Vlogging is a great marketing tool: it’s good value; it’s authentic; and it’s an easy way to generate a lot of interesting and engaging content, quickly.
Audiences tend not to notice the behind-the-scenes work that an organisation might have done to make sure the vlog works for them. They are likely to take the information at its peer-to-peer face value. Which is great – but it’s worth noting that the best vlogs usually start with a solid steer from marketing! This is definitely something you’ll want to work on if you’re considering vlogs as part of your strategy.
If you are thinking about starting a vlog project, then here are some important pearls of wisdom from one of our Video Producers. In hindsight, we probably should have asked her to present these ideas as a vlog. Next time.
Keep it authentic
The reason vlogs go down so well is because they are a peek into what life is like for the audience’s peers. In a university setting for example, viewers are excited and reassured by seeing students going about their daily life – attending social events, using the campus facilities, and showing us their halls. As a marketing team, you know your USPs and you want them out there. However, it’s important to avoid trying to incorporate marketing jargon and key messages into the video. It will likely jar with your vlogger’s own words, particularly if it’s expressed in a corporate tone of voice, and compromise the authenticity of the video.
This is a great example of a vlog that ticks off some key marketing messages. At the same time, it’s really clear that it’s the student’s own voice and thoughts narrating us through. Things like the free printing are the sort of thing that is likely to really resonate with her audience.
Give your vloggers a bit of a brief
Granted, I’ve said to keep it authentic but that doesn’t mean your vloggers don’t need a steer. For example, your objective could be to make sure you’ve got some content featuring a university art department. This will be especially useful to your prospective art students who haven’t been able to attend an Open Day. In the brief, you can tell students you want to show Art, then point them in the right direction with some questions. For example, here are two briefs allowing you to direct students towards showcasing either facilities or current projects:
Facilities focused vlog
What’s on the agenda today? Where do you spend most of your time? Take us around your workshop area. Then, show us what kind of specialist equipment is available to you and how you use it. Tell us what you think are the best aspects of studying this course at this uni.
Show us what you’re working on at the moment, talk us through your project. Are you working on it independently or with a group of students? What have you found challenging and how have the academics supported you with this? Have you met/networked with any industry experts related to your course? What did you learn/gain from meeting them?
Briefs like this will prompt your vloggers to cover interesting areas of their course. They’ll also allow you to have a handle on the content without compromising the authenticity of the output.
Tell your vloggers what they need to film
There are two key ingredients for a good vlog:
1: One clip of your student talking down the lens of the camera. They need to do this in an environment relevant to the topic they’re talking about, and where it’s quiet enough to hear them speaking.
2: Separate ‘general view’ clips that support what your vloggers are talking about. For example, a vlog about the student union should include clips of the vlogger socialising with friends in the union, chatting and clinking glasses, playing pool, showing posters for upcoming events, interacting with the staff etc.
Five minutes of footage is the best amount to aim for. It’s better if that’s a lot of short clips, rather than a single five-minuter which is hard to edit.
In this vlog by Leeds Beckett student Adam, he’s done a great job of supplying lots of secondary footage to support what he’s saying. As well as being quite an entertaining narrator, this is an interesting video because there are so many cutaways and views of Leeds Beckett’s facilities. We can only assume that he was briefed in very well by the team!