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How to Start (and Maintain) a Vlog

How to Start (and Maintain) a Vlog
Credit: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Vlogs, or video blogs, are becoming increasingly popular, with individuals from fashionistas to fitness fanatics using YouTube and other sites to share their insights. In today's digital world, it's easy to start a platform online and attract a following that will eventually open other doors.

If you enjoy being in front of the camera and have something unique to say, you might consider starting a vlog. Here's how to do it.

You don't necessarily need to focus on a certain topic when starting a vlog. Susanne Kirlew, founder of Kirly-Sue's Kitchen and food vlogger, stated that as long as each individual video has a main point, the overall theme of the vlog doesn't have to be strict.

However, it might be easier to build a following if you stick to a particular subject. Find and research a niche or two that you're interested in, like fashion and beauty or video games, and have that be the driving force of your vlog.

Jason Liebman, YouTuber and creative director at Liebsmedia, chose a few separate niches that he's passionate about and found a way to connect them. He advised vloggers not to be afraid of experimenting with various topics and to take time to decide.

"Anything can be a successful vlog these days," he said. "You never know who else is into what you are into until you put it out there. If you are into martial arts, cooking and telling jokes, then I would love to be a subscriber of your ninja cooking talk show."

Even if you choose a popular niche, you can put your own spin on it by simply being yourself. Don't shy away from getting personal or showing your quirks. Your audience will appreciate your authenticity and won't feel the need to look elsewhere for similar content.

"They can go anywhere to hear about their favorite TV show, video game, tech, makeup, etc.," said Liebman. "You stand out by doing things your own way from your unique perspective. Nobody is telling you what to do as a vlogger, so make what you enjoy, and there will be other people who like it too."

Before doing anything else, familiarize yourself with recording, editing and uploading. According to Liebman, you don't need professional equipment to get started.

"The best way to learn is by doing," he said. "Start filming videos and editing them using whatever equipment and program you have at your disposal. As you grow, you can invest back in the tools you use to make your videos."

You can also learn from other vloggers. Browse YouTube or watch your favorite personalities for inspiration and record any information you find important. Implement these findings in your own content, and understand that it takes time and patience to reach the growth of others in the industry.

YouTube is the most popular place to maintain a vlog, but there are other platforms like Dailymotion and Vimeo. You have to start somewhere – making and posting videos, and engaging with others is a way to get your foot in the door.

"Your first videos won't be that great to start, but like most skills, you will improve with more experience," said Liebman.

If you want people to engage with you, then you have to engage with them, said Liebman.

Don't expect to start out with thousands, or even hundreds, or followers. Invite your friends and family to support your page. One option to consider is live vlogging through Instagram Live and Facebook Live. With both sites, your followers receive instant notifications when you are live. Once you're done with your video, with Instagram, you can share your video to your story or save it to your camera roll. With Facebook, your video is published to your profile or page so followers can watch it later. Instagram and Facebook both have a handy tutorial that explains more about how to use their live video features.

Of course, you can always upload a prerecorded video to your page. Let your followers know when you post a video by sharing it across all your accounts. Be sure to use hashtags, SEO and other tools to make your content searchable to relevant audiences, added Liebman.

"People will find your videos and come engage with you if you are building genuine relationships with them," he said.

Through social, you can also build a profit. If you attract a large following, you may be asked to be part of ads or negotiate sponsorships deals. You can also sell merchandise, affiliate marketing and collaborate with others, said Liebman.

According to Kirlew, once you reach 10,000 views on YouTube, you can connect to Google AdSense, which runs ads before or during your vlog. You will be paid depending on the number of views your vlog has.

"Those vanity numbers, like subscriber count, matter when it comes to the business side of making videos online," said Liebman. "Most advertisers or sponsors want to know that by working with you they are getting their brand in front of a certain amount of people. Start with growing an audience, and worry about the money later."

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela is a recent graduate of Rowan University, where she majored in writing arts and minored in journalism. She currently works as a Purch B2B staff writer while working on her first novel in her free time. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.