YouTube is very much in the Video Blogging business right now. While supporting pretty much any kind of video, their model is really based around the monetized video blogger channel. That’s what brings in the money. This is what makes YouTube’s rules for best practices absolutely crucial for anyone considering starting a video blog of their own. Over the past few years, YouTube has proven that there is a massive market for creativity and personality for blog channels. These channels can vary immensely in form, but there are some crucial aspects that they all have in common.

3 Forms That Have Proven to Work:

1.  Chris Stuckmann – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SglFUPQVnM

Chris’ movie review channel on YouTube is about as simple as it gets. It’s simply just a man talking to a webcam about movies in his basement. Chris just recently eclipsed the 1 million follower mark. This is the most common type of video blog you will see.

2. Collider – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXTr4dpGdyM

Collider hosts a series of panel based talk shows on their channel. Shot in a studio with a full crew and multiple cameras, this is the closest to network television you will get on YouTube.

3. Casey Neistat – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG7dSXcfVqE

I dare you to watch this video and not be inspired to go out and create. Casey’s blog is based around going out and having real adventures and capturing them on film. This is almost like an open diary than a blog.

What Do They All Have In Common?

Personality

This is number 1 because it is easily the most important thing. This is the first thing that your viewer notices and it’s what keeps them coming back for more. The most successful video blogs are built around the personalities of their hosts. You don’t necessarily need to be talking about super compelling content. As long as you bring personality and charm, you attract followers. For example, Chris Stuckmann’s channel has absolutely zero bells and whistles. Yet he has convinced over a million people to subscribe to watch videos of nothing more than his face talking directly into the camera. Collider has a team of panelists who are hired, first and foremost, for their likability. Casey Neistat’s mantra is “Do what you can’t.” By being a classic “everyman” he inspires people to do incredible things. None of these people are particularly extraordinary and that’s what makes them successful. They all have a strong web presence, connecting with their fans on social media in a genuinely sincere way. People are flocking to YouTube because of network television fatigue. They are tired of watching shows that are entirely unlike their own lives. They want to engage and watch people that they can relate to and who they feel a personal connection with.  

Video is the product

This one is extremely difficult to navigate when you’re creating a video blog for a business, but this should make it simple: people hate commercials. Not only that, but they are used to every advertising trick in the book. Do not pander to you audience. Do not even try to give them a commercial and tell them it’s not one, they will know, and it will feel disingenuous. Your video cannot simply lead people to a product, it must be the product. Teach them how to do something. Give them information. Give them something real in order to earn their trust.

Consistent schedules

Casey Neistat posts to his channel every day. If that seems insane to you, you’re right. You don’t have to do that, but it is extremely important to keep to a tight (probably weekly or bi-monthly) schedule. If you miss an entry, acknowledge it and apologize to your audience. It doesn’t have to be some big production, just a simple “sorry I’m late” at the beginning of your video will do. You would be shocked at how fast people will drop a blog that goes dead. Just think of it as a service to your followers (who you are lucky to have). Don’t take them for granted. Imagine if Game of Thrones just didn’t air one week. People would lose their minds. Now, you might not have as many viewers as they do, but that just makes your viewers all the more important.

Audio quality

People are more distracted and annoyed by poor audio quality than poor image quality. If you are getting squeaks, feedback or people talking too softly it will make a video unwatchable. The good news is that a professional mic is way cheaper than a professional camera. Go out and spend a little money. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

The format and style of video blogs are are still growing and changing. The audio, scheduling, personality and content have proven to be the most vital components for success in video blogging. Stick to the script for these four things and you will have a foundation to flex your creative muscles with everything else.

Conor Cleary

Conor Cleary

Multi-Media Publishing Manager at Orbit Design
Conor heads up the video and publishing departments at Orbit - overseeing books and short web films through, from the writing stages into polished content. He is always ready to talk about Orbit's video production techniques or the growing world of digital publishing.
Conor Cleary