If you're into travel then Louis Cole probably has your dream job. Louis, aka Fun For Louis, travels the world and vlogs about it. His YouTube following is now at nearly 2m people.
In new Red Bull TV documentary, Kings Of Content, Louis shares some of his insights into what makes his videos so engaging.
Read on for Fun For Louis' tips to vlogging success, in his own words:
1. Get yourself noticed
The landscape has changed since I started out. It’s more difficult because there’s a saturation of people out there creating content. However, I still don’t think that means there’s less hope, but you’ll need to do more to get your videos noticed. I think a lot of social media platforms have thought this through and are building in tools to allow people to get discovered. I know YouTube have recently done an 'up and coming' suggestions tab which specifically tries to get other new creators noticed.
2. Believe in the content
For me, it’s about being passionate about what you’re doing. I think viewers can tell if you’re passionate or just after video views. Some people like the process of editing, of curating, of adding music and special effects and some people just like the ability to share their personality and what they want to say. I think it’s down to the person.
3. Be original
Be original and create stuff that you can’t get elsewhere. Sometimes it’s good to follow trends and to see what's popular, but do that in your own style so you’re not ripping someone off.
4. Reach out to others
What’s helped me grow from the beginning is finding other people to collaborate with. Find people to share content with – even if it’s a small audience. Share audiences and cross-pollinate with other people doing similar stuff to you.
5. Understand social media platforms
YouTube is key for me, but I’m also interested to see how Facebook Video pans out in the next couple of years. I know that Facebook videos are way more shareable because they’ve already got this amazing social network – they’ve recently introduced a search feature and they own Instagram and do Instagram video. I think YouTube and Facebook will be the major players in online video – will they go in different directions? Will they offer different things? They’re both doing livestreaming and 360 content. I’m interested to see what happens – I’m not going to place my bets!
6. There’s no need for fancy kit
Start with your phone. There’s nothing more important than the story you’re sharing and what you’re saying rather than the cinematic quality of the shots. I’ve evolved from using a smaller camera that wasn’t particularly good quality, to saving up money and feeling like it’s justifiable to buy nice lenses and do more cinematic shots, but I don’t think it’s necessary. To be honest, I often question if I should go back to a simpler, smaller camera. Some of my audience have said the better the quality my footage has got, the less they feel that it’s homemade and authentic, just me.
7. Don’t pack in the day job
I wouldn’t encourage people to get into vlogging as a career move. It’s just so difficult to get to the point where you’re earning an income. If you love it and enjoy doing it, then get into it as a hobby and see how you do. But don’t go in with the expectation that you’ll make money.
Down the line, though, if you start building an audience, it can head in a direction where it can become more. It’s the same with any skillset – it starts off as a hobby and then you learn. Professional musicians don’t start earning money performing in bands straightaway. There are so many rehearsals and playing for fun, and that’s kind of the way you need to see it. To jump in thinking you’ll immediately make money from it is naive.
8. Seek to make a difference
My hope is that in being me, in being honest and sharing what I’m up to in a positive way, it can inspire people to seek out the world and to travel themselves, or live with a more adventurous attitude to their own lives.
Knowing that I have this big platform, it’s important to me that the messages, and the bigger picture stuff, are important things. It’s very easy to get caught up in things that are shallow, or not that important, to be self-absorbed. I want to promote a message about being socially conscious about the world around us, how we treat people, animals, the planet – these are messages I like to explore.
9. Don’t be afraid to show your personality
I've shown my viewers my own journey. My original YouTube channel was FoodForLouis, which was me eating weird things – including animals – to now becoming a vegan and sharing that process. That’s really powerful for me because people see that this is real, it isn’t just someone preaching, it’s about sharing my own revelation.
10. Don't get obsessed
Because I haven’t got a boss, I can just take a couple of days off when I want. I’ve taken a lot of time off since I’ve been back in the UK.
In the early days I was really disciplined and didn’t give myself a break and it really burnt me out. Now I’ve learned to read my exhaustion levels and I realise that people are pretty patient – I’m the only one putting pressure on myself to upload every day.
I’m not super strict any more. I like the idea of having a weekend. I think that’s probably happened in society for a reason. I think it’s probably good to take a couple of days off!
See more of Fun for Louis in Red Bull TV documentary, Kings Of Content