A decision that all video bloggers need to wrestle with is how to host their videos. Conventional branding wisdom would dictate that you host them yourself. On the other hand, viral marketing doctrine suggests that you upload your content to as many channels as possible.
With about a dozen decent alternatives to YouTube, however, deciding how to host you video content can be tough. At the end of the day, video bloggers should strike a healthy balance between bandwidth, distribution/reach, branding, and community. They can do this by choosing to upload their content to YouTube, Blip.tv, and whatever social network that they’re most active on.
Bandwidth Bandit Costs
Becoming a popular producer of online content can be expensive. Every visitor to your site is an added strain on your bandwidth, and anyone who has exceeded their monthly bandwidth will tell you that this is where hosting providers make their money. The thing about video files, moreover, is that they’re a lot larger than text. So if you’re hosting your own video content, success can be one of the worse things to happen to your pocket book.
Indeed, this is precisely whey there was such a demand for video hosting/sharing sites. The average Joe/Jane just can’t afford a large audience for their video content. By letting in a middle-man, then, you drastically reduce the costs of video blogging. In fact, you make it affordable.
YouGooTube: The Video Giant
When most users think online video, YouTube is the first name that comes to mind. It is not only the number one destination for online video sharing, but allows users to customize the color scheme and URL structure of their “channels.”
As a video hosting solution, however, YouTube isn’t without its drawbacks. First, the resolution on their video players leaves something to be desired — i.e. it’s terrible. Secondly, the massive user base makes it nearly impossible to attract enough attention to build up your own brand.
Mind you, that very immensity also makes YouTube a must in video hosting. For starters, because it is the largest video sharing site, you cannot afford to pass up on YouTube’s potential reach. Secondly, few vloggers will seem reputable without a presence on YouTube. Finally, because YouTube is owned by Google, content on the site is regulalry indexed by Google. If you want search engine visibility, then, it is imperative that you upload content to YouTube and make sure that each clip is tagged appropriately (see Step #3 of 4 SEO Tips for Universal Search).
Blip.tv: Video Hosting for Vloggers
As far as video hosting sites go, there’s a reason why TechCrunch called Blip.tv “a great platform for videobloggers to host their content.” For starters, Blip.tv offers users a branded channel and social funcionality, just like YouTube. However, some added functionality makes it even more appealing.
First, the player that you embed on your own site is not branded. That is, rather than featuring the logo or look of something that Blip.tv is producing, it looks exactly as though you are hosting the content yourself.
Secondly, if you want, Blip.tv will take care of submitting your content to iTunes for you. This means that you don’t have to worry about including video enclosures of an MP4 version (see 5 Vlogging Basics) in your posts and then submitting your blog’s feed to iTunes. When it comes to actually publishing a video to your blog, this eliminates the rather tedious step of converting the file into an MP4 format that iTunes can pick up.
Finally, Blip.tv features an optional affiliate program that will run ads in your video player. Consequently, you can actually monetize your content if you choose to do so. There are four ad formats, moreover, so that vloggers have a selection from which to choose. If you’re not that fussy, finally, there’s an option to let Blip.tv implement a blend of the four.
Blogging and vlogging are just part of the larger phenomenon of user generated content (UGC). It just so happens, moreover, that UGC is just part of the larger phenomenon of Web 2.0. In a nutshell, Web 2.0 is about being social and sharing. It’s no surprise, then, that (1) social networking has also been a huge part of Web 2.0, and (2) the most successful video hosting sites also feature a social element and sharing functionality.
If you’re active on any social network, then, it follows that you should probably be uploading your content there as well (or at least some of it). If you want to be taken seriously as a video vlogger and not just hobbyist, I wouldn’t recommend relying any any give social network to distribute your content. However, uploading your content to any given network will extend your potential reach.
For starters, it will expose those you are already connected with to your work. More to the point, however, it will allow those that discover your content to connect with you. By being able to connect with you on a peer to peer level, you will be able to establish a trust economy with your audience. After all, the marketing potential of social networks lies in the trust-based relationship that they enable you to establish with your audience.