Vlog, the new trend!

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Do you have a story to tell? Do you want to do it differently and stand apart? Do you create videos to promote your business? Then consider starting a regular video blog or vlog (as it is popularly known). The term vlog takes off from the word blog, and a vlog is simply a blog in video form. It will not only help business owners discover what works with social media marketing but also help your own little business or pastime.

Make it consistent
The key reason for the success of many vlogs is consistency. If you post a vlog once in a while, you will not gain much traction. Most vlogs that do well have a regular schedule. You might wonder, how using YouTube for vlogging is different from the other ways people use YouTube. Well, the answer is quite simple; the purpose of a vlog is to help people discover you. And to be discovered, think of people who would search for a particular concern, specialty or a simple answer to a question. Think about what a user might like to see or want to know, create a video about the topic and upload it to YouTube.

Make it fun!
The best way to do things on social media and attract an audience is to make the vlog informative and fun. It should not feel like a chore to you, if not that will reflect in your vlog. While you are in work mode, create the week’s videos all at once and schedule them. Pick three topics depending on the area you want to discuss (could be an app, product or tip), record the videos, edit and schedule them for the rest of the week. Easy done!

Ideal format
The ideal format of a vlog is to introduce the topic, deliver information about the topic that viewers would value and give an actionable item that would give results right away. Another format is more of a lifecasting vlog, for example the journey of launching a cook book which is more of a “show, don’t tell,” example, which is a powerful formula.

But whatever your format is, include your call to action at the end, whether it’s to buy the product, join your email list or follow you somewhere. The key point is that the majority of the video should deliver value. That’s what makes the video a vlog and also powerful on YouTube.

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What do you want to convey
Before you appear on camera, the important thing to do is to develop a strong message before you begin your video and you need to know what content you need to deliver. You will develop a presence on camera through practice and by focusing on the camera as if it’s a person. Trick here to make you feel comfortable is, talk to viewers the way you talk to another person and you will do much better on camera. If you can talk to people about what you do and how you can help them, you can absolutely make videos.

Increase your reach
Focus on your goals; don’t worry about metrics such as followers, likes and subscribers. Instead of focusing on how many people are following you, focus on how much business you are getting because of your vlog. Another trick to increase reach is to message people and ask them to share the video with anyone else who would find the vlog useful. The share acts as a referral and vlogging will get you more reach than your marketing efforts.

Subscribers
Subscribers are important; it will help your channel be successful and your videos gain momentum. They will receive a notification or see the video in their feeds, when you post a new one and it will encourage them to watch.

What’s popular?
Popular vlogs nowadays are the show-don’t-tell videos, where people shoot videos throughout the day, and are also among the most powerful ones. But make sure that they are interesting, funny and entertaining. Examples of such vlogs are minecraft and unboxing, for which people usually don’t appear on camera; players share cheats and techniques for playing in the former one and the videos tell a short story about receiving and opening a package in the latter.

Make your vlog
Having a product is helpful, but you can create popular vlogs about any topic. You just have to tell a story. Videos about things that are relevant to your city, such as events or tourist attractions, behind-the-scenes videos are other suggestions.

The key is to think bigger than your product and tell the story.

What kind of a story are you telling?     

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“Those who tell stories, rule the world,” said the great philosopher Plato. Well, in the land of films, it couldn’t have been said rightly so! Everybody likes stories, either listening to them, watching them or reading them. But not everybody can create, rather, tell them, the way it is supposed to be told!

Whatever kind of a story you are telling, if you can do it the right way, then you know you are heading in the right direction. Follow the M.I.C.E. method and be rest assured that you have got it right.

M.I.C.E. stands for Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event, and can serve as a way to identify what kind of story you are telling and which elements you might need to spend more time fleshing out. Well-known American novelist, critic, public speaker, essayist and columnist, Orson Scott Card, wrote about the M.I.C.E. quotient in his books. It is a great way to categorize stories and is also a loose guideline on where to start and end a story based on how it is categorized; and is especially useful for writers who are tired of the traditional three-act structure.

All stories contain four elements that determine structure: Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event. While each is present in the story, one generally dominates the others.

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Which one dominates? The one that the author cares the most about. This is why we often consider the process of discovering the structure of a story as a process of self-discovery: What is your story about? Who is the central or viewpoint character? Where is your story set? What is the purpose of your story? Once you have considered each of those questions, then you can ask, which aspect of the story matters most to you? That is the aspect that will give you your story’s structure.

Let’s take each element in turn and look at the structure that would be required if that is the dominant element in the story.

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The Milieu Story
The whole point of the story is to discover this strange, new world.

Arrival – A stranger from the outside arrives (by purpose or accident); he is unwelcomed and imprisoned, but gradually proves his worthiness.

Initiation – Stranger is formally welcomed into the society; taught the culture and language; shown sharp contrast between stranger’s world and present one which challenges the stranger’s own belief system.

Departure – Stranger rejects or is torn away from society and returns home with greater self-awareness.

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The Idea Story

The whole point of the story is the process of discovering information by those who do not know.

A Question – The idea story begins with a question; and a scientist, a detective, or some other inquisitive character seeks to find an answer.

Quest for Knowledge – Central character(s) gathers information from a variety of sources; he may even employ the scientific method or a form of deduction to reduce the number of variables, but attempts to find an answer are complicated by many failures.

The Answer – Gradually, repented failure leads to vindication and the question is answered.

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The Character Story
The whole point is about the transformation of a character’s role in his community.

Crisis – Central character becomes so unhappy, impatient, or angry in his present role that he begins the process of change (either consciously or unconsciously).

Conflict – Others resist the central character’s change and attempt to change him back.

Climax – Character either settles into a new role (happily or not) or gives up the struggle and remains in the old role (happily or not).

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The Event Story
The whole point of the story is about the restoration of the proper order of the universe.

Departure – Heroic figure hears the call to adventure (and sometimes refuses call): he is called to restore order to the universe; he receives aid from a wizard, an elder, or supernatural force (usually in form of a magical weapon) and undergoes first trial by fire.

Initiation – Hero undergoes more trials; he falls for a goddess and is tempted by a temptress; he meets his dark father and is wounded; he finds great riches.

Return – Hero restores order by defeating evil king and returns home, older and wiser to empower others.

Sometimes, any given story can belong to more than one of the four categories; for example, The Wizard of Oz can be considered both a Character story and a Milieu story. Usually, the longer the story, more categories it belongs to. Short stories generally belong to one category. It all depends on how you take it forward.