During the month of August, I took part in the SSSVEDA challenge. SSSVEDA is the brainchild of Amy Schmittauer and is an acronym for Savvy Sexy Social – Vlog Every Day in August (or April). For this blog I want to share with you my experience plus some tips and tricks in case you are planning something similar.
SSSVEDA – the challenge
My only previous experience with a similar challenge was ‘Vlogmas’ where you are meant to vlog every day in December up until Christmas. I found out about Vlogmas quite late and so went into it completely unprepared. With SSSVEDA, whilst I didn’t confirm until late July that I was going to enter – I had been thinking about it for a few weeks prior. The challenge itself doesn’t perhaps sound as difficult at face value. I assure you, it’s certainly not easy! You can check out some of my Vlogmas entries here.
Planning ahead of SSSVEDA
Planning is paramount when it comes to this type of challenge. Being able to film content ahead of time is a lifesaver. Knowing what you are going to film about is advantageous. Finding the time to film, edit and upload is difficult. I learned from Vlogmas that it’s not practical for me to film and upload the same day, every day. Having some pre-scheduled content takes the pressure off a little and allows you to deliver content at the same time each day. Knowing ahead of time what you are going to talk about, means you can prepare the content – which means it should be better content.
The vlogging itself is relatively easy as long as your production levels are relatively low. I have no fireworks or extras in my vlogs! Batch vlogging is a great habit to be able to get into for this type of challenge. If you know of a few topics that you plan to discuss during the challenge, why not try and vlog them all in one go to save time. I did this on a few occasions, I would often change filming location within my house or change clothes to disguise the fact that that they were all filmed close together.
For me, editing is the toughest part of the whole SSSVEDA process. It’s also, for me, the most time-consuming part. Your edit is where you bring your idea to life. The content which you have filmed will be raw and it may not be in the correct order. More often than not (in my experience) there will be too much of it too. On the advice of Amy, I have tried to keep my vlogs to around 5-7 minutes in length. Editing is where you can make some tweaks and remove the unwanted or unnecessary footage. You may be surprised how often you perhaps repeat yourself or waffle a little. In the edit, you can make the whole vlog look a lot more professional and slicker. With all of that in mind, you can see how the time required for editing might creep up.
I use Final Cut Pro X for editing, it’s a premium version of the free iMovie product available on most Apple devices. If I am honest, it’s probably a little over the top for what I need. Those looking to start up vlogging really don’t need to spend a lot. Editing software is something you may feel is worth the investment. I’d advise getting comfortable with the free version first.
Promoting your SSSVEDA content
One of the toughest parts of the whole SSSVEDA challenge for me was the promotion of the content. The ethos of SSSVEDA is to create content. In theory, the views of the video should not be at the top of your concerns. However, do you want to put your heart and soul into making an excellent piece of vlog content, only for no one to see it? If you make good content, you will naturally retain viewers as subscribers, but unless they know your vlog is out there – how will they know to come and watch it?
My primary promotional tool was Twitter, it’s my preferred social media channel. Twitter is simple to use and allows you to reach a large audience. The ability to utilise hashtags and also tag people in your vlogs should help you get some early leverage. If you already have a decent following on Twitter then you are on to a winner.
Listen to your audience
I spoke with quite a few vloggers during the SSSVEDA process. Most who I spoke with raised concerns about the best way to promote their channel on social media. This gave me the idea to create a vlog on that very topic. I teamed up with a friend of mine who has a strong background in social media promotion to create “How to Promote Your YouTube Channel with Social Media”. Since I posted the vlog on 30th August, it’s already had over 80 views which is pleasing. My hope is that the vlog will prove a useful asset to anyone looking to promote their channel further. Chris provides some excellent tips, many of which I now use myself.
The SSSVEDA results
31 vlogs in 31 days is certainly a challenge. Before I began SSSVEDA, I had a little over 150 subscribes on my youtube channel. At the time of writing, I have 276, less than 10% away from my year-end goal of 300. My most viewed vlog from the month was day 11 where I harnessed Twitter’s “follow Friday” to promote some Youtube channels I enjoy watching. This vlog passed 100 views which is really pleasing to see. It also has legacy value so my hope is that the number of views will continue to grow over time.
Weekends were a tough time to promote your content. My belief is that during the weekend, people tend to have their own entertainment plans. During the week, we’re bored on a bus, or our lunchbreak etc and need something to entertain us. I can see that the number of views for vlogs released during the weekend is quite a bit lower. With that in mind, I aimed my “better” content for a weekday release.
I felt a real sense of achievement when I finished the SSSVEDA challenge. From the outside looking in, it may not seem as though I’ve done a great deal. If I worked out the time and effort taken to create the 31 vlogs in August, I imagine we would be talking days rather than hours.
Some days it felt a bit of a chore to have to film, edit and the promote a vlog. I’m fortunate that I work from home so can be quite flexible, but you still have to find the time somewhere. On the flip side, I had some great fun filming a few of my vlogs such as day 21 “I bought a helicopter”. I also vlogged my experience as a marshall for the Run Norwich event, which was a fun day.
Would I take part in SSSVEDA again?
Right now, probably not. Fortunately, it only takes place twice a year (April and August) so I don’t have to decide just yet. There is a great deal of comradery, lots of people working towards a common goal. It’s a great community to be part of and I made some good Youtube friends during the SSSVEDA adventure. I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking about it to give it a try. If you are relatively new to vlogging, it could prove very useful. I’ve learned a lot during the process, improving all of the basic skills as well as my confidence. Everyone will get something a little different out of taking part, but it’s not easy. If you give it the time and effort it deserves, you should see some excellent results.
If you do decide to take part in SSSVEDA in the future and have any questions, feel free to get in touch in the comment box below or on Twitter.
I will continue to create content for my youtube channel in the coming months if you enjoy my vlogs don’t forget to subscribe! I’ll also continue to blog via Sharemyyear.co.uk where you can find reviews, such as my recent blog on Harry’s Shave plan. I also regularly attend Odeon Screen unseen and will review films before they hit main screen cinemas.
Thanks for reading. I hope this content has been of use!Follow