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Differentiate Your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of July 2007 Video Posts 0 Comments

One of the pieces of feedback that a number of readers left when I recently asked for suggestions on how I could improve ProBlogger was ‘more video posts’.

I did a number of them a year or so back but didn’t keep it up. So today I thought I’d give video another go.

By no means is this polished – but I’m going to try to keep these quick and basic.

Let me know what you think.

PS: If you can’t view this video I’ve also put it up on Youtube (although it’s not as good quality).

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Haha, great video. Should really start thinking about implementing this into my website to spice it up a bit.

  2. First time commenter. I like the posts you’ve had over the last couple days. ..it’s really different stuff. btw…are you a cricket fan? I’m from Trinidad where Brian Lara is from =) So you have readers from this side of the world.


  3. very cool.

    ways to differentiate yourself cliff notes:

    1. design of the site – what does the design of your site say about you?

    2. The voice that you blog in.

    3. Pictures, still and moving.

    4. The content itself (titles, subtitles, content you choose)

    look forward to more.

  4. Hmm… the vblog was good but I have to say – and I know I’m not alone in this, I discuss it with real life fellow bloggers and techies – I’m not a fan of video blogging.

    I have limited time to spend on all the information that flies my way. I read extremely fast and skim still faster, and text & photo blogging give me essentially random access to information, provided it’s well formatted.

    Video blogging requires a decision to dedicate who knows how much time listening to serial input on a subject – which may or may not be interesting at the end of the clip. If I tried to listen to podcasts and watch vblogs on each one of the dozens of blogs I subscribe to, I’d get nothing else done.

    My suggestions (as a consumer) for vblogging are 1 – provide a synopsis and video duration estimate, and 2 – provide a text transcript alternative, for those who don’t want to or can’t access a video stream (at work, technical issues, disability, etc.)

  5. I enjoyed watching that. Good use of intonation (as well as the tips)! Talking to a camera is much harder than it looks.

    I am about to try a video post too. The fact that I have nothing to say is a mere technicality. :)

  6. Thanks Darren for another good post. I like the video, btw! I haven’t actually seen any of the older video posts that you’ve done, so it was neat to see you moving and speaking and to hear your voice.

    I think the main way I’ve tried to get people to hang around my blog is the voice that I write in. I try to use a small amount of sarcasm and humor. I also really try to get the reader to feel like they are involved in a discussion more than just reading an article.

    One thing that I haven’t done too well, but am trying to work on is the pictures in posts. I’m not brave enough to attempt a video post yet, though.

    Thanks again!

  7. Differentiate yourself by solving a problem better than anyone else is doing in the same topic area.

    Unless and until you are offering value by actually providing a useful solution, it is going to be near impossible to find and keep an audience.

    Problogger.net is successful because it helps people answer the problem of “how do I make money with a blog”, but few other blogs are anywhere near this level of offering value to solve an actual problem.

    Here’s my complete post- why what you really need for your blog to be successful is a bucket of water:

  8. No subtitles / captions, thus cannot access. Your information is inaccessible to some of your audience. Would even be nice to have a summary of what you’re talking about.

  9. You have a lot of books….

  10. Cool to see something different! keep it up!

  11. Nice information Darren. It’s good to see something a little bit different by using the video.

  12. I agree with Jeri. Use text in a situation like this. Just speaking into the camera is really not a good use for video. (Although it is nice to put a voice and accent to your profile picture.)

    Video, I believe, should used for software screencasts, youtube videos and other similar things. But just talking into the camera is not the best use of video.

    If you could show screen captures within this video of examples of what you are talking about would be great. Show blogs in the video that you like. Showing a blog in a video I think is WAY better than just linking to it. Show me an example on your blog without me having to leave it.

    I think video can differentiate a blog, but it still needs to be done in an interesting fashion.

  13. Thanks for the feedback all – I’ll include some more subtitles next time. This is a learning experience – thanks for helping me learn.

  14. Great video blog Darren! I tried video podcasting myself for the first time the other day. It was an interesting experience and I think that by video podcasting, we can differentiate ourselves from the many blogs who don’t video podcast. Here was a link to my recent video podcast: http://natewhitehill.com/beyond-the-blog-video-podcasting/

    Thanks for inspiring us.


  15. Nice job Darren, It was a decent video, but I much prefer reading. I’m not a big fan of video monologues.

  16. I enjoyed this vid, Darren. Excellent tips and excellent ending facial expression.

    I’ve tried real hard I guess the last six months or so to create headlines that standout, like you’re talking about, also that differenciate. My idea is this… If my titles stand out, even if my page is lower than another’s on a search engine, it’s going to get picked over it anyway.

  17. Nice to see you and hear you in your video.

    The problem with a video is that it’s one speed, while with text, the “speed” pis dependent on whatever time the reader wants to invest in understanding the message. Sure, one can go back and replay the video, but I really missed being able to read what you were talking about.

  18. Darren, what’s with the fake Aussie accent?!

    Just kidding. The vblog really works wonders in giving people a sense of who you are. I like it, but I’d have to say “sparingly”.

    It’s a lot easier to scan a great written post and find the good parts or even it’s something you want to fully digest than it is with video. But it’s still something I’d like to see once in a while.

  19. To Jeri, I agree to an extent that videoblogs are not an efficient way to process data, but video also reveals the personal non textual side of the blogger and I think this is important too. Alot of successful blogs seem to me, to be driven to a large extent by personality. So I can see value in having the occasional video clip. I know I am always intrigued everytime I see a video from a blogger, I’ve been reading for a long time, but never seen.

  20. yeah – the video thing does slow stuff down in terms of digesting it.

    What I’m thinking of doing is a weekly vidcast – with good show notes for those who want to read – but keeping the videos to 3-4 minutes (this one was 5 – but I’m sure I could get it punchier).

    My reasoning for doing them is that while for some text is preferable – others learn better through hearing and seeing.

    Still – it’ll be an evolving process.

  21. I guess videos like these take more work, but they seem like they could go viral, eh…

    I also forgot to say that videos are more digestible for me than written blogs and I imagine it’s the same for others.

  22. Some special effects would really “punch” it up … ha … where’s George Lucas when you need him?

  23. Hi Darren,

    I loved the video, even if as you say it was not polished. I liked it because it was different from normal – which is what the whole thing was about!

    Like many people I am busy, but if it is a blog you know you get good content from then watching a video for 3-4 minutes in a week is not a waste. I know I’ll remember this much longer than the items I just skim over in my rss reader.

    Keep up the good work – I look forward to seeing the videos evolve, but I don’t think you’re ready for a feature length one yet ;)

  24. LOVE your AUSSIE accent!!!!

  25. Loved the video!

    I think the voice you write in is probably the most important way to differentiate your blog from others.

  26. With Videos it’s harder to skim… but on the other hand I can do other things while listening to you. Darren, your accent isn’t bad at all, I was expecting more.

  27. I always forget how cool the Australian accent is. :)

  28. That was a really cool video. Like mentioned above, videos are hard to skim – and I’m the king of skimming; but I’m glad that I sat through the entire video entry because it really re-enforced some of what I’ve been trying to accomplish with my blog (pictures).

    Thanks for doing a video blog… do more of them!

  29. I don’t particularly care for videos. They take far longer to watch than it would take for me to read the same content. I would prefer to have read your advice.

  30. Hi Darren…it’s Catherine, the redhead here…
    and I wish I had a funny comment to post for you like I usually do, but instead I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face as godaddy deleted my webdesign. There was no notice and the design was the way I differntiaded my blog. Your posting couldn’t be more timely, as I am left to scramble as to what to do. Godaddy was no help, just apologized. The local paper was just getting ready to write about my blog and now I am sitting here crying, wondering what I am going to do. The tears are really more anger, because of how this greatly impacts my dream. But you see, to Godaddy it doesn’t matter that I am a single mom trying to do this on her own.
    I had to come to your site to try and get my head back on straight so I can attempt some way of pulling myself back together.
    Thanks for always being here to guide us.

  31. Hi Darren,
    Interesting that you chose to do a widescreen format. I would like to start video posting more, but I’m thinking about the frequency of it and whether it could replace type-blogging. The search engines wouldn’t give much attention to a blog post of just a video, would it? Do we know anything about Google’s idea of the importance of a vlog in the search engine results? I’d love to just bang out a video everyday and not sit and type things out, but I fear for a loss of Google strokes. At this point in time I’m thinking that vloggers must also write a couple paragraphs about their video post in conjunction with displaying the video to get Google to even care. You could have the BEST video in the world on “iPhone and the future in Bangladesh” but if you don’t write 300 words to describe your video – it’s lost in a Google search. Video is a good supplement right now, but, do you think it has the potential to stand on it’s own in the engines anytime soon? Vern

  32. I don’t want to sound too much like a suck-up, but I think the thing that makes your blog so well-received is that you are constantly self-examining the site for ways to make it better. I don’t hesitate to say that if I reached the readers and visitors that you do each day, I would feel a strong urge to just sit back on my laurels and let the cash roll in. I’d keep doing the same thing and never bother to reinvent myself until something went wrong.

    This really distinguishes you from others. People ask you to video post, and instead of saying, “Back off, I’ve got 20000 RSS subscribers with what I’m doing, why would I change?” you say, “I’ll try it and see what happens.” This is what distinguishes your blog from others, and is probably why you are so successful.

  33. I am curious about subtitles, since I am Profoundly Deaf, is there any way I could create a video with subtitles so that hearing visitors can understand what I am signing?

    It would draw some deaf visitors to hearing videos because we can’t hear what you are saying so the videos we can’t understand would be worth as much as used toliet paper.

  34. On second thought, why not just keep a video blog in the sidebar, this way it doesn’t affect your post and people can just click if they have the time to watch.

  35. Awesome video Darren. First time hearing an seeing your quality content. This type of Vidcasting will help in understanding any concept more. Thanks. Hope to see more videos from you.

  36. Weldon MacDonald says: 07/27/2007 at 12:19 pm

    lose the quicktime thing, it opens a new page and takes time to download. A flash player will embed in the blog and provide a better experience.

  37. Darren, I should also add that video doesn’t do a very good job of printing out on to paper for me to read when I am away from the computer. Since that’s how I do the majority of my blog reading, that’s a Bad Thing™

    @Catherine #30. That’s terrible! I hope you get things straightened out.

  38. As an internet user from the outback of Kentucky, USA, where we can’t get broadband, videoblogging does literally nothing for me. It doesn’t work on a dial-up connection.

  39. Man, I don’t like video posts as much. I prefer to read through text. I’m a good reader, and I can read much faster than I can watch a video.

  40. Great video Darren – thanks for the tips. I’m definitely going to implement the one about use of photos asap.

  41. is there any logical argument against video augmented with a text summary?

    so video can’t be printed on paper or digested as easy as text, well a simple summary of text after the video gives all readers the best of all worlds, you get your text, the rest get their video!!! win/win

    (aside, i never understand the productivity argument against video, maybe a if there is a physical demonstration in the video, but not like this one where darren is simply speaking. I can minimize the window and listen to darren speak while I attack the rest of my feeds (extra productivity gained), ipod folks can listen (or watch if it’s video ipod) on the train or jogging, extra productivy gained.

    Now on the plus side for a blogger using video is additional reach (assuming you host your video at somewhere like youtube), your information has new legs (via ipods, youtube, etc) people now staring at your blog for EXTENDED periods of time (a metric you mentioned in this video), happier readers viewers (well a bunch of us),, not falling behind where the current attention span is pointed at on the web, yadayadayada

  42. LOVE the video posts…keep em’ coming! Just a little note – if you put the full URL (including http) in the description of your YouTube video it will turn active so people can click on it and come to Problogger. Just a little marketing tip, there… :)

  43. It would be great to see one short video per week if you can swing it.

  44. I don’t have any complaints about the video post, but I don’t think it adds anything if it contains only talking. It was quite clearly laid out in order as if it were a normal blog post but from the number of comments it in self evidently makes this post stand out, although that will stop if they become a regularity.

  45. Text AND video … could work, many have clearly found the video valuable.

    But video ONLY … alienates the portion of an audience whose internet connection doesn’t easily facilitate it.

    This includes me – I have no idea what your video was about because I couldn’t view it. I have an “entry level” broadband connection of 256k, which isn’t fast enough to watch a youtube video without lots of stopping and starting. This makes youtube videos virtually unwatchable, so I no longer even try. I’ve also exceeded my monthly download limit and had my speed throttled to 64k, so I wouldn’t even think about downloading a video file for playing back later. Those on dialup, due to cost or unavailability of broadband, would be in the same boat.

    ProBlogger readers are likely more geeky than the average net user, and possibly more likely to have better connections that the world average. But I suspect there must still be a good number of us who don’t have broadband connections of 512k or faster.

  46. Nice vpost! ;o) I like it, but a lot of people don’t have enough time to watch vblogs or vposts because they’re not scannable… There should be a text version too, so your readers have the choice between text and video.

    Greetings from Switzerland! ;o)

  47. We get loads of great content from you on a daily basis, and your genuineness comes through your writings, but a couple of short video clips a week will only enhance the affect, I think! this was certainly refreshing…

    and I’m with Jolly green girl on this one… I love that Aussie accent!!

  48. Tony B says: 07/27/2007 at 10:49 pm

    I am Deaf too and would appreciate subtitles too. I am more inclined towards text provision over vlog as it would be a nightmare for me if vlogging without subtitles were to take off.

    While I await for arrival of my webcam, I am thinking of providing both text and vlog cos some of my readers would potentially communicate in sign language as their primary language (not English). How would you be able to integrate video in the comments section, as well as the main post?

  49. Good start Darren. Would like to video like this often.

  50. Nice VBlog…Disadvantages about VBlog because we need to wait it to load..Sometimes we could lost visitor because of that..But it was great tool at Youtube or any video sharing site..

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