What Is a Vlog and How Do You Start One?
Learn what a video blog is, get tips to produce one, and check out 9 vloggers’ accounts to inspire you
Vlogging is one of the fastest-growing formats on the web and has the greatest monetization capacity on YouTube. Users tend to watch vlogs to experience other realities or listen to reviews about products and services. They also want learn about certain experiences they’d like to live for themselves.
Lucas Merayo, better known as Merakio (@merakio), is an actor and audiovisual content creator with more than 800 thousand followers on YouTube. The fresh and fun approach to everyday life he uses in his vlogs has turned him into a model for this genre.
By exploring his process, we’ll be able to understand this format and learn practical tips to start producing vlogs, for launching our own channel or simply to record snippets of our lives in a fun and personal way.
What is a vlog?
A vlog is a video blog. "It’s a video in which a person films an experience, or a specific content, first hand, while standing in front of a camera, and telling you something or living through an experience for you," Merakio explains.
Unlike a blog, which is a website where you write posts, articles, or news, a vlog is a video channel where instead of writing information, you present it in a video. We can find this format in channels dealing with beauty, fashion, sports, cookery, entertainment, travel, gaming, DIY, technology, marketing, and music, and more.
Even within lifestyle, which is one of the most successful categories of vlogging, there are many styles. Merakio defines them based on examples, on the use of the resources, and also on the personality of their authors. This last factor, he explains, means that, although the themes can be repeated in many videos, the approaches change.
Structure of a vlog
Generally, vlogs follow a similar structure. The main parts are:
All vlogs start with an introduction: say your name and welcome viewers to your YouTube channel. Also, say what they are going to see in the video you are presenting.
- B Rolls
While your name and that of your channel appear on the screen, add images at different angles, actions, and objects to give agility to the story, that's what the B Rolls are about.
- Anticipate what is coming
As you move to the place that is the focus of your story, start talking and giving information and details, preempting images. This will add dynamism to your video.
- Getting to the point
It is important not to give away all information at once. Once you get to the focus of your topic, start to reveal the information and your personal opinions.
- Call to action
In the middle of the vlog, call to action. Ask people to subscribe to your channel, like your video, or write a comment.
Leave something for your viewers: a conclusion, a reflection, or an evaluation.
- Signing off
Strengthen your personal brand by repeating a greeting formula or showing a distinctive logo. Remember that your name must reappear in the greetings.
Regarding the duration of vlogs, there is no minimum or maximum length. The important thing is that it is well-paced, that it does not miss a beat, and that it provides interesting information. Also, remember to take a photo for the cover or thumbnail. For this, choose a shot that summarizes your video perfectly, and take a picture for the cover image of your video.
How do you find your own style?
If you want to start a vlog and discover your own style, there is only one way to do it, according to Merakio: simply go for it. He recommends you plan a few basics but then quickly getting out there.
Here are a few of Merakio’s tips to getting started.
- Get inspiration from a vlogger you like. Although it may seem like you are copying them, once you put your own stamp on it, you will become original.
- List your strengths to work out what to focus on.
- Look for collaborations with people who share your interests.
- Forget perfection. According to Merakio, it will paralyze you. "Perfection is the enemy of action. Getting started is the real success," he says.
- Write down the things you don't like about yourself and that you have to work on. For example, Merakio points out how his own anxiety hinders his creative process. He interprets it as an excess of energy that goes against him and needs to be channeled positively. Your solution? Take Action: Action drains anxiety.
- Commit to being consistent. Set goals and meet them. Focus on meeting your deadlines, and you’ll have no energy to be too self-critical.
- Consider frustration as part of your journey. If you feel frustrated it is because you have found limits that you must overcome and that is what growth is all about. Look for tools to do it.
- Set limits and schedules. Plan.
- Learn the basics of light, sound, and camera work. Give yourself time.
9 vloggers’ examples to inspire you
Lifestyle is one of the most successful vlog categories, but not the only one. Creatives from all over the world opt for this video blog format to tell about their projects and their professional day-to-day. Read on to learn about some of the vloggers who inspire Merakio and with a large following.
Casey is the undisputed leader of this genre. A vlogger from New York, although he did not invent this format, he redefined it to the point that today he is considered the father of vlogging on YouTube.
According to Merakio, Casey's motivation for filming was forcing himself to create one video per day. Despite being a filmmaker, Casey had always felt lazy about production. He set out to keep his goal for a year as a creative exercise and not only did he meet his objective, but also extended it for two and a half years.
What stood Casey out from other vloggers who were doing the same was his great talent for storytelling using filming devices. Storytelling is the art and science of narrating stories with a persuasive purpose while connecting with others.
What can we learn from him? Not to wait for the right moment, but simply to go for it.
Luisito is, first and foremost, a travel blogger who speaks to you, according to Merakio, "as if he were your best friend." Luisito records fun experiences like eating street food in Japan and more serious ones, such as a visit to Chernobyl. He always dives deep into topics, does some preliminary research, and goes out of his way to surprise his followers.
The most important lesson from him is that a video is more successful when it focuses on a single topic and goes in-depth.
Roman’s content is purely familiar. He shows his life as a reality show in which he shows pranks on his family and friends. Roman does crazy things like filling his house with plastic balls to surprise his wife and children, then shares it with the world. His trademark is his longstanding production of innumerable content.
The most important lesson we get from him is his motto: "Just keep uploading". While quantity is not better than quality, he believes in the importance of being on the go to avoid creative blocks.
Alan x el Mundo
Alan is a singer and dancer, as well as a content creator. According to Meriako, this is evident in his work, in the way he expresses himself, and in his vision of life. Alan is a model for him for being "extremely theatrical, a fact that works in his favor when it comes to captivating his followers."
The quality of his images and resources, and the composition of his shots are of cinematic level, and he uses high-end equipment. Like many other successful vloggers, he skillfully uses a drone for creating b-rolls, i.e.,supplementary and transitional shots.
The most important lesson from him is the excellent use of voice-over. Alan always provides a lot of information to his viewers about the time, place and context of his shoots.
Mark focuses mainly on food tourism and presents himself as a ‘full-time eater.’ His charm lies in the hypnotic nature of his angles and in his detailed presentation of the ingredients used to make all the delicious food. It’s enough to make the viewers salivate.
The most important lesson from him is how he conveys flavors and sensations through his gestures and descriptions.
Peter’s main strength is his cinematic prowess. He makes simple everyday actions like making coffee look like an arthouse short full of beauty and emotion. It's easy to forget the videos are on YouTube because they are movie-like. In addition, Peter collaborates with other vloggers regularly, bringing even more quality to what he does.
The most important lesson from him is the importance of collaborating. He has done many with popular vloggers like Casey Neistat.
Rocío Romero is a Spanish woman belonging to the first wave of YouTubers. She started in 2012 when the platform was considered a plaything. This is precisely her approach, as Ro’s videos do not follow a formula. Her content varies from humor, dance, and lifestyle, although she admits that she’s always "done a little of what I wanted." Today she has 1 million subscribers.
The most important lesson from her is that a fun personality can be all you need to produce good content. Freedom and spontaneity are values on social media.
Mariel de viaje
Mariel is a Mexican journalist who, tired of poorly-paid jobs and exploitation, decided to take her destiny into her own hands and set off on a series of trips, in which she does what she likes the most: look for stories and relate information. She was one of the first women on the Internet who dared go out into the world alone with her camera. Mariel approaches her destinations in search of helpful information for those who plan to go on any of her many trips.
The most important lesson from her is that vlogging is a service. Providing information ensures that you are not the only centre of attention.
Jammi Dodger is a young British trans person devoting his channel to reporting on his transition and the condition of trans men. His videos are filmed with a touch of humor. Occasionally, he reveals aspects of his relationship with his girlfriend Sherbet. The videos include content ranging from his recovery from surgery to mental health care.
The most important takeaway from his blog is that intimate and personal experiences can be educational.
If you want to experiment with this format, sign up for the course YouTube Vlog Creation. With Merakio’s help, you will create a vlog to record first-hand about something you’re passionate about, whether it’s an experience, a journey, or your day-to-day routine.
English version by @acesarato
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