YouTube is the world’s second most-used website and social platform. People watch more than a billion hours of video content on YouTube every single day. The creator economy is booming. If you’ve been wanting to start a vlog, there’s no time like the present.
If you’re ready to learn how to vlog, this post will show you how. If you’re not ready to take the leap, hopefully, this in-depth guide will help you get there.
Let’s get started.
What you’ll learn
- 10 YouTube ideas when you’re just starting your channel
- Making a memorable vlog intro and outro
- 9 always-relevant best practices for starting a vlog
- The essentials: vlog cameras, lighting, and gear
- How to vlog better (using just your phone or laptop)
- FAQs about vlogging
- Make your first YouTube video in minutes.
10 YouTube ideas when you’re just starting your channel
- Introduction video
Create a video telling anyone who comes across your channel who you are.
- Channel intro
Let your audience know what your channel is all about. Show them what kind of content they can expect, and maybe even ask for recommendations.
- X things you don’t know about me
Share some fun facts about yourself. You can find questions to answer online or brainstorm questions relevant to your niche. Make your subscribers feel like you’re a close friend, not an aspirational internet celebrity.
- Travel and experience vlogs
Especially now that people are spending more time at home, travel and experience vlogs are a hit. If you’re doing something fun, pull out the camera and share the experience with your audience. This can be even something small (like going to Trader Joe’s). Hey, who knows what your audience will love most?
- Product reviews
Product reviews are a great way to put yourself on the map. If there’s a product your audience is thinking about purchasing, they’re probably searching for reviews on YouTube. Creating a review is a great way to harness existing interest and get discovered by members of your target audience.
- Tutorials and how-to videos
Tutorials and how-to videos are another way to reach new viewers. Post tutorials relevant to your niche to reach people who will be interested in the content you have to offer.
- Routine videos
Routine videos are super popular. You can post your morning and evening routine, your skincare routine, a get ready with me video, an outfit of the day, etc. The options here are endless. It’s all about finding the routines your target audience will find most interesting.
- Reaction videos
React to viral TikToks, trends, popular movements, or even just another YouTuber’s video. You can even recreate someone’s video after you react. For example, you can react to a cooking video then try out the recipe for yourself.
Order some yummy food, pull out the camera, and film yourself chowing down and chatting about whatever your audience will find interesting.
Tell stories from your life, or retell stories from books or movies you’ve read (giving credit, of course).
Making a memorable vlog intro and outro
Creating a memorable vlog intro and outro is a way to connect with your audience. Make it unique to your channel — something that really lets your personality shine. One easy way to save time with video creation is to start with a customizable template.
Stuck on the same YouTube ideas?
Here’s a creative jolt for you. Click below for dozens of YouTube templates, and click “customize” to make it perfect for your vlog.
Here’s a creative jolt for you. Click below for dozens of YouTube templates, and click “customize” to make it perfect for your vlog.
Plus, here are a few templates we’re into lately in the Vimeo Create library. Guess what? There’s probably already a template for your niche that you can use as a starting point.
Beauty channel intro
Beauty channel outro
Baking vlog intro
Gamer vlog outro
9 always-relevant best practices for starting a vlog
YouTube is a crowded platform, but the world is a crowded place. There is an audience out there, just waiting to listen to your voice. All you have to do is find it. These best practices will help learn how to start vlogging — and how to find that audience.
1. Discover your target audience
The key to growing an audience is understanding your audience. Mapping out the wants and needs of your target audience inspires the content for your channel, and sticking with content that your audience will enjoy is a necessary step for growth.
Start posting content, injecting your videos with your authentic personality. As your audience grows, keep a close eye on the analytics and listen to what viewers ask for in the comments. As you create more content, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of your audience and what content promotes growth.
2. Map out video content themes
Once you understand your audience and the type of content you aim to create, it’s time to map out video content themes. To make the process easier, define a few content buckets to pick from. Each content bucket should be a general theme you can pull ideas from. Alternate content themes to keep your channel interesting.
For a beauty channel, content themes might look something like this:
- Makeup tutorials
- Favorites and fails
- Makeup hauls
- Makeup challenges
3. Keep video quality high
YouTube is a crowded space. Recent research shows that when surveying young children about what they want to be when they grow up, “YouTuber” was the most popular response — 3 times more popular than “Astronaut.” The space is only going to get more crowded. Oh, how times have changed.
While authenticity is the best way to stand out, keeping your video quality high is also super important. It shows your viewers you mean business and keeps people from clicking out because they’re annoyed by the video or sound quality.
Luckily, smartphones have stellar video quality these days, especially if you befriend a natural light source. You can stick your phone on a tripod and even add an external mic to improve the sound.
If you really want that crisp quality, investing in filming equipment isn’t a bad idea. A professional lighting setup means you can film with good lighting anytime you want, and using a vlogging camera with an external mic will help you create amazing quality videos at your home setup or on the go.
4. Always have a call-to-subscribe
Don’t be afraid to ask your viewers to subscribe and click the notification bell. Try to fit this in at the beginning and end of your videos. Some people don’t know about these features, and others who would benefit just don’t think about using them.
At the end of the day, these features are useful to your audience. They help your viewers keep up with your content and easily access your videos. The more people subscribe and click the notification bell, the more video views you’ll get. This will help you grow your audience and monetize your content.
5. Cross-post snippets and teasers of your blog to other social channels
If you have an existing audience elsewhere, use your other social media channels to advertise your YouTube content. The goal here is to convert your followers to YouTube subscribers. Not everyone will follow you to YouTube just because you ask them to, though. You have to show them what they’re missing out on by posting clips and screenshots from your YouTube videos.
6. Go niche — don’t try to please everyone!
Vloggers are meant to have an opinion. Your audience watches your content because they want to hear what you say. Speak directly to them, without worrying about what everyone else will think. There are people out there who will resonate with what you have to say, and there are a lot of people who won’t. Create content for the people who do. That’s your audience.
The most successful vlogs on YouTube have either stuck to their niche or evolved their niche to meet the needs of their audience. Take LauraDIY for example. She started as a DIY vlogger, but her content moved toward lifestyle as she (and her audience) grew into different interests.
Choosing a niche helps your audience find you. That could be vlogs, beauty, lifestyle, DIY, mukbangs, storytimes, etc. Your audience should be able to instantly recognize your niche from your channel’s branding and your content. When people find your channel and recognize your niche, they know what they’re getting into. That means you’ll attract less negative feedback.
7. Post on a consistent schedule
Success on YouTube requires dedication and consistency. You most likely won’t blow up overnight, and you definitely won’t find success if you give up. Create a manageable posting schedule and stick to it. The more content you post, the better chances you have for growth. You have to post good quality content for that to work, though. Figure out how many times a week you can churn out high-quality content, pick your posting days, and stick to that schedule.
This will help keep you accountable while allowing your audience to build anticipation for your next upload.
8. Edit ahead
Some creators love editing, others don’t. However you feel about the editing process, it’s a time-consuming necessity. If you wait until the day before or the day of posting to edit your video, you might find yourself rushed. The whole point of starting a vlog is to love what you do. The constant cycle of editing and posting videos one at a time can be a fast track to burnout.
Editing ahead of time is a great way to avoid this. Editing your videos ahead of your posting schedule relieves some of the stress and makes the editing process more enjoyable. This strategy helps you build a bank of ready-to-post videos you can use to stay ahead of your schedule at all times.
You can also hire a freelance video editor to take the job off your hands. Of course, this is a monetary investment and takes a bit of your creative control away, but it can be a great solution for creators who dislike editing and have the money to spare.
9. Don’t forget tags, cards, and end screens
Tags, cards, and end screens are extra steps you can take to get the most out of your video content. If you’ve maximized your quality, this is the next step to getting more video views.
Tags are keywords that tell your YouTube and your viewers what your video is about. They give your video a boost with the algorithm, associating your video with similar videos so that it can be recommended in the right-hand column. Tags have a 500 character limit. Use as much of this as possible, but this will only work if the tags you use are relevant to your video.
Cards are the little boxes that pop up in the right-hand corner of YouTube’s video player. They come in a few types:
- Channel cards: link to another channel (could be someone you mentioned or collaborated with).
- Poll cards: gather feedback from your audience via a poll. You can include a question and five choices. Viewers will see the poll results on the card after voting.
- Video or playlist cards: promote relevant videos or playlists at a certain timecode.
- Link cards: link to a website (must be in the YouTube Partner Program).
End screens are a visual version of cards that appear at the end of your video and must be at least 25 seconds long. They promote other videos your viewers might find interesting and can also prompt users to subscribe to your channel or follow your social media accounts. You can create a custom end screen using a tool like Canva, leaving space for the recommended videos to appear.
The essentials: vlog cameras, lighting, and gear
Want to learn how to make a vlog but you don’t know what equipment you need to get started? Here are our top recommendations:
The best compact vlogging camera on the market is the Sony ZV-1. While it lacks a viewfinder, it shoots 4k video and has amazing autofocus.
If a viewfinder is a must for you, try the Fujifilm X-S10. This mirrorless camera also shoots 4k video, has a viewfinder, and is easy to hold. The only downside is that it isn’t weatherproof.
If you’re on a budget, opt for the Nikon D3500. It’s a beginner DSLR camera that’s easy to hold and shoots in 1080P.
You can get the Rode Video Micro Compact microphone for around $60. It can be used with a camera or smartphone, making it a great option across the board. It gives you great sound quality without adding too much bulk or weight to your camera.
For a stationary setup, you can try this LimoStudio Photo Shooting kit. It’s a three-point lighting system with umbrella and softbox lights. For a little more, you can get the Lume Cube Wireless Light. It’s a powerful 18-inch ring light with a 6.5-foot stand. It can also be used wirelessly for 90 minutes. For a portable option, opt for the Joby Beamo Ring Light 12”. It’s an affordable option that can be used with a phone or a camera.
For even crisper audio, try the Movo WS10n Universal Furry Outdoor Lavalier Microphone Windscreen Muff. It’s super affordable (just $15) and will keep the wind from interfering with the sound quality you’ve worked so hard for.
How to vlog better (using just your phone or laptop)
Luckily, smartphone video quality is pretty solid these days. If you have a newer smartphone, the video quality on your phone will probably be better than your laptop’s. Test them both out and see which you like best. Alternatively, you can add an external webcam to your laptop.
To improve the sound quality, it’s probably best to use an external microphone as well. These can attach to your clothing, phone, or laptop, or you can opt for a tabletop version.
If you haven’t invested in a lighting setup, try filming facing a window with natural lighting.
Using your phone to vlog on the go can result in shaky footage. You can avoid this by using a tripod or stabilizer.
Once you’ve made the quality as good as you manage, it’s all about the content. Show off your authentic self, share your personality, and create content your audience will love.
FAQs about vlogging
What is a vlog?
A vlog is a personal channel where creators post regular videos for a niche community. The term vlog stands for “video blog” or “video log”. This type of video content consists mainly of people filming themselves while talking about a subject or doing something relevant to their audience.
How do you start a YouTube vlog?
You can start a YouTube vlog right from your phone. Sign in to YouTube through a Gmail account, then create a channel. Film your video content and edit it together (with Vimeo, of course). Next, craft your description and tags then you’re ready to post.
What is a good first YouTube video idea?
Film an introductory video showing your audience who you are and what your channel will be about, or you can just jump in and create a video on a topic in your niche.
Tying everything up
And with that, you have everything you need to get started on your vlog! You don’t have to invest in fancy equipment right away. Start small, and remember — the most effective way to grow your audience is by posting niche content consistently and being your authentic self. People love watching vlogs because they relate to the creators. Be someone your audience can relate to.