How to begin vlogging on YouTube

This is based on my last 5 years of youtubing (now at 185,000 subscribers, over 17M video views) and over 11 years of maintaining a regular blog here at www.conorneill.com. My advice to you…  point 5 is by far the single most important tip.

8 Tips for Vlogging Success

  1. Do it with a primary intent to learn and build connections… Do not do it with the intent to make money, to sell… 
  2. Be yourself and have an opinion; don’t be brochureware; blog as yourself, not your position or role: CEO, entrepreneur or professor.
  3. Share what you are learning, not what you are an expert in (if you are an expert, share the expertise where it will get you more credibility – Forbes, HBS, IESE, etc)
  4. Get a notebook and add video ideas everyday… every story, every question, every quote that strikes you as interesting should go into this notebook.  I use Evernote to capture these ideas as it is both on my iPhone and my Mac. I often get ideas when running and can quickly add a note (while I run… If I wait I will forget the idea).  Lists are a good structure for my videos – 3 ways to improve X, 4 ways to identify Y.
  5. Become consistent… all successful YouTube channels have a consistent publishing routine – weekly, bi-weekly (most effective for channel growth), etc.  Best to share once a week, than to upload 3-6 at a time.  Often I get the video camera set up and hit record… and wait for a few seconds or minutes for an idea to come… Once the camera is recording, you are going to make something.  Don’t wait until you are 100% clear on the video idea before you hit record.  You can always delete and re-do.  Publishing a bad video makes next week easier… publishing a video you think is excellent makes next video harder…  Consistence is much, much more important than one excellent video.
  6. Use the camera that you have now… an iphone is excellent. For youtube Audio is much, much more important than video quality – so become expert in audio before investing massively in video cameras.  First purchase beyond mobile phone should be lavalier microphone and quality audio recorder. Here is the kit that I use https://conorneill.com/2018/11/06/conors-camera-audio-kit-for-vlogging/
  7. The most important metric (to get YouTube algorithm proactively supporting your channel) is Watch Time in first 48 hours – build an email distribution list and generate views in the first day after publishing.  Watch time is total time of viewing… a few viewers watching the whole video is more important than hundreds who only view the first 20-30 seconds
  8. Switching on advertising on your videos seems to give them a boost…. I don’t fully understand this phenomenon but I have seen that when I allow advertising on old videos they get a renewed boost from YouTube. I switch on ads once videos have been online for 6-8 weeks. No data to support this… but there is something happening here.

If you liked this post, you will also like 13 Ideas if you are thinking about blogging and How to get paid to Speak. Also you might sign up for my 10 week Speaking As a Leader program to get practice and tips.

I’ve had a few people asking me for specific details on the kit I use to make videos for my YouTube Channel.  The most basic videos, I make with my iPhone 7.  Enter photo app, selfie mode, hit video and talk.  My friend Seb Lora has over 220K youtube subscribers and does most of his non-studio videos with his iphone.

Camera: My main camera is the Canon G7X Mark II.  There is a big vlogging decision to make between DSLR or “Mirrorless” camera.  DSLR are bigger, heavier but get a better image (especially depth of field – those crisp foreground images with blurrer background).  “Mirrorless” such as the G7X are lighter and easier to carry around with you.  My decision was to go with the camera that is easier to carry.

Audio: For YouTube vlogging, I was surprised to discover early on that poor sound is more damaging to your video content than poor image quality.  People can cope with low quality video, but they really hate low quality sound.  

Video Editing Software: I use Final Cut Pro on the Mac to do my video editing.  I used iMovie before, but found myself quite restricted in terms of what I could do with multiple cameras and audio tracks.

Conor’s Vlogging Kit in Detail

Here’s a full list of all the bits and pieces that make up my vlogging kit.  Here’s the full list as an Amazon.com wish list: Conor’s Vlogging Kit.

Video: Canon G7X Mark II

Gorrilla Pod tripod for Canon G7X
Optional: improves sound quality (especially outdoors) from Canon G7X

Audio: Zoom H1 audio & lavalier microphone

Super portable, long battery life and great audio quality
lavalier mike – get better voice quality
necessary adaptor for Rode lavalier to Zoom H1

Video Editing Software: Final Cut Pro

I use Final Cut Pro, but Adobe Premiere is also powerful. 

Iphone Extras: tripod & clamp

flexible tripod and clamp to get good video shots with smartphone

Video Extra: Go Pro Hero 5

Gives an extra camera angle. Adds interest to your video image – allows switching between “headshot” and “scene” image.

Audio Extra: Remote Microphone

This is only useful if you speak at conferences and want to film yourself.  I can be on stage and leave the camera & audio gear at the back of the room.

Spares (Batteries, Memory cards)