Video Blogging, or “Vlogging”

By Cortney Pasternak, M.A.

Video blogging or “vlogging” is a great tool to get your ideas and your brand out to the world. It will help to maximize effect and reach. Of course for many people the idea of speaking to a camera makes them want to run for cover. But even if you feel comfortable in front of the camera, it has never been more important to understand how to communicate effectively with your audience, especially if you’re planning to do some YouTube vlogging.

Audiences will remember three key things about us…

  1. How we look
  2. What we say
  3. How we say it

Audience response to you is around 90 percent emotional.  That means that WHAT WE SAY  when we’re YouTube vlogging, is LESS IMPORTANT than HOW WE SAY IT. 

These top vlogging tips should help you make the most of your  video blogging experience.

  1. Less is More.  We understand you have lots to say and lots to talk about in terms of your product but the truth is the audience will only retain a very small part of what you tell them so avoid too much content.  They will remember much more of the feeling they get from you when you deliver your content.  So keep sentences short and punchy.  Avoid lots of facts and figures.  Audiences won’t remember them and they’re sure to tune you out.
  2. Keep it short.  The information age has given us many more options but according to a lot of the research out there, it has also shortened our attention spans.  You are better off with three, highly focused videos that you can release at different times, than one longer video.
  3.  Remember your Headline!  People remember the first and last thing you say most often so start strong.  Use a question or some other device to draw in your audience and make them care about what you are saying and why you are saying it.
  4.  Be conversational.  Avoid jargon or technical language that people won’t understand.  While they may be able to watch your video more than once, it’s unlikely they will — especially if they didn’t get it the first time.  Tell your story like you are telling it to a good friend: With emotion, passion and clear, concise and conversational language.
  5. End with a call to action of some sort (if applicable).  Give them a reason to connect with you.
  6.  Relax!  Easier said than done, right?  Well aside from using a coach to help you learn to find your best voice (and we’ve got a great one!), there are a few tricks you can use to help relax your body just before the camera rolls.  My personal favourite and one I got my students to use is the four count breathing technique:  Inhale over 4 seconds, hold breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds.  Repeat 3 more times.  Massaging temples, jaws near the ears and just above the bridge of the nose helps as well.  We hold a lot of tension in these areas of the face.
  7.  Consider your audience.  Who is it you are speaking to?  Be sure to tailor your language, dress and message to that audience.
  8.  Speaking of clothing…so you don’t need a whole new wardrobe but you should keep some things in mind.  Avoid busy patterns, prints and materials.  They’re distracting and don’t usually work well on camera.  Depending on where you’re filming, black and white may also be avoided.  Be sure to film out of direct sunlight as well to avoid heavy shadows.
  9.  Embed your videos or “vlogs” in the numerous social networking sites.  This way, audiences don’t have to look hard for them.  You can also include these videos in email blasts.  Either way, you reach a larger audience this way.
  10.  Trust the pros.  There are people who have had long professional careers writing and producing video material.  You may think you can do it as well and yes, just about anyone can press the record button, but ask yourself this: How important is it to get your personal and professional image and message right?
  11.  Stay true to you.  A video camera often makes people feel they need to “perform” and become something or someone they are not.  We are human beings and audiences can smell a rat.  They will alternately connect and respect authenticity.  So while there are some things you can do to make a video better, a good professional will work to bring out the best of your raw materials — that includes helping you return to your core message and values in everything you say and do.

If you’re interested in upping your game with some media training and video production, let us help you pull it together.  We’re here to help.


Cortney Pasternak is an award nominated broadcast journalist with 15 years experience covering stories of all kinds across the country and around the world.  She’s covered federal and provincial parliaments and have produced a documentary series alongside award winning hosts, producers and directors.   She spent several years teaching journalism from writing to reporting to researching to on-air presenting at Ryerson University and Seneca College and she holds a Master’s Degree in Communication and Culture, specializing in North American media coverage particularly as it relates to diversity.  Most recently, she worked as a communications and stakeholder relations adviser in the highest levels of government.  During that time, she also directed and produced personal and professional profile videos for the internet. You can reach Cortney directly at