How to Start Vlogging in Seven Steps (and the Tools You Need)

11 min

Vlogging has made so many people influential today.

The likes of Casey Neistat and Cesar Millan are a testament to this. They’ve built audiences of millions today because they started filming their ideas and experiences.

A screenshot of Cesar Millan's YouTube followers number (1.14M subscribers).
A screenshot of Casey Neistat's follower count on YouTube (12.1M subscribers.)

But where did they start from? 

And more importantly, where should you start your vlogging journey from?

Here are seven steps you need to start vlogging.

Step #1: Decide on the goal of your vlog

Generally, you’d be vlogging to build subscribers and a fan base.

But what happens after you build your audience?

Do you want to start partnering with brands to promote their products?

Do you want to get more clients for a service you offer?

Your goal could be anything, but you should decide what it is from the get-go. Pinpointing your goal will guide all other actions you’re taking on your vlog.

For example, if your end goal for vlogging is to get customers for your freelance design business, then your videos should be tilted towards teaching people about design.

Or if your goal for blogging is to get brand-influencer partnerships, then you’ll need to: 

  • Decide on which types of brands you’d like to work with as a brand influencer; these can be banks, consumer tech brands, corporate tech brands, etc. 
  • Start doing videos that’ll attract the audience of the brands you want to form brand-influencer relationships with.

For instance, if you want to be a brand ambassador for consumer-tech brands like Samsung or Oraimo, then you need to start creating video content on phone reviews and other consumer-tech products.

By deciding why you’re building a vlog audience, you’ll be able to make decisions that’ll help you achieve your end goal.

Step #2: Determine your main topic

We’ve touched on this a bit in step #1. 

Your topics determine the type of audience you’ll attract:

For example, if you start creating vlogs on marketing, you’ll attract marketing enthusiasts, professionals, marketing managers, and other types of people interested in the topic.

You need to determine your main topic so you can create content that’ll attract your target audience(s).

But how do you pick your main topic? You need to pick a topic that you either:

  • know a ton about, or 
  • are passionate about 

For example, if you know a lot or are passionate about cars, then cars might be something you want to vlog about. Cesar Millan, for instance, is known for dog training because that’s what all his vlogs are about.

Next, you need to learn video editing.

Step #3: Learn video editing

You’d need to learn how to edit vlogs, and there are two ways to go about it:

  1. Hire a video editor
  2. Edit yourself

You might not be able to afford to hire a video editor at the start of your vlogging career, so you’d have to do it yourself.

Here are a few vlog editing tips you need:

  • Use attention-grabbing titles above your videos to grab and hold attention.
  • Avoid using too many types of transitions in one video; the simpler the better.
  • Make your sound clear and noiseless; you can use a tool like Audacity to edit your sound and remove any background noise.
  • Use subtitles in your videos; many people don’t turn on sound for videos they watch. They simply follow the subtitles while watching their videos.
  • Use timestamps to help your audience jump to the sections of your video relevant to them.

It would take us writing a new guide to exhaustively cover vlog editing, but the tips we’ve shared above are great for starters. 

You’d also need vlog editing apps like iMovie (if you’re using a Mac) or Adobe Premiere. But like anything you venture into for the first time, there’s a learning process to vlogging. If you’re committed to making it work for you, it will.

Step #4: Create your page on a video-sharing platform

You need a platform where you can build your vlog audience. 

And there are many platforms you can use, but YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform right now. And it’s probably the best for you because of the reach it provides.

YouTube has over 1.7 billion users, and a lot of the most popular vloggers in the world have built their audience of millions on the platform.

A chart showing the growth of the number of YouTube users worldwide.

With almost 3 billion users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world and is also a really powerful platform for videos. Besides, great videos almost always go viral on the platform like you’d see below.

A screenshot of viral cooking videos on Facebook.

Instagram (IGTV) is another channel you can warehouse and share your vlogs on — if your videos are not longer than fifteen minutes. 

And you don’t have to choose only one platform to host and share your vlogs, you can use all three and even more (if any).

But regardless of where you’re publishing your videos, what matters most is that you get people to watch them — which leads to our next step.

Step #5: Promote your vlogs

It’s true that YouTube and the other platforms can expose your vlogs to millions of people, but that won’t happen without a promotion plan.

There are times when videos go viral without an already set content promotion plan, but those rarely happen. So you don’t want to leave your vlogging success to chance.

How do you promote your vlogs?

First, your friends and family.

If you can get your friends and family to share your vlog, they can expose your vlogs to their network. 

And this is how it works: 

  • Get ten people in your friends/family circle who you can ask to share a link to your vlog with their friends and connections.
  • Make sure they also put in a good word for you when sharing the links, enticing their followers to check out your vlog. They could write a simple caption like, “You’d love this video on [topic]. Check it out and thank me later!”

Here’s what would happen: when those ten people share your vlog with their connections/followers, they’ll be reaching at least ten (usually a lot more) other people — depending on the quality of your vlog. So, it’s at leat a hundred first views.

If you can get your first ten people to do this for each of your vlogs, and your videos are entertaining/inspiring/helpful, your influence will start growing wider.

These are only hypothetical numbers, but you get the idea: the people close to you can help your vlogs reach more people.

Second, online communities or groups you belong to.

If you belong to groups on Facebook, WhatsApp, or any other platforms, you can (with permission from admins in those communities) share your vlogs.

Of course, this is all dependent on your vlogs genuinely providing some type of help to members of those communities. 

Once you have permission from the admins of those groups, you can share your vlogs there and increase the number of views you get.

Step #6: Build an email list

Why build an email list?

There are several reasons you’d want to build an email list, but you need it for one main reason — video-sharing platforms aren’t always stable.

They can switch their rules on you at any time, and rightly so. It’s their platform and they can do as they wish. 

For instance, Facebook decided a few years ago that they would reduce the reach company pages have on their platform. This is why you’ll see most Facebook pages don’t have more than a handful of likes on each of their posts. 

Social media platforms can make policies at any time that could hurt your vlogging success. So you need your own platform as well, and you can do that with an email list.

Most people have the habit of checking their emails several times a day. So this creates an opportunity for you to reach your audience when you publish a new vlog. 

Working-class people, for instance, check their emails every fifteen minutes

So getting the emails of your vlog followers is almost always a smart move. You get the chance to send them notifications of your latest vlogs through a channel they check multiple times every day — their email inbox.

Now, how do you build an email list?

First, get a landing page. 

You can use the GetResponse landing page creator and build a page where you persuade people to submit their emails so you can send them your latest vlogs.

For the most part, what you need to do here is give them all the juicy reasons to join your email list.

In marketing lingo, this is usually called a lead magnet. And it comes in many shapes and forms.

For example, if you’re going to be sharing videos on DIY tips and tricks, you can share specific topics you’ll be addressing. This will help you convince them that they’ll be getting real value from your vlogs.

Or you could give your audience the chance to win some of your branded merchandise. This will be especially effective if your brand swag looks really good and is on the expensive side.

Step #7: Monetize your platform

Eventually, you may want to start generating some revenue from the platform you’ve built. And there are a good number of ways you can go about it:

  • Enable monetization on YouTube

YouTube allows you to earn money when they run ads on your videos. To start earning money from these ads, you need to go to your Channel menu on the left side of your screen and click on Other Features.

There, you’ll find Monetization. Simply click Start and you’ll be on your way to earning from YouTube ads. But you’ll need to wait for approval from YouTube. Once you get that, your YouTube monetization process is complete.

  • Sell products or services

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can earn money from your platform by selling your own product/services or helping other businesses sell theirs.

5 vlogging tools you need

Here are five and some of the most important pieces of equipment for vlogging:

1. Your camera

Like all the other tools on this list, there are different types of cameras you can work with. It would take another article to write on which type to use.

But for starters, you can use an inexpensive camera that’ll display your vlogs as clear as possible.

This means you don’t have to go for something overly expensive from the get-go. In fact, an iPhone (or any other smartphone with great camera capabilities) on a tripod stand can do the trick. When you’re more established and you start earning from your vlogs, you can get a more expensive option.

2. A microphone

This is the second most important vlogging equipment you need. There’s almost nothing as annoying as watching a video with bad audio. 

Even if the video looks perfect, bad audio can cause big distractions that can make you lose subscribers. So you’ll need to select a microphone that projects your sound clearly.

Like your camera, your mic doesn’t have to be expensive. You can get a wireless lavalier mic from Amazon, and it costs anywhere from $35 to $350. 

3. A vlog editing software

We touched on this earlier, but here’s a bit more explanation on your video editing tool.

A video or vlog editing tool is any software that helps you:

  • cut out the ugly parts of your video.
  • add overlay texts and subtitles.
  • create seamless transitions between each cut.
  • add background music to your vlog.
  • convert raw video files into downloadable and playable formats.

And there are free video editing tools you can use like Fastreel, iMovie, OpenShot, Windows Movie Maker. For more advanced paid tools, you can use Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X.

4. Lighting

Lighting can make or break your vlogs.

You need your videos to look as sharp and bright as possible. 

Essentially, you need a ring light so you can have enough light to make your video come alive.

More importantly, it helps you focus light on a particular subject (this could be a person or something else) so it gets the right amount of light to make it appear appealing.

But if you can’t afford a ring light yet, make sure to film your video facing a window with a lot of direct sunlight.

In conclusion

You’ve probably been looking for advice on vlogging for beginners, and what we’ve shared in this guide has shown you where to get started.

But to sum it all up, here are areas you need to pay careful attention to when starting your vlog:

  • Understand what your end goal for vlogging is from the start.
  • Pick the main topic you want to be known for.
  • Promote your vlog through friends, family, your social accounts, and online communities you’re a part of.
  • Build an email list so you can always bring people back to watch your vlogs.
  • Make sure your videos and sound are sharp enough to hold your audience’s attention.

Victor Ijidola
Victor Ijidola
Victor is an expert content marketer for B2B and SaaS brands. He runs Premium Content Shop , alongside being published by Entrepreneur, Forbes, and many more.