7 Beginner YouTube Tips for Bloggers – Meredith from VidProMom

beginner youtube tips bloggers meredith vidpromom

Today’s YouTube tips are from my lovely podcast chat with the one–the only–Meredith Marsh from VidProMom.com! While we’re definitely talking to beginner video creators–most of this definitely applies to blogging & podcasting as well. Enjoy!

You probably know that video builds trust, authority, and is a fantastic way to “stand out” amongst the noisy internet…

annnnddd you also probably know that video…

  • can take a LOT of time to produce–especially if you’re new
  • can be expensive
  • “isn’t for me. I’m not good on camera.”

Well, good news!

If you’ve ever thought about adding YouTube videos to your blog–or just doing video altoghether–today’s post is tackling those 3 points.

Let’s shoot 😉

Listen to my episode with Meredith Marsh from VidProMom

or listen on \\ iTunes \\ Stitcher \\ Google Play \\ Overcast \\ Spotify

These tips are segmented into 3 chapters:

  1. saving time
  2. saving money
  3. how to be effectiv, “good on video,” and not feel awkward.

Because let’s face it–some of us just are awkward (raises hand)

1 – Batching saves time, and is more important than ever for producing video content!

Batching is a fairly well-known productivity system that essentially just means “group common tasks together and knock them out in bulk.”

This is KEY for video–because video (and audio) tends to require more of the following:

  • setup
  • editing

Moreso than blogging for sure.

“What not to do” example:

  1. have idea for video
  2. outline video
  3. do YouTube keyword research
  4. Shoot video
  5. Edit video
  6. Publish and promote video
  7. repeat every week

For bloggers/parents/full-time employees–that’s gonna be rough.

An example using batching:

  1. set aside a chunk of time for brainstorming topic ideas and outlining 5-10 videos in advance
  2. record multiple videos together
  3. spend a chunk of time editing multiple videos
  4. publish every week
  5. repeat every quarter…

You’ll save time on set-up and editing for sure–even if it doesn’t feel like it

Psst. There are a lot of blogging productivity tips in this post 🙂

2 – Beginner YouTuber? Pre-planning is a must!

This is both a “video takes so much time” tip AND a “let’s be as effective as possible” tip.

There are 2 key video components to tackle in pre-planning:

  1. What you’re going to say (most people understand this already)
  2. How you’re going to show it!

Plan what you’re going to say on camera:

#1 is pretty straightforward = plan in advance what you’re going to talk about.

This could be a simple outline, a full-on script (see below for more on this), or just some bullet points–which is what I typically do.

Plan what you’re going to DO with your camera:

Shots. Angles. Set-ups.

Having at minimum a “general idea” of what the final video will look like, including scenes, shots, edits, etc–will make both recording and editing MUCH quicker.

As a complete beginner YouTuber, I’d probably outline the scenes and edits on paper first. It might take 5-15 minutes, but having a written game plan to execute once you pick up the camera and start recording will save wayyyyy more time!

An example plan (for a poor fictional video lol)

How to be effective on camera.

NO–you’re not born with legendary YouTube skills, or the ability to communicate clearly on video.

Effective communication is a muscle that needs to be exercised–and will get stronger with use!

The following tips are designed to help you overcome “oh I wouldn’t do well on video!” or “I could never do that.”

3 – Look at the lens of the camera.

Simple? Yes. Easy? NOPE.

You’d be amazed how tempting it is to glance over at your monitor screen, etc.

4 – Use the “Ronald Reagan method” to deliver scripts.

Did you know that Ronald got fired from his first radio job because he couldn’t effectively read advertisements on air?

He was amazing at improvising and conversating naturally–but he couldn’t “perform while reading.” (and neither can any of us, really)

He couldn’t memorize all his lines either.

So what’d he do?

  1. He would pause and look down at his notes
  2. Read and memorize 1-3 sentences at a time
  3. Take a breathe, look up, and deliver the lines conversationally

He continued that practice all throughout his career, even in the big speeches.

The Takeaway:

Don’t try to memorize big blocks of stuff you’re going to say. There’s no need!

You can easily edit video to make it seamless–removing silence, etc.

Take your YouTube videos 1-3 lines at a time! Look at your notes/script–then look up and deliver–then repeat.

5 – Be patient and practice being on camera.

Yes, the first time you stare into a camera and start talking WILL feel weird.

I’m sure it did for Casey Neistat. I’m sure it did for Brad Pitt.

Great news is–the more you do it, the better you’ll get!

6 – Do lots of takes without turning the camera off.

That’s the great thing about editing.

Just hit record and go–you can simply choose the best take while editing.

  1. start with 1-3 sentence “chunks”
  2. Do 10 reps on each chunk
  3. If you just KNOW one of those reps was “the one,” keep a sticky note nearby where you can write down “use take 7 for chunk A” so you can find it quicker in editing!

80/20 Video Production – How to get high-quality YouTube videos without breaking the bank.

Repeat after me:

“I, an amateur YouTuber, PROMISE to start producing video WITHOUT spending any money first!”

Don’t waste money until you KNOW you’re going to be in this for the long haul!

Moving on.

7 – Start with your phone

Nobody wants to do this, because

  1. gear is fun, and
  2. we think we NEED fancy DSLRs.

Ya don’t.

8 – Your first purchase should be an external mic or a tripod

The 3 most important ingredients to a “high quality video” pie are as follows:

  1. Lighting
  2. Sound
  3. “Watchability”

We’ll cover lighting below in more detail–but given it can be found for free immediately–your first purchase should still be sound or “watchability” related.

External mic:

Quality audio is a MUST for beginner YouTube creators–and it’s such an easy fix!

I’d recommend starting with a cheap lavalier mic for your smartphone, such as this one (these are totally my affiliate links!)

If you’re looking to record via computer webcam–you could grab a USB lav mic–or go the podcast mic route for slightly more (see my blog bag post for recommendations there!)

“Watchability” starts with a tripod or selfie stick:

Watchability = can your viewer focus on the content without getting DISTRACTED by audio or video quality?

That’s what we’re going for.

A “minimum viable video quality” so viewers can focus on. your content!

And that starts with stability! Nobody likes shaky video.

Just go to Amazon and search for the tripod you need based on your camera. Here’s a standard camera tripod, as well as a smartphone tripod/selfie stick. handy!

9 – A beginner YouTuber’s guide to lighting.

Let’s keep this real simple.

Video Lighting for dummies = have as much soft light in front of you as possible.
  • Hard light = direct sunlight or a bright lamp pointed directly at your face.
  • Soft light = indirect sunlight or a bright lamp bounced off of something.

The cheap blogger’s guide to lighting:

When you’re sitting in front of your camera, position windows in FRONT of you (and/or to your side)–NOT behind you.

It’s totally cool if there are light sources behind you–in fact, some light back there is a good thing–as long as your front is well lit!

What about using lamps, etc?

I recommend putting lamps/light sources in front of you, but facing the other direction–and having the light bounce back at you. This won’t happen easily without a specific “thing to bounce light off” though.

For that, head to your local Wal-Mart, etc, and purchase a $3 white foam board in the craft supplies area! Lean that against a wall/chair/object and point light at it. BOOM. Soft light.

Click to watch Peter’s video on cheap lighting. It’s awesome.

There’s no need to splurge on fancy lighting equipment, especially if you have a bright light or two already (in the form of a nice window or halogen lamp).

10 – OMG video editing. How do I _______?

Rather than write an additional 35,000 words teaching you how to edit video, lemme just directly tell you how to learn.

  1. Choose a video editing software in your budget
  2. STAY WITH IT
  3. Learn it from instructional YouTube videos

In keeping with our “don’t spend a bunch of money at first” theme, here are my recommendations for beginning YouTube editing software:

  • Mac = iMovie! It’s fine, people. Learn it!
  • Windows = Meredith recommends VSDC

Another cool thing about iMovie: if you decide you do want more features and can pay for it, upgrading to it’s big brother, Final Cut Pro X, is an easy transition. It’s similar software.

So I just downloaded an editor–what do I need to know now?

Answer = how to edit and manipulate your clips!

This involves heading to YouTube if necessary, and searching for tutorials on…

  • how to “split” one clip into multiple clips
  • how to move clips around

Optional secondary things to learn–How to…

  • adjust volume for clips (or overall video project)
  • export video project files
  • adjust exposure for clips (or other basic brightness adjustments)

Stuff that you really don’t need to focus on right now:

  • transitions
  • advanced coloring
  • fancy effects! Nobody cares that much.

To sum up: Focus all your initial efforts on making the video WATCHABLE!

I.e. hitting the bare minimums of quality standards so viewers can focus on the content.

Leave a comment w/ your video or YouTube questions!

Does video appeal to you?

Is this something you’d like to try out in addition to blogging?

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tips. I was wondering if you have a recommendation for microphones with your phone when you need to stand about 15 ft away from the camera. I record exercise movements and want to have good audio quality. The recommended microphone is 230 inches but I need about another 100 inches.

    1. Normally I’d say lavlier mic, but I suppose it’d have to be wireless if you’re doing exercises 🙂

      If excessive background noise isn’t an issue, I’d probably look for a condenser mic (ATR2020 is the one I have I think).

      Those tend to have a better range at the expense of room echo and background noise.

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