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School for Bloggers: Vlogging (#BlissdomCA)

There’s no formal training to become a blogger. You teach yourself what you can and you learn from other more experienced members of the blogging community. That’s why blogging events are such a big deal in our world — we get to connect with our community in a face-to-face way and we also get to learn more about this crazy craft called blogging.

I just attended one of this “big deal” events — Blissdom Canada — over the past weekend (I attended last year too). Held in Toronto, 500 bloggers flocked in from all provinces to learn, network, and party.

To Vlog or Not to Vlog

I’ll tell you all about the fun and silliness, but for now, I want to ask you about video blogging, or “vlogging.”

Video is all the rage as the next trend in marketing because research is showing that videos bring in greater engagement with the content: more views, more click-throughs, more comments, and more follow-throughs on call-to-action. People just really like video (or really don’t like reading?).

I’ve noticed a number of bloggers successfully (“success” being defined subjectively by me as entertaining and professional looking) using video and I’ve often thought — hey, I should try that too! (But so far, the closest I’ve come has been agreeing to do this video interview).

So my question is: Would you like to see more bloggers, including me, doing vlogging? Is this appealing to you … and why?

Vlogging Tips to Share

Because the art of vlogging both intrigues and terrifies me, I chose to attend a Blissdom session with The Palinode (also known as Aidan Morgan) on this topic. He and his wife Elan are the co-founders of Ninjamatics and are well-known in the blogosphere for their knowledge of all things related to digital design and content.

Here are the tips I picked up on what I might need to get started:

  • Aidan uses a mid-range camera with video for his vlogging work, but noted that you can also use your iPhone and download the iMovie app to get started.
  • He also recommends Adobe Creative Cloud, which allows you to access all of the editing tools in Adobe’s Creative Suite for a monthly fee. An additional advantage of the Cloud service is that you can use it from any computer, at any time.

Here are the tips I picked up on peripherals:

  •  A tripod is essential gear, and the Gorillapod is a popular choice.
  • Lighting is really key, and if you want to invest in lighting buy a light diffuser. Apparently you can get one quite cheaply from a photography shop.

Here are the tips I picked up on content:

  • Open with a very strong/interesting visual and then immediately tell the viewer what they will get from watching.
  • You’ll also want to be sure to announce your name and your website url.
  • The first 15 seconds are critical to engage and hook your viewer.
  • Make your vlog no longer that 3 minutes in total.
  • Check out You Tube’s Creator Playbook.
  • Also, if you want tons of traffic on You Tube, you need to be a cute kitten.

What did I miss?

If you attended this same session or if you have experience vlogging, please let me know any other tips that might be helpful!

P.S. I did the random draw from all of you who left comments on this giveaway post and the winner of the Cascades “My Pretty Playhouse” is Brenda A! Congrats Brenda! I will be in touch with the details by email. 


  1. A million thanks for the great giveaway of the Cascades Playhouse!  My girls are going to be mighty happy!

  2. I have such mixed feelings about vlogging. I know it’s valuable and many an audience really engage with it, but I rarely ever see a vlog I don’t want to turn off almost immediately. It ties me down. If I’m reading, I can listen to something (usually music) at the same time. If I’m listening to a podcast, I can do other things like clean or drive or even skim information I don’t need to know but want to be aware of. Videos tie up my visual and auditory senses and don’t allow me to have freedom to do other things. When I see the stats about YouTube, I can’t fathom how people have the time!!
    And somehow they do, so then I think I should jump in. Yanno, in my free time. :p

    • coffeewithjulie says:

      @Karen_C_Wilson You bring forward so many valid points here Karen! I keep nodding my head to them (especially how video ties up two senses) and yet how are You Tube stats so compelling? I’ll be jumping in when I find “free” time too 😉

  3. melgallant says:

    To me it seems like vlogging is a lot of work. I’m curious/interested to try it out myself but ya…the time factor is a bit of a deterrent. I guess you have to really love doing it, you know?
    I like when other bloggers vlog, and I’ll watch the videos they create as long as they aren’t too long.
    That said, I actually prefer to read content because I can scan a blog post…can’t really scan a video.

    • coffeewithjulie says:

      @melgallant Yes, this idea of being able to scan something is really key, isn’t it? I automatically scan everything I read before I make a choice to read it fully (this is an automatic thing that I’ve learned that I do). With so much info competing for our eyeballs, a video it likely to get switched off I suppose.

  4. As a hearing-impaired person I am not a fan of vlogging, but I know how much the internet seems to like this thing, especially on the marketing front. Although I can hear some, especially when plugged into headphones, I have to say that it still doesn’t hold a lot of appeal. Reading a marketing thing, or any article really, allows me to skim read, which I find more appealing for many reasons. For one thing, a well written article or blog post will compel me to read all of it, whereas one that has a lot of fluff allows me to skip, then continue or abandon based on interest. I realize you can do the same with some vlogs but I don’t find it works very well.
    I’m a gal who likes the print, myself. If however I had an option to choose the video AND the words, I might possibly feel inclined to do both.
    So I’m saying I don’t need it, but if someone makes the effort to do both and allows me to choose, I would find this a good thing.
    In terms of doing it myself, creating video, I’m not too interested.

    • coffeewithjulie says:

      Ah, Claudette, this is an interesting factor to consider — hearing impairment. I would imagine that if I was hearing impaired and videos required me to pull out headphones and whatnot, I’d be tempted to not even bother. Do you find yourself not bothering with videos because of this?

  5. For 2 years I’ve said I wanted to vlog more.  And yet…. I do it about once a year.  
    I like them, but it really depends on the topic – they need to be short too.  You’ve encouraged me to do them – let’s see if I stick with it 😉

  6. phdinparenting says:

    With limited Internet connectivity at home and because I do a lot of my  blog reading on the go (e.g. in a line waiting for my coffee), videos don’t hold a lot of appeal for me. I understand their use for specific types of marketing and advocacy work when you have a really visual image to get across and I’ve used them that way. However, if it is just a person sharing their own words, I’d always prefer text over video.

    • coffeewithjulie says:

      @phdinparenting Thanks for weighing and sharing your opinion on video, Annie. So far it would seem that Coffee with Julie readers would rather consume text than video!

  7. I think the occasional vlog would be great, but I definitely prefer reading your words. :)

  8. CanadianDadBlog says:

    I attended Aidan’s session as well and took away exactly what you write here. As far as the vlogging goes, I like watching other people putting themselves out there. Despite what viewers think, it takes a lot of courage to put yourself in front of the camera for all to see and judge. I am working on starting up my own feature and I know that it won’t appeal to everyone but I am looking for something new to take me out of my comfort zone and this definitely fits the bill! Great, great recap, btw!

    • coffeewithjulie says:

      @CanadianDadBlog Hello! Since there were so few men … I do recall bumping into you. We were elbowing people out of the way to get to the Philly creamy pasta! :) I think I will do the same and try to do a bit of vlogging just to push myself and learn something new — why not, right?

  9. Sounds like it was a good session.  I like the idea of vlogging mixed in with regular posts. I like reading posts, in the car on my phone, or at work on my lunch break and think I prefer text bases posts over video posts just because they are easier for me to access.

    • coffeewithjulie says:

      @julep67 Yes, that seems to be the consensus … text is easier to access! But I may try to do a little vlogging just to add some variety, as you note. Thanks for dropping by and taking a read!

  10. As cute as you are, I too would prefer reading to watching :)

  11. I’ve been thinking about this

  12. I’ve been thinking about this and I find that I’m more likely to watch a vlog if it’s someone I associate primarily with video. If a blogger switches from writing to vlogging, I’m less likely to match the switch with them. Yet if a vlogger starts a blog (most of the ones I watch seem to have tumblr blogs) I kind of consider it bonus material and I’ll read and watch. 
    I also find that I’m more likely to let vlogs stockpile and then watch a bunch of once, often while I’m putting around in the kitchen. So I watch them regularly, kinda, but not really. 
    I’m weird.

    • Sorry for my late reply … was having trouble with my commenting system and as you can see I gave up on livefyre and went back to disqus. Anyhow, back to your comment – I think it’s really interesting that if someone starts as a vlogger, you are likely to enjoy it rather than the switch from text over to video. More good food for thought!

  13. Loving the discussion sparked from this post!
    I think blogging definitely has its place. In my world I can see it being really useful in specific situations – plus fun. But in general I too prefer reading.

  14. Vlogging. Vlogging has its place. Stupid autocorrect.

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