How to Buy Instagram Likes (And Why It's a Bad Idea)

Instagram’s new algorithm uses engagement as the most important metric to determine a post’s popularity. Essentially, the more likes and comments your posts get, the more your posts will be seen by a larger audience.

The importance of engagement is why it doesn’t surprise me that buying likes might seem like a tempting option. It’s just not a good one.

There’s no denying that likes are critical to the success of your Instagram account. For instance, let’s say you work for a smoothie shop and want to post a delicious smoothie recipe on Instagram to attract the engagement of a health-conscious audience.Download 25 free Instagram templates to increase engagement and elevate your  presence. 

If your healthy smoothie post gets a ton of likes, it’ll have a better chance of competing with other top posts with similar hashtags, and might even appear on Instagram’s Explore page. The Explore page, which you can find on Instagram by clicking on the magnifying-glass symbol, is a compilation of posts you’ve liked and posts liked by accounts with which you often interact. Since the Explore page shows users posts their followers like, it’s an effective way for your business to reach a new audience.

But while having a bunch of likes is valuable, it’s only a productive marketing strategy if you’ve achieved them organically.

Buying Instagram likes might seem like a good method to increase engagement, but it’s actually a dangerous tactic that can do quite the opposite, decreasing your engagement and destroying your brand’s reputation.

Read on to find out the two ways users currently buy Instagram likes, and how taking either road can poke holes in your marketing strategy.

How to Buy Instagram Likes

There are two types of services you can use to buy likes on Instagram. The first type of service sells likes from fake accounts. The second type of service sells Instagram bots, which then follow real accounts and like other people’s posts for you (with the expectation that these people will then follow and like your posts, in return).

There are numerous companies out there that offer one of these services. I’m here to warn you about them all. Let’s dive into both services and see why they’re so unsafe.

1. Buy Instagram Likes from Fake Accounts

The first method, paying a service to get likes from fake accounts, is a ineffective and risky option. Since these accounts are fake, you won’t receive engagement in the form of comments, and if your real followers see you have a post with 1,000 likes but only two comments, they’re going to feel distrustful of your account’s authenticity. Even worse, fake accounts will never turn into real customers. The likes you receive from fraudulent accounts are invalid signs of customer loyalty, and won’t help you measure your post’s true performance.

If your real audience discovers some of your likes are from bogus accounts (which is easy to recognize, if these fake accounts don’t have profile pictures or posts of their own), your business could seem cheap or insincere. As a consumer, I don’t want to purchase from your business if your marketing tactics are shady. Plus, if I see your followers are fake, I’m going to assume you don’t sell high-quality products — if you don’t believe in the quality of your brand enough to attract real people, why should I?

Ultimately, these fake followers can’t buy your product or endorse you in real life, which doesn’t set your business up for long-term success.

Here’s an example of pricing for a service, Likeservice24, that offers fake-account likes in bulk:

buyinstalikes

You can see the pricing is fair ($66 for 20,000 likes), but, in the long haul, it’s not a sustainable or reputable marketing tactic.

2. Buy Instagram Bots to Follow Other People’s Accounts

There’s an unwritten “I follow you, you follow me” rule that exists on Instagram, which basically means if someone follows me, I feel obligated to follow them in return. Many people feel the same way when following other accounts on Twitter. And it’s the premise of this second method.

With this service, you’re essentially buying a bot to follow other people’s accounts, with the hope that these accounts will follow and like your posts in return. The bot basically acts as an invisible minion, following accounts from your profile and liking and commenting on posts as if it were you.

After these Instagram bots follow a bunch of accounts, they’ll eventually unfollow them, to ensure you have a better follow-to-follower ratio.

This method shares the same risky and long-term complications as the buying likes from fake accounts tactic, but there are additional dangers to using a bot. For one, the bot only knows how to “auto comment” and “auto like.” Your bot, acting as you, is not a real person and can’t understand various nuances that exist in language, which could lead to PR-related misshaps when you realize your bot engages with an account that posts inappropriate content.

For instance, the bot might start liking any posts with hashtags that you’ve programmed it to like. This could cause your bot to like irrelevant posts that don’t support your brand’s values, or even hateful accounts that post content your customers would find offensive.

Even worse, if the bot is “auto commenting” for you, it might misconstrue a post’s intent: for instance, if the word “happy” is in someone’s post about their beloved pet who recently passed away, the bot might comment, “That’s awesome, congrats!”

Below is an example of a service, Instazood, that provides bots for as little as $10. (Low price, high risk, am I right?)

 buyinstabots

There are other services to buy Instagram likes, but ultimately, you shouldn’t trust a bot or fake accounts to receive authentic engagement.

The Three Biggest Reasons Buying Instagram Likes is a Bad Idea

Besides the hazards I just mentioned, there are three big-picture problems with buying Instagram likes regardless of the service.

First, Instagram might deactivate your account if they suspect you’re not using honest methods to build a following and attract engagement. Since 2014, Instagram has been hunting for and deactivating millions of fake accounts on Instagram, and paying for likes goes against Instagram’s Community Guidelines. They want their platform to remain a place for authentic connections, and so should you.

Second, it’s not a sustainable marketing strategy: ultimately, your long-term goals should revolve around creating deep, meaningful relationships with your audience, turning this audience into real-life customers, and creating a customer service process to ensure these customers become brand advocates.

None of these outputs will come to fruition if your likes are from fake accounts.

Lastly, buying Instagram likes can actually hurt your engagement ratio. Instagram doesn’t measure how many likes each post gets. Rather, it measures how many likes each post gets in relation to how many followers you have.

This means if your posts start receiving 10,000 likes, but you only have 1,000 followers, your posts are going to be seen by fewer people, and are less likely to get discovered.

Here’s a graph from InfluencerDB to illustrate the like-to-follower ratio:

graphinstalikes

Ultimately, buying likes in an effort to increase engagement can actually decrease engagement, destroying the one thing you’re trying to get. Ironic, I know. So skip the shady shortcut to social media marketing, and use a more long-term but sustainable plan for attracting organic likes from real people. After all, those real people are the only ones who can become real customers.

Instagram for Business

 
Instagram Te

The post How to Buy Instagram Likes (And Why It's a Bad Idea) appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

Instagram’s new algorithm uses engagement as the most important metric to determine a post’s popularity. Essentially, the more likes and comments your posts get, the more your posts will be seen by a larger audience.

The importance of engagement is why it doesn’t surprise me that buying likes might seem like a tempting option. It’s just not a good one.

There’s no denying that likes are critical to the success of your Instagram account. For instance, let’s say you work for a smoothie shop and want to post a delicious smoothie recipe on Instagram to attract the engagement of a health-conscious audience.Download 25 free Instagram templates to increase engagement and elevate your  presence. 

If your healthy smoothie post gets a ton of likes, it’ll have a better chance of competing with other top posts with similar hashtags, and might even appear on Instagram’s Explore page. The Explore page, which you can find on Instagram by clicking on the magnifying-glass symbol, is a compilation of posts you’ve liked and posts liked by accounts with which you often interact. Since the Explore page shows users posts their followers like, it’s an effective way for your business to reach a new audience.

But while having a bunch of likes is valuable, it’s only a productive marketing strategy if you’ve achieved them organically.

Buying Instagram likes might seem like a good method to increase engagement, but it’s actually a dangerous tactic that can do quite the opposite, decreasing your engagement and destroying your brand’s reputation.

Read on to find out the two ways users currently buy Instagram likes, and how taking either road can poke holes in your marketing strategy.

How to Buy Instagram Likes

There are two types of services you can use to buy likes on Instagram. The first type of service sells likes from fake accounts. The second type of service sells Instagram bots, which then follow real accounts and like other people’s posts for you (with the expectation that these people will then follow and like your posts, in return).

There are numerous companies out there that offer one of these services. I’m here to warn you about them all. Let’s dive into both services and see why they’re so unsafe.

1. Buy Instagram Likes from Fake Accounts

The first method, paying a service to get likes from fake accounts, is a ineffective and risky option. Since these accounts are fake, you won’t receive engagement in the form of comments, and if your real followers see you have a post with 1,000 likes but only two comments, they’re going to feel distrustful of your account’s authenticity. Even worse, fake accounts will never turn into real customers. The likes you receive from fraudulent accounts are invalid signs of customer loyalty, and won’t help you measure your post’s true performance.

If your real audience discovers some of your likes are from bogus accounts (which is easy to recognize, if these fake accounts don’t have profile pictures or posts of their own), your business could seem cheap or insincere. As a consumer, I don’t want to purchase from your business if your marketing tactics are shady. Plus, if I see your followers are fake, I’m going to assume you don’t sell high-quality products — if you don’t believe in the quality of your brand enough to attract real people, why should I?

Ultimately, these fake followers can’t buy your product or endorse you in real life, which doesn’t set your business up for long-term success.

Here’s an example of pricing for a service, Likeservice24, that offers fake-account likes in bulk:

buyinstalikes

You can see the pricing is fair ($66 for 20,000 likes), but, in the long haul, it’s not a sustainable or reputable marketing tactic.

2. Buy Instagram Bots to Follow Other People’s Accounts

There’s an unwritten “I follow you, you follow me” rule that exists on Instagram, which basically means if someone follows me, I feel obligated to follow them in return. Many people feel the same way when following other accounts on Twitter. And it’s the premise of this second method.

With this service, you’re essentially buying a bot to follow other people’s accounts, with the hope that these accounts will follow and like your posts in return. The bot basically acts as an invisible minion, following accounts from your profile and liking and commenting on posts as if it were you.

After these Instagram bots follow a bunch of accounts, they’ll eventually unfollow them, to ensure you have a better follow-to-follower ratio.

This method shares the same risky and long-term complications as the buying likes from fake accounts tactic, but there are additional dangers to using a bot. For one, the bot only knows how to “auto comment” and “auto like.” Your bot, acting as you, is not a real person and can’t understand various nuances that exist in language, which could lead to PR-related misshaps when you realize your bot engages with an account that posts inappropriate content.

For instance, the bot might start liking any posts with hashtags that you’ve programmed it to like. This could cause your bot to like irrelevant posts that don’t support your brand’s values, or even hateful accounts that post content your customers would find offensive.

Even worse, if the bot is “auto commenting” for you, it might misconstrue a post’s intent: for instance, if the word “happy” is in someone’s post about their beloved pet who recently passed away, the bot might comment, “That’s awesome, congrats!”

Below is an example of a service, Instazood, that provides bots for as little as $10. (Low price, high risk, am I right?)

 buyinstabots

There are other services to buy Instagram likes, but ultimately, you shouldn’t trust a bot or fake accounts to receive authentic engagement.

The Three Biggest Reasons Buying Instagram Likes is a Bad Idea

Besides the hazards I just mentioned, there are three big-picture problems with buying Instagram likes regardless of the service.

First, Instagram might deactivate your account if they suspect you’re not using honest methods to build a following and attract engagement. Since 2014, Instagram has been hunting for and deactivating millions of fake accounts on Instagram, and paying for likes goes against Instagram’s Community Guidelines. They want their platform to remain a place for authentic connections, and so should you.

Second, it’s not a sustainable marketing strategy: ultimately, your long-term goals should revolve around creating deep, meaningful relationships with your audience, turning this audience into real-life customers, and creating a customer service process to ensure these customers become brand advocates.

None of these outputs will come to fruition if your likes are from fake accounts.

Lastly, buying Instagram likes can actually hurt your engagement ratio. Instagram doesn’t measure how many likes each post gets. Rather, it measures how many likes each post gets in relation to how many followers you have.

This means if your posts start receiving 10,000 likes, but you only have 1,000 followers, your posts are going to be seen by fewer people, and are less likely to get discovered.

Here’s a graph from InfluencerDB to illustrate the like-to-follower ratio:

graphinstalikes

Ultimately, buying likes in an effort to increase engagement can actually decrease engagement, destroying the one thing you’re trying to get. Ironic, I know. So skip the shady shortcut to social media marketing, and use a more long-term but sustainable plan for attracting organic likes from real people. After all, those real people are the only ones who can become real customers.

Instagram for Business

 
Instagram Te

The post How to Buy Instagram Likes (And Why It's a Bad Idea) appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

Hack Your Way to 10,000 Podcast Downloads with These 15 Tips

Back in July of 2016, I started a podcast with Eric Siu called Marketing School. We’ve come a long way since then. In fact, we are over 600 episodes into our podcasting journey. Sure, we had existing audiences on our other channels and platforms, but we still needed to get them to show up and listen to … Continue reading “Hack Your Way to 10,000 Podcast Downloads with These 15 Tips”

The post Hack Your Way to 10,000 Podcast Downloads with These 15 Tips appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

Back in July of 2016, I started a podcast with Eric Siu called Marketing School. We’ve come a long way since then. In fact, we are over 600 episodes into our podcasting journey. Sure, we had existing audiences on our other channels and platforms, but we still needed to get them to show up and listen to … Continue reading “Hack Your Way to 10,000 Podcast Downloads with These 15 Tips”

The post Hack Your Way to 10,000 Podcast Downloads with These 15 Tips appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

The Top 12 Tips for Running a Successful Video Blog

Blogging is one of my favorite ways to drive traffic to websites and engage with audiences.

But those of you who have been staying up-to-date on the newest marketing trends know video content has been on the rise.

In fact, experts predict that by 2019, 80% of the global Internet traffic will be videos. More than half of marketing executives say video content is their most profitable ROI.

Blog posts containing videos have triple the amount of inbound links compared to blog posts without videos.

It’s understandable why you might be interested in starting a video blog.

Based on all these numbers, it’s safe to say people love consuming video content. But establishing yourself as a prominent video blogger can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before.

There are many factors to take into consideration.

What kind of equipment should you use? How do you behave in front of the camera? How do you promote your new video blog?

You’re not the only one who has recognized these video trends. Research shows businesses plan to add more content distribution channels in the next year.

image1

Do you see a commonality in the top three responses? All of these are platforms for video distribution.

If you need some pointers for launching a new video blog or improving your existing one, you have come to the right place.

These are the top 12 tips for running a successful video blog.

1. Invest in a high quality microphone

Audio is one of the most important aspects of your video blog. People need to be able to hear what you’re saying.

Having a quality microphone can help make sure you’re not wasting any time recording your video. Sometimes, you’ll have poor video quality. It happens.

But even if your video sucks, you can always salvage the audio and use it for something like a podcast. Or you can use the audio to voiceover a presentation or something else that’s not live.

Your computer has a microphone built into it, but you can do better. Cheap cameras also don’t have the best microphones.

If you want to take your video blog seriously and do videos often, high quality audio needs to be a priority.

Which type of microphone should you get? I’ll be honest with you: I’m not an expert when it comes to this type of equipment. You’ll need to do some research yourself.

That said, you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on this investment. You should be able to find what you need for roughly $100 or less.

Just make sure you’re able to balance your audio levels with the microphone. Test it out each time before you start broadcasting so you don’t waste time recording audio that’s unusable.

Know your environment. Where do you plan on recording the most?

There are certain microphones that are meant for different things, such as being in a large room with echoes, outdoors with high winds, or in areas with crowds and lots of background noise.

Find a microphone suitable for your broadcast environments. It’s worth the investment.

2. Make sure you have proper lighting

We’ve all seen videos that look unprofessional. They can be anything from those low-budget local commercials to your family home videos.

It’s unacceptable for your video blog to look like this. It’s important for you to understand the concept of a basic three point lighting setup.

lighting

Sure, sometimes you’ll be filming on the go. It’s not always reasonable for you to be carrying around all the equipment with you.

But if much of your video blog content is going to be filmed in your home or apartment, you should have these lights set up like in the example above.

Lighting can do a lot for the quality of your videos. These are the three terms you need to get familiar with:

  • key light
  • fill light
  • back light

Your key light will serve as your primary light. For the most part, it’s placed on the left side of the camera and should be roughly three feet higher than your eye level.

The key light will be the brightest of these three lights. Angle it at a downward angle so it replicates the sun and has a natural lighting effect.

Your key light will create a shadow. To fill that shadow with light, you’ll need a fill light on the opposite side of the camera.

With two lights placed in front of you, you’ll need a back light behind you so the lighting looks natural. Otherwise, you may have some dark shadows on your shoulders.

The back light should be diffused—it’s the least bright of the trio.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your lights, but you should keep in mind that inexpensive lights won’t last forever. If you’re in this for the long haul, it may be worth it to invest now and save yourself some money down the road.

Whenever you’re shooting outside of your home or office, you need to position yourself properly in relation to natural lighting resources.

Use the sun to your advantage when you’re filming outdoors. Try to position your camera so that the sun is at the same angle as your key light would be in a studio setup.

3. Add captions to your videos

Not everyone will be watching your video with the sound on. That’s why you need to add captions to your content.

You’ll have much higher engagement rates if your video blog has captions. Videos with captions have 40% more views. Furthermore, the chances of a viewer watching your entire video increases by 80% if you make closed captions available.

Are you planning to share your video blog on Facebook? Take a look at these numbers:

image3

As you can see, 85% of videos on Facebook are watched on mute. It makes sense that captions increase the viewing time by 12%.

Think about all the different scenarios under which someone may be watching your video blog. The viewers might be at work, at school, or in a room full of people they don’t want to disturb.

Do you watch all videos with the sound on? Probably not. Make sure you add captions to all of your video blogs.

4. Get yourself a decent camera

Let’s get back to talking about your equipment. In addition to a microphone and lights, you’ll also need to have a reliable camera.

Again, I’m not saying you need to spend thousands of dollars. Just make sure you take certain factors into consideration before making a purchase.

Depending on where you’ll be filming, you won’t always have access to a power outlet. Battery life is really important if you’re filming on the go.

You should also consider the size of your storage cards. You’d hate to be in the middle of filming great content and run out of space on the camera.

The size of your camera should also be an important consideration. Make sure it’s small, easy to hold, and convenient to transport.

If you don’t have your camera with you at all times, it’s not the end of the world. You can use your computer or smartphone for some videos.

But if you are serious about becoming a successful video blogger, carrying a high quality camera with you everywhere you go will give you the opportunity to film great content any time you have some inspiration or see something that’s cool and worth filming.

You should also know the video format that your camera records.

Popular formats include .mov, .avi, .mp4. This is important to know depending on how you plan to edit, export, and share your videos. You want to make sure the format can easily be converted.

5. Find the right screen capture software

Sometimes you won’t even need a camera to video blog—well, at least not for all your posts.

If you want to show your audience how to do things on your computer, you’ll need to be able to record your actions with software such as ScreenFlow.

image4

You’ll have to pay for the software, but it’s worth it if you plan to do any screen recordings on your Mac.

PC users can use something like Camtasia.

There are other options, but these are my top choices for Mac and PC. You can use them as a reference point for price and features if you’re shopping around.

6. Be personable and engaging

Part of being a successful video blogger means you need to have a great personality. Don’t be shy, timid, or boring.

If you’ve got a sense of humor, let it shine.

Remember, this is your video blog. There aren’t any rules when it comes to the type of content you’re sharing.

Just be aware that anything you say or do could affect your personal and professional brand. I’d recommend staying away from controversial topics. But go for it if that’s a risk you’re willing to take.

Mix up your content so it’s engaging. Nobody wants to watch the same thing every day, week, or however often you plan to upload a new video.

7. Give your audience a reason to watch

This relates to my last tip about engaging with your audience. You need to answer a few questions about the direction of your video blog before you start filming.

What is the point of your video? Are you teaching your audience how to do something? What are your qualifications?

Sure, video blogs can be entertaining, informative, or both. But you need to make sure your audience has an incentive to watch.

Unless you’ve got one of the best personalities in the world, nobody will want to just listen to you talk about your day.

Understand what your audience wants, and give it to them.

8. Learn how to edit effectively

You’ll need to know how to edit your videos before you publish them. Just don’t go crazy with this.

Lots of cuts and edits don’t look professional. If you’ve got a Mac, you can use basic software such as iMovie to get the job done:

image5

It’s great if you’ve got multiple iOS devices you’ll be recording on.

For Windows users, Movie Maker is the free software for this purpose.

These tools are necessary because they can help you accomplish basic tasks such as trimming clips and piecing videos together.

You can adjust the audio and do other edits as well. Just don’t go overboard with too many effects, or it will look unprofessional.

9. Encourage users to comment

Another way to keep users engaged is by enticing them to comment on your video blogs. This can be easy if you position your videos accordingly.

Ask for their opinions. Try to spark a discussion or a debate.

If you take a stance on a particular subject, say something like, “Well, let me know what you guys think in the comments section.”

Respond to comments. This is a great way to keep people coming back to your content even when you haven’t uploaded a new video.

If you’re handling this effectively, you could be getting new comments on videos you uploaded months or even years ago.

10. Host an interview

If you think your content is getting stale or you need to spice it up with something new, bring guests on.

Sure, people may love you. But seeing the same face over and over again could get old and boring.

Bring in an expert on a particular subject. Do you have any connections to an athlete, movie star, or some other celebrity? Even if they are a D-list actor, a fresh face can help you build hype for your video blog.

If you don’t have those kinds of connections, ask your friends. I’m sure you’ve got someone in your circle or in your family who is funny and has a great personality.

It’s all about keeping your content fresh. Don’t think your video blog needs to be about you every time.

11. Distribute your content

Once you’ve recorded a video blog, you’ve got to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. YouTube is the best platform for video distribution.

All of my video content starts on my YouTube channel:

image6

The great thing about YouTube is you can always repurpose your videos after you add them to your channel.

Post these videos on social media. Add video blog links to your website. Send video content to your email subscribers.

If you’ve got a written blog as well, you should be writing about your video blogs and embedding links in your content to drive more traffic to your videos.

Again, I’d start with YouTube first. But some video bloggers like to use other distribution channels, such as blip.tv or Vimeo.

12. Keep recording

You won’t use every piece of film you record. Don’t be afraid to tape as much content as you can.

That’s why it’s important to have a camera with you as often as possible.

You can always filter through the content later and discard it if it’s not that great. Or save it for a future broadcast.

Regardless, always be ready to record so that you don’t miss any opportunities.

Telling your audience about an experience is one thing, but being able to show them the video of it will make your video blog that much better.

Conclusion

With video trends on the rise, it’s a great idea to start a video blog. But with so many other people out there doing the same thing, it can be difficult to separate yourself from the crowd.

Take the tips I’ve outlined above, and apply them to your video blog if you want to be successful.

Start by doing simple things such as getting the right equipment and editing software.

After that, it comes down to your personality and marketing ability to get your video content out there for people to see.

Follow these tips, and your video blog will rapidly grow in terms of traffic, viewing time, and engagement.

Which tools, software, and principles have you used to drive more traffic to your video blogs?

The post The Top 12 Tips for Running a Successful Video Blog appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

Blogging is one of my favorite ways to drive traffic to websites and engage with audiences.

But those of you who have been staying up-to-date on the newest marketing trends know video content has been on the rise.

In fact, experts predict that by 2019, 80% of the global Internet traffic will be videos. More than half of marketing executives say video content is their most profitable ROI.

Blog posts containing videos have triple the amount of inbound links compared to blog posts without videos.

It’s understandable why you might be interested in starting a video blog.

Based on all these numbers, it’s safe to say people love consuming video content. But establishing yourself as a prominent video blogger can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before.

There are many factors to take into consideration.

What kind of equipment should you use? How do you behave in front of the camera? How do you promote your new video blog?

You’re not the only one who has recognized these video trends. Research shows businesses plan to add more content distribution channels in the next year.

image1

Do you see a commonality in the top three responses? All of these are platforms for video distribution.

If you need some pointers for launching a new video blog or improving your existing one, you have come to the right place.

These are the top 12 tips for running a successful video blog.

1. Invest in a high quality microphone

Audio is one of the most important aspects of your video blog. People need to be able to hear what you’re saying.

Having a quality microphone can help make sure you’re not wasting any time recording your video. Sometimes, you’ll have poor video quality. It happens.

But even if your video sucks, you can always salvage the audio and use it for something like a podcast. Or you can use the audio to voiceover a presentation or something else that’s not live.

Your computer has a microphone built into it, but you can do better. Cheap cameras also don’t have the best microphones.

If you want to take your video blog seriously and do videos often, high quality audio needs to be a priority.

Which type of microphone should you get? I’ll be honest with you: I’m not an expert when it comes to this type of equipment. You’ll need to do some research yourself.

That said, you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on this investment. You should be able to find what you need for roughly $100 or less.

Just make sure you’re able to balance your audio levels with the microphone. Test it out each time before you start broadcasting so you don’t waste time recording audio that’s unusable.

Know your environment. Where do you plan on recording the most?

There are certain microphones that are meant for different things, such as being in a large room with echoes, outdoors with high winds, or in areas with crowds and lots of background noise.

Find a microphone suitable for your broadcast environments. It’s worth the investment.

2. Make sure you have proper lighting

We’ve all seen videos that look unprofessional. They can be anything from those low-budget local commercials to your family home videos.

It’s unacceptable for your video blog to look like this. It’s important for you to understand the concept of a basic three point lighting setup.

lighting

Sure, sometimes you’ll be filming on the go. It’s not always reasonable for you to be carrying around all the equipment with you.

But if much of your video blog content is going to be filmed in your home or apartment, you should have these lights set up like in the example above.

Lighting can do a lot for the quality of your videos. These are the three terms you need to get familiar with:

  • key light
  • fill light
  • back light

Your key light will serve as your primary light. For the most part, it’s placed on the left side of the camera and should be roughly three feet higher than your eye level.

The key light will be the brightest of these three lights. Angle it at a downward angle so it replicates the sun and has a natural lighting effect.

Your key light will create a shadow. To fill that shadow with light, you’ll need a fill light on the opposite side of the camera.

With two lights placed in front of you, you’ll need a back light behind you so the lighting looks natural. Otherwise, you may have some dark shadows on your shoulders.

The back light should be diffused—it’s the least bright of the trio.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your lights, but you should keep in mind that inexpensive lights won’t last forever. If you’re in this for the long haul, it may be worth it to invest now and save yourself some money down the road.

Whenever you’re shooting outside of your home or office, you need to position yourself properly in relation to natural lighting resources.

Use the sun to your advantage when you’re filming outdoors. Try to position your camera so that the sun is at the same angle as your key light would be in a studio setup.

3. Add captions to your videos

Not everyone will be watching your video with the sound on. That’s why you need to add captions to your content.

You’ll have much higher engagement rates if your video blog has captions. Videos with captions have 40% more views. Furthermore, the chances of a viewer watching your entire video increases by 80% if you make closed captions available.

Are you planning to share your video blog on Facebook? Take a look at these numbers:

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As you can see, 85% of videos on Facebook are watched on mute. It makes sense that captions increase the viewing time by 12%.

Think about all the different scenarios under which someone may be watching your video blog. The viewers might be at work, at school, or in a room full of people they don’t want to disturb.

Do you watch all videos with the sound on? Probably not. Make sure you add captions to all of your video blogs.

4. Get yourself a decent camera

Let’s get back to talking about your equipment. In addition to a microphone and lights, you’ll also need to have a reliable camera.

Again, I’m not saying you need to spend thousands of dollars. Just make sure you take certain factors into consideration before making a purchase.

Depending on where you’ll be filming, you won’t always have access to a power outlet. Battery life is really important if you’re filming on the go.

You should also consider the size of your storage cards. You’d hate to be in the middle of filming great content and run out of space on the camera.

The size of your camera should also be an important consideration. Make sure it’s small, easy to hold, and convenient to transport.

If you don’t have your camera with you at all times, it’s not the end of the world. You can use your computer or smartphone for some videos.

But if you are serious about becoming a successful video blogger, carrying a high quality camera with you everywhere you go will give you the opportunity to film great content any time you have some inspiration or see something that’s cool and worth filming.

You should also know the video format that your camera records.

Popular formats include .mov, .avi, .mp4. This is important to know depending on how you plan to edit, export, and share your videos. You want to make sure the format can easily be converted.

5. Find the right screen capture software

Sometimes you won’t even need a camera to video blog—well, at least not for all your posts.

If you want to show your audience how to do things on your computer, you’ll need to be able to record your actions with software such as ScreenFlow.

image4

You’ll have to pay for the software, but it’s worth it if you plan to do any screen recordings on your Mac.

PC users can use something like Camtasia.

There are other options, but these are my top choices for Mac and PC. You can use them as a reference point for price and features if you’re shopping around.

6. Be personable and engaging

Part of being a successful video blogger means you need to have a great personality. Don’t be shy, timid, or boring.

If you’ve got a sense of humor, let it shine.

Remember, this is your video blog. There aren’t any rules when it comes to the type of content you’re sharing.

Just be aware that anything you say or do could affect your personal and professional brand. I’d recommend staying away from controversial topics. But go for it if that’s a risk you’re willing to take.

Mix up your content so it’s engaging. Nobody wants to watch the same thing every day, week, or however often you plan to upload a new video.

7. Give your audience a reason to watch

This relates to my last tip about engaging with your audience. You need to answer a few questions about the direction of your video blog before you start filming.

What is the point of your video? Are you teaching your audience how to do something? What are your qualifications?

Sure, video blogs can be entertaining, informative, or both. But you need to make sure your audience has an incentive to watch.

Unless you’ve got one of the best personalities in the world, nobody will want to just listen to you talk about your day.

Understand what your audience wants, and give it to them.

8. Learn how to edit effectively

You’ll need to know how to edit your videos before you publish them. Just don’t go crazy with this.

Lots of cuts and edits don’t look professional. If you’ve got a Mac, you can use basic software such as iMovie to get the job done:

image5

It’s great if you’ve got multiple iOS devices you’ll be recording on.

For Windows users, Movie Maker is the free software for this purpose.

These tools are necessary because they can help you accomplish basic tasks such as trimming clips and piecing videos together.

You can adjust the audio and do other edits as well. Just don’t go overboard with too many effects, or it will look unprofessional.

9. Encourage users to comment

Another way to keep users engaged is by enticing them to comment on your video blogs. This can be easy if you position your videos accordingly.

Ask for their opinions. Try to spark a discussion or a debate.

If you take a stance on a particular subject, say something like, “Well, let me know what you guys think in the comments section.”

Respond to comments. This is a great way to keep people coming back to your content even when you haven’t uploaded a new video.

If you’re handling this effectively, you could be getting new comments on videos you uploaded months or even years ago.

10. Host an interview

If you think your content is getting stale or you need to spice it up with something new, bring guests on.

Sure, people may love you. But seeing the same face over and over again could get old and boring.

Bring in an expert on a particular subject. Do you have any connections to an athlete, movie star, or some other celebrity? Even if they are a D-list actor, a fresh face can help you build hype for your video blog.

If you don’t have those kinds of connections, ask your friends. I’m sure you’ve got someone in your circle or in your family who is funny and has a great personality.

It’s all about keeping your content fresh. Don’t think your video blog needs to be about you every time.

11. Distribute your content

Once you’ve recorded a video blog, you’ve got to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. YouTube is the best platform for video distribution.

All of my video content starts on my YouTube channel:

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The great thing about YouTube is you can always repurpose your videos after you add them to your channel.

Post these videos on social media. Add video blog links to your website. Send video content to your email subscribers.

If you’ve got a written blog as well, you should be writing about your video blogs and embedding links in your content to drive more traffic to your videos.

Again, I’d start with YouTube first. But some video bloggers like to use other distribution channels, such as blip.tv or Vimeo.

12. Keep recording

You won’t use every piece of film you record. Don’t be afraid to tape as much content as you can.

That’s why it’s important to have a camera with you as often as possible.

You can always filter through the content later and discard it if it’s not that great. Or save it for a future broadcast.

Regardless, always be ready to record so that you don’t miss any opportunities.

Telling your audience about an experience is one thing, but being able to show them the video of it will make your video blog that much better.

Conclusion

With video trends on the rise, it’s a great idea to start a video blog. But with so many other people out there doing the same thing, it can be difficult to separate yourself from the crowd.

Take the tips I’ve outlined above, and apply them to your video blog if you want to be successful.

Start by doing simple things such as getting the right equipment and editing software.

After that, it comes down to your personality and marketing ability to get your video content out there for people to see.

Follow these tips, and your video blog will rapidly grow in terms of traffic, viewing time, and engagement.

Which tools, software, and principles have you used to drive more traffic to your video blogs?

The post The Top 12 Tips for Running a Successful Video Blog appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

10 Outdated (But Commonly Used) Social Media Tactics You Need To Ditch

Recently, I noticed my blog traffic from social was decreasing but the engagement of my followers on social media was going up. Even with the reach of my posts going down. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. What’s going on? No matter what I tried, it didn’t seem to improve. That was it. … Continue reading “10 Outdated (But Commonly Used) Social Media Tactics You Need To Ditch”

The post 10 Outdated (But Commonly Used) Social Media Tactics You Need To Ditch appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

Recently, I noticed my blog traffic from social was decreasing but the engagement of my followers on social media was going up. Even with the reach of my posts going down. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. What’s going on? No matter what I tried, it didn’t seem to improve. That was it. … Continue reading “10 Outdated (But Commonly Used) Social Media Tactics You Need To Ditch”

The post 10 Outdated (But Commonly Used) Social Media Tactics You Need To Ditch appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

What is Public Relations? The Definition of PR in 100 Words or Less

There’s an old saying: “Advertising is what you pay for; publicity is what you pray for.”Download our free press release template here to learn how to write a  top-notch press release. 

Public relations isn’t an easy profession to define. In fact, in 2012, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) accepted a few thousand submissions before finally agreeing on a definition:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

After reading PRSA’s definition, you might still have questions about PR: how can an organization take its beneficial relationship to the public and turn it into good press? Are you really “praying” for something, like the old saying goes, if you’re using a strategic process to get results?

Hang with me — let’s break it down.

The positive, storytelling side of PR

A PR professional works with an organization, company, government, or individual to cultivate a story that portrays that client’s reputation, idea, product, position, or accomplishment in a positive light. So, in a sense, you can think of PR professionals as storytellers. Unlike advertisers, who tell stories through paid methods, PR professionals tell their stories through unpaid or earned media.

These unpaid or earned avenues include traditional media, social media, or speaking engagements — which are especially effective opportunities for reaching the general public. Keep in mind that a PR professional isn’t just trying to reach a paying customer … she’s trying to reach everyone.

Hopefully, this is a digestible definition of PR. If you’re still unsure of how PR looks in the real world, let’s explore some examples.

Let’s say you work for a small interior design company, and your business just won an award: “Best Interior Design Company in Chicago.” A PR specialist might ask a reporter to write a story about this accomplishment to spread the news to the public.

Along with building a credible reputation for your interior design business, the PR professional is also helping the public receive relevant information about this accolade. If I’m a consumer looking for an interior designer, this announcement could help me, too.

Public relations extends to government, too. PR professionals can execute political campaigns or explain a government’s new policy to the public. In this case, you can see how PR professionals work to maintain a healthy and productive relationship between their client (the government), and the general public, who have a right to hear about new policies.

The negative, damage-control side of PR

PR isn’t just used for positive storytelling. It’s also used to mitigate any damage that could weaken a client’s reputation.

In the early 1980s, numerous bottles of Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol product were laced with cyanide by an unknown person, killing seven people. This led to widespread panic and could have resulted in the end of Tylenol products.

Johnson & Johnson took aggressive PR measures to mitigate the damage: first, the company pulled all of its Tylenol products off the shelves and issued a national statement warning consumers not to purchase or use Tylenol. Then, Johnson & Johnson created a new tamper-resistant seal, and instructed 2,000 sales personnel to deliver presentations to the medical community to reintroduce these new, safer Tylenol bottles.

This effective PR strategy saved Johnson & Johnson’s reputation, as well as their product — in fact, Tylenol shares climbed back up to 24 percent just six weeks after the cyanide crisis.

In the case of Johnson & Johnson, a simple advertising campaign wouldn’t have worked. Instead, PR was necessary: PR professionals were able to spread a story that portrayed Johnson & Johnson as a company that puts consumers ahead of profit. Along with mitigating damage to Johnson & Johnson’s reputation, PR was used to save more people from consuming cyanide-laced Tylenol, and then used to inform the public that Tylenol was safe again. A win-win-win.

In these examples, you can see PR professionals are adept at handling a wide variety of both good and bad circumstances, and must address these events so the public and client can maintain a beneficial relationship. PR specialists also play a role in advising management on the best policy decisions or actions to take, and conducting programs, such as fundraising or networking events, to help the public understand the organization’s goals.

PR isn’t just used to influence a story after it happens — it’s also used to write that story in the first place. 

free press release template

 
free press release template

The post What is Public Relations? The Definition of PR in 100 Words or Less appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

There’s an old saying: “Advertising is what you pay for; publicity is what you pray for.”Download our free press release template here to learn how to write a  top-notch press release. 

Public relations isn’t an easy profession to define. In fact, in 2012, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) accepted a few thousand submissions before finally agreeing on a definition:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

After reading PRSA’s definition, you might still have questions about PR: how can an organization take its beneficial relationship to the public and turn it into good press? Are you really “praying” for something, like the old saying goes, if you’re using a strategic process to get results?

Hang with me — let’s break it down.

The positive, storytelling side of PR

A PR professional works with an organization, company, government, or individual to cultivate a story that portrays that client’s reputation, idea, product, position, or accomplishment in a positive light. So, in a sense, you can think of PR professionals as storytellers. Unlike advertisers, who tell stories through paid methods, PR professionals tell their stories through unpaid or earned media.

These unpaid or earned avenues include traditional media, social media, or speaking engagements — which are especially effective opportunities for reaching the general public. Keep in mind that a PR professional isn’t just trying to reach a paying customer … she’s trying to reach everyone.

Hopefully, this is a digestible definition of PR. If you’re still unsure of how PR looks in the real world, let’s explore some examples.

Let’s say you work for a small interior design company, and your business just won an award: “Best Interior Design Company in Chicago.” A PR specialist might ask a reporter to write a story about this accomplishment to spread the news to the public.

Along with building a credible reputation for your interior design business, the PR professional is also helping the public receive relevant information about this accolade. If I’m a consumer looking for an interior designer, this announcement could help me, too.

Public relations extends to government, too. PR professionals can execute political campaigns or explain a government’s new policy to the public. In this case, you can see how PR professionals work to maintain a healthy and productive relationship between their client (the government), and the general public, who have a right to hear about new policies.

The negative, damage-control side of PR

PR isn’t just used for positive storytelling. It’s also used to mitigate any damage that could weaken a client’s reputation.

In the early 1980s, numerous bottles of Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol product were laced with cyanide by an unknown person, killing seven people. This led to widespread panic and could have resulted in the end of Tylenol products.

Johnson & Johnson took aggressive PR measures to mitigate the damage: first, the company pulled all of its Tylenol products off the shelves and issued a national statement warning consumers not to purchase or use Tylenol. Then, Johnson & Johnson created a new tamper-resistant seal, and instructed 2,000 sales personnel to deliver presentations to the medical community to reintroduce these new, safer Tylenol bottles.

This effective PR strategy saved Johnson & Johnson’s reputation, as well as their product — in fact, Tylenol shares climbed back up to 24 percent just six weeks after the cyanide crisis.

In the case of Johnson & Johnson, a simple advertising campaign wouldn’t have worked. Instead, PR was necessary: PR professionals were able to spread a story that portrayed Johnson & Johnson as a company that puts consumers ahead of profit. Along with mitigating damage to Johnson & Johnson’s reputation, PR was used to save more people from consuming cyanide-laced Tylenol, and then used to inform the public that Tylenol was safe again. A win-win-win.

In these examples, you can see PR professionals are adept at handling a wide variety of both good and bad circumstances, and must address these events so the public and client can maintain a beneficial relationship. PR specialists also play a role in advising management on the best policy decisions or actions to take, and conducting programs, such as fundraising or networking events, to help the public understand the organization’s goals.

PR isn’t just used to influence a story after it happens — it’s also used to write that story in the first place. 

free press release template

 
free press release template

The post What is Public Relations? The Definition of PR in 100 Words or Less appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.