10 Simple Video Blog Ideas

Whether you want to take a stab at being the next big video blogger or just want to supplement your current content with some video, you don’t need fancy hardware or software. What you do need, though, are some ideas. Well, here are ten easy-to-shoot and easy-to-edit video blogging ideas to help inspire you to realize your video blogging dreams, no matter how grand or modest they are.

The Video Rant

Just because the rant is the easiest and most common video blog format, that doesn’t mean that it’s an instant success. Rather, a video rant should be (1) timely, (2) topical, and (3) between 30 and 90 seconds in length. You can go as high as 120 seconds, but the most successful online video rants are about 30 seconds long.

Here’s a good example of a video rant from Loren Feldman. It was cut around the time Facebook was really gaining popularity, is about how Loren doesn’t get why it’s so popular, and is 58 seconds long. And as you can see, the only editing is inserting a pre- and post-roll.

The How To Video

Videos that show audience members how to do something are great for both helping your audience achieve some goal, as well as generating more search engine traffic. When shooting how-to videos, you should include step-by-step shots of what you’re showing.

This video on how to escape from handcuffs is a great example of a how-to video. It’s short (1 minute, 12 seconds), and it features plenty of close-up shots of how the host escapes from the handcuffs. This helps viewers easily understand a mimic the video’s instructions.

The Screencast

Another variant of the how-to video, a screencast is super simple to pull off and is great for either showing your audience how to do something technical or for marketing a service or piece of software. Also, screencasts can be as long as you like, but you should really try to stick to the basic steps of what you’re trying to demonstrate. A good way to do this is to break your demonstration down into steps in advance, and maybe rehearse it a few times before recording your final product.

And when it comes to screencast software, there are many options. You can find a list of 10 frees screencast software choices here, but I personally recommend CamStudio

Here’s one excellent example of a screencast from the Google Analytics YouTube channel. In less than 60 seconds, it shows you how to grant other users access to your Google Analytics account.

Video Event Coverage

Covering events that are relevant to your audience can also be a great way to engage viewers. It allows you to (1) appeal to those who couldn’t be there, and (2) connect with those who were.

The easiest way to cover and event is to take footage throughout the event and then cut it into a montage of the event’s highlights. And an easy and fun way to get a lot of great event footage without missing out on the event itself is to pass your camera around to people you trust. This way, you’ll get a lot of different perspectives of the event, and even get to be in the video yourself.

Here’s an example of just such a video. It’s montage of the opening party of the first ever Podcamp Montreal. The inaugural Podcamp featured attendees that ranged from super-geek execs from Seesmic to rock star David Usher, so it was fun to (1) share the opening party with those who couldn’t make it and (2)document it for those who were there.

The Video Interview

Conducting video interviews on topics relevant to your audience is not only a great way to produce easy-to-edit video content, but also to attract links from both the interviewee and others who watch and share the video. It’s important, however, to make sure that both the interviewee and the what you discuss with them stays relevant to your audience.

This is an interview with Marc Poirier, founder of Acquisio, a company that develops PPC software and bid management tools. In it, Marc discusses PPC trends in 2009, and we shot if for the NVI search marketing blog, so it it was specifically tailored for it’s audience — i.e. we’re two search marketers discussing search engine marketing. Because it was also shot at SMX East 2009, a search marketing conference, it also doubles as even coverage.

The 5×5 Video

A video blog genre also known as the 5×5 Vignette, it consists in stringing together 5 shots that are 5 seconds long (hence the “5×5” ). There’s often some underlying theme that ties the five shots together, like a particularly day in the video bloggers life, and this makes them great for creating supplemental content for you blog.

This is a 5×5 of a cooperative exercise between the Dutch, German and Belgian police forces, but you can find all kinds of 5x5s to inspire you on the 5×5 Vimeo Channel.

The Lip Dub Video

There are some pretty darn famous lip dubs out there, and I don’t mean Milli Vanilli. The Harvey Danger Flagpole Sitta lip dub is just one that comes to mind. Produced by the staff of Vimeo to market the video sharing site, it was a viral success and launched the site into the main stream.

The potential of lip dub videos is that they give you a chance to show off your personality, and as a result, really help build a bond with your audience. Here’s one my own favorite lip dubs of Melanie’s “Brand New Key.” Not only does it show how lip dubs don’t need to have the production crew behind them that the Flagpole Sitta one did, but that they are also a great way to help people smile when they’re feeling down in the dumps.

The Karaoke Video

Of course, if you have the pipes to back you up, you might forego the lip dub and strut your stuff, in hi def. To help you along in with your internet karaoke stardom, Online Karaoke Channel offers the largest library of karaoke downloads — some are free, and the rest are pretty reasonably priced. And if you’re not quite sure that you want to invest in a karaoke library yet, their karaoke YouTube channel features a few hundred uploads to help you acquire a taste for digital karaoke.

In addition to entertaining your viewers, doing karaoke will also help you content get found by new users searching for videos of popular songs. And as this rendition of Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face” demonstrates, it doesn’t take much editing at all.

The Parody

For video bloggers who are bit more “in your face,” there’s the parody. Now, with parody, you have to be careful what country you’re in, but the last time I checked, parody is protected by law in the US (where YouTube servers are housed). Now, I am not a lawyer, but from what I understand, this means that unless you say something that’s explicitly untrue and venture into the world of libel and slander, uploading your parodies to YouTube shouldn’t get you into any legal trouble.

When done well, moreover, parody can be a great instigator and piece of linkbait. It is also a genre that Loren Feldman has run with quite a bit. Although known more for his ock-puppet parodies of Shel Israel, he’s also done Dave Winer, Michael Arrington, and as this recent clip demonstrate, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The Video Prank

Finally, there’s the video prankster. This doesn’t require any real editing, but it does take some imagination and planning. You also need an opportune place to hide the camera – somewhere where it (1) won’t be seen, (2) will have a good view of the victim, and (3) will be able to pick up everything being said. And if done right, you can end up with tons of views (like how the one below has over a million).

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11 Comments

  1. Klaus November 3, 2009
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