How to Vlog Like a Boss

by J. Money on March 11, 2013

[Welcome to a kick-ass guest post video post by my girl Kathryn at Makin’ Sense Babe!]

If you’re not at work, shut down your twitter/facebook/emails, close your door, then  turn up the volume and hit play! For the next 10 minutes you’ll learn exactly how to pump out quality vids that’ll grab your attention and get your sexy readers (watchers?) coming back. It’s long, yes (that’s what she said!), but it’s totally worth it, believe me. If, that is, you want to be a video king.

Close your door and do it now!

(Here’s the direct link:
And if you’re a bore and want to read about it instead, the outline of the vid is below…)


So you want to know how to make a video that doesn’t make people want to stab themselves in the eyeballs? I’ve got the formula for you!

Before we start, let’s clear one thing up: making a YouTube video should be fun. So if at any point you’re not having fun while making your video, remind yourself that people care less about your videos than you think.

They’re not thinking about them all day long, even if it’s a really bad video.

The biggest obstacle between you and the camera is you obsessing over “feeling dumb” or not saying the right thing. PS, everyone is too obsessed with themselves to be harping on your video (or maybe that’s just LA) so no worries.

How to make a killer video blog:

  1. The Flow
  2. The Conversation
  3. The Equipment

—————————————————— THE FLOW ——————————————————

The Flow #1 – The first seven seconds of your video are key.

Do something unpredictable! Whatever you do, don’t sit there and look like you’re reading off a screen. And forget saying who you are, they know who you are if they look on your YouTube channel and I’m sure you’ll have your name or blog name somewhere in the video in a banner at the bottom. Don’t waste their time in the first seven seconds with mundane info you can incorporate somewhere else.

The Flow #2 – Shock the viewer every 30 seconds.

If you write out an outline like I do, make sure you have something in there every thirty seconds that will shock them. You don’t need to be a comedian, it just needs to be something unpredictable.

Our brains are always looking for patterns. If you ramble on for more than 30 seconds, your viewer’s brain falls asleep because they can predict what you’re going to do next so they don’t bother paying attention. The key is to wake their brain up around every 30 second mark so they don’t know what’s next. I doesn’t need to be “exactly” 30 seconds, but around there is good.

The Flow #3 – Talk in short sentences.

When you make your outline, write short sentences to get to your point. You’re not on TV. You can edit short clips together which keeps the video moving vs long sentences with long duration clips.

The Flow #4 – Shake it up at 40 seconds.

Right around 40 seconds people start to get bored. No matter how good your intro is, or if you’ve been talking in short sentences, and if you’ve been a little unpredictable, around 40 seconds people will bail unless you are moving in a new direction. If the video is to help people with something, right around 40 seconds you need to make clear that that’s what you’re doing, very soon.

The Flow #5 – Turn the corner at one minute.

Here’s the thing, right at one minute, if you take the video in a whole new direction, you can get them to the two minute mark no problem. At one minute they really need to understand what the value add is (to them) of continuing to watch the video. Whatever you do, don’t blow through the one minute mark without taking a bit of a turn in the video.

It’s all about turning corners with unpredictable and/or valuable information, not just blowing through those corners blabbing away.

————————————————– THE CONVERSATION ————————————————–

The Conversation #1 – Fly your freak flag.

Stop trying to be so professional. If you have good content, it is good to be a little weird (if you’re weird). Just because you fly your freak flag doesn’t mean people won’t listen to you and take you whatever you’re saying seriously….if you have good content. Wrap your awesome content in a pretty freaky bow.

The Conversation #2 – Have a conversation.

For the love of god, don’t read a script. Write a rough outline (with short sentences) and just start talking in the camera like you’re talking with one of your friends. If you talk to your friends like you’re reading off a paper, I’m really not sure how you have any friends. It’s a conversation withe viewers, you’re not talking “at” them. And keep the camera rolling. Don’t start and stop when you mess up, if you keep it rolling then it starts to feel more like a conversation. Then when you edit you just use the clips where you got your point across.

The Conversation #3 – Tell stories and use analogies.

Don’t use a lot of numbers. You’re not the Khan Academy. People remember stories and analogies the most, why? Because they relate to their life so then they don’t really have to “remember” anything if they remember the story or analogy. Buy Made To Stick. Great book on this topic.

The Conversation #4 – Why do they care?

Again, the video needs to be about them, not about you. And here’s the thing, a lot of people think they’re making videos that are about the viewer, and they’re not. You have to specifically tell them “why they care about X.” Otherwise all the info gets lost and they’re like, what does this mean for me and my life? Don’t make them wonder that, tell them what it means for them or how this information impacts them.

—————————————————– THE EQUIPMENT —————————————————–

The Equipment #1 – I use a Canon 60D.

It works great for what I’m doing. Sometimes I use quicktime movie on my laptop when I’m traveling for work and I don’t have my camera with me. Quicktime only works properly with short videos though, when you shoot longer videos your voice doesn’t sync so well with your mouth. Those videos need to be 1 minute or less.

The Equipment #2 – The mic.

There’s a built in mic in the 60D but I bought a RODE mic too. It helps with the sound, a lot.

The Equipment #3 – The tripod and remote control.

I bought a SLIK tripod and a remote control as well. These help so that 1) you don’t have to balance your camera in random places (like I was doing at the beginning) and 2) you don’t have to get up if you are starting and stopping your camera (which you won’t do much, the conversation #2)

The Equipment #4 – Check out to teach yourself Final Cut Pro x.

You can do a lot on iMovie but it’s definitely not as robust as Final Cut Pro X. But Final cut Pro X is a little pricey, think I paid $250 when I bought it a while ago.

——————————————————- CONCLUSION ——————————————————-

This video on the Fiscal Cliff was about two minutes and 40 seconds. The average viewer watched 99% of it (these stats are in the back end of YouTube in YouTube analytics).

If you watch the video and follow my format, you’ll see that I follow it for the most part. This was the video that I realized there actually is “a formula.” Some of my first videos, you’ll see, do not follow this formula and don’t have the same results.

Lastly, yes of course you feel like a total weirdo starring down the barrel of the camera. That is a given. But, if you can get yourself to a place where you feel like you’re having a conversation vs “making a video” or “reading a script” you’ll find it fun.

So go have fun!

Kathryn uses video to plow through the news that impacts your money and makes sense of it. Her site,, is dedicated to non-finance people because finance people are annoying. She has worked in the asset management industry for 13 years and has factual data to back up her claim. Word.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley @ Money Talks March 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Awesome. Thanks for the tips. I’ve started making videos and they are fun… in a I’m-out-of-my-comfort-zone kinda way. But it’s something I know I can get better and I really WANT to get better.


Luke March 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm

There’s one big tip not mentioned in the video, at least not overtly/explicitly: being more than just pleasant to look at for an extended amount of time. In other words — why I don’t do videos. :-)


Makinsense Babe March 11, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Oh you’re funny. PS I have seen you on video Luke and it looked pretty good to me. I think it was for a Get Rich Slowly thing a while back…..


J. Money March 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm

She is pretty on the eyes, huh? Maybe we can hire models to lip sync our stuff? Haha… That would actually be pretty cool :)


Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter March 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Thanks for the tips!!! I am bookmarking this in case I ever take the plunge. I am with Luke a bit though – I like my writing and voice way better than my looks…


Makinsense Babe March 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm

ugggg you guys are killing me!! The whole point is for your viewers to see your face to connect with them even more. Video is easier than writing and voice because you connect through peoples’ facial expressions , the way they look at you (the camera) etc etc. Ignoring whether or not you like the way you like, it’s about connecting…..when people *see you* they connect with you even more than they already to (and Crystal I know you have a good following of people who love you so this would be a shoe-in :) Try one? I’ll post on my site.


J. Money March 23, 2013 at 9:11 am

I hate it when you’re right :)


Kristin Wheeler (Mama Luvs Books) April 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I totally do the higher angle tripod trick too! No one wants to see a double chin! LOL Great video!


Chris May 21, 2013 at 11:37 am

oh, thanks for sharing, I’ m about to start making videos in a few months, so far I just own the kodak Zi8- and I have to admit I have to leave my comfort zone as well ;-)grrr


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