Back in March, an SEO blogger named Michael Gray urged bloggers to step away from the keyboard. His point was that too many of them didn’t have anything interesting or original to say, so they were better off not saying anything at all. Where Michael went wrong was that, instead of hammering this out on his keyboard, he said it in a vlog post. Now, Michael is a great writer who really knows SEO, but he has a presence that’s probably better suited for radio.
Now I’m not talking about looks, here. No, I’m talking about presence. You see, you might have interesting and original things to say, but if you don’t say them right, you’re just going to look like a jerk — meaning that no one is going to pay attention to you. For example, if you’re a brilliant thinker but not a writer, then you probably shouldn’t be blogging. When it comes to vlogging, then, you have to be a bit of showman.
In a word, vlogging is show business. It might be small time, but it’s a show just the same. After all, you’re getting up in front of the camera and showing the world what you got. If you want to make sure, then, that your audience likes what they see, you have to be a showman. There are a few tricks out there to being a good showman. Here are a few.
Use Your Face
You’re trying to be a vlogger, not a news anchor. Use facial expressions to emphasize points and talk to the camera like it’s one of your closest friends. One of the mistake that Michael Gray made in his inaugural vlog post was that he was as stiff and as deadpan as an opiated geriatric. The allure of vlogging is that it injects your content with personality and humanity. It does this, moreover, because of the talking head. If all that head does is talk, however, than it’s not much more than a podcast. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than so is a facial expression.
Know What You’re Going to Say (But Don’t Script It)
Whether you’re a blogger, vlogger, or podcaster, if you don’t have something unique or interesting to offer, no one is going to care about you. So before you film, plan out what you’re going to say. Do not, however, script it. Scripts are for actors. You’re supposed to be a showman. With a script on hand, it will be hard to resist reading off it and you’ll come off as jerky and unnatural — even if you’re well-versed in the topic. So before vlogging: 1) choose a topic, 2) decide what’s important about it, 3) pick a stance, 4) run through it in your head a couple time, and 5) just do it.
Shoot Now, Edit Questions Later
Once the camera starts rolling, follow it through until the end. Without a script, you might find yourself babbling or wanting to go back over topics to add a point that you previously left out. No problem. That’s what editing software is for. So if you start stumbling over your words, relax, take a deep breath, and say it all over again. During the editing process, you’ll be able to cut out all the superfluous jabbering, and trim the final product down to about 1-2 minutes (see 5 Vlogging Basics). Besides, sudden lapses in time make a vlog post an edgy and organic thing, and that only lends it both credibility and entertainment value. As the Edelman exec John Kerr said, “the shaky cam is now seen as the most trusted form of media.” After you get it all out of your system, you’ll have plenty of time to go back over the footage and decide what belongs in the video and what doesn’t.