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Three Easy Video Formats for First-time Vloggers

Posted By Guest Blogger 18th of March 2012 Writing Content 0 Comments

This is a guest post by Gregory Ciotti of Sparring Mind.

YouTube is the next big thing for blogging.

Seems like pretty poor advice, since everybody is hopping all over Pinterest and people have known about YouTube for a long time.

The thing is, few bloggers are utilizing YouTube to its full potential.

And it’s not just me thinking that: on a recent post on Social Media examiner, many of the 30 experts featured agreed that YouTube was going to see a tremendous rise in use by bloggers in 2012.


Because YouTube has finally come out of its “Wild West” past.

That means people are taking original content more seriously on YouTube these days—it’s no longer for Family Guy clips and videos stolen from elsewhere.

YouTube partners are making some serious coin, and many bloggers are learning that the traffic generated from YouTube can be big. David Edwards has been pointing this out here at ProBlogger for a while.

Check out the traffic just one of my blogs receives per week from YouTube:

Three Easy Video Formats for First-time Vloggers

Most bloggers get stuck when it comes to video content, because they’re unsure of what to make. (We’re not all illustrators and animators like David, after all.) Don’t worry, you won’t be forced to make any cheesy comedy videos, or “S_____ People Say” style viral videos either.

We’ll be taking a more serious and proven approach. Let’s look at three kinds of videos you can make to capitalize on the rise of YouTube.

1. Screen-capture videos

This is a biggie: screen capture videos can bring in huge amounts of search traffic. Why? Because people are constantly searching for “How-To” videos on YouTube, and nothing beats the good old-fashioned screen capture in a tutorial.

If you title your video “How To _______”, get some views on your blog, pick a good how-to topic, and do a great job presenting it, you are guaranteed to have made a video that will give back for years to come in terms of views and traffic.

Not only do your readers benefit, but you get big exposure from the browsing YouTube audience who have the very real possibility of turning into future blog subscribers.

Leveraging your blog’s audience by embedding your video into a post is a great way to ensure you rank well for the “How To” term as well, since view count affects how high videos display in YouTube’s search results.

Get started by checking out programs like Camtasia and CamStudio (free) to record what’s on your screen.

Example video:

This is a great video by Pat Flynn detailing how to create whiteboard videos, so you’ll learn something else too!

2. Interview videos

You know if you read my blog that I’m a huge fan of interviews to bring in traffic. I’ve done plenty, and they’ve all sent a tremendous amount of shares and links my way:

  1. Interview with Brian Gardner of StudioPress
  2. Interview with Rafal Tomal (Lead Copyblogger designer) & Alex Manginig (owner of Kolakube)
  3. Interview with Danny Iny, Onibalusi, and Georgina Laidlaw (Content Manger of Problogger)
  4. Interview with Leo of the BufferApp

The thing is, as much as I love these text interviews, I’ve seen the obvious benefits of video interviews from a few of my other favorite sites.

Not only are you going to rank well for the interviewee’s name (it’s YouTube after all, and YouTube videos rank easily on Google), but you’ll also get the obvious additional traffic from people finding your videos on YouTube from search and related videos.

Not only that, but having an interview means that anyone can share the interview on their own site, even the person that you interviewed! (It’s like a free guest post on content you already created for your own blog!)

That’s a whole other audience right there with no effort, so you should really consider making your next interview of the video variety.

To get started with interview videos, check out the programs Call Recorder (for Mac) and Pamela (for PC) to record Skype video chats.

Also, look out for a post on how interview videos can help grow your blog here on ProBlogger later today.

Example video:

Two of my favorite bloggers, Corbett Bar and Jeff Goins in a great discussion on writing.

3. “Talking head” videos

The last video I love to see bloggers using is the classic “talking head” video.

In this style, you are simply going to be facing the camera, and chatting with your audience about advice, tips, a personal update, a story, showing them something live—really, any topic works for these videos.

You can feature someone else (non-interview style) discussing a certain topic, as Derek Halpern did with his videos on blog design.

Or, you can simply record yourself, which gives a really personal take on your content and allows you to mix things up from the standard blog post.

Darren is known to do this himself on his YouTube channel, and you’ll see through the comments that people really enjoy getting a personal take from a blogger via video. Nothing adds “you” to your blog like video content.

To get started with a talking head video, all you need is a camera with video recording capabilities (HD preferred) and a YouTube account, which makes this one of the easiest forms of video to get start with. Darren’s also handily explained the setup he uses for his videos.

This is another topic we’ll look at in detail later today, when an experienced video blogger shares his tips for making talking head videos like a pro.

Example video:

This video example from Amy Porterfield shows how to relay a quick tip via video, using an in-person recording and screen capturing, which we discussed above.

Over to you

Have you tried out video content yet?

What is your favorite form of video style that I’ve discussed above? Any that you are looking forward to trying? I’d love to hear your thoughts on video in the comments.

Gregory Ciotti is the author of Sparring Mind, a content marketing blog that focuses on research & facts to find what really works in creating valuable content that creates a loyal following. Find out how Greg does things or follow him on Twitter.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. I use YouTube videos quite a bit in web content that I write on various sites. It does help a bit with traffic but it also engages more of the ‘ADD-I-scan-everything-and-read-nothing’ readers. I haven’t done much with it on my blogs though.

    Part of that is that it feels a bit intimidating to make my own videos. I know as a viewer on YouTube I have no patience for low-end, amateur videos and that side of me doesn’t want to add to the fluff and junk out there. I’d love to see a post or series of posts on how to make videos that look and feel professional and polished to the viewer.

    • I hear you, but have you seen the content of the big YouTube partners out there?

      Literally, “quality” comes in the form of a nice camera and editing.

      When it comes to other types of videos, outsourcing the technical aspects (intros & graphics) can go a long way.

      When it comes the “amateur” factor of videos, a lot of people find the “real deal” to be very endearing, the quality comes from the content being provided and how well you prepared for the video, not about the flash and glam of the video.

  2. Thanks Gregory – I’ve needed some encouragement in the video area, and after reading your post & the articles you linked to I feel like I’m ready to finally try it.

    I like the “talking head” style videos you referred to, since they allow you to feel like you’ve met the blogger, and it gives you a chance to hear their voice and get to know their personality a bit better than by just reading their words.

    I think I’ll start with that style – it’s now on my to-do list!

    • I definitely feel that “getting to know you” factor is a huge part of their popularity, because honestly, the content itself could have just come in audio form.

      As an example, I recently asked my electronic music blog audience what they thought about AUDIO artist interviews, and everyone responded in the form of: “Yes, we want interviews badly, but please do VIDEO!”

      It’s amazing how much people prefer video, and that personal connection to the author/blogger seems to be a big part of it.

  3. Hey Gregory, love the post since I started using Youtube more and more lately, as a consumer and blogger. It was really hard to make my first talking head video just because I am not great with camera and sometimes have problem with my English but I used the screencapture to get over the speaking part and show how to do things my readers are interested in. I love Youtube and one of the things to do in 2012. that I put on my list last December was a lot more Youtube :)

    • Thanks Brankica, glad YouTube is treating you well!

      Getting over that fear is all apart of the process, most definitely, but it’s really the place to be in 2012!

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Thank you. This will help me as I start to do video for my business.,

  5. Howdy Gregory,

    I’m (obviously) a big fan of video – though with the longer format (and inability to access from China) Youtube is a hassle.

    A few more tips for readers:

    1) Video interviewing an expert in your field is a great way to build a connection with that person. i.e, they probably get a tonne of emails (so tough for you to stand out), but they aren’t going to forget you after an hour long chat

    2) Your own video interviews are an amazingly rich source of info that you can use to post on your own site, create ebooks, or even guest post. like this one:


    3) Viewers email me all the time to introduce themselves. I haven’t asked them why… but I think after someone watches you for x minutes/hours/whatever you become much more accessible :- )

    4) Fun.


    • I hear you, self-hosted (or even Vimeo) is the way to go with certain projects, but seeing as most folks here are going to be focusing on 10-minute and under videos, YouTube is the place to be with all of that traffic.

      Thanks for your thoughts my dude.

  6. Most of my YouTube videos are see capture HowTos. The money spent for Camtasia is fully worth it!

    Additionally, product reviews are also fairly easy for someone getting started. It can be done with a few screen shots images, a few words to the right music, can be real classy.

  7. I’ve been using videos for some time. mostly because my first few attempts got positive reviews. My most popular videos are a how to make a homemade pumpkin spice latte and how to mop the floor without chemicals.
    Both kind of off the cuff and informal, my kids doing the videoing and yelling in the background, it’s a presentation that suits me.

    • True, and it’s that down to earth nature of videos that really helps put “You” on your site, there’s something about a video that is just so much more personal than text can ever be.

  8. Depending on how it’s done, a you-tube video should do quite well.

    I say should, as sometimes quality videos(nicely presented—easy to follow) do not always seem to get the lions share of traffic(views, etc)
    Though, regardless, at the least it would be better to make sure that the audio and visual quality is up to scratch(decent).

    The reason being that, many videos have poor audio, and/or sometimes visual issues.

    The fact that putting a video up on you-tube is so easy, is also the reason why quality(audio, visual—overall presentation) is sometimes lacking.

    • I hear you, but sometimes it is simply “length of time” that dictates those view differences you are seeing: videos that have been uploaded since 2006 and such tend to have a ton of views, even if the quality is garbage.

  9. Great post! A much needed reminder that I need to develop a youtube video. I’ve actually watched Pat Flynn’s whiteboard video and it is a great option for those that do not necessarily want to show their face…lol

    • Definitely, it’s so much better than a regular screen capture in many instances, and perfect for folks who find talking head video uncomfortable.

  10. I’ve just begun, but I actually prefer doing more serious “How-To’s” (mine is a cooking site, so doesn’t lend itself to screen captures). I take and edit the video, perhaps add some stills to really show a detail, do voice over narration and add music. Takes a LOT longer to do, but adds a lot of value for readers (or should I say viewers).

    My biggest problem is a serious ankle injury that makes it impossible for me to be on my feet to do more right now . . . but the few I’ve got up I’ve had really good feedback on.

  11. Thank you Gregory, I use all 3 forms for videos I do. Next to you YouTube I also use Vimeo. The vimeo version gets embedded in my posts because I like the quality of Vimeo a bit better. What do you think about Vimeo?

    Also I like doing recordings of live events that are interesting for my target audience. Record videos of presentations during LeWeb for example. That often gives me a lot more viewers than my regular videos. :)

  12. I have gotten back to using YouTube for a short video blog for one of my sites (http://nittanylionsden.com), and have taken soem time to actually set up the channel on YouTube. I think anyone who is using YouTube would be wise to do the same when they can.

    I also started to share the videos on Vimeo as well, also setting up a channel. This gives me a chance to share videos with possibly a new audience.

    As far as traffic is concerned, we haven’t seen a dramatic influence on video link referrals, but I feel it is does have great value in establishing a presence on these kind of sites.

  13. YouTube videos are a big part of my portfolio. I use Screencast-o-matic to record screen captures and I can also turn on my webcam to add the talking head. The pro version is only $12 and it’s worth every penny. Some of my favorite YouTubers like, DeStorm and SoldierKnowsBest, are making a good living from YouTube. Great post!

  14. You’ve convinced me, I’m going to start doing more videos and I’ll alternative between talking heads and more screen casts. I was going to do a screen cast last week, but unfortunately I didn’t check my software before hand and the free trial put a huge watermark on my video – that’s something people should check before they record!
    I also really enjoy watching webinars – slides with people talking, though I suppose this is just an extended how to ;)

    • Very true, but you can’t knock slideshow videos, I enjoy them too!

      It’s kind of like listening to a podcast with some visuals, and it keeps people on site who might have clicked away if it was just a podcast.

  15. I started shooting video for my blog during a border to border road trip on US Route 89. One of the goals of the trip was to answer the question: What makes life so fine on Route 89? Along the way I interviewed people we met and then posted the videos through a YouTube channel to the blog. Here is one example: http://usroute89.com/sarah-calhoun-red-ants-pants-white-sulphur-springs-montana The videos are “talking head” style. I set up the camera and then let the subjects answer the question in their own way. It was fun and has added a personal touch to the blog. I’m planning more videos on an upcoming road trip to the National Parks and Monuments along highway 89, both of interviews and of the places I visit. Your post has also got me thinking about what sort of screencast I might do. Thanks.

  16. Very interesting article. I definitely want to start utilising screen capture videos to improve my business. Thanks Greg.

  17. tracey says: 03/21/2012 at 3:16 am

    Quick question: what is the best way to display a split screen option (equal size image for myself and for the other person on the line) for a recorded interview on Skpe? I’ve got camtasia studio to record it, which i love, i just can’t figure out a way to get that split screen effect on Skype. Everyone keeps telling me to use callrecorder except I have a PC. I don’t really need the recording software (since I have some) but I can’t figure out how to get a split screen option. Would love your thoughts. Thanks!

    • I’ve got the same issue as Tracey. It seems as if Pamela definitely does not do this with a regular skype account, but I have to wonder if the rules change if you pay the $8.99 / month for Skype video group calls???

      I’ve tried Vodburner as well, but it doesn’t seem to always get the two sides of the video although the layout format seems better than Pamela (if vodburner actually worked). I’ve recently also pulled in imcaputure, but at some point you have to wonder about the fly by night nature of all the possible downloads. (Pamela and vodburner have been around for quite a few years).

      I’d love to find a web based solution as well. Spreecast is awesome for the user interface but they do not let you download the videos from their site and then upload them to YouTube(seems like a business plan flaw to me-a service I would pay for.)

  18. Great article. I actually have been tussling with vlogging for a bit. I am now ready to make the full plunge. I am a youtube partner and have made nice money from my videos. I even had 1 go viral. However, I took on blogging because I became a stay at home dad. Now that they are in daycare I think I will make the full plunge.

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