Video, Blogging and Making Sense of It All

by Robb Sutton

One of the questions I get asked a lot about successful blogging is about how crucial of a role video is going to play in blogging. There is no getting away from it…video is a large part of the future of blogging, but most bloggers are struggling to figure out where it will fit into their plan and future growth.

I used to work as a post production video editor in Atlanta, so here is my take on online video and its impact on the blogging world. Of course…these are just my opinions so you need to apply these how you see fit to your blogging, but…for the most part…these are pretty universal truths as things sit right now.

Video, Blogging and Making Sense of it All

As a blogger, video should be in your future if you are not doing it already. There are certain things that video does incredibly well that benefits a blog greatly in the long run. There is a reason that you even see bloggers just sitting in front of a camera talking. While some people might think, “wow…that is boring…there is not much going on there”, it does fill a necessary void in the social media atmosphere that can not be denied.

Now…there are also some things that blogging can not do in the current technological environment and we will take a quick look at those aspects as well.

Don’t Be Scared Of Video

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of blogging and video, if you are not utilizing video in your blogging now because you feel like it is too complicated or out of your reach…do not be scared of it.

  • It is not too expensive.
  • It is not too complicated.
  • And you can get started today.

One of the biggest barriers of entry in video production for bloggers is that they perceive it as too expensive. For under 200 bucks, you can be up and shooting in HD with a Kodak Zi8 (that is what I use for blogging) and the software that comes with it is fine for blogging! Video in blogging is actually better the simpler it is, so if you are worried about having to produce complicated Hollywood style productions…forget about that. Simple cuts and simple titles that anyone can do is perfect for producing video for blogging and actually converts better.

So if you are letting the fear of video keep you from integrating it into your blog…do not worry. It is far simpler than you have it laid out in your head, and the cost of entry is drastically lower than it used to be several years ago.

Note: As a reference…to get the same quality output online as we do today…we used to have to spend over 5 grand. Have to love the way technology progresses these days.

What Video Does Really Well and Why You Should Use It

Ok…now that your fear of video has all but escaped you (or you are already using it), let’s take a look at what video does really well in your blogging.

1 – Social Media Traffic and Spread

With video, you get in the eyes of a completely new audience with YouTube, Vimeo and the other video sharing sites. YouTube is one of the largest sites in the world, don’t you want to tap in on some of that action?! Of course you do…but the only way is by submitting some video. By putting a simple title screen at the front and back of your video with your blog name and url, you are able to pull more potential subscribers to your blog from an outside source. You are also giving them a preview of what to expect with a personal touch.

2 – It Gets You Up Close and Personal

As I hinted to in the last point, video brings the ‘real you’ into your blog. You can put up as many pictures as you want, but until you put up some video of you talking, that personal connection is never really there. You readers want to connect with you and video is one of the best ways to do that outside of knocking on their door and shaking their hand. Video brings you into their home through a computer screen. That is worth its weight in gold as you continue to try to get that connection.

3 – Video Stimulates The Senses

Every one of your readers is stimulated in a different way. Some love reading text, others kill to look at your pictures and some will fall in love with your videos. It is your job as the blogger to stimulate as many different kinds of readers as you possibly can. By introducing video into your offerings, you are guaranteeing that you are going to connect with the readers that want to engage with that kind of content.

Example: With my product reviews on Bike198, I am able to not only show my readers what the product looks like through pictures, but how it actually works! Can you see the power with that model? I am able to bring that product into their senses using every method possible outside of them touching it themselves. Video makes that possible.

What Video Does Not Do Well and Why It’s Not the End All

Video…just like text or pictures…is not perfect. While you might think, “wow! If it is that great, I’ll just switch completely over!”, but you do need to know several things about incorporating video into your blogging before you run off to change the world.

1 – Video and Google/Other Search Engines

While video can show up on the first page in organic search engine results for high competing keywords…remember this…that search engine visitor is getting sent to YouTube and not your site. As of this point in time, Google and other search engines do not directly spider your embedded content outside of pictures and text. So when you embed that YouTube video on your blog post, Google basically doesn’t see it. That means all of those video only posts you publish are going to have a hard time ranking well unless it is on really low competing keywords.

2 – Not Everyone Can View Your Videos

A lot of your readers digest your blog at work, so if you are just putting up video, you might lose a lot of readers who can see YouTube due to it being blocked or can’t hear it because they do not want everyone around them knowing they are not working on what they are supposed to. Just having video (or just audio for that matter) can heavily decrease your target audience because of this.

3 – Yes…There Are Still People On Dial Up

I find it hard to believe too, but there are still people that live on dial up and large video files are out of their reach unless they want to wait an hour to see what you have to say.

How To Get Around Videos Shortcomings

So…given these shortcomings of video on your blog, how can you get around them and still incorporate the latest in blog gold on your blog? It is pretty simple really.

Provide Your Readers With The Complete Package

When you post a video review, video content and other related video posts, provide your readers with the complete package. In that same blog post that you want to display video, also provide a text version of the blog post that either summarizes the points in the video or directly transcribes what you were saying. This allows people who do not want (or can’t) to watch the video to digest your content in another manner. It also provides you with the text necessary for search engine spiders to see what the hell you are talking about.

Much like I do with my interviews with transcriptions, you have to keep in mind every single one of your readers when you publish a blog article by providing multiple outlets for engaging with the content.

Video is in your future as a blogger, but utilizing it correctly is your key to success.

Are you using video in your blogging?

Image by fensterbme

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Mike March 9, 2010 - 11:23 am

Yes, I am using video in my blogging and I have found it to be a great success. I get comments on my videos all the time and I’ve added some extra traffic from Youtube for sure, not sure about Vimeo yet.

The best part is using those other sites like Youtube and Vimeo. I’ve gotten traffic to my site and expanded my community by at least a few so far directly because my videos were on those sites. So what you are saying is correct Robb.

At first I didn’t do a text version of the video, but finally decided that it would also help my SEM as well. I do wish that when people watched my videos on Youtube it would count towards my SEM for that post on the site. However, I suppose its not all about numbers as it is engaging.

I use a Flip Cam. I like it, I just wish I could see myself in it when I’m the only one recording.


Mike’s Brew Review

Robb Sutton March 9, 2010 - 12:05 pm

You are killing it with video! That was one of the really unique aspects that drew me into your site.

Corinne Edwards March 9, 2010 - 11:48 am

Dear Robb –

WOW – this is news.

“While video can show up on the first page in organic search engine results for high competing keywords…remember this…that search engine visitor is getting sent to YouTube and not your site.”

Such a clear and excellent article. I even printed it out to study it.

Although I was on TV for many years and even could edit in a suite –

this Internet video is a complete mystery to me.

I need to learn more about it.

Like after you do a video – pretty simple on Skype – what do you do with it to get it on your blog?

You are probably laughing.

Why don’t you start a class in Chicago for the newbies on video?

Robb Sutton March 9, 2010 - 12:02 pm

If I am ever in Chicago I’ll let you know!!!

Most bloggers upload to Vimeo or YouTube and then use the embed code provided in the HTML post screen to publish to their blogs.

Srinivas Rao March 9, 2010 - 11:52 am

Hey Robb,

You mentioned Google and SEO for video. I recently interviewed a blogger who had been around for a month who taught me one amazing thing about video. He used video, put in all the right tags and keywords, and then by using tubefilter and syndicating his video across many sites, he actually started to rank on page 1 and 2 for the those keywords. I thought it was pretty interesting. I’ll probably experiment with it a bit.

Robb Sutton March 9, 2010 - 12:01 pm

That can bring you a lot of exposure for sure. I just wish it was easier to track how many of those people actually ended up landing on his site afterward. Sure…they are all watching the video but how many actually converted into readers. I imagine someone will come up with a better way of tracking that soon.

Jendi March 9, 2010 - 12:50 pm

Hello! Found you through Twitter. Great article.

Since my site is all about vlogging I’m targeting people that can watch video. So, I do not provide people with the text for the video, but I do provide some posts that are only text.

The last statistic I saw about conversions was that 52% of watchers will take action after they watch the video.

Jack | Online Markeitng Blog March 9, 2010 - 1:21 pm

Vimeo is great because it allows you to cross market related videos you’ve made directly below the current video your viewers are on. Hvae you tried TubeMogul Rob for video marketing?

Robb Sutton March 9, 2010 - 1:22 pm

I have, but the reality is that 99% of online video is viewed through YouTube. I just use Vimeo for the higher quality playback. Kind of a choice of allocation of resources.

Aaron March 9, 2010 - 8:11 pm

I don’t use video in my blogging, at least not in the format you’re discussing here. But what I wanted to note was the importance of including text for the hearing impaired.

Robb Sutton March 10, 2010 - 9:29 am

Absolutely. The hearing impaired will be able to watch easily…but it would be hard to understand. Great point.

Jewelry Secrets March 9, 2010 - 11:48 pm

Absolutely awesome. You just gave me a lightbulb moment. I’ve done reviews before, but I never thought about doing a video review where you actually show how the product works. Excellent point. I’m pumped. What a great way to sell. Combine this with a great detailed review and great pictures, you’ve got yourself a winning package. Thanks! I needed inspiration.

Robb Sutton March 10, 2010 - 9:27 am

Anytime! Sometimes it is that one line that jump starts a great idea. Glad I was able to help out.

lorrie March 10, 2010 - 1:23 pm

thanks for the great advice about video blogging im usually self consious on video and prefer to type

James March 21, 2010 - 4:53 am

Hi Rob, Great post, I’m glad it isn’t just me that thinks that video isn’t the be all and end all of blogging. Yes, it does add a nice break from post after post of text BUT let’s not forget that many people who catch up on their favourite blogs do so at work (I know I used to!!) and you don’t want other’s around you spotting your deliberate shirking!

@Lorrie I am actually working on some video type posts that don’t really feature much of me… I kind of voiceover and the viewer can look at my screen to see what I am talking about, maybe that would be one way for you to get started?

Katie March 22, 2010 - 7:27 am

Hi Robb. While the idea and theory of video sounds great, I find the practice of it in blogging really frustrating. I’m not on dial-up, but the broadband speeds we can get in our area are generally too slow for video to stream well. This is not something that is going to change anytime soon – the infrastructure just isn’t there. I have to wait ages for a 2 minute clip to buffer. Or what is more likely, I give up, click away, maybe never come back. I’m pretty sure I’m missing some of my favourite bloggers’ best content this way, but there’s not much I can do about it. I think its important that bloggers realise this – if you’re putting some of your best info on video, include a transcript too! Or be prepared to lose your relationship with that reader.

Michele McGraw March 27, 2010 - 11:44 pm

Hi Rob, I just came across your blog and you have a lot of really useful information. I’ll have to come back when I have more time to really read and make notes.

I do use video in my blogging. I was one of those who swore I would NEVER vlog. I was afraid of the camera and felt very uncomfortable putting myself out there in video.

All of that has changed. I took a class year where we were challenged to do a vlog post. I was terrified, but I also wanted to grow as a blogger and try new things. So I did it. I fell in love with vlogging right away for many of the reason you mention. I felt like I was able to get my true self out there. People could see my facial expressions and my tone and mannerisms. I found that my readers were coming back more often to see my videos.

Now, a year later, I LOVE vlogging and I am hosting an online digital TV show. I never could have imagined that I would do something like that. I feel like video has really changed both my blog and ME. I’m more confident, willing to take more risks and my readers know me better.

My advice to anyone who is fearing video, is to just try it. It definitely is scary at first, but it gets so much easier.

Thanks for this post. I bookmarked it so that I can send my readers to the article when they ask me why they should do video.

Robb Sutton March 29, 2010 - 8:04 am

I had the same reservations honestly. I was always the guy behind the camera or in the post editing suite…never in front of the camera. As you do it more…it becomes more comfortable and you start to create your own style that people can connect with. Great job on getting yourself out there!


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