What is a vlog and how can it help my business?

It’s time for a close-up

It’s a strange-looking word and if you have never seen it before, you may be wondering, what is a vlog? A vlog is the shortened, colloquial term for a video blog. In other words, vlogging is the act of producing and publishing frequent video content on an owned website or channel on a sharing platform. Vlogging is becoming increasingly popular because it’s a cost-effective tactic that drives visibility and increases online engagement with customers.

Here’s everything you need to know if you’re considering vlogging as a marketing strategy for your business.

The basics: What is a vlog?

When you blog and use videos as your primary content medium, you are vlogging. Before addressing the benefits of starting a vlog, you have to understand standard blogging.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a blog in the following way:

“A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”

Yes, I know that definition seems a bit vague, but the truth is, blogs are different for every person and every brand. The best way to think of a blog is a series of messages between you (or your brand) and an audience. Blogs can live on a website that you own and control, or they can live on rented space as with Facebook or Tumblr. It’s important to understand the flexibility of a blog because this same flexibility applies to a vlog.

Vlogs are not uniform.

 

They don’t consist of the same topics, style, length, consistency or message. Some vlogs live on a website, while others are purely found on video-sharing sites like YouTube or Vimeo. Some discuss brand-related topics such as introductions to new products and how-to videos, while others are story-driven with personalities covering peripheral topics. Outside of video content, a vlog can be anything you want it to be.

Why should I care about vlogging?

What Is A Vlog Viewer

Video content is a powerful way to communicate with your target audience and an engaging way to increase brand visibility. In short, it’s a great way to market your business. What makes it so great? Just a few of the reasons are listed below.

Vlogs are easy to digest.

Video content is more engaging. According to statistics shared by Hubspot, approximately “75 percent of online video viewers have interacted with an online video ad this month.” Not only that, 92 percent of mobile users said they share video content. Needless to say, video content is one of the best ways for your brand to communicate with your audience.

Video is unique in that it is consumed using multiple senses (sight and hearing). This is important because people learn and retain information in a number of different ways, visually and auditorily being two of the most popular. Creating video content, which caters to both, increases the likelihood that your audience will understand and retain the information you want them to remember.

Vlogs are affordable.

Vlogging is an affordable avenue to use to help your small business grow. There are very few entry costs when starting a vlog, and you can maximize the ROI of video content by recycling the content from social media, email marketing, and other amplification platforms.

Most vlogs involve a person talking directly to the audience through a camera.

 

This typically means the costs of producing a vlog is the time of the person in the video and the cost of the camera (webcam, digital camera, smartphone, etc.). Some vlogs include post-production and editing, which can increase cost, but frugal businesses can produce vlogs without spending anything substantial.

Vlogs help develop rapport.

One of the most difficult parts of marketing is developing a connection with your audience. Trust is not something that consumers easily give away. However, video content is a great way for you to personalize your message and start to develop a rapport with customers.

Vlogs let you put a face to your business and give personality to your brand voice and marketing message.

How do I get started with vlogging?

Creating a successful vlog takes time and commitment. The success of your vlog and the benefits of using video content are directly tied to the effort your business puts into it. With this in mind, you can help increase the chances that your vlog will succeed by following a few simple tips.

Decide what to vlog about.

Before launching a vlog, decide what your vlog will be about. Most businesses use vlogs to communicate important information, like FAQ and tutorials, to their consumers. But don’t limit your creativity. A vlog can be anything you want it to be, so think outside the box and create one that is informative and engaging. After all, consumers aren’t likely to get excited about sharing your FAQ video.

One of the best ways to find a direction is to look at other successful vlogs. Rand Fishkin from Moz has a popular vlog called “Whiteboard Friday,” in which he discusses different SEO topics by drawing out explanations on a whiteboard. By seeing what works for other vloggers, you can better set your vlog up to succeed.

Decide who your vlogger is.

Vlogs are a great way for your small business to personally connect with your target audience. Your vlogger is a representation of your brand, so it’s important to think critically about who you want to represent your company. Some vlogs are created by the small business owner, while others use professional personalities.

Both of these options have value. The owner understands the business and is passionate about the product or service, while the professional personality can be an influencer in the vertical or an actor who can increase the quality of the video. Regardless of the route, take your time to decide who should be your vlogger.

Embed the videos on your website.

What Is A Vlog YouTube
Photo: codenamecueball via VisualHunt / CC BY

Many vloggers solely host their videos on one video-sharing platform. While sites like YouTube offer an easy way to produce, edit, and promote videos, you don’t control the environment. That means you are restricted to the constraints of the platform. YouTube can manipulate your content, decide whether to show your video in search results, and place ads over your videos, which can hurt your viewers’ experiences.

It’s true — YouTube, Vimeo and other similar platforms are great for increasing your video’s visibility, but you should have an owned medium to house your videos as well.

If you embed the videos on your website, you control the environment. You can add popups to your page to increase email subscribers, you can dictate your content and, best of all, you own the website and can track and retarget the traffic.

Editor’s note: If you want to house your own videos, you’ll need a platform that can support your content. Consider using GoDaddy Managed WordPress — uploading and embedding videos is a cinch.

Vlog consistently.

Much like with blogging, the best way to increase your chance of success is to be consistent. Most vlogs are not an overnight success, and the best vlogs have a repository with hundreds of video entries.

If you’re going to try vlogging, you shouldn’t expect to see massive results right away.

 

In fact, it might take months before you notice a major boost in subscribers, traffic or engagement. Don’t fret, though. If you’re diligent about posting and committed to growing your vlog, you can be successful.

Promote your vlog.

What Is A Vlog Megaphone
Photo: mckinney75402 via Visualhunt / CC BY

“If you build it, they will come” isn’t applicable to vlogs. You should develop a promotion strategy to drive views and shares of your vlogs. This strategy could include paid ads, utilization of email lists, or any number of other digital marketing initiatives.

One of my favorite strategies for promoting video is through the use of public relations outreach. In fact, I ran PR outreach for Super Deluxe’s “Straight Outta Compton” comedic recut that was picked up by Complex, Time and UpRoxx, and was even tweeted by Ice Cube. Press coverage by bloggers or influencers in your space who have covered topics relevant to your vlog can be invaluable. Reach out to them through email or social media. But don’t just tweet them your video, develop a real relationship with that person and share your vlog when the time is right.

Final thoughts about vlogging

Businesses can benefit greatly by integrating vlogs into their digital marketing initiative. Because vlogs don’t require a large investment, you can try vlogging without a lot of risks. The value of video content is going to continue to increase, and more and more users are going to be looking for content that is more engaging than typical blog articles.