Train Like a Vlogger

As I get older, I realize that there are things I need to learn that I never expected. For example, I’ve had to learn how to manage YouTube content filtering settings for my kids. I’ve had to learn how to manage my Facebook profile data. I’ve had to learn how to block topics on Twitter to keep Twitter fun. And I’ve learned how to talk to a camera alone in a room.

Well, more specifically, I learned how to vlog. Learning to vlog was pretty awesome. You can see my channel here. If you watch the early videos and then skip to the later videos, you’ll see that my style changed along with my understanding of the medium.

If you’re not sure what a vlog is, here’s a simple explanation. It’s like a blog, but on video. That’s why it’s called a vlog. You make videos regularly, usually from your own perspective or with your own voice. Just like blogging can cover many topics, from personal experiences to professional insights or even storytelling, vlogs can cover many topics, too.

One thing that’s fascinating to me about vlogs is that it’s incredibly personal. It’s also an effective way of communicating with a lot of people. Also, despite my early attempts to overcomplicate it, vlogging is really pretty simple. You just turn on the camera and start talking. Honestly, the hard part is having something worth talking about!

Most vlogs are selfie-style or talking-head style. That means the majority of the video is a shot of the vlogger from the front and they’re talking into the camera. It’s the simplest and most personal shot. It’s like sitting across the table from someone.

Vlogs are one of the most popular types of video on the Internet. There are millions and millions of vlog-style videos. There are billions and billions of views on vlogs. People are still starting new vlogs every day.

The popularity and familiarity of the vlog style is an incredible opportunity for ministry leaders. Simply put, the people you lead in ministry are already watching these types of videos every day and you can jump into that format with no preparation, no gear, and no expenses. Here’s why and how.

Vlog-style Training is Simple

When it comes to shooting video in the vlogging format, there’s not much to learn. In fact, since most computers have a webcam nowadays, you can start right at your desk. With TrainedUp, you don’t even need a separate piece of software. We’ve built the webcam recorder directly into the course builder.

Outside TrainedUp, you have some options. On Macs, you have Quicktime Player included for free that gives you the option to record a video from your webcam and save it to your computer as a video file. Just open Quicktime, click File > New Movie Recording, and hit the Record button. Then, when you’re done, hit the Stop button in the Menu Bar at the top of your screen. (There are software tools for Windows and Chromebook, too.)

Once you’ve got your recorded video, you can upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or to your TrainedUp account as part of training course.

If you’re concerned about length, here’s my rule. If you’re telling a compelling story, keep the video to less than 15 minutes. If you’re simply conveying information, keep it to 7 minutes or less. Storytelling is generally more engaging, so you can keep people’s attention longer.

And, since you’re not recording epic movies that are longer than 15 minutes, creating your training doesn’t take a ton of your time. You’ll be able to provide more training in less time, freeing you up to do other ministry tasks like mentoring or reading.

Vlog-style Training is Personal

One of the biggest fears of ministry leaders who are considering moving to video-based training for their teams is that they might lose that personal connection with their people. I get that. As a ministry leader, you don’t want to become a faceless boss that people only interact with through the Internet.

But that’s what’s so great about the vlog-style video. It’s very personal. It’s personal because it’s your face and your voice. It’s personal because you get to express yourself with your language and personality. It’s personal because it feels like sitting across the table from you.

In fact, that personal feel is why vlogging is such a huge phenomenon. When I’m sitting on my couch watching a new episode from Casey Neistat, I feel like I know him. It’s not scripted (usually) and I can get a sense for his personality and style and mannerisms. It feels very personal!

When you shoot a video using your webcam while sitting in your office or at your kitchen table, it doesn’t get much more personal than that…at least not when it comes to pure information transfer. What’s more personal, teaching a room of 30 people about a new policy while standing at the front with a screen behind you or talking to someone 1-on-1 and telling them the same information?

I guarantee the 1-on-1 conversation will feel more personal to 100% of the people you want to train. And, since you can’t book a 1-on-1 with everyone on your team every time they need to know something new, the next best thing is the vlog-style video.

Vlog-style Training is Effective

Finally, because a vlog-style video is both simple and personal, it’s also enormously effective for training. When it comes to training in ministry, you have two goals. You want your people to be able to get access to the training, obviously. And you want to know that your people got it…like actually understand what you’re training.
A personal, informal video helps in both of those areas. First, putting training online in a video format makes training incredibly accessible. By making training available online and on-demand, you’re letting your people access your training whenever it fits their schedule. That means you won’t have people missing training just because the training meeting doesn’t fit their calendar.

If you have kids or elderly that have a hard time reading, video will be much easier for them to access than written policies. Anyone having difficulty with reading comprehension will benefit from video-based training as well.
Second, with a tool like TrainedUp, you’re able to verify who has and hasn’t completed your online training and watched your videos. That means you’ll know who’s engaged and who needs more followup or coaching.

The Number One Reason I Love Vlog-style Training

Beyond all that, even if shooting personal videos and sharing them with your team wasn’t effective and easy, I’d still love the vlog-style video for training because it’s just plain fun! As a leader, a big part of my effectiveness has to do with fun. When I’m having fun, my team is having fun. And when my team is having fun, they’re serving our people well.

About Scott Magdalein

Scott Magdalein is the founder of TrainedUp. Previously, he worked as project manager for YouVersion and Church Online, a software developer at Treehouse, a digital director for an ad agency, and as an Executive Pastor in multiple local churches. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and three kids.