After some long thought and debate, I have finally made the decision to focus on writing a blog rather than a video presence on YouTube. I have decided this for several reasons based on my research and the direction I want to go. I took what I learned and placed it up against the question I asked on Facebook awhile ago, “How the hell am I going to get there?”
To answer that question I utilized advice I got from Vanessa Lau. She talks about building both your brand and content around the 3 X 3 method. This method basically says that your personal brand and all your content comes from three pillars with in your niche and all everything you do is in line with your three values. So what does this mean for me and more importantly, what does it mean for you?
For me, it is a way to focus on what I’m doing and not get side tracked. I am on the extreme end of the ADHD spectrum, which I have had to deal with my whole life. Ask anyone who knows me, I can take you down the rabbit hole all the way to Wonderland if you let me get too far off track without reeling me in.
For you, it means I am building this blog and the North Star South image around: sailing, adventure, and living your dreams. I know the first one isn’t a big surprise and likely the second one isn’t either.
However, I also want to inspire others to live their dreams, regardless of what they are; some people get seasick you know. Though the blog and related content of NSS will often appeal mostly to those who, like me, want to pursue the dream of sailing around the world, I also want to ensure anyone with a dream has some inspiration and useful information on getting to your goals.
It’s going to be a tough nut to crack for sure, but just like this blog, the information will be useful regardless if you are looking at sailing or sewing as your niche; in this case the pros and cons of the platforms remain the same.
I’m not discounting the power of having a YouTube channel, or someone posting videos wanting to in some way monetize it to help offset the cost associated with sailing around the world. That said, it is definitely not the answer for me as my primary pillar content. You might say, “But don’t you have a YouTube channel?” Yes, yes I do. To better explain why it isn’t for me, I have to go a lot more in-depth.
YouTube Channel (AKA Vlog)
First and foremost are the demographics. If you take almost any sailing channel out there currently, but especially the largest ones, you will see one consistent feature, an attractive, young, and scantly clothed lady.
Why is this, well it is simple. I have done a bit of research and based on the major sailing magazines, sailing has the same demographic as Playboy. Now I know the articles were great, but really, does anyone truly believe that guys read Playboy for the articles? According to statistics put together by Sage Collective there are 3.5 million sailing participants in the United States and 59% of those are male.
The interesting part, and the one that accounts for the success of the bikini clad body, is the demographic for Sailing Magazine. They report that of their 139,776 readers, 92% of their primary readers are male. This makes a channel such as mine, a single guy who is only sailing on weekends here and there, very unappealing to the primary audience unless I can offer the answer to a specific question.
If you’re not in the sailing niche, you’ll have to do your own demographic research; I assume sewing looks much the opposite.
Second is the time commitment. To produce an average video you have to commit around an hour of time editing for every minute of video. I know some who will read this will say, “I can do my whole video in an hour.” Others will say, “Outsource it.”
I understand as I edit more, I will get faster. For now though, I am slow and with every increase in speed I gain, I also learn more about what I’m doing with color grading, sound design, and other effects that go into making a good video. In addition, I as I continued to push for better quality in my videos, I also needed better software. This required me to relearn the editing process, so to speak, adapting to the differences in the new program.
I would love to just outsource, but can’t afford it; unless someone wants to sponsor me.
Ultimately, I work a full time job, have a to-do list of projects like every boat owner, have chores that have to be done like everyone, and would like to sleep an hour or two. Between research, filming, editing, producing, uploading, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), etc. I just don’t have the available time to be consistent with it at this point in my journey.
Last, but not least, in fact I think most importantly, I don’t own YouTube. I know right now the thought that YouTube may not be around forever is not even fathomable, but that is what we all thought about Myspace until Facebook hit the web.
Even if it doesn’t go away, there is nothing that prevents them from changing the rules on you. There is a reason you can find new videos to explain the changes in the algorithm every six months. It’s not because YouTube isn’t changing.
Look at the recent change to being able to monetize your videos. This change was done to appease the advertisers YouTube works with; what if that didn’t work? Would they start charging to be on their platform? Would it be a member’s only thing? And how would that affect your ability to reach people?
The biggest draw to YouTube is that you are way more likely to be discovered on YouTube then by writing a blog. YouTube is owned by Google and that being said is the second largest search engine in the world.
When coupled with suggested videos and some other things in the platform itself to be more discoverable, you have a much better chance of being seen on YouTube then your blog ranking in a Google search.
Both use SEO metrics, keywords, and audience preference, but if you type in any subject or search topic you will have ten times more results in Google vs YouTube. Both will require a significant amount of time self promoting and working the SEO side to be successful, but hands down, it will be slower and harder to grow a blog.
Another big win for YouTube is the relationship you develop with your audience. Being on video and talking into the camera is as close to being in person as you can get without being there. You develop a trust and rapport much faster and when you add in the comments feature, it’s hard for a blog to compete.
A third big plus that YouTube has over a blog is that you could just do a video podcast. You can take that video, pull the audio out, and place it in the podcast world. It’s kind of like a two for one deal.
I actually considered doing that (I just heard several people sigh and roll their eyes), but decided that I will look into that after I get things up and running here. I know the thought of me rambling on aimlessly when I get off topic and have no one to reel me back in is scary; heck this blog is going to be long enough, but at least it’ll be easier to edit and whittle down.
A Personal Blog
A big one here is, you have to be a good writer; I am not, ask any of my English teachers. You are going to see a multitude of punctuation errors, spelling errors, and mis-autocorrected words that I didn’t catch.
This is typically a huge turnoff for blog readers, but hopefully the information, inspiration, or just the entertainment value of “how bad will it be this week” will be enough for people to keep reading. Keeping that in mind, I will be reading, rereading, and if possible having someone else read the blogs before I post them.
As I mentioned above, discoverability is an issue with a blog. SEO on Google is so much harder to get ranked on just on sheer numbers alone. Until a blog builds some authority with Google, it has to rely primarily on grass roots marketing.
That said, if you like this, share it, messenger/test it to someone who might need it, or tell someone who might enjoy it. If you want to see more, head over to My Contact Info and follow the links to my Facebook or Instagram. Hit like/follow, and you will be able to see when new blogs are posted (every Sunday, by the way).
Related to the first con, retention can also be a huge issue with a blog. It’s hard enough to get someone to sit through a video without clicking off to see another video, I can’t imagine it will be any easier to plop a few thousand words in front of someone and keep them interested. I’ll put in pretty pictures to liven it up, but I read somewhere the average website visitor has an attention span less than a goldfish; which is five seconds by the way.
Let me put this out there before I dabble in anything else, a personal blog is one you put on your own website with a paid server and domain name. As I just mentioned, you own your blog and all the rights contained therein.
Not saying a free blog isn’t an option for some, but if you ever plan on monetizing, expanding, or building a brand, I would opt for a paid blog. All the other social media sights (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) are really, in my opinion, just funnel sites to get people to your blog or website.
Think about it, where did you click to get here? Likely not a Google search, though I hope to be that good someday.
In owning it, nobody can tell you what you can and can’t post. Don’t get me wrong, there are rules, but those rules are set by each individual reader and website owner (me), not a third party that says if I swear, the number of people they will show it to will be limited. It is my blog, and I do what I want.
I also feel a blog will be easier at this point when it comes to my time. I can write when I have the chance and editing is much simpler. I don’t have to worry about continuity errors, lighting issues, sound issues, or any of the many things that can an often do go wrong.
I’m not saying it doesn’t require work, but if I start a blog today about the financial preparations I am making and get a haircut while I am still putting things together, you as a reader will never know. Things like that stick out in video. Even having to fill in the gaps, you just start typing in a blog; you have to find the shirt you were wearing last week in a vlog.
I think a blog works better as far as demographics go as well. Even though Sailing Magazine has a 92% male primary readership, they also have a 53% female secondary readership.
I remember watching an episode of Have Wind Will Travel and Annie asking why the channel had mostly male subscribers and very little female voice. I’ll admit, as a guy, I would rather wait for the movie even thought I know I’d like the book better, but more than likely, that female voice was lost in the demographics and what guys levitate toward.
Given those two factors, I feel a blog will provide me a better platform for over all reach and cater to a wider audience. Additionally, in a blog, I am able to add maps, pictures, embed video, hand drawing, and pretty much anything else I can think of to enhance the story and provide a deeper insight to what I am blogging on.
Try that in a vlog, it just won’t work. You can certainly show it, talk about it, and link it in the description, but I think the overall experience of being able to refer back to a map while reading is far better than seeing a map and having to imagine it every time a different location is mentioned.
Wrapping it up
For me, hands down a blog is a better option to start out on. It’s not that I feel YouTube doesn’t have its place or isn’t a strong platform, it does and it is. In fact I love making videos and plan on continuing to dabble in it as time allows, it just won’t be my primary focus/stress.
This will allow me more freedom to create what I want within my own time restraints and focus on my website, which was intended to be the hub all along.
My decision is based solely on the data I have gathered through statistics, hours of reading/watching others content, and by perusing other channels and websites. It is a decision for me, for where I’m at right now; if you’re in the sewing niche, I’d go with YouTube.
I provide this information both so my family, friends, and followers know the plan moving forward and as something to think about if you plan on starting up something yourself.
I highly recommend if you have the time and ability, do both. A video that funnels the viewer to your blog for a more in-depth and detailed story, is much like the movie/book combination.
It is my goal to be able to produce unique content on each of my platforms, but rather than trying to be a jack of all trades, master of none, I intend on starting small with something sustainable, only growing when I can.
Tell me what you think and comment below, do you prefer blogs or videos and why?
*Disclaimer: All images contained in this post were downloaded royalty free through Pixabay