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How To Structure a Vlog For YouTube

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Do you post videos online? Have you thought about becoming a "vlogger" and using video marketing as a way to start or grow a business? If so, you might discover that while the idea of a talking into a camera and uploading content seems simple, there's actually a lot to do. Whether it's deciding where to film your piece or what to talk about, it's easy to get overwhelmed and perhaps deterred from posting videos all together. One way to really bust the overwhelm is to create an action plan for your videos and while we could technically call it a "script", it's really  just a template of bullet points to help you stay focused on your vlogs and deliver information that will keep your audience engaged and looking forward to more of your pieces.

1. Before you start, know your audience

This first point probably seems really obvious but it's the difference between running an indulgent channel that no one can relate to and really sharing information and growing a community. The easiest place to start is working out the average age and gender of the people you're speaking to. Where are your viewers coming from? These basic demographics can help you nail some great areas of interest to explore in your videos. Once you know the essentials, consider how you can help your followers. A fantastic question to ask yourself is, "How can I use my personal experience to help my typical viewer solve a problem?"

2. Take a sandwich approach to your "script"

Once you have an idea for a video topic, an easy way to structure it is by thinking of it as a sandwich. The "bread" is the introduction and the conclusion of the topic and the "filling" is the heart of the topic, the part of the video that explains a problem and how to solve it.  One way to make the production of your videos so much easier is to have a very similar introduction and conclusion for every video. Introductions can be as a simple as "Hi, it's Sue here and today we're going to talk about....". The same also goes for the conclusion which can also be a standard, "Thanks for watching and I'll see you next time." Knowing exactly how you're going to start and finish every single time will take a huge amount of planning out of vlogging production.

3. Make the "filling" of a script into bullet points

For the actual topic of a vlog, an easy thing to do is to structure the main points. For me, when I do my vlogs, I break them down to "what", "why" and "how".  So for example, I will explain to my viewers "what" we're going to talk about and "why" this is an important topic. Usually at this point I will offer up an example or two so people can relate further to what I'm speaking about. I then deliver a "how" - a solution or thought on the topic that the viewer can use. Breaking down the "filling" into these three main points makes remembering what to talk about very straight forward. Most of the times, because the information is so simple, I can deliver these points off the top of my head. Occasionally, I'll write them down on a piece of paper or a computer screen in front of me, but the bottom line is, these main points are really all you need to stay on track with what you're talking about.

4. Be mindful of time

Most viewers have a very limited amount of time to watch a video and unless content is absolutely riveting, many of us have short attention spans, especially online. This is a very important factor to keep in mind with your pieces because you want your viewers to stick around. While YouTube provides analytics so you can work out how long that your audience stays engaged with content, I'm finding that paying attention to my own watching habits is a good indication of how to give my viewers the best experience. I like doing videos that are between five to eight minutes long rather than longer. Generally speaking, shorter videos are appreciated by viewers and less complicated from a production standpoint. For example, the more to the point your video is, the less time it will take to film, edit and upload. It can take time to determine how long your viewers want to watch your videos but it's another way to get to know your community and how to serve them the best you can.

5. It's okay not to be perfect

This is one of the coolest things about vlogging and that's that your viewers are not expecting television quality. I know for myself, I love to watch videos where people are themselves and talking to me as they would a friend. Prepare your pieces much in the way that you'd prepare for a meeting or an important conversation which is a combination of structure, knowledge and your own personal style. The more you can have your own unique personality shine through, the more engaging your vlogs will be.

Are you a vlogger? How do you prepare your "scripts" for a video? Share your experience here.



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