Vlog tips from a first time vlog-er

Video blogging is one of those skills that at first seems easy but turns out to be very difficult. On YouTube, any number of Internet stars make their popularity look as easy as having a functional camera and 20 minutes of free time to film a short video. I had never really thought much about the work behind a video blog until professor Jim Flink, also Newsy’s vice president of news, talked to my Emerging Media class. Flink had a number of great tips for video blogging:

  • Think conversation not presentation
  • Real emotion works best
  • Authenticity is key
  • Every motion that is small will look big
  • Emotions are magnified
  • Move your eyes as you would in a conversation

Shortly after Flink came to talk to my class, we found out we would have a one time opportunity to film a mock “talk show” in the RJI studio. Overall the taping was a very exciting experience. It was particularly valuable to consider what makes a news video blog successful. After my experience I have my own list of tips to add to Flink’s list:

DO

  • Be knowledgable on the discussion topic
  • Stay conversational and natural
  • Glance bank at the camera occasionally
  • Dress and primp accordingly
  • Match the feel of your audience
  • Provide value
  • Avoid overly colloquial speech
  • Avoid overly formal speech

DON’T

  • Forget the camera completely
  • Touch your face excessively
  • Slouch
  • Monopolize the conversation

Most importantly, DON’T forget your medium. A video blog is very different from a TV broadcast. A YouTube audience looks to vlogs for niche information or conversations that the 5 p.m. newscast can’t provide. As a video blogger, it is your job to provide valuable information the viewer cannot get anywhere else. For news vlogs in particular, content must be of especially high quality to attract viewers away from other entertaining online videos. To me, the value you bring is the most important part.

What do you think is most important in a video blog? How can news sites engage viewers on YouTube?

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