation where we are networking, finding common ground is always really helpful. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s often not the work-related aspects of our lives that help us forge fast bonds with people we work with but rather, it’s about those commonalities around passions, hobbies and life experiences.

 

Time to take action

make your social media profile work Sarah Blinco LinkedIn updatesOver to you…

But if you need assistance with your professional social media presence and profile coming into 2017 I’m resurrecting strictly limited social media consulting and copy editing services over the holidays and at discounted rates (it’s Christmas, after all!) for anything booked before 3 January 2017.

Email me for more information and to let me know what you need help with.