7 Tips for Adding Video to Your Blog

The Calm After the Show

Adding video content to your blog can be scary. Especially if you prefer to writing to recording. Don’t be afraid. I’m going guide you through how to create your first video. By the end of this post you’ll be ready to get in front of the camera.

Author’s Note: This post is written for a beginner who wants to record a video and put it in a blog post. Even if you’re not using a Mac this article will be helpful to you. There will be some parts that are Mac specific but 95% of this applies to anyone. I record video with my iPhone and edit it using iMovie ’11 on my Mac. If you’re on Windows or Linux you can edit with the web-based YouTube Video Editor. If you’re on a Mac I recommend using iMovie.

1. Set the Scene

Do you blog from your office or your home? Think about what people will see in the frame besides just your face. Make sure you remove any confidential company information from the background if you’re in the office. If it’s your bedroom, make sure your bed is made (thanks Mom!). You can hang artwork or a poster on the wall behind you to jazz things up. Just don’t make the background a blank white wall. Or with too much distraction. The main attraction is you and what you’re saying. Keep the focus on yourself.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Before you record anything at all just speak into the camera. Practice it a few times and you’ll sound more confident and relaxed when you’re recording. You can write out a script. If you do, try not to sound like you’re reading from one. Have you script be bullet points. Your tone should be casual and fun. Don’t forget to smile!

3. Lights, Camera, Action!

You can use any of these options to record:

* Built-in camera on your computer (almost all modern laptops and desktops have one)

* External webcam (in case your computer doesn’t have one)

* Video recording app on your smartphone (preferred choice)

Chances are the smartphone camera you have is better than the other two options. A friend can record you or you can do it yourself. Promise your friend a producer credit if they film you! When using your smartphone make sure you hold it in landscape mode. If you hold it in portrait, the video will come out with big black bars on either side. If you want to record the video yourself, I recommend the GripTight GorillaPod by Joby. Tap that camera app and get ready for your closeup!

Pro Tip: You can enhance the quality of the audio dramatically by using an external mic for the iPhone.

4. The Editing Room

I use iMovie ’11 to edit my video. It comes preinstalled as part of iLife on every new Mac. It makes editing video super easy. Transferring your raw video clips to your Mac is simple. Just plug your iPhone into your Mac. Then iPhoto will automatically ask you if you want to import them. After they’re in iPhoto, open iMovie and you’ll see the clips at the bottom. You can drag the clips you want to a new project. If you’re looking for further detail on how to edit with iMovie every Apple Store offers training. Group workshops are offered for free. One on one personal training is available to purchase. Or you can learn on your own with Lynda.

5. Post Production

A soundtrack that’s on point can make your video more watchable and interesting. Transitions can help too. Don’t spend too much time adding these effects though. You want what you say in your video to hold it’s own. If you add a soundtrack make sure it doesn’t drown out your voice. Having it fade in and out can be a nice touch. Fade effects can be added to a soundtrack in GarageBand (also part of iLife).

6. Look Mom! I’m on the Internet!

Once you’re ready to share your video with the world you have some options. My recommended upload spots:

* YouTube (household name and free)

* Vimeo (lesser known and freemium)

* Wistia (three videos for free; for businesses that want in-depth analytics)

BTW – For a chuckle you should really watch the Lenny the dog video on the Wistia homepage. I just watched it for the tenth time!

7. Engaging the Audience

Set up a reminder to check and see if you get any responses (comments, likes, etc). Just like a blog, if someone comments you should always reply. YouTube has a feature where anyone can add a video response. You should be prompt and friendly with your video or text response.

Additional Resources

Video 101 from the Vimeo Video School (3 videos that cover Choosing a Camera, Shooting Basics and Editing Basics)

* Wistia Learning Center (Tips for shooting better video with your iPhone, Lighting for a webcam and more)

* iMovie ’11 Essential Training from Lynda (Excellent beginner video – free!)

Bonus Tip from the Directr’s Chair

I use a free app for the iPhone called Directr. You record video with it instead of your built-in camera app. The premade themes are helpful and make your video look great. They guide you step by step when recording your video. It’s a fun way to make your videos much more watchable.

Now you have the confidence to include a video in your next blog post. Add a comment below with your video. Lenny and I are looking forward to seeing what you create.


Photo by Flickr user Thomas Hawk via Compfight