How to Vlog: A Musician’s Guide

For musicians intending to grow their brand online, videos should figure into your marketing plan. When musicians think of crafting videos, they don’t often think of vlogging. Musicians often focus on performance videos that showcase their musical ability. But vlogging doesn’t have to be about mundane things since you can highlight your projects.

Why Should You Vlog?

Vlogging has created a new and exciting form of self-advertisement and it’s a welcome relief from chasing record labels. Being a musician has become more than talent as everyone tries to stand out. You should try out vlogging if you desire better fan engagement because it’s a means of getting closer to your fans and creating a stronger and loyal fanbase.

Vlogging will also feed your other social media pages. By documenting your day, you get videos for Facebook and Instagram as well as quotes and posts for other platforms. Vlogging is increasingly becoming a lucrative pursuit.

In the case of YouTube, the platform shares a significant chunk of its advertising revenue with creators. Another revenue opportunity is through partnering with brands. The internet is an inclusive place, and you will get to expose your musical projects with new global markets. Focus on creating a loyal fanbase who will purchase your tickets and advertise your brand to their own circle of friends.

What Should You Vlog About?

As a musician, your fans are likely familiar with your music. Likewise, you probably want new followers and fans to hear your music first. But the most successful music vlogs invite fans into your life behind the music. This can be accomplished by inviting fans to view your songwriting process, rehearsals, or even your recording sessions.

Interestingly, once your audience is onboard with your music, it’s a good idea to include them in activities that are not music-related. Your most loyal fans will enjoy going out to eat with you, taking a stroll on the beach, and many other activities that allow them to get to know the person behind the music. Explore different activities in your life and your fans will definitely tell you what they enjoy.

Figure Out Your Content

The first thing to identify is keywords, that is the topics that will resonate the most with your potential audience. Do not just copy what is being done by your competitors. You can consult their vlogs for inspiration, but your content needs to be original and stand out.

Be consistent in putting up your content once you find what connects with your viewers. The ideas for a music blog include cover songs, music gear reviews, songwriting demos, concert reviews, music history, album reviews, and travel vlogs. If you run a published blog, you can begin by repurposing some of that content.

You should also determine the format with which you want to shoot your videos. Live videos involve live streaming, while pre-recorded projects have been shot and edited beforehand.

Vlogging Equipment

To get a good video, you will require lighting, stabilization, editing software, good audio, and a video camera.

Video Cameras

The foundation of your vlogging page will be the video camera you use. You don’t have to purchase an expensive device as anything that can record high-quality videos will be sufficient. Quality webcams and camcorders can serve you well when starting out, but mirrorless cameras and DSLRs are good investments. The kind of content you intend to churn out will also impact on the type of camera you need. Your options include:

  • Camcorder

Camcorders are designed to record videos and are a great option for venturing into vlogging. Modern varieties are relatively affordable, lightweight, and compact, and they can withstand many shooting environments. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • Webcams

It doesn’t get cheaper than webcams. Most computer monitors and laptops come with built-in webcams, and it’s an excellent choice for vloggers who desire a low-cost, plug-and-play camera. It will make recording in front of your computer easier. The quality is decent in newer computers, but it can be limiting if you want to move around. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • Pocket cameras

Pocket cameras are small enough to be carried in your pockets. They are flip-style because they feature a USB connector that “flips” out and enables files to be transferred to your computer. They were incredibly popular for vlogging a few years back, and they still function great. They can, however, be replaced with smartphones.

Some modern smartphones even offer better quality, especially if they allow you to control aspects like tap focus, aperture, ISO, and exposure. Pocket cameras fare poorly in low light, and their onboard audio is not exactly perfect. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • DSLR

DSLRs are favorites among vloggers, because of their high quality. They can adapt to low light, and their video recording quality is polished. They also present more control over camera features, including light metering, FPS, and ISO. DSLRs can get pricey, but they are a worthy investment. Top brands to consider include Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and
Canon.

The things to look for in a good DSLR include sensor size, image stabilization, lens aperture, and Wi-Fi connectivity. These cameras can, however, get complicated, especially if you want to record and edit projects easily. Invest in a good SD card which is fast enough so that your videos will not freeze as you record. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are the future of videography and photography. They can shoot in exceptional quality while being smaller and lighter than DSLRs. They are the perfect option if you will be moving around a lot. Most models in the market can shoot 4K videos and have features like image stabilization and real-time output. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • Action Cameras

Action cameras are the more versatile of all other camera types. They are ideal for videographers who intend to capture first-person POVs. Action cameras are favored for their small size and high-quality output. The most reliable brand in this sector is GoPro. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

External Microphones

Audio quality is among the factors that will impact how your video is received by your audience. Even if your video is cinematic, bad audio will discourage viewership. Built-in camera microphones are not the best at blocking ambient sounds, which is why you need an external microphone.

The choices available include:

  • Shotgun Microphones

Shotgun microphones are favored by vloggers who want to capture sound in a single direction. Professional vloggers love the output and the long range provided by these models. The mic also reduces background noise since the capsule is situated at the end of the interference tube. If you are shooting outside, a shotgun mic will reduce wind noise. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • USB microphones

USB microphones have become quite popular because of their ease of use. They also provide good sound quality while being affordable and versatile. They typically come with cardioid or super-cardioid pickup pattern and will record in the direction of your mouth. Whatever you say will be recorded in high resolution and are thus perfect for indoor vloggers. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • Lapel Microphones

Lapel microphones are quite small in size so they cannot be seen easily. They cost between $25 to $30 and can be used for interviews, product reviews, or self-explaining videos. These microphones can either be wireless or wired. Wireless versions do have the appeal of convenience, but they are affected by radio interference. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • Podcasting Microphones

Podcast microphones are the perfect option if you want no background noise, like when making cover videos. It can be a condenser, lavalier, or a USB mic, provided it has a loud and clear sound. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

Stabilizer

There is nothing less professional than unsteady footage as it becomes distracting to the viewer. This is where gimbal and tripod stabilizers become necessary.

A tripod is thankfully affordable, as most of them are priced lower than $100. Get one that will effectively support the weight of your camera setup. Invest in a reliable and sturdy tripod for durability purposes.

Gimbals come in handy with hand-held shooting. They are built with weights and motors to balance camera movements and smooth out videos. They supplement lightweight cameras as well as smartphones. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

Lighting Setup

Lighting equipment becomes necessary if you shoot in dimly lit areas or indoors. Even if you shoot in a place with adequate ambient light, lighting accessories will even out the brightness of the setup and modify the mood.

The equipment to consider include:

  • Softbox

A softbox can easily mimic the soft light from a window. The white diffusion panel on the box decreases and diffuses the intensity of direct light. It is recommended if you want to include lighting while preventing harsh shadows on a subject or scene. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • Ring lights

Ring lights are common among vloggers because their ring shape produces light around subjects. It eradicates shadows from each direction so that everybody looks attractive in front of the camera. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • Umbrella Lights

Umbrella lights are affordable solutions for vloggers who desire soft lighting. Umbrellas emit more controlled lighting than softboxes because the light is reflected from the umbrella’s silver interior layer. It can cover expansive scenes, making it perfect for on-location shoots and backdrops. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

  • On-Camera Lighting

On-camera lighting can be mounted on cameras to give continuous lighting for different kinds of videos. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

Video Editing Software

Your hardware should be supplemented by video editing software. If you are reviewing musical gear, you will likely include several images of the device being reviewed. Transitions between scenes are among the editing tricks you will have to learn.

There is free editing software that you can access and use, and you can play around with several of them. Paid software will increase the range of things you can do with your videos, and you can upgrade as you learn more about vlogging.

Keep it simple when it comes to editing. It may be tempting to introduce impressive transitions, but they can be distracting to your audience. You should not settle for simple videos, on the other hand, since people will get bored with a single scene. Shorter is always better in the world of vlogging. See our top recommendation on Amazon!

Choosing a Platform

Once you equip yourself with the necessary hardware and software, the next step is narrowing down on the platform you want to use. The platform you choose will impact the size of your audience and reach. The most popular avenues include:

  • YouTube

In 2006, the then CEO of YouTube, Chad Hurley, declared that the platform had 60% of the online video market. The share has reduced over the years, but YouTube remains dominant. The number of visitors, easy monetization, and suggested content give the platform an edge over the competition.

Some renown musicians owe their careers to the avenue including Justin Bieber and 5 Seconds of Summer. The popularity of YouTube also means that there are thousands of vloggers committed to getting a share of the millions of users who regularly flock to the platform. Your content, therefore, needs to be unique and well-planned out. All you need to do when joining the platform is to create a channel complete with a name and icon. YouTube Analytics is a useful tool for tracking the popularity of your channel.

  • Facebook Live

Facebook has been making its platform more conducive to vloggers. It has the largest live audience meaning you can interact with many viewers in real-time. Facebook has invested in a Live Map where users can find new influencers and pages to follow. It also has a strong video hosting function, and you get more freedom with design and layout.

  • Instagram Live

Instagram has been enjoying a growth in popularity reaching into the billions. Short videos are gaining traction in the visually-heavy platform, and you can take advantage of the Instagram videos and stories. The platform is more search-friendly, and it has a large user-base and solid marketing options.

  • DailyMotion

DailyMotion works similarly to YouTube by aggregating video content. DailyMotion is mainly characterized by professional-grade videos, so it is a good fit if you have professional equipment.

  • Vimeo

Vimeo is heavy on creativity, and there is little amateur activity on the site. Vimeo, however, provides tutorials on upgrading the quality of your videos so you can use it to become better at vlogging.

  • Blogging Sites with Video Support

A video blog is also a good option if you want to include additional information along with your videos. Blogging websites where you can embed videos include WordPress, Medium, Weebly, Square Space, and Blogger.

How to Make Money Vlogging in 2019

Vlogging has evolved from a mere hobby to a money-making venture. The trick is to diversify your revenue streams.

Ads present the most solid way of making money from videos. Google AdSense is the platform used to monetize ads on YouTube based on factors like the views that a specific ad gets and whether the audience interacts with the ad.

Sponsored posts are another popular money-making method. They are commissioned by companies who intend to promote their services and products. Product reviews are popular with vloggers, where you get paid to review a particular item and recommend its use. When establishing partnerships, look for relevant brands to your content.

You can also sell your own merchandise, whether it is music, tutorials, or apparel. Affiliate links are another method to explore, where you link the products you review to online shops like Amazon. Source for unique links that can let your viewers get discounts.

Conclusion

The internet has democratized the musical sphere. There is now little between you and your potential audience, except for several devices, a channel or blog, and passion. As you build your loyal fanbase, you will find ways to monetize your content and get the attention of major media if you are a musician.

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