How many You Tube videos have you seen recently of a blogger going to some lavish destination, or doing something totally outlandish?
Or how many Instagram models have you seen posting with the perfect urban backdrop or beach sunset?
Their lives look pretty incredible, right?
Well in some respects, for many of them, yes, they get to do some cool things in life.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
For the vast majority of those folks?
Their (our) day to day lives are actually pretty, well, normal.
Sure, 10% of the time may be spent doing interesting and memorable things, but for the other 90% of the time, we’re doing the exact same things you do everyday: work, hang out at home, spend time with friends and family etc.
Most days I hang out in my sweats, and get annoyed when I have to shower and do my hair for that Skype video call I forgot about…
The problem with this is there’s a fine line between watching vlogs that inspire you to pursue something on your own, vs. making you think “I could never get to that point” and never even try.
When the only thing you see are the glamorous parts, it skews reality in a way that sucks for the person just starting out.
Even worse, it can make you doubt yourself and feel like your life isn’t good enough or interesting enough to be worthy of doing a vlog or blog.
The good news?
That’s absolutely not true.
And in this post I’m going to share with you exactly how to vlog, even if you don’t think your life is interesting enough to warrant it.
Why You Should Start a Vlog
A couple years ago I posted a video about why I think you should start a vlog (and more specifically, why I did).
I recently re-watched it, and despite taking a break for most of 2017, pretty much all of the reasons I had for it back then, still hold true now.
So if you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about, or trying to figure out if it’s right for you, this video may help:
How to Make Better Vlogs (Even if Your Life Isn’t that Interesting)
#1) Recognize Why People Watch vlogs
There are two reasons why people watch vlogs:
To be entertained or to learn.
Ideally, you’ll do both of those things. But to have any chance of success you need to have at least one of them.
The odds are, when someone comes across your vlog for the first time, they’ll have no idea who you are.
So very quickly you need to prove that you’re either very entertaining or very helpful (the latter being easier).
That’s what will get you the initial attention.
But keeping that attention and converting a one time viewer into a loyal subscriber is much more difficult than you think.
Trust me, I know.
As much as it may seem like people watch vlogs, or more importantly follow specific vloggers, for the exotic travel or outlandish activities, the reality is those are just setting the stage for what’s more important: the person.
The primary reason people follow other people online is because they get invested in the relationship. There’s an element of commonality, rapport, trust or engagement, that compels you to tune in on a regular basis.
Having a unique personality is absolutely key. And if you play that up, it doesn’t matter if you’re on Mt. Everest, or in your living room – people will pay attention.
For me, the most interesting vloggers regardless of who they are or how interesting their lives may be, are the ones that can be both entertaining and educational.
I think Doug Demuro nails this. His videos aren’t full of fancy editing, and there aren’t many exotic locations. But he does a wonderful job of educating about cars, and being entertaining in the process.
#2) Learn How to Use Creative Film Making
This is where you have an opportunity to set yourself apart.
While you may not be in a position to travel the world or spend tons of money on your vlog, you can win people over with your creativity.
Quite simply: Talking head videos aren’t interesting all (or even most) of the time.
Sure there are times where it’s necessary or accepted, but if every video is 20 minutes of your head droning on and on, most people won’t find that very compelling.
You can usually share the same information, in a much more entertaining way, simply by trying a little bit harder.
Often even walking around your neighborhood, putting the camera in different places, and using B-Roll (or supporting scenic shots), can be all it takes to take a mundane video and make it fantastic.
If you didn’t see this week’s example of this, scroll up and watch the video.
You also don’t need fancy gear or cameras to do this. Smart phones these days are so good, that you’d be amazed what you can create with just an iPhone.
If you go this route, then consider picking up a microphone like this that will help with sound quality.
#3) Watch Other Vloggers (And Then Stop)
Ok, so I can see you reading that last one and saying “but I’ve never done video, I don’t know how to be creative!”
I think one of the best ways to get better at video, is to watch more video.
Seriously, every You Tube video, Instagram story, movie, tv show, commercial – it’s all an opportunity to learn, get ideas and be inspired.
Over the last few months I’ve noticed my vlogs getting better and better, and that mostly comes down to two reasons:
I’ve been watching a lot of video and shooting a lot of video.
I get an idea, and then I go out and try and create my own version of it. And while I’m far from good, I’m getting better.
But here’s the secret with this.
If all you do is watch You Tube, eventually, it will actually hurt your creativity.
Because you’ll just start copying what others are doing, rather than putting your own spin on it.
So watch video whenever you feel like you need to be inspired, and then?
If you need a starting point, a few vlogs I follow that you should check out are:
#4) Create Vlog Content You’re Interested In
Look, this one should be a no brainer. But the problem is, all too often new vloggers, bloggers, entrepreneurs etc. get caught up in finding the perfect niche. You know, the one with lots of search volume, potential money to be made, and no competition.
First off, this doesn’t exist.
Second, the worst thing you can do is start a vlog (or anything online) around something you have zero interest in, just because you think it fits the mold of a “good niche”.
People will see through this, really quickly.
If you’re passionate about something, people will also see that, and get excited as well. And if you’re committing to doing something week in and week out for the foreseeable future, do you really want to do it around something you don’t even like?
Didn’t think so.
#5) Learn How to Tell a Story
Finally, this might be the most important point of all.
A few years back, I found myself in a house with Orlando Jones, and he gave a piece of advice I’ve never forgotten.
“Master the Craft, Not the Form”
For him, the form consists of him being an actor.
But his craft in his movies, tv shows, or as a comedian is as a story teller.
The essence of so much of life comes down to story. That’s how you engage people, build rapport, and frankly, keep them interested.
A good story teller can take even the most mundane things and make them interesting. So even if you’re not jetting off to exotic lands, think about interesting stories you can share through your words, videos etc.
And if you’re initial reaction is to say “I dont have any interesting stories”, then try harder.
We all do. We all have unique aspects of our life, hobbies, jobs, families that could be turned into something other people will find entertaining or useful.
Master the art of doing that, and you’ll be well on your way to vlog stardom.
So, That’s How to Start a Vlog
There you have it. When you’re first starting your vlog don’t worry about fancy equipment or exotic locations.
Get back to basics.
- Leverage your personality as much as possible
- Try unique angles and shots.
- Watch other vloggers and learn from them
- Create content you’re interested in
- Master the art of story telling
Still struggling with ideas for getting started? Then here are 31 starting points: