YouTube Video: It’s Serious Fun For Travel Bloggers

Apr 12, 2010 28 Comments by

Videos — have you had fun making them? Well I have — and I’ve posted nearly a hundred of these on my You Tube channel. Read on for how simple to make video content has helped grow my web traffic and for some tips that will help your website have it’s own video presence.

Why Video and Why YouTube

Youtube, which is owned by Google, is the second largest search engine a search after Google. It receives 107 million unique visitors a month. And the number of searches is forecasted, by Forrester Research, to double by 2010. They predict that the upload growth will slow down, and the quality of the content will increase. The growth is being driven by faster bandwidth and the now the massive growth in fast uploading 3G mobile devices such as Apple’s iPhone and Google/HTC Nexus mobile phones.

I like watching clips on internet sites. The celebrity culture we live in has made us more interested in look and personality and spawned our desire to view, as well as read, content. Facebook has over 400 million active users, and this trend seems set to continue. On line we want and can watch each other. Video content that entertains and informs us has fast become a normal everyday experience.

How Does YouTube Help With Search Engine Optimisation (“SEO”)?

YouTube traditionally did not send you web traffic directly. People would watch the video and then only a small percentage would click back to your web site. However, YouTube has just decided to send web traffic back to those websites sending traffic to YouTube. Sites that are responsible for a lot of views will get credits. An “as seen on” link will be placed below the video, linking back to a site that has supplied a large number of views. The link is “no-followed”, so it will not benefit you for SEO in Google, but it will probably mean two things: users will click on it (traffic!) and the video will be top listed in universal search.

Youtube videos are indexed by Google for normal searches, and it is likely that in the years (or months) ahead Google may be able to recognise the people in online video.  It’s also forecast that they will soon have software that will recognise the words spoken — and then index this as content! But for now, I know we search for info on YouTube, we watch a video and then we’ll come to the website if we like what we see.

You Tube Ranking And Social Media

Video SEO also involves social media. Google have specifically stated that they reward video and websites that are frequently commented and favourited/given thumbs up. Frequent mentions in social media have followed on for me by me simply ticking the button on my YouTube account so all my new videos are automatically fed into my facebook and twitter (twitter.com/bansko) accounts. Traffic from these sources has steadily grown and helps to reinforce my presence. I also look at RSS, and Google reader to push out the video broadcasts.

My next step is to involve myself much more in the YouTube community. This means more sharing, more channel views, more embeds, more links, more flags, more comments, more channel subscribers to youtube.com/banskoblog and more views. I recently read that YouTube are keen to reward active users. This could be why some of my videos punch above their weight in terms of number of views. They now crop up in the search results on many popular search terms on Bansko. So whilst there are Bansko videos with 20,000+ views, some of my videos appear higher up in searches than videos with many more views. I am sure this is because I am so active promoting, linking to and embedding my videos.

What Videos Should You Do?

The answer to this is not as obvious as it may seem. The more I examined what other people have made successful, the more options that open up. “How to” videos are popular… but I just started out making short videos on stuff that I most enjoyed viewing. I combined the fun factor with what I could most easily, and regularly, post — the weather. The weather and ski and snow conditions videos make up over half of my videos uploaded to YouTube. They are popular but the big downside is that the content is soon out of date.

The excitement and anticipation before we go on a holiday is sometimes bigger than the actual thing! I’m like many holiday makers who are obsessed with the weather and conditions for  the forthcoming activities. I’ll monitor weather well before I arrive in a resort and, with a lap top or mobile phone, watch weather updates whilst on holiday.

I have studied weather for many years for my paragliding activities. During the ski season I would include a snow forecast three or four days ahead and on the weather as to how I interpreted it from the available weather charts. The video report, along with actual skiing video action, helped bring to life ski piste words such as “icy” or “soft” …  most were a load of fun to make.

Video Interviews

I tried a type of video interview format  for the BanskoSkiMania blog sponsorship package. I asked George the questions before filming and encouraged the conversation from behind the camera. It worked exceptionally well for the shop. BanskoSkiMania has been the busiest hire shop in Bansko throughout the ski season. Using video helped convince viewers of the helpful nature of the proprietor, as well as imparting useful information on hiring ski equipment in general.

My personal favourite video is the snow report interview of Stefan. Taken whilst he is snowboarding, this combines interview, information and a little humour. The same formula is behind the success for the Two Oggys video… taken on an impromptu moment on a chair lift.

The video interview format is one I recommend. If you enjoy seeing the personalities in your areas of interest, and they can be convinced of the cross promotional advantage for both your  interviewee and your website, then this makes this a video structure to use again and again. I combined the interview comments in some of my snow reports and placed  short clips into the ski and ladies mash-up promo video.

“Sexing Up”  Videos

Nelly, a podium dancer. Looks, as well as content, count

We love to look at the good looking. Mainly girls. YouTube’s number of views of videos with good looking lady presenters prove this time and time again.  When I featured Ivanka or Maria on camera, the number of views per video almost always went up. However, my focus is always on useful content rather than the “content free” image.

The end of ski season: ski and ladies mashup video, reflects the nightlife of Bansko (Bulgaria) I experienced in the ski season and hopefully some moments of promotional fun. I hope to get time and motivation for another mash-up style if this video receives significant views over the next few months.

Make It Unscripted, Personal And Timely

Some hugely popular YouTube videos combine humour with girls and glamour. Many also succeed as they feature cute children or have lovable animals in them — all doing funny or unusual things. Try combining one or more these elements. Your video may even “go viral”. Viral means spreading a message through personal recommendation, usually through email and social networks. Millions of YouTube hits and possible fame and fortune could be yours if you achieve this.

Video content that brings your targeted viewers and readers real benefit will help your potential clients identify with you. Do this by being yourself. Be natural.

In the interests of being current, the vast majority of my videos were simple “one take” affairs. Timeliness of a day’s snow conditions were more important than ironing out all my mistakes. I guessed nobody expected me to be perfect. One video of Ivanka was more popular as an outtake than the correct version. We all love a watching others cock-up!

I was able to meet quite a number of people this ski season and ask what they want to see; and I have had the luxury of being able to modify future content to reflect this. Please take the time to comment on this article and on your experience of video on web sites. I’ve still got masses learn and your tips for making producing videos are much appreciated. I will return all YouTube subscriber and friend requests. If you are traveling to Bulgaria and Bansko, or live in Bulgaria, please let me know what you would like to see on video on this website.

The “How To” Style Of Video

I used this “how to” style of video as apart of a whole promotion package for Head Ski Test Centre. I explained how, and why, I chose my ski boots and the features of the Head ski boot range. Whilst this was a paid for promotion, the filming was all on one take and was a  successful example of video promotion – people could see my enthusiasm for the product. If it’s something you believe in, then the video sponsorship need not compromise the usefulness of the message in the video.

When emails arrived from readers saying they were really happy with xyz business then my initial fears on the video promotions turned out to be totally unfounded. Information and personal recommendation can co exist with paid for promotion.

Equipment And Editing: My Inner Geek Discovered

My camera is a two year old Sanyo Exacti waterproof. This was chosen for its small size, affordability and ruggedness. There are many new choices, but where portability is a priority I would recommend the latest HD and water proof version of this Sanyo camera every day.

There are many videos and online courses that will give you excellent guidance on equipment and how to produce effective videos. I’ll leave that topic to them. However, editing video obviously involves an investment in time and money. It can be worth it; for example putting Head ski test to music seemed to add more to the watchability of the video. There are no right answers, but if you have the time for others opinion that can help you to decide what works best. I found that fancy editing never makes up for the uninteresting.

For guidance on time, the ski and laddies mash up, at the top of this post took about a day to edit. It was all produced on an Apple iMac with iMovie software. iMovie is so simple to play with. Cut and pasting clips in, adding titles, music and some tweeks are all dead easy. It all brings out the inner geek in the me: and it’s seriously good fun too.

Your comments on how you use video and what you like to see in your travel videos are most welcome here.

Skiing & Snowboarding


About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.

28 Responses to “YouTube Video: It’s Serious Fun For Travel Bloggers”

  1. Bruce says:

    I agree that video is a great way to get yourself higher rankings. With my blog I usually write a post, create an audio file, a slide show and a video. These formats posted on social media sites especially help increase targeted traffic.

  2. Mitch says:

    I am not sure what works for rankings anymore but I do know that at the very least video has created a relationship with my readers making me more approachable and trustworthy therefore people are more willing to try things I may endorse or sell.

  3. Debbie@ Happy Maker says:

    I have been trying to get a video with my 2 year old granddaughter dancing. This kid can move. I haven't gotten it yet, but still working on it. I agree with you about videos. People are loving them. Haven't gotten the nerve to vidoe myself yet. Hey, I'm working on it.
    Thanks for all the good information. You do a great job with the video's.
    Debbie

  4. Raymond Chua says:

    I'm impressed by the voice recognition technology by Google. That will help to eliminate some keyword spamming activities.

  5. Tyrone says:

    Great thoughts Lance!

    I totally agree how powerful a video or particularly a YouTube video is in defining your market to the audience and also helping them learn more about it. Videos will always be viral the more it portrays relevance and value – it's true that How-Tos will never miss a spot to gather most audience nowadays because they are really eager to not only watch but "get something" through it.

    More power to your videos!

    Tyrone

    • LanceNelson says:

      so true, Tryronne. The basic How To video isomething I love and I am sure millions of people are yet to get into these. So my video series on doing some basic things in Bansko and Bulgaria … will start soon.

  6. @thatgirlisfunny says:

    Hi Lance,
    I love your videos! They're always full of fun and make me want to go skiing. I get nervous when I think about videoing. I like the ones I've created. I'd like to branch out more and take on implementing some of your suggestions. Thanks for encouraging us :D

  7. Eat Smart Age Smart says:

    Hmmm, this is quite bold! That said, I don't know. I think I'm still a bit on the shy side when it comes to posting my vacation videos online.

    Krizia

  8. Beat Schindler says:

    One of the big-benefits-areas I consistently hear about, and I consistently don't do enough. Everyone in the blogosphere with a certified reputation of traffic guru says video definitively helps seo-wise. Your blog post has enough how-to – and then some! – and enough inspiration also to remind me to just do it – thanks! :-)

    • LanceNelson says:

      Hi Beat, I have to say I was reticent to give it a go. But when I realised totally unedited snow report videos were being avidly watched and my web traffic hit record highs, II realised that this is something of real value to readers.

  9. David Rogers says:

    Funny enough I'm doing a short course on using video and have just make a video using still photographs for my daughters birthday; I'm working (against the clock) to do another one with my favourite quotes which I hope to post tomorrow. I've bookmarked this post Lance as there are some great tips here. Thanks, David

  10. Jen @ Blog Writing says:

    This is a great post. I've often thought about including video on my blog, but it can be quite daunting for a technophobe. I'm going to really go through your article and try to gear myself up for taking the plunge! Thanks, Jen.

  11. @andrewrondeau says:

    I like doing videos and have added several to YouTube (not as many as 100, though). When I first started making the videos, I wanted them to be perfect. It would take me hours to create a 5 minute video. Now, I do them in one take and not too concerned about the mistakes I make – I think people are accepting them.

    After my recent 43 wordpress blogging tips post, I am now creating a video for each tip and it seems to be getting a lot of attention. I also upload the videos to Viddler and others using tubemogul.

    Andrew

    • LanceNelson says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Yes! I am totally convinced people are realistic about how much time you can put into a 5 minute video, mistakes are a small trade off if people are receiving what they want fro mthe video. I will take a closer look at Viddler, and your wordpress tips.

  12. @andrewrondeau says:

    I like doing videos and have added several to YouTube (not as many as 100, though). When I first started making the videos, I wanted them to be perfect. It would take me hours to create a 5 minute video. Now, I do them in one take and not too concerned about the mistakes I make – I think people are accepting them.

    After my recent 43 wordpress blogging tips post, I am now creating a video for each tip and it seems to be getting a lot of attention. I also upload the videos to Viddler and others using tubemogul.

    Andrew

  13. Corinne Edwards says:

    I love videos on a blog. They add so much interest. But one thing we should all remember is the attention span of our readers.

    Speaking for myself, I tend to stick with a video that is not too long. Unless it is world shaking, or of great interest, about five minutes is my limit.

    What a great idea to do the weather and ski conditions. Your ski bums must really apprreciate your taking the time. I think you should get the local TV channel to cover you.

    • LanceNelson says:

      Hi Corrine,

      You're roght . Keep it short. YouTube offers Insight… a very useful way of guaging how your videos compare to others in terms of interest.

      YouTube will tell you if people continue watching — and up to what point. So like all TV is to try and build in some joepardy "will they or won't they"… something that keeps you watching. It has to be really good to keep us much more than 2 minutes. Better to have mroe short videos than one long one.

  14. Joel says:

    Congrats on 100 videos Lance! Great work and a superb article to go with it. A lot of people are scared of video and sometimes too lazy to do it (including myself) but it can make a big difference. Thanks for the tips.

  15. Michelle Vandepas says:

    I am loving video. I've got 2 video sites, both interviewing leaders in their field. My seo results are faster than my regular blog, so I'll be focusing on those sites even more – and adding video to my blog site. Thanks for your ideas as well.

  16. Amy LeForge says:

    Wow, Lance! Great advice and I'm going to have to get right to work implementing it. I've been avoiding video for years…very bad. But I'll try to do better, and your suggestions have given me some good starting points. Thanks also for the information about YouTube and rankings. I knew video was popular and helpful, now I better understand why.

  17. Benjamin says:

    What is it about young, beautiful women that makes everything sell better?

    Great job on the video, Lance.

    If I ever learn to ski… I'll have to set up a trip to Bansko

    keep smiling,

    Ben

  18. baresytapas says:

    I have visited this blog by accident, but I found it quite interesting. You’re doing a good job (and most importantly it’s free). A greeting.

  19. Jenny says:

    see blogs like yours make me jealous that i'm stuck in the house all the time with no where to go xD

  20. Nona Mills says:

    I love videos on a blog. They add so much interest. But one thing we should all remember is the attention span of our readers. Speaking for myself, I tend to stick with a video that is not too long. Unless it is world shaking, or of great interest, about five minutes is my limit. What a great idea to do the weather and ski conditions. Your ski bums must really apprreciate your taking the time. I think you should get the local TV channel to cover you.

    • LanceNelson says:

      Hi Nona,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am like you, short video are best. Most of our reports average around one minute and twenty seconds. I have has some lovely feedback — which is nice. But I am after for more feedback on what people want to see in our videos (assume unlimited time and budget, so no promises!).

      I recommend people subscribe to the blog for regular ski season updates and also subscribe to the BanskoBlog YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/banskoblog. Then they can get the broadcasts within seconds of being made available. Can't comment on TV coverage, except to say watch this space.

      Happy Christmas to all. Lance

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