26 March 2021

How to start vlogging on Instagram

Vlogging has taken over Youtube as the dominant video style over the last 5 years, but what about vlogging on Instagram? With over 1 Billion users, having a solid presence on Instagram is one of the best ways to build an engaged audience these days. With the popularity of vlogging at an all-time high it's a great time to learn how you can launch your own vlogs on Instagram. When people think of vlogging they typically think that it is limited to YouTube only - but that is not the case! In this article, we will discuss what vlogging is, how vlogging is effective, and how to start vlogging on Instagram.

What is Vlogging?

The basic definition of a vlog is a video that documents someone's knowledge or their life in a 5-10 minute video. If you want the ultimate vlog example check out Casey Niestat's YouTube channel. Casey decided to make one Vlog every day for about 3 years and each vlog simply contains a glimpse into an average day of his. Whether he is buying flowers for his wife's birthday or going to a conference, Casey brings his audience along with him and creates short vlogs that weave his day into an interesting story to watch. In the same way that a blog is an article that is written by an individual and is in a conversational style that isn't overly formal a vlog is the video version of that. Think of a vlog as a "video-log". A vlog usually centers around the person making it and is told in their point of view. It is usually fun, light-hearted, unscripted, and informal. In fact, the more raw and unscripted your vlog is the more the audience will relate to it.

Vlogging on Instagram

Admittedly, Instagram is not fully set up to accommodate Vlogging in the way a platform like YouTube is. On YouTube, you simply upload your 5-10 minute vlog and call it a day. Instagram TV allows for videos longer than 60 seconds but Instagram TV is not an overly popular feature. Posting on Instagram TV typically yields poor engagement and viewership. So that begs the question, how can you vlog on Instagram? Let's take a look at the options for vlogging on Instagram.

Vlogging on Instagram Stories

Vlogging by using Instagram stories is a new idea but a great one. Instagram stories have blown up in popularity since they launched as a rival to Snapchat. An Instagram story is limited to 15 seconds in length but you can post as many as you like in a row. To vlog on Instagram stories simply shoot all your content and begin to upload it as multiple stories. One of the benefits of this is that you can add music, captions, and fun GIFs over your stories to make them more engaging. For more information on Instagram Stories check out our blog post here. Once you have finished your Instagram Story vlog it will automatically disappear after 24 hours. Don't forget to make a "highlight" on your Instagram profile to save your story vlog on your profile afterward.

Vlogging In-feed On Instagram

Instagram limits the length of in-feed videos to 60 seconds. Sure that might not be your typical 5-10 minute vlog length but you can include a lot in a 60-second video! For example, if you want to make a vlog about your weekend ski trip then shoot the whole weekend, get some good talking scenes and create a 60-second vlog using an editor like Splice. You might be surprised how much you can fit into a well-edited short vlog. If you go this route, ensure you choose a good thumbnail for your video as it will live on your Instagram feed. You can also add additional details in the caption of your post that will give even more context to your vlog.

Vlogging on Instagram TV

Instagram TV is somewhat of a failed pet project by Instagram. Instagram TV was their attempt to get into long form video content on their platform to compete with Youtube. So far, Instagram TV has not performed well and viewers have not been overly interested. Posting your vlog to Instagram TV would be one of the harder ways to get traction on this app.

Telling a Story With Your Vlog

It's important to make sure that your vlogs are telling a story and not just a random assortment of footage. If you are asking for 5-10 minutes of somebody's time they will be expecting some sort of take-away from your vlog.

The internet these days is flooded with videos that are beautiful travel montages of blue water, insane views, and epic activities. There isn't anything wrong with these videos but they also become repetitive and it's hard to make your videos stand out with just a bunch of beautiful imagery - that isn't enough anymore. As vlogs become more and more popular as a medium, viewers are all seeking one important thing, a story. We want to be told a story that we can relate back to our own lives and when a story is told really well we remember it.

Your vlog doesn't always need to be the most "epic" story either, it could simply be about going on a hike or going to someone's birthday party. The real skill comes in finding the story in whatever you're doing and telling it in an exciting way. Before setting out to shoot your video, it's useful to think of the typical structure of a story... Almost every great story is broken up into a 3 act narrative structure:

  1. ACT I - This is the introduction where you set up the story and the characters in order to "hook" the viewer. For Example. "We are setting off in search of a secret cabin. We don't know exactly where it is but we heard it's in this area - with only a few hours till dark we need to make it to the cabin before the sun drops or we will be spending the night outside!
  2. ACT II - This is when the video has rising action. The stakes get higher and you "confront" what was set up as the obstacle in ACT I. Example. "After getting lost for an hour reality started to sink in.. We might not make it to the cabin before sunset - if so we will be spending the night outside with no tents...
  3. ACT III - This act is the conflict resolution. The peak moment of intensity when the result is given. Act 3 is for the resolution as the video slowly comes to an end. For Example "Finally... as we were starting to lose hope... through the trees we spot it, tucked away... the secret cabin. We enjoyed the warm shelter for the night and made the most of our new home."

It can be very helpful to think of the 3 act structure before you shoot and edit your vlog. Do some writing beforehand and find the story in what you're about to shoot. As I mentioned, it doesn't always need to be the most epic story! It can be as simple as trying to ski a new run on your local mountain or going to a new restaurant for dinner. There is a story in everything and as a filmmaker, it's your job to find it.

Vlogging on Instagram Summary

Vlogging is in and it's not going away any time soon. The powerful combination of Instagram + vlogging is one worth exploring and experimenting with. It's true that Instagram is not perfectly set up for vloggers to showcase their work but there are many people that are showing it can be done! By following the guidelines above you should have a good grasp of how to make a vlog on Instagram. Get out there and keep on creating!

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