Part 6: Videos – YouTube+
Note: I know I’m talking about YouTube, just days after the San Bruno attacks. My heart goes out to those affected by the attacks.
I’ve talked about a LOT of social media forms. You might have wondered what could POSSIBLY be next?
Google+ or LinkedIn (Nah, although, I do cross-post my blog over there, for people who prefer those social media forms, they don’t seem active enough)
Goodreads? No, although, I’m there and in a few book clubs.I mostly use it to keep a presence, and stay accountable for my book-reading goals.
I’m pretty sure you’re all thinking “Um, Morgan, I think you’ve gone seriously overboard on this social media thing…” and you’re COMPLETELY right.
Today, though? Today, I’m going to be talking about VIDEOS. Both at Youtube and in other social media forms.
YouTube is second only to Netflicks in using up bandwidth on the internet. It’s huge.
What’s more? Videos go viral all the time. New ones, old ones, quirky ones, it’s hard to know what’s going to be popular.
So, how do you get that to work for you as a writer?
I have a YouTube channel [Subscribe Here!] and, as I say in my episodes, it’s “my online blog, in video format.” So, if you’d rather listen to me ramble while doing other things, you totally can.
How To Start A YouTube Channel
A video channel should be approached like a website.
- Pick a theme and stick with it
- Pick an update schedule and stick with it
- Pick a format and stick with it
(noticing a trend here?)
Step One – Check out the other Writer Vloggers
See what else is out there, see what other writers are doing, see if there’s a niche you can fill or a format you prefer for getting the information.
It’s hard to establish quality content if you don’t know what sort of options there are and what formats appeal to you.
Here’s a list of the top 15 from The Write Life.
Step Two – Set-up To Film A Vlog
- a youtube account
- preferably some WiFi to upload this thing, cause videos are large
Beyond that, all I use is a Logitech HD 1080p USB camera and 2 umbrella lights – all birthday presents from family – pictured above. Oh, and MS Paint.
Equipment to up your game:
- umbrella lights
- a webcam that isn’t built into your computer
- a quiet space
- video editing software
- a microphone (maybe with pop filters!)
- interesting-yet-not-distracting background (clean up trash, dirty clothes)
- makeup – maybe even some if you’re not femme presenting. Minimalist suggestions are:
- foundation to even out skin tone and get rid of shine
- mascara to make the eyes pop
- a touch of lip color, to define lips
Step Three – Filming
If you’re using a phone, TURN IT SIDEWAYS. No, really. Please.
I made that mistake my first time and now, for eternity, (or until I rerecord it) I’ll have those stupid black bars to my left and right–or worse, that double-image, zoomed in blur beside me.
- 5-12 minutes is a standard video length. People have short attention spans.
- If you have more, cut it into 2 parts! (Or more!)
- Keep to the same format
- Look the camera in the eye when you can try not to look like you’re reading your blog post. *looks around innocently*
I like to do 2-5 takes and just roll with the last take. I’m planning on experimenting with video editing software after I move at the end of the month.
A lot of the quality vloggers you see will have done several takes and will clip them together. BUT. They’ll change the camera angle between takes, so you get the feel of ‘time passing’ or something. It’s a format that seems to be popular, plus, it allows you the ability to cut out any dead-air time.
Step Four – Post-Processing
The easiest bit of post-processing I do is take a couple trial photos before I start my video.
Trial pictures let me
- checks the lighting
- check the umbrellas aren’t in the camera
- check I don’t have food on my shirt
- And? Allows me a couple photos to add my Vlog title to.
I literally open them in MSPaint, Impact size 48 or whatever the title on one side of me, and roll.
Yes, YouTube will give you freeze frames as the preview image, but usually, they’re the most awkward poses I’ve ever seen. Luckily, there’s a handy-dandy “upload preview” button so you can toss your new image in there.
This is when you’d cut together all those different takes from step 3. Maybe add some background music if you like that feel. Maybe just an intro bar or two of notes.
Step 5 – Uploading To YouTube
When I upload my videos, I make sure to click the drop-down and select ‘Schedule’. Once you start uploading, you can’t switch and the default goes live as soon as you hit publish.
I don’t want my videos to upload the second I’m done prepping them, I want them to post in the mornings, not somewhere between 10:30pm and 1am the night before the blog post goes live.
This is where you can add that title-added preview image.
Things I like to do with my videos:
- Schedule them
- Add preview image with my title on it
- Add Tags
- Add the video to my playlist, so people can subscribe to that [like here!]
- You can have different playlists on the same channel
- book reviews
- writer tips
- guitar playing
- life updates
- You can have different playlists on the same channel
- Type up a short twitter-worthy shout-out to draw people in (with hashtags)
- Give links to my other social media and the original blog post in the ‘about’ field
Things I’ve been testing recently.
- I found the ‘default settings’ for uploads last week, where you can pre-load all your tags, all your repeated ‘about’ information, etc, so you don’t have to remember what tags you used last week.
- How do you find out what tags you should use?
- check out a popular vlogger who shares a lot of the same subject matter
- in your browser settings, have ‘developer options’ turned on
- hit F12 to view the page’s source code
- hit ‘ctrl-F’ to open up search
- type “tags”
- copy-paste the list after the word [ make sure it seems to be a list of usable tags, the word may be in the source code more than once. If it’s not what you’re looking for, hit enter to move to the next entry.]
SnapChat and Instagram and Facebook
I’ve already talked about Instagram, but why is SnapChat even on this list?
For those who don’t know, SnapChat lets people message each other and the message immediately is deleted after they view it. It warns you if the other person screen-shots the message.
So, how does this grow your social media presence?
I personally don’t do it, and it may be more useful for artists, but you can upload STORIES. These are images, text, or VIDEOS that are shown to anyone OR everyone on your list–and they stay visible for a day.
If you have a following, uploading a ‘story’ or two a day can be a good way to interact and form a more personal feeling connection.
Instagram also allows stories to be shared and these are promoted posts.
And Facebook? Facebook LOVES videos. Unlike blog links, or worse PATREON links, Facebook doesn’t try to hide these as much.
YouTube and Facebook Live Video
These intimidate me, but they are growing in popularity and are given priority viewing on Facebook. If you find a time that’s good for a lot of your followers (plus, it can be viewed after the fact), it’s a great way to re-engage with your followers and be given priority viewing on both social media sites.
If you’re brave enough.
Putting yourself out there, creating content, and recording your image, voice, and thoughts for all of posterity is intimidating.
Every week, I strive to do a little better (or at least not worse) than the week before.
And that’s it.
The introduction to social media types. ALL OF THEM. (Or at least a good, wide-spectrum of them.)
If there’s any I skipped that you’d like me to talk about, feel free to ask in the comments.
If there are any tips you’d like to share, feel free to reach out!