Vlogging vs Blogging for Brands, January 2021 Update
As we’ve covered before, blogs (short for web-logs) and vlogs (short for video blogs) are two incredibly popular and effective content marketing strategies, both for individuals and businesses.
Properly pursuing either strategy, though, is a huge commitment, so you want to make sure you choose the right medium for your brand.
In this article we’re going to go over the main differences between vlogs and blogs as content marketing strategies, to help you decide which better suits your business.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Blogs vs Vlogs
Choosing Vlog Topics for Your Brand
You can present many kinds of information in either (or both) blog and vlog format.
Things like instructions, troubleshooting advice, news or industry-related information are all great places to start.
How we structure the “topics” of our vlogs and blogs, however, will be very different.
Vlogs work best for brands that have a visually appealing product.
What we mean by this is something that you can show off visually to create interest and desire amongst your target customers.
A makeup and beauty company, for instance, is much more suited to producing vlog content than an accounting firm.
You want to make sure you always have a clear “topic” in mind when creating a vlog.
In most industries shorter, focused, content-rich videos will perform the best.
You could create instructional vlogs to teach consumers how best to use your products, showcase vlogs showing off the visual appeal of your product or even interviews with previous customers as a form of testimonial.
Think about what format best suits your industry and niche, and play to its strengths.
For instance, a makeup company could create tutorials showing the amazing looks you can achieve with their products, or a hotel company could create video showcases of their amazing hotel amenities.
When you’re looking at how your business’ vlog will grow, it’ll mostly be through organic sharing and gaining traction in the YouTube algorithm.
Choosing Blog Keywords for Your Brand
Blogs, on the other hand, are best suited to conveying information about your product or industry that is either too long or complex to live in a video format.
Blogs can also work amazingly well for brands that have a more abstract product or service, which you can’t really show off visually.
Going back to the earlier example, an accounting firm would be much better off starting a blog about the latest trends in the accounting world.
Just like with vlogs, you want a clear topic in mind for every single blog you write.
The process, however, is different because of the ways we grow blogs.
Organic sharing can still be important, but blogs are almost always done as part of an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy.
What that means is that we create blog topics by targeting specific keywords, or keyphrases, that people are searching for in search engines on Google.
We then structure the blogs to try and make them the most relevant answer to the given search term.
When we get this right, the search engines reward us by pushing our results to the top of the search results, which lets us get more organic (free) traffic to the site from our blogs.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Good Blogger?
Creating high-quality blogs, or vlogs, are obviously wildly different skill sets.
You can always hire a third party, or in house, person to handle this aspect of your marketing, but for many small businesses you’ll want to stick to the skills you already have on hand.
To run a successful blog, you need to be good at writing. This means being able to create blog posts that flow and entice readers to read further, as well as avoiding spelling or grammatical mistakes that would harm your credibility.
You may also need some basic web development skills, to create and host your blog.
There are many great CMS (Content Management Systems) out there, so it’s less of a requirement than it used to be, but some experience in the field is still incredibly useful for making the most out of your blog and aiding SEO efforts.
You could also hire a web design company to help you create a bespoke blog site, but not every business can afford this expense.
As we mentioned previously, a crucial secondary skill for bloggers is SEO.
Choosing the right keywords and making sure your blogs are optimised to target them can be almost as important as the blogs themselves.
In general, we want to create blogs that speak to both machines (search engines like Google) through good SEO practices and people (your customers) through good writing.
This is another area you can try to outsource, however, if it’s too technical or time consuming for you to handle in house.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Good Vlogger?
When you’re making a vlog, you don’t necessarily need to be a good writer (though it does help).
You can either create more improvisational vlog content, such as interviews or on-the-spot reviews, or you can create more structured content with a script or outline (which is where the writing comes in handy).
Most important is that you have an eye for cinematography and a good sense of pacing.
These are both skills that can be learned, just like writing, but again some people are naturally more gifted with it than others.
If you’re going to be the main person hosting or starring in the vlog, some charisma and self-confidence also go a long way.
Vlogging can be intimidating for many of the same reasons as public speaking, so if you’re good at that you’ll likely also be good at being on camera for your vlogs.
You could work around this in several ways, such as creating vlog-style content that focuses on shots of your products, or scenes related to your industry, instead of you.
Ultimately, however, the best kind of vlogs are going to be the ones you’re comfortable creating consistently, and where you feel able to add value to your customers’ lives.
A secondary consideration is video editing.
Unless you’re masterful at doing everything in one take, you’re likely going to need somebody to edit your vlogs.
Editing software can be tricky to learn, so you again have a variety of options here from doing it yourself to hiring an in house editor.
Who Are You Creating the Content For?
It’s not only crucial that your chosen medium matches the strengths of your product, but also that it matches what your target audience is looking for.
A big thing to look for when creating vlog content is to look at what consumers actually like watching.
An easy way to do this is to research your competitors and see what they’re putting out and what is doing well.
Similarly, when choosing keywords for blogs a very important (and often overlooked) thing to consider is the search intent of your keywords.
For instance, if somebody is searching a particular keyword looking to buy, you shouldn’t target that keyword with a blog page because it isn’t what they’re looking for.
Costs and Overheads
Another thing to consider is your content marketing strategy’s budget.
In general, vlogging is almost always going to be more expensive than vlogging depending on several factors.
To create a blog, all you really need is a website, hosting for your website and somebody to create and write blogs.
The cost of hiring someone to do blogs can scale pretty high, especially if you hire a full agency, but for a start (especially if you’re writing them yourself) it’s not much of a factor.
Vlogging, on the other hand, can include anything from filming and editing on your smartphone to professional filming set up with lights, microphones, cameras and studio spaces.
What your brand needs to create a quality vlog is, of course, up to your discretion. Generally, we’d recommend starting with the bare minimum to see what works.
If you need high-quality audio, invest in a few microphones. If you need high-resolution video, invest in a good camera setup with lights.
Right now blogs are easier to monetise because of the ease of setting up direct purchase links to other pages on your site but keep an eye on YouTube shopping which stands to revolutionise the world of social shopping.
Blog and Vlog Hosting
As we mentioned previously, the best place for your blog is probably on its own dedicated site.
It’s often a good idea, though, to collaborate with other blogs in the space as part of your SEO strategy.
This allows you to share traffic and link equity and establishes you as an authority in the field.
For vlogs, you have two main options. Either self-hosting or hosting on a third-party platform like YouTube.
In general, we always recommend starting with hosting your vlogs on YouTube for two simple reasons.
One, it can be incredibly expensive in terms of web hosting to host videos on your own site.
And two, hosting your site on YouTube allows them to drive more traffic to your vlogs using their algorithm if customers engage with it and it gains traction.
Another great idea for many businesses is a sort of combined strategy. I.e. creating a vlog, and transcribing it into the form of a blog. Or, making a supporting vlog to include in the middle of your blog.
You can then host both simultaneously on one web page, which allows you to drive traffic from sites like YouTube to your own, and allows you to make the most out of your investment into one piece of content.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Blogging
Advantages of Blogging
- Great for deep, long-form, content
- Fewer skills required to start
- Great for boosting SEO efforts
Disadvantages of Blogging
- Less engaging than video in many instances
- Blogs can take a long time to gain traction
- There is a deeper learning curve to start producing high-quality blogs
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vlogging
Advantages of Vlogging
- Great for short, highly engaging, visual content
- Scalable starting points
- Great for creating social-sharing content
Disadvantages of Vlogging
- Not suited for every business (product must be visual)
- Production and upfront investment can be expensive
- Little effect on SEO
That does it for our 2021 update on choosing between a vlog or a blog for your business’ content marketing strategy.
To summarise, blogs are better for long-form informational content and vlogs are better for creating engaging visual content around your brand.
A Hybrid strategy incorporating both is also a very viable strategy.
If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast.
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