In the previous article, how to get started as a vlogger, we touched on passion. We mentioned that creating content around a topic that you are passionate about will launch your vlog and sustain you in the long run. In this article, we shall be delving deeper at the preparation stage from the previous article and cover specifically: how to become a successful vlogger (video content creator).
Let’s get started on how to become a successful vlogger
Let us start this journey by laying a myth to rest, becoming a successful content creator is not an accident. And as cliche as the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. As we have shown you in the first episode of the video series: The Basics on How to Get Started as a Video Content Creator there is work. There is work that goes into growing into a celebrity like those vloggers and youtubers you keep tabs on.
A great part of preparation involves learning. Learning the do’s and don’ts of various areas of your content creation business. These areas for instance range from planning your vlog business, to investing in the equipment you will need, the locations for your shoots, how editing will be handled and camera presence.
All of that learning from above will go towards creating an appealing video for your viewers while also making your work as the creator much easier. In this preparation stage on how to become a successful vlogger we shall dissect two main factors, the first being: Equipment you need to vlog and; the second being: Research.
Before proceeding, here is an all time important tip:
Choose your location guided by your message as your message will determine where you should shoot.
It might be a studio shoot, street shoot, house shoot or outdoor shoot, all in all make sure your location is consistent with your message.
Equipment are vital to creating professional content. In the same vein, that professional content is what takes you a step closer to becoming successful.
We would therefore, strongly urge you to look at them as your tools for work. For instance, just like how a carpenter has their tool box so should you invest in your hustle and get the equipment that says you support and respect your hustle. Mind you, these bits of equipment do not need to be expensive at all. To create professional videos, you shall need what we call the holy grail of content creation: Stability, Audio and Lights (S.A.L).
a. Your smartphone
Oh, yes the very first of gadgets you will need to start creating amazing content is your phone, your smartphone. A few years back, producing video content was the exclusive domain of professionals. Without an expensive camcorder you couldn’t shoot a video. Fast forward to today where there’s a wide array of very affordable smartphones, you can shoot better video than you ever could with various camcorders.
The first equipment for your vlog is a smartphone and without forgetting, it should have adequate memory. You should note that videos fill up your memory faster than you can imagine. Therefore, we suggest that you buy several additional memory cards in order to help you store more footage in your smartphone. Additionally, if you have a laptop you can transfer your videos after shooting to free up space.
When recording your vlog you need to stabilize your smartphone. Why? Let me ask you a question first, have you seen interesting videos that suck because they are all shaky?
A good tripod/mount will enable you to avoid those annoying camera shakes from your video. This is extremely important if you are shooting video content where you have quite the movements and motions. For instance, beauty tutorials, cooking recipes and sports and fitness.
There are many types of pocket friendly tripods and mounts that will hold your smartphone steadily as you shoot that amazing vlog. Depending on the type of content you will be creating you will select between mini-tripods or full-length tripods.
For an advanced vlogger you may also consider buying a gimbal, a handheld device that can rotate on a 360 degree axis. A motorized gimbal will help you to shoot your video from different angles.
Smartphones have an inbuilt microphone which is a plus when you are considering getting a good quality smartphone. The downside however, is that it might be unable to capture clear audio. For instance given circumstances like outdoor shooting or noisy environments.
This is why shopping for an external microphone to focus on your audio source would be a smart investment while at the same time adding a professional touch to your video.
When starting out, you simply need to learn how to manipulate light to your advantage like professionals do. And this is not a herculean task. Just like how conscious you are about getting the right lighting for those stunning pictures you took. Apply the same tactics to your videos. That is especially critical if you are using natural light.
However, considering the fact that most of our houses are not built for video production you might need to purchase artificial lights. Additionally, if your shoots are indoors or in a dimly-lit room go ahead and make that investment in your hustle and get some lights. That investment alone may be what makes people come back to your vlog.
You should note that with light, you need to ensure the subject of your focus is clearly seen. To this end, please ensure you eliminate shadows in your videos. If you have to move a million times to ensure there are no shadows in your filming, please do.
Background/Location selection is important to your brand identity. For example, a travel vlogger will create a stronger brand if they are actually outdoors at the destinations they are vlogging about.
Consequently, the location you select for your vlog is also part of the story you are telling your audience. Therefore, we urge you to always carefully select your background setting. For example, if you are shooting in the streets, choose a background that won’t distract your viewers. Background movement that does not enhance the story will always distract your viewer.
Still shoots are the easiest to set backgrounds. You can use a wall as a background. And if you even want to have a brand colour, you could have a background paper or a coloured piece of cloth. If all you want is a natural background then find a quiet spot in the park, forest, or field and do your thing.
Remember, your location selection is part of the story you’re telling.
2. Research (Know your Stuff!)
Hey, if you’d prefer to watch a video that covers this in-depth, here else, let’s continue reading
Research, research, and some more research. I cannot emphasize enough how important research is to you to acquaint yourself with your topic. Far and beyond getting familiar with your topic/ industry, it will help you create your unique offering to your audience.
As huge as the word research sounds, it really is as simple as: watching what other content creators are creating in your genre and reading online articles and eBooks on the topic area.
Why research? Having an insider’s knowledge of your topic will boost your confidence. As a result you will project this confidence in your video shoots as well offer immense value. To achieve this, here are a number of areas you should research on:
i. What will you be saying in your vlogs?
Conduct a thorough research of your topic/industry to avoid misleading your audience. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about your favourite recipes, or pet, you better research in order to:
- Know what others content creators are saying about the topic,
- Increase your level of knowledge on the subject,
- Identify knowledge gaps. What is it that your audience is looking for but seems to be missing from your research? This alone might be the only reason why people select your channel instead of the rest.
ii. Who are you targeting with your content?
Research about your audience and know them like you know about filters on Instagram. Get to know who they are. This also is really easy, it could be answering a couple of questions like:
How old is my target audience?
What language do they audience speak?
Am I targeting men or women?
Where do they hang out?
Are they employed, self employed, freelancing or in school?
That may seem like a mouth full, but understanding your audience will enable you to create content that resonates with them. Furthermore, it will make your decision making process very easy on matters like what to cover or not and who or not to partner with.
iii. How will you deliver your content?
These are few of the questions to have answers to in your race on becoming a successful vlogger:
How will you share your content with them?
Where does your audience spend most of their time?
What will you catch their attention? Is it your language, your character, your style or your video background?
We have come to the end of the first article of a two part series on how to become a successful vlogger in Kenya. In the next part you will go over; how to speak naturally. How to develop your own unique brand. And lastly how to sharpen your skills and take off as a vlogger!