Note from Kevin: This post is written by freelance journalist and Be A Better Blogger reader McKinley Carbone. McKinley is going to compare blogs and vlogs (video logs), and help you decide which is better for you.
There are many reasons to start a blog or vlog.
Some people want an outlet to express their feelings, opinions, and struggles about life. Others are creating content to inform and promote a business or brand.
Since blogging and vlogging are both effective strategies for gaining relevancy and popularity for your website, which one you choose may ultimately come down to your reason for creating a blog or vlog in the first place.
Blogs and vlogs each have their benefits and drawbacks. If you are able to consider your personality and what you are trying to portray to your audience, it is easier to decide which is a better fit for you.
(It’s sort of like books and movies ? both are entertaining, but some audiences prefer books and others prefer movies.)
Here are some helpful guidelines to consider when deciding between a blog and a vlog…
Blogging is a great way to express a story, advice, or idea from your perspective. Some people prefer this type of interaction as opposed to being spoken to through a video. Because you cannot see the blogger, they tend to care a great deal about the appearance and character of their blog.
With writing there is the option of skimming the article before committing to reading it. Not every blog post will relate to every person, so having the option to skim the article gives the audience some control over what they are reading.
Another upside of blogging is you can do it anywhere. Unlike vlogging, where you are tied to the location of your video camera, as long as you have a computer and internet connection you can blog.
If you are traveling and you have a great content idea (Example: “8 Reasons Airports are the Worst”), you can easily write that post while you are sitting in the airport. The task would be much harder as a vlog post, and it would take longer.
Blogging is prime for businesses that want to provide information, guidance or promote business ideas and tips. For example, writing a blog post on secrets to web hosting makes a lot more sense than a video. With a blog you can describe step-by-step directions and screenshots to demonstrate your service.
Blogs also have their downsides.
There are countless blogs on the internet and countless blogging platforms such as Tumblr, Blogger, Pinterest and more. This is good on one hand because there are a lot of options in terms of who you want to reach out to and how you want to gain your audience. However, it is a lot harder to separate yourself from all of the other bloggers that are around you.
Also, it is arguably more difficult to keep blogging content fresh and up to date like a vlog can do. Clearly there are blogs that can do that well, but because you are expressing life through words rather than images it can be a challenge.
One more thing to consider when blogging is your voice. In some cases your voice in a blog can be misinterpreted more often than a vlog. It is easier to understand a person when you can see facial expressions and listen to the influx of their voice. If a blog post has a joke in it, some of the humor may be lost if there is no physical pause before the punch line.
There is something about a person talking to you that just feels good, even if it is through a computer screen. Vlogging is visual. You can see facial expressions, and you can put a face to the name. Because you can see the vlogger, it makes them more engaging.
There are some businesses that need a visual outlet to promote their brand or their product.
For example, it would be difficult for a makeup, cosmetics, or hairstyle brand to fully portray their potential through a blog. With vlogging, people can see the hot new hairstyles or makeup trends, and how to do them. This gives more credibility to the vlogger and ultimately the brand.
Beauty and hairstyle blogs have the option to show fun hair style infographics and photos. This is a useful and effective way to elevate beauty blogs. Some however, prefer to use vlogs so they can show the actual steps to obtain that finished look. Carli Bybel is a great example of a successful makeup/beauty vlogger.
Another important aspect of vlogging is the platform.
YouTube is the host of thousands of vlogs and because of that there is high traffic all the time, which decreases the need for vloggers to focus on SEO.
Using vlogging as a personal platform rather than a business platform can be really useful in self-promotion. If you have good content on YouTube, people will find your vlog. So not only does your brand grow, but people will know your name and be able to put a face to your name.
Vlogging may have more visual interaction, but that doesn’t come without complications.
Vlogs can be a lot more time consuming than blogs. When you consider lighting, set up, filming, editing, and downloading, it can make the process much longer. That is not including coming up with ideas and content for your vlog as well. These are all skills that can be learned over time, but it takes more knowledge of computers, video, and social media to make an alluring vlog that people will want to follow.
Equipment costs are also a lot more for vloggers than bloggers. Some of the equipment vloggers need includes a video camera, headsets, editing programs, and a tripod. True, not that all of that equipment is 100% necessary, but there’s no denying there are more equipment needs for vlogs than blogs.
An additional difficulty of vlogging is that after it is published on the web it’s tough to edit it or fix a problem.
With blogging if you see a spelling or punctuation error it is relatively easy to go in and change what you posted. With vlogging you would have to take down the video, go back and re-record the mistake, and then repost it. That tends to be a more lengthy process.
Questions to Think About
Depending on your whether your goal is to grow your business, sell a product, or just tell your story, you can choose to write a blog or record a vlog. Both of these options are awesome ways to get your name out there and can help promote your brand.
But what will make the most impact for what you do?
Which platform will make your audience want to read more or subscribe to your channel?
Here are some questions to ask yourself. The answers will help you choose:
What does your target audience relate to more?
Does your audience want to see a lot of ?how to? videos and tutorials or do they want to know 50 ways to keep their blog up to date? Do you have a product that needs a canvas or visual aid or do you prefer to leave some of your story to the imagination?
If you are a business blogger, your audience may be more likely to read your posts rather than listening to your video. If you are promoting yourself and like to reach out to a larger crowd, then maybe that will translate better through a vlog.
What are you more comfortable with, writing or talking?
This is a pretty basic yet important question to ask yourself.
Blogging requires a lot of writing and vlogging requires talking to a camera. If you are camera shy, vlogging may be a bit of a learning curve. If you don?t enjoy writing, blogging can be a struggle.
What is the voice you want to portray?
The voice that you choose will reflect the feeling of your post. More outgoing people may have a fun time making a vlog because you can see and hear their enthusiasm. If you are sarcastic or use a lot of humor, it may be better to use a vlog so that type of voice isn’t lost in your words.
What is your niche?
I mentioned some vlog niches earlier which included hair, beauty, makeup, and cosmetics. These are some niches that would mesh well with a vlog because they can have more impact with a visual representation.
Both vlogs and blogs can accommodate any number of different topics and niches. This is not something that should be a deciding factor when determining which is better for you, but it is one aspect that can shed light on which may resonate better with your audience.
Considering the differences between a personal and business blog/vlog is important as well. What you are trying to portray through your blog or vlog makes a big difference for branding and translation of information.
In the End…
Ultimately blogs and vlogs will both help promote yourself and your business. They each have their pros and cons, but it comes down to the individual and how you choose to connect with other people. There is no right or wrong answer, and if you still don?t know which one to choose there is nothing wrong with doing both. It will only increase your followers and it can be a good way to change things up if you are getting bored! If you start with both you may eventually stray toward one or the other, and then you have a definite answer.
Every person does things differently and the most important thing to consider is what will you enjoy doing the most?
If you are blogging but you hate writing content, your post will not be fun to write and it will not be fun to read either. If you are a camera shy vlogger, you may have issues there as well.
Do what you feel comfortable with, and eventually you can figure out how to incorporate other techniques into your repertoire.