7 Lessons that apply to more than just Vlogging
I learned some valuable lessons about vlogging in 2018. Some I liked and some I didn’t. These lessons range from the art versus science aspects, to the external versus personal – sometimes very personal.
I don’t know what gave me the vlogging bug at the beginning of 2018. It was probably the fact I had started watching more YouTube in general…discovering creators out there that inspired me, or that I wanted better keepsake videos of my kids and family events than 1 random iPhone video with no context, and still perhaps some subliminal YouTube message seeped in to my brain; but I got bit and bit hard.
Below I’m going to share with you 7 lessons I learned from creating and posting 40 vlogs in 40 weeks.
Jason Koertge is one of my favorite, what I call, accidental YouTubers and probably my biggest personal inspiration because of how he vlogs with his kids in tow. Now it’s no accident that he currently has over 41,000 followers because he checks all the recommended YouTube creator boxes:
- He has “niched” down
- He consistently posts videos
- His thumbnails are almost always killer
- oh…and his content is really good (I thought he was a professional editor at first)
I call him an accidental YouTuber because I don’t believe he intended to try and build a following on YouTube. He found something he was passionate about (his 4Runner & Overlanding), that people are interested in (like me), then he made a ton of really good videos about that…and he posted them to YouTube.
The YouTube algorithm ate his stuff up and wanted more.
#1 Consistency is Key
There’s a reason that I am putting this as #1. In my opinion this is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do if you want to create a following on YouTube. I even created a video about just that…but if you’re reading this, I would only watch it if you have 4 minutes and 31 seconds to watch me tell you what I just told you here. (and you can learn what my voice sounds like I guess)
All the big time YouTubers do this 1 thing extremely well. At least they used to…Casey Neistat is a more recent exception to this rule…but he has hundreds of videos out there circulating the interwebs and was incredibly consistent for years.
#2 Content Over Gear
This was a tough lesson for me to learn and it wasn’t fully realized until my very last vlog of 2018. Like a lot of people, I went a little crazy, spent a bunch of money, and got nice but not professional gear. More than I ended up needing.
I reveled in all the Amazon price hunting, the box opening, gear organizing, learning, and more. I got a pretty nice lens for my Canon 80D along with some other nice to have/less expensive lenses…and guess what, a year later I have just sold the majority of it.
You’re probably shaking your head right now and telling me that I’m an idiot…even a non-YouTuber could tell you that Scott! Well, this lesson is about how incredibly easy it is to fall right in to the rabbit hole of camera gear and enjoy the wonderland of better images, video with more bokeh, wide angles, better audio…the list goes on.
Why did it take so long to learn this lesson? Why wasn’t this realized on vlogs 1-39? First, I saw a Casey Neistat video where he said that for a long time, almost 50% of the content for his vlogs were filmed with his iPhone. Second, on vlog 40 my expensive lens was acting weird and I used my “cheap” lens. Vlog 40 turned out to be my favorite video I created, got some gorgeous shots, and the resulting video almost made me cry when I finished it. (don’t worry…sentimentality is in the eye of the beholder…me)
Somehow, due to this “restriction” to using the less expensive lens made me focus on everything else and the result I will cherish forever.
#3 Story Matters Most
No one will watch your high quality vlog if it’s not interesting.
This is why major Hollywood productions flop. The story line sucks, people can’t identify with the character, no flow, etc. Think about your storyline before you start filming for the day and you’ll be much more likely to have a good end product.
I’ll refer again to Mr. Neistat…who is a legit professional storyteller. Seriously, he’s so good.
#4 Editing is Where the Magic is Made
This was the steepest learning curve for me, but once I got the hang of it, it made all the difference.
Felix Schlater is a vastly under rated YouTuber who actually started as a video editor who came to vlogging. You can see it immediately and has a great series he’s making that covers the process of video making, vlogging etc.
You can overcome (sometimes) the lack of a planned out storyline with good video editing…if you have enough footage to work with. Sometimes this means that your video ends up going in a completely different direction, but you salvaged it.
#5 The Flow is Fun
I really enjoyed making these vlogs. It was challenging but very rewarding. It forced me out of my own comfort zone, prompted me to shoot video when I wouldn’t have previously, and I now have 40 videos of 2018 that I can cherish forever.
#6 I am Not a Full Time YouTuber
2018 was the year of vlogging and YouTube for me.
There is an amazing community of vloggers you can discover out there. I saw some creators start the year with only a couple hundred followers that are now over 50 thousand, some create literal movements, and some that I purely enjoy for enjoyments sake. However, just like all the “How to Write Everyday” posts you find on Medium, the one thing you will figure out by making vlogs every week…is if you enjoy the grind.
I am very satisfied with my vlogging experience and I will still make more. I learned a new skill, made some memories, and get to keep those memories. 40 vlogs with hundreds of hours of video footage, many afternoons and evenings editing video, and getting comfortable talking at a camera in public is not easy. Nor did I expect it to be…and that’s ok.
I tried it and it’s fun, but not my current profession.
#7 If You Decide to Try Something, Give It Your Best
It doesn’t matter if it’s vlogging, blogging, exercising, or eating healthier for a new year, new you. Give it your best shot…don’t hold back…and you will learn more than you ever imagined.
Take another look at this list…but this time, in your mind, replace the terms video, gear, or YouTube with whatever project or new practice you have taken up.
- Consistency is key
- Content over gear
- Story matters most
- Editing is where the magic is made
- The flow is fun
- I am not a YouTuber
- If you decide to try something, give it your best shot
See what I did there?