Vlogging used to be a fun hobby, but with video debuting as the new preferred format for exchanging information it's become a highly lucrative career. The most successful vloggers are now raking in as much as one million dollars a month, with the top 1,000 most popular vloggers averaging at least $276,00 in profit a year!
This amplification in earning potential has inspired merciless competition. You can no longer just set up a camera in your basement and expect to be a superstar; you'll likely need a legit marketing strategy and a business plan. For those looking to start a new vlog, or simply diversify their current blog by incorporating more video content, here's what the top vloggers in the world are doing right.
They Find Their Niche
Whether you're just starting a vlog, or have had one for years, it's never too late to get strategic and find your niche in the vlogging community. Ask yourself what hasn't been done before, or what are you passionate about and can do better than similar vloggers. If you are interested in a broad topic, like beauty and makeup, how will you differentiate your videos from what's already out there? How will your video content answer questions and solve problems, and is there enough demand for the solutions you'll offer?
Do some research into the most successful videos in your area of expertise. Can you do a better, more in-depth video or use a more engaging format? Are there any topics that have not been covered by your favorite vloggers, or breaking news that you can comment on within the industry? Most importantly, how can you put a spin on things using your own personal opinions? Is there a signature way that you do things that no one else has thought up? It's personality that sets most successful vloggers apart, so developing your personal brand is key.
They make Friends with Fans and Other Vloggers
Successful vloggers interact with their fans on a daily basis, responding to comments, questions, and suggestions for video topics. One of the best ways to find out what your target audience wants and needs is to acknowledge and incorporate their feedback--it shows them you care and makes them more invested in your brand.
It's also paid off for many vloggers to team up on collaborative videos. Once you've proven that you are dedicated by posting videos consistently for a few months, consider emailing other vloggers that cover similar topics and ask if they want to collaborate. Shoot for those who have around the same fan base as you, unless you have a really unique idea that you think a well-known vlogger might want to appear in. Collaborations not only grow your network, but also help to cross-pollinate audiences and grow your audience.
Educate Yourself about Search Engine Optimization for Video
It doesn't matter how amazing your video is, if people can't find it by searching YouTube or popular search engines, it will not get viewed. To make sure your video can be easily found, use a descriptive, accurate title that includes relevant keywords. Make sure to take full advantage of the description section on YouTube, detailing what questions you'll answer and why your viewers might like the video. Make sure your video is listed in the right category, and use tags to help people searching for slight variations of your topic find the video. For example, if your video is about making an ice cream, you might use frozen yogurt as a tag as well.
If your videos will be hosted on a website as well as YouTube, make sure you link to your website in the description. You'll want to drive traffic from YouTube to your site, and you want to make it easy for viewers to get there. To improve on-site video SEO on your website, give every video its own landing page, include a meta description for each video, and try to accompany each video with a transcript that helps Google index your content.
The words that surround your video are often just as important as the video itself, so be strategic. You can look to other popular videos on the subject for an example of what keywords you should include and how best to phrase your description. You can also use Google's Keyword Planner tool to find good keywords for your descriptions, but you'll need to sign up for a free AdWords account if you don't already have one.
Invest in the Necessary Tools and Equipment
While this can be a gradual process, you eventually want to be using professional equipment and be a whiz with editing and shooting video. Higher-quality cameras and editing software can make a huge difference, and will matter even more when you start getting sponsorships, collaborating on videos, and even shooting live events. The type of equipment you need varies a lot depending on what you want to do, but the more polished and professional your videos are, the more people will want to work with you.
Some vloggers take the old-school webcam approach, but the millennial generation know a hell of a lot more about gear and editing. They have pretty high expectations for video quality, so if you are going to start a vlog you need this basic equipment, and a flattering source of lighting and appropriate background. You can upgrade as you go and learn what features and functions you like.
Vlogging can be very lucrative, but only a small percentage of video bloggers actually make it big. The most successful vloggers found their niche and know how to promote themselves and partner with others. They have a firm grasp on how to optimize their videos for search, and spend a lot of time talking to their audience about ways to make their content more useful or entertaining. If you want to emulate their success, these 4 expert tips are a great place to start--the rest is up to you.