5 lessons we can learn from vloggers
I’m really interested in the idea of vlogging, and I recently wrote a blog post about how students across university campuses are creating and posting videos on YouTube about their university experience, giving prospective and current students a unique view of real student life.
Whether you have student vloggers on your campus or not, there are certainly some lessons we can learn from vloggers about engaging audiences online. And that’s what I’m going to be looking at in this post.
You may already be thinking about how you can use vlogging to reach your audiences, and whether there are opportunities to work with vloggers at your university. But for some it’s a scary prospect – how can you ensure they’re “on-message” but still useful, interesting and relevant?
The truth is you can’t, and you shouldn’t be worried about it. The beauty of vlogging is in the authenticity and the insight vloggers provide to their lives and experiences.
If you’re thinking about how to use vlogging at your institution, or maybe recruiting some vloggers to talk about their student experience, here are some of the key things to think about:
1. Be consistent
Some of the most popular vloggers post every single day, and many have more than one channel. Even if you can’t manage this volume of content, try posting weekly, and sticking to the same day. That way your viewers will know when to come back for the next update.
2. Be yourself
Part of the appeal of vloggers is the relationship they are able to establish with their viewers. They read and respond to comments, they tweet and often blog too, and they provide a true insight into their life and personality. If you try and hide your personality, or be someone you’re not, your viewers will realise. So try to just be yourself.
3. Be honest
Vlogs aren’t polished marketing videos – they need to be authentic and this means talking about the good and the bad. Vloggers should talk about challenges and problems they are facing as well as the fun and exciting experiences. This will make them more real and viewers will be more likely to trust their opinion.
4. Be transparent
If you’re doing a sponsored video, or are vlogging on behalf of an organisation such as a university or college, you should make it clear in your profile, video description or the video itself. If viewers build trust and respect, and later find you’re being paid or influenced to say certain things, they won’t like it. It’s also something that you can get in trouble for with the Advertising Standards Authority.
5. Be social
Vlogging is all about video, but think beyond YouTube and consider how to promote your videos and build an audience. Create a blog, post your videos on Twitter, use Instagram to fill the gaps, respond to comments and engage in conversation.
And to finish off, here’s one of my favourite (and perhaps the only?!) great example of a PhD student vlog that I’ve found on YouTube, from Emma Cole.