Growing Your Audience

How to Start a Vlog That Grows Your Online Brand or Business

7 min read

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If you want to grow your fanbase (and what podcaster doesn’t?), you can’t stick to one channel. You need to invest in multiple channels to reach a bigger potential audience. A bigger audience means more engagement across all of your content channels. 

Vlogging is an effective way to grow your brand by giving people an inside look into your business and life. It’s a highly personal form of content creation that many fans find especially engaging. When fans enjoy your vlog content, they will naturally explore everything else you offer, such as your podcast, social media profiles, products, services, and courses/memberships.

In this article, we help you understand what vlogging is, how it works, and how to get started. We’ll even show you how to offer vlog content as a paid subscription.

What’s a Vlog?

Vlog is short for video blog. It’s like your own little channel starring you. Vlogs can include all sorts of content. They can be instructional, entertainment, performance art, comedy skits, documentaries, reactions to other content, or just your thoughts. What’s most important is that your content is authentic.
Many vlogs are low-tech. The host simply records themselves with a phone in one take, using only whatever features that come with their camera app. Other vlogs use plenty of video editing, script writing, multiple scenes, and even special or computer effects. You have a lot of freedom.

How to Start a Vlog

Since vlogs are generally informal, starting one is actually quite simple. The goal is to produce more content, not perfect content. Follow these steps to start a vlog. 

1. Choose your vlogging platform

While you may be tempted to use a niche video platform or your favorite platform, it’s best to stick to one of the popular ones. Remember, your goal is to grow your audience, so it makes sense to vlog where there are lots of people. Here are the top platforms for a vlog:

  • YouTube / YouTube Live
  • Twitch
  • Facebook / Facebook Live
  • Instagram Stories / Instagram Live / IGTV
  • Vimeo

The platform you choose should be based on the likelihood of finding your audience. Where do your followers tend to spend their time? What platforms do they prefer? Keep in mind that you aren’t limited to one platform. You can publish your vlog to as many platforms as you like. 

2. Decide on a vlog niche/subject

Unless you have an unusually charismatic personality, no one is going to listen to your vlog for your random thoughts on life. You need a subject matter that draws people in. 

If you’re already in the content game, you probably have a niche already. It might be entrepreneurship, weight loss, parenting, mental health, gaming, makeup, true crime, or anything else. You just have to find the thing you know a lot about; the thing that you can talk about passionately and effortlessly.

Joëlle Anello is a great example. Her vlogs focus on fashion and beauty.

3. Identify your target vlog viewer

You may already have a handle on your ideal follower, but if not, now is an important time to figure that out. Who do you intend to watch your vlogs? What kind of content do they expect? What will drive them to explore your other forms of content?

4. Get some professional equipment

Vlogs are generally informal, so you don’t need a studio that’s wired for sound and lighting, but your videos should still be clear and easy to watch. It’s possible to take a great video with clear audio on a modern iPhone or Android device, but we recommend using a high quality camera. Here are our recommendations:

If you record vlogs in the same place, don’t be afraid to invest a little into your setup. Grab a good podcasting microphone, a light panel or two, and basic editing software. It also helps to have a tripod for your camera, a stand or boom arm for your mic, and an area in your home or office with a clean and organized background. 

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Learn more about the best equipment for content creation: The Best Podcast Equipment For Any Budget

5. Brand your vlog channel

It’s important to brand your channel in the same way as all of your other marketing assets, like your podcast, email newsletter, and website. Use similar colors, typefaces, and artwork. If you have a logo, include that as well. The goal is to create a consistent experience for your audience so they know what they’re getting when they open vlog. 

Notice how Tati Westbrook uses the same branding on her video channel as she does on her Twitter and her Facebook pages. 

Vlog branding

6. Make yourself unique

There are a lot of content creators out there, so you need to give your audience a reason to watch your vlogs over someone else’s. What’s special about you? What is unique or interesting about your content? What personal touches can you add that make your content special?

7. Prepare for each vlog

Just because vlogs are informal doesn’t mean you can “just wing it.” It helps to do a bit of research on your topic before each video. Browse some articles, search the topic on social media, and watch some other vloggers. Use what you learn to inform your content. 

Then prepare a brief outline to keep your vlog moving forward. This doesn’t need to be a word-for-word script, but it should cover your main points and any supporting details you don’t want to forget. This will help you avoid skipping an important bit, but still maintain some authenticity and organic conversation. 

8. Edit your episodes (but not too much)

After recording an episode, you may want to give it a bit of editing. Slice out your mistakes, insert some B-roll shots, add some music or voice-overs, and do some color grading. But don’t get carried away! Too much editing and too many effects makes it hard to produce content on a consistent schedule. 

How to Promote Your Vlog

Once you’ve started creating vlog episodes, you’ll want to think about promoting. Fortunately, marketing a vlog is similar to marketing your podcast or other content formats. 

1. Publish on a consistent schedule

The informal nature of a vlog makes it much easier to post content more often. It’s typically better to release faster and stick to a consistent schedule, even at a slight cost to your production value. Many vloggers publish every day, though that isn’t always necessary. 

Notice how Ali Abdaal publishes at least once a week, often more. This might explain why he has nearly 3 million subscribers.

Vlog publishing consistently

2. Batch produce vlog episodes

A great way to improve your production speed is to produce multiple episodes at the same time. This reduces your total setup and breakdown time. For instance, you might record three separate videos in one session, each video reacting to a different event in the news. Then you can spend the next three days working on other projects. 

3. Network with other vloggers

Working with other vloggers is a key way to grow your audience. You might react to their videos, produce videos together, or simply share each other’s stuff. Reach out to as many as possible to find collaborating opportunities. Just make sure your niche relates with theirs so your audiences overlap. 

4. Respond to your fan’s comments

If fans comment on your videos, make sure to reply and engage with them. This can turn fairweather fans into devoted followers. Address their concerns, answer their questions, and help them with their problems. If you think a comment is especially valuable, consider making an entire video about it. 

5. Publish your vlogs with SEO in mind

Video titles are just as important as blog titles – search engines use them to help people find content. Don’t be lazy with your titles by calling them “Vlog #34” or “Me at the Supermarket.” Instead, use optimized titles that take advantage of trending keywords. 

6. Break your vlogs into clips

A great way to promote your vlog (or any video or podcast content) is to share clips on social media platforms. If you post your vlog to YouTube, you might post 30 seconds to 2 minute segments on Facebook or Instagram. This entices your followers to watch the full video.

How to Offer Vlog Content as a Subscription

Another interesting option for content creators is offering vlog content only to subscribers. You could use your publicly available content to advertise your premium vlog. 

This is easy to set up with Castos by using a video podcast to deliver your vlog. Castos customers subscribed to our Pro Plan can publish both audio and video podcast episodes. Videos are available on Apple Podcasts and the Castos mobile app (other platforms do not support videos at this time). 

To add a video episode, locate the podcast and click Add Episode in your Castos dashboard. Enter the episode details and upload the media file and click Publish Episode.

Add vlog episode

With Castos’ integration with Stripe, you can accept payments from your audience. Our Stripe integration will automatically add new customers to your private podcast when checkout is completed, an invoice has been paid, or any of the other available triggers. Learn how to set it up.

Monetize Your Podcast with a Platform You Control

Castos gives you full control to decide who gets access to your subscription podcast content and how you get paid. Enter your email below to learn how you can get started.

Commit to Your Vlog

Vlogging (like podcasting) takes time to develop. You won’t build an audience overnight. But don’t let that stop you. It’s easy to start a low-tech vlog today and start producing content quickly. You can improve your production value over time as you become more comfortable and learn about your audience.

Have you ever started a vlog? Tell us your experience in the comments. 

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Dennis is a content marketer and web developer with years of experience helping startups and small businesses build their online platforms. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and daughter.

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