What is Vlogging, Why Should You Do It, and Does Anyone Care?
Video is big, and it's easy to see why. If a picture is worth a million words, video's worth a few billion. A good video can convince someone to work with you, can start a meaningful dialogue, and can even make you rich.
75 million people in the US watch videos online every day, and just mentioning "video" in an email subject line can increase the click-through rate by 13%. It's estimated that, by 2019, internet videos will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic.
Clearly video is huge and only getting bigger, and as a business owner it would be extremely wise to hop on this marketing trend. Where do you start?
What is Vlogging?
Vlogging is a silly sounding internet word, formed from combining "video" and "blogging." If you're unsure what a blog is, you're reading one right now! Blogging is another thing you should be doing for your business, but that's a different blog post altogether.
Most vlogs you'll see on the internet are just a person talking to a camera. That's it! Some are dreadfully boring, some look fine but sound terrible, and a dedicated few are actually really interesting. It's the extreme ease that has made this such a popular medium, but it's also the reason there's so many awful vlogs in the world. But you won't make one of those.
As with most video content on the internet, it all starts with YouTube. There are other video platforms like Vimeo that are perfectly fine for most things, but when you're aiming for engagement and building an audience, YouTube is both the starting and ending point. There's simply no other place for internet video of this type.
Many vloggers produce a video every day, or at least stick to a predictable schedule so their audience can know when to expect new content. As a result of constantly making videos, the best vlogs are typically very personal. Even if you were to make a list of topics you want to cover in your vlog, that list will eventually run out as more of your personal life seeps in - and that's not necessarily a bad thing! The most successful vloggers got a good portion of their viewers because of their personalities, so don't be afraid to let your internet audience meet the real you.
Before jumping right in, it's important to get to know the landscape. Watch some of the most popular vloggers, see what it is that sets them apart from the pack, and try to emulate their style. If you're worried about the technical side of things, don't be! Most smartphones can capture pretty excellent video now, and free video editing software is probably already installed on your phone or computer.
Casey Neistat is one of the most popular YouTubers, and he found success largely through his daily vlogs. He kept it up for an incredible 18 months, and created over 500 unique videos for his channel, which had 5 million subscribers and over a billion views. His videos are inspirational and creative and speak to a lot of people, and obviously aiming for that kind of success isn't the way to go about entering the world of vlogging, but it helps to be familiar with one of the most influential and successful in the field.
Why You Should Do It
There are plenty of YouTube videos about real estate, but almost all of them are terrible.
Many are just a person talking at a camera, which is fine if you're interesting and charismatic, but most are not. Some of them feature career advice from some unknown real estate agent, and offer no reason for you to take their advice seriously. Many of them are poorly shot, poorly lit, or have terrible audio.
Nothing will turn somebody off of your video faster than bad audio. As much as everyone loves to discuss which camera you should buy, it's more worth your time to spend some money on a good microphone that ensures you won't sound like you're speaking from inside a very deep well.
With all the bad videos out there, it's easier for you and your awesome videos to stand out. Start by figuring out what you want to talk about. "Real estate" is a good starting point, but the industry is so large and all-encompassing that you could have a YouTube channel on just commercial real estate in Miami and have a plethora of interesting topics to cover.
Figuring out your niche will also help you expand within that niche. Talking head videos are great, but mixing up your content is the key to success. Casey Neistat frequently uses video of him skateboarding around New York, and even has a drone to get beautiful aerial footage to keep things interesting.
Buying a vlogging drone is obviously not the greatest initial investment, but the point here is that you can make your YouTube channel whatever you want it to be. Real estate is an inherently visual industry, and that's important to remember. How many times have you gotten lost looking at beautiful real estate photos? The same goes for videos, and if you can manage to weave some of that gorgeous imagery with your real estate wisdom, you'll have yourself a winner.
You can even feature some of your more luxurious properties with a glorified walkthrough video, complete with the sellers going about their lives in the home. A video like this really gives the viewer an idea of what it would be like to live in the house.
Does Anyone Care?
And now we get to the final question: does anyone care? Well no, not yet.
You'll have to make them care, but more importantly than that, you have to have a few videos stockpiled to get the ball rolling. Even if you love a YouTube video from a particular real estate agent, you'll probably not check them out if you see it's their only video. Approach your YouTube channel like it's an extension of your job, because it is.
If you get really good at this and have a few thousands views, you can become a YouTube partner, at which point you'll start pulling in money from your videos, but that really shouldn't be your goal. Only an elite few ever make it that far, so instead treat it as an extension of your marketing efforts. Most real estate agents are awful at marketing, and even having a consistent vlogging presence will put you head and shoulders above the competition. Having a bunch of videos will also boost your Google rankings, and will most likely show at the top of your results when you're googled.
Once you start to get a following, it's important to follow through with them. Respond to every comment made on your videos, as it'll keep viewers coming back to see what's new with you - almost like a friend in the real world! If you stick to a predictable vlogging schedule, this can really pay off since your viewers will return to your channel as if it's the latest in their favorite fall TV.
There's no shortage of other tips on the internet for vloggers and YouTubers looking to grow their channel, but the important things are 1) Be consistent 2) Stick to your niche 3) Be yourself but don't be a jerk and 4) Invest in quality audio. Armed with these tips, there's nothing standing between you and the greatest real estate channel YouTube has ever seen.
Need something to talk about on your new vlog? How about smart homes!