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Vlogging When You’re Shy

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Earlier this month, Nikki made the excellent point that we should all be including more video blogs – or vlogs – as part of our monthly posts. While it is true that vlogging can help you connect with the reader, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that vlogging still makes me a little…itchy. I’m just not 100% comfortable in front of a camera yet, and even though I’m pushing myself to be more and more outgoing, vlogging is tough for me.

Yet, I love making videos.

I find that not only are videos fun for the reader, but they get my creative juices flowing, stretching my innovation muscles in ways that traditional writing doesn’t do it for me anymore. I love all aspects of direction, editing, and producing videos, and I have since I was in high school. I’m just not a fan of being the star.

So what’s a girl to do? How can I vlog more often, even though I’m still shy in front of the camera? The answer is easier than you may think: Don’t be in the video.

Yeah, right. How could that possibly work? I know, I know, that’s what you must be thinking. But oddly enough, with a good starting concept, you don’t have to be the person speaking to the camera to create an awesome vlog for your website.

Point in case: This past weekend, as I’ve mentioned before, I was at a gaming conference, and while there, I did some freelance work for video game website Spawn Kill. As part of my post for that site, I created a video called What Is MAGFest, which I fully intended to actually be in…before I got sick and totally lost my voice. The content was getting less and less fresh each day that I was sitting on the project, waiting to feel better, so I decided to roll with it. I used the clips I had, created some transitional message slides, and finished the piece, all without being on camera for a single second. Take a moment to watch the video and you’ll see what I mean:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exAKOAiiR9c[/youtube]

This isn’t the first time I’ve created awesome video content for a website without being in the video at all. In fact, after BlogWorld Expo 2010, I created a video from the conference that didn’t have me in it at all:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hewbnk9K6I[/youtube]

I’ve done other such videos for various websites, all fairly well-received by my readers, none with me in them. What did all of these videos have in common though?

  • Faces: Mine wasn’t in them, but others’ were. It’s hard to make a video interesting when it doesn’t have any people in it. I should clarify – it is important to not just have people in your video, but people actually talking to the camera in some way. It just helps the viewer connect.
  • A Strong Concept: Before you begin filming, it is important to have a strong concept for your video. You won’t be on camera to lead the conversation, so you have to ask pointed questions and encourage people to answer in a way that restates the question when possible. Know the story you want to tell with your video, and filming will go much more smoothly.

Of course, this type of video typically includes many small pieces and not only takes a long time to film, but a very long time to piece together. Not counting filming or uploading at all, the MAGFest video, which was less than five minutes long, probably took about four hours to create. If you simply record yourself speaking to the camera, it takes a lot less time to create a vlog.

The bottom line? Don’t let your shy nature stop you from vlogging. With some creativity, you can create video content even if you don’t want to be in the actual video.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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  • Nikki

    Great point Ali! This can be used for other things too. I did several videos for my jewelry making website that shows how to do various techniques – and all it shows is my hands and my voice walking through 🙂 No head shot at all.

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