An in-depth guide on how to start the vlogging career of your dreams.
It is no secret that vlogging has been a very popular format of media and entertainment over the past years. With how easy it is to make and how fun it is to be able to share your daily life, no wonder vlogging has been the dream of many of today’s generation. It’s never too late to start your post your vlog and sharing the world how fun it is to be you! But starting your vlog can be daunting or tedious at times. Do I need expensive equipment to entice viewers? Do I need to take up filmmaking courses to get good at it? Or do I need to make a website for my own vlog posts? No worries, we’re here to guide you well on your journey of how to be a vlogger!
What are vlogs and vlogging anyway?
Vlogs are films that feature a person’s perspective of their daily life with an average length of five to ten minutes (depending on the planned content). Its name originates from the portmanteau of words ‘video’ and ‘blog’. You may also see vlogs as exactly how it is described from its word origin - it is a blog, but in video format. You can express your thoughts, life, opinions, and anything else freely while featuring no one but yourself! Of course, you also have the liberty to chime your friends and family in while doing your best to connect with your audience as you record your life.
The main difference between vlog and other formats of film content is that with vlogs, you (the vlogger) is the main attraction of its content. While once in a while you feature something in your vlog like a place or food, you and your experiences/opinions are the reason why people tune in. Meanwhile, video formats like travel videos or food reviews typically focus on the place and food respectively while the person gives their objective point of view towards the subject. The act of creating a vlog is what’s called vlogging (or video blogging). You can even publish your vlogs in your own blog if you choose to. This is where you show your creativity and share the world what you have to say about a place, food, or something simple about your life!
Today, people typically share their vlog through social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook, or streaming platforms like Twitch. As a result, vlogging has also become a profitable way of income and a multi-million dollar industry where legendary vloggers like Casey Neistat and Liza Koshy pull in millions of views.
Casey Neistat’s 12.2 million subscribers channel.
The beauty of vlogging is that it is never too late to get started! Just like with all things, dedicating enough time and creativity over it will get you up and running in no time. But it does take a while as establishing the niche of your channel and growing an audience is not an easy task. Thus, this how to vlog guide will help you achieve a smooth vlogging career debut and the subscriber count of your dreams!
How do I start my journey on how to be a vlogger?
- Determine the niche you want to tackle and understand your audience.
The first step in knowing how to make a vlog is finding your place and niche in the vlogging world. It may be one of the toughest decisions you have to make. As platforms like YouTube continue growing exponentially, so will the vloggers’ exposure to different types of audiences. With this also comes the responsibility to deliver content that is based on the niche you have established on your first ever video.
Let’s say you decide to become a travel vlogger but later on realize that it’s not for you, so you commit to a sudden shift in content where you now focus on food reviews. That is unhealthy for both your content and your audience’s perception of you, as you have already built this idea that you going to be a travel vlogger from the start. So, our best advice is to take time in thinking about what niche or field of life you want to commit to! Your niche is going to be the foundation that your channel or page is going to be built upon, and it is going to be the type of videos you are going to make until you decide to put a stop on your vlogging career. The most common types of vlogging niches are travel, food reviews, gaming, makeup, fashion, and technology.
Another factor to watch out for is your audience. Understanding their demographic and their opinion on your content is paramount to vlogging success. Being able to adjust and adapt to make your audience content is important as at the end of the day, you and your vlogs are nothing without the audience/viewers. An example would be constantly reading the comment section of your vlog and seeing the consensus of people towards your latest vlog. Were they content? Or did some find that you lacked in other departments like camera quality or length of content? Once you determine the answer to these questions, then work hard to ensure that your next batch of uploads is going to be better than the ones that came before it!
A good example of a vlogger who stuck to his channel’s niche and understood his audience well is none other than the biggest name on YouTube, Felix Kjellberg, or better known as PewDiePie. Since 2010, PewDiePie has been uploading videos that stick to the niche of gaming. While he does upload videos that are not within that niche like his meme reviews, his audience is completely fine with this as PewDiePie successfully studied and determine that his audience who are gamers are also into content like meme reviews.
PewDiePie’s 108 million subscribers channel.
That is just one of the examples of what makes a great vlogger. We’re sure that you can be like PewDiePie too, given enough time and effort! Just consider something that you are really passionate to film about as like we have stated earlier, shifting niches are not healthy for your standing as a vlogger.
However, if you are a business or a large company that is trying to get into the YouTube landscape, then you probably have already determined what your niche is. You may start branching out and making smaller content based on that niche so that you would be able to cover more ground for your content.
- Get to know your chosen platform and ways around it
Familiarizing yourself with your chosen platform for vlogging is also key to success. Knowing how their channel milestones work and how to gain subscribers faster are important knowledge to get you ahead of your ‘how to be a vlogger’ journey. You have the choice of creating your own website for your vlogs, or start a career on platforms like YouTube.
For this, we will use YouTube as an example of your platform as it is currently the most popular choice for vloggers to start their careers. Take your time in memorizing your way around YouTube. Take inspiration from other channels’ way of getting into trending, or their thumbnails and keywords. These may look like small things but in the grand scheme of things, these are essential factors to look out for when starting out a vlogging channel. Take some time to get to know the technical side of things too, like your video’s format, aspect ratio, resolution, and many more. Do get to know video editing too! While vlogs can be in raw form (no effects and flashy transitions), your niche or style of content might require you to be creative with editing. Most vloggers today hire editors but seeing as you are a starter, you are better off learning the basics of video editing first.
YouTube’s (Philippines) front page as of December 23, 2020.
While you may say that “I’m on YouTube every day, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it in no time!”, being overconfident may lead to a lack of tone and life in your content. Pay attention to YouTube’s landscape right now and see what’s trending and not. Aim for what’s hot and for videos that are longer than 10 minutes since this is what YouTube’s algorithm seems to favor.
- Gear up and shoot!
You can’t start vlogging without a camera of course, but it isn’t also necessary to dish out thousands of dollars just to get started. Having a high-quality camera is optimal, but it won’t turn you into a superstar overnight. Having a green screen is also cool for fun content, but most vloggers don’t need one! Though you don’t need the best of gear, you still need a decent bunch to get started. Here is the equipment you need to get started with your vlogging journey:
- A camera
- Microphone (if your camera does not include one)
- Tripod or selfie stick
- Of course, yourself and your content!
That’s all! Looks simple enough, but let’s run you down on the specifics.
For the camera, your best bet might be the one in your pocket. Your smartphone is more than enough as most smartphone cameras nowadays are so good in terms of quality that it gets hard to differentiate a digital camera and a smartphone camera apart. Just remember to set it on the highest quality possible in your phone’s settings! Most modern smartphones are capable of either 1080p with 60 frames per second (FPS) or even 4k with 30 frames per second.
Either way is fine for a starter like you.
If you feel like a smartphone camera won’t cut it for your niche, then DSLR cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III might suit your needs, but beware of its hefty price tag!
For your microphone, there is generally no need to worry about this as your smartphone or your chosen camera will have this built-in. They’re even pretty good quality for the most part, but if you are in the niche of tech and don’t move around while vlogging, then a standalone microphone might work out for you. Microphones like the Blue Yeti are highly regarded as one of the more budget-friendly and quality options for vloggers.
Tripods and selfie sticks are an easy find for as low as $15. This may not even be necessary if you don’t plan to move around a lot while you vlog or if you already have a flat surface wherein you can put your camera onto while recording.
At last, we have the aforementioned optionals that may be necessary for a certain niche such as:
- A camera filter
- Lighting (if you also plan on streaming, then this may be practical)
- Green screen
Again, these are optional and will only fit a certain type of creator. While we have been advising you ways on how to save money too like using your smartphone as your vlogging camera, investing in quality equipment will not be a total waste. A good example would be DSLR cameras usually lasting longer than your smartphone and a standalone microphone still miles ahead of a smartphone or a DSLR’s built-in microphone.
Equipment is one part of the story, but the content is the other. Don’t forget to think and plan ahead of your content too!
Vlogging is fun and easy to learn.
You shouldn’t stress out about starting a vlogging career. It’s easy, fun, and the best part is you get to be yourself. If you work hard enough and garnish views and subscribers, you also earn from sponsorships and ad revenue. Our best advice is to stick to your niche, be consistent, and be the best version of yourself in front of your camera and audience!