Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hanging Out with Friends Makes for a Fantastic Video Blogging Experience

Not every video blog has to be polished and professional. In fact, some of the most engaging content is off-the-cuff, personality driven, and just plain fun. Google Hangouts makes it easy (and free) to create a vlog that showcases you and your unique personality. And all you need is a Google+ account to get started. (Hint: if you have a Gmail account you already have a G+ account as well!)

Here’s how Hangouts work. Simply log into your Google+ page and look to the right of the screen. Click “New Hangout” and choose the people you want to invite. You can have up to 10 on camera, and dozens more watching, but for a video blog, two to three speakers is more than enough. You could even do it by yourself, simply using Google’s technology to record the event.

One tip: be sure to enable the “Hangouts on air” option. As soon as you do this, your Hangout will go public and a recording of your Hangout is actually going to automatically go your YouTube account!  Once your hangout has been sent to your corresponding YouTube account, you can then embed that video into a blog post on your site and voila... a new vlog for your audience. Talk about a quick and easy way to produce some fresh new content!

One thing to keep in mind is that you Google Hangouts are all about engagement. People like to feel like they are a part of something. Giving them the opportunity to ask questions and have you answer them is a great way to bring your audience into what you're doing.

There’s more to Hangouts than just face time, though. You can also record your screen using screen capture software, so it’s a good way to demonstrate software. You can share PowerPoint presentations for a more formal look. There are also several different apps that incorporate with Google Plus to enhance your hangouts. 

While this is all done in real time and things can be unpredictable - especially if you're going to have other people on with you - don't fret if you want to share the content later on. Yes, it is live but that doesn’t mean you have to publish it as is. You will have the option to edit the content after the hangout is over. You can edit the video by going to your video manager in your YouTube account and doing it from there.

Some ideas for Google Hangout video blogging include:

  • Interviews with a guest – think of it as a podcast, but with video.
  • Q & A with your market – this is a great way to interact with your audience live, then repurpose the content later in the form of a blog post.
  • Demonstrations – whether software, cooking, or crafting, Google Hangouts are a good choice for live video demonstration. As long as you can use your webcam to film, it’s a good candidate for a Hangout.

One drawback to Google Hangouts is the quality of the video. If a crisp, clear picture is important to your event, it might be better to choose a different solution, such as GoToWebinar or Camtasia (depending on your needs). But when you’re just starting out, or you’re looking for a fun, interactive choice for video blogging, Hangouts are definitely worth a look.

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