My Top 10 Tips for engaging and entertaining Vlog content

Orientation – think about what orientation best suits the platform you’re going to publish on. For Instagram stories film yourself in portrait (phone upright), for YouTube landscape (phone on its side) is better. If in doubt or it’s for multiple platforms, always film landscape as it’s more versatile, people can turn their phone to view in full screen whereas portrait looks terrible on YouTube with the sides of the screen blank. 

Lighting – film in a well lit area, ideally using natural light and avoid shadows across your face or body. If you need to, use a lamp to light your face. Outdoors, face into the sun, not with your back to it.  Your audience needs to see you to connect. 

Background – think about what viewers are going to see behind you. Having a little something like a table and pot plant or something relevant to the topic you’re talking about can be great to give a sense of context and not look too plain. But try to avoid anything too busy or messy in the background like cables or washing. Less is more.

Camera position – try to hold or position the camera lens level with your eye – it can feel odd if it feels as though the viewer is looking up or down at you, so try to get the lens eye level so it feels like you’re talking directly to them. An inexpensive tripod to mount your camera or phone and hold it still is a great investment. If using your computer or laptop camera, adjust your chair, or prop your laptop on books to get the lens to eye level.

Eye contact – a common mistake is to look at yourself on the screen in front of you. You need to locate the lens and speak directly into the lens so you make eye contact with your audience. It takes practice, try it out a few times each way and see the difference in playback. 

Length – there is LOADS to talk about but most video viewers have a short attention span. 30-90 seconds is ideal if you can. Try not to go over 2 mins, as viewing can dip after this time. The intro is key; believe it or not you only have 7 seconds to capture attention and convince your viewer to stay. 

Preparation – whatever your video length, it’s helpful to know what you’re going to say. Write yourself a mini script or list of bullet points beforehand to keep you on track and get everything out in one go. Using numbered lists can also be a really great way to break down big info into easy to digest info for viewers. If you can’t get it all out in one take, do one point at a time and stitch them together in basic video editing software or apps afterwards. iMovie is really easy to use on your phone. 

Detail – think about the audience and level of knowledge needed. Technical language along with a dry, boring delivery is a real turn off. Try to summarise the key message or points without getting bogged down in detail. You can always say (and arguably should): “For more information, check out the link [in the video description/attached blog/on our website]”. And make sure that a call to action is clearly displayed with your video and points to the right information. 

Energy – the camera somehow sucks life and energy out of you on screen. So although you might feel stupid and false at first, dial up the volume, expression and energy in your voice and delivery. Don’t be monotone, introduce a lively cadence to what you say, emphasise key words, project your voice and be way more enthusiastic than you might be in regular conversation. It will translate better on screen than how odd it seems in person. 

Style – have fun, keep it light and conversational. Imagine you’re chatting enthusiastically to a friend about the topic. Run through a few times from your script and then record a few versions where you ad lib once you know the script. The informal, conversational ad lib version you end up with is invariably the best. Just take care not to ramble too much, concise and chatty is perfect.