Samantha Gordon

What do a YouTube vlogger, a public broadcasting service and a serial entrepreneur all have in common? They’re all insanely talented at creating irresistible video blogs that can teach us a lot about video marketing.

Considering that Cisco predicted the number of videos watched online will increase by about 32 percent in 2017, accounting for 69 percent of all internet traffic, it’s safe to say video is going to play a major role in digital marketing strategies in the new year. With more videos being made, the need to produce the most relevant content for your viewers will only increase. Looking to leading video blogs and vloggers can help businesses identify the styles, formats, features and other details that make for winning video blogs.

We’ve pegged Casey Neistat, Gary Vaynerchuk and PBS Idea Channel as three of the absolute best video bloggers of 2016.

Casey Neistat

Casey Neistat, GQ’s Man of the Year, acclaimed filmmaker and YouTube vlogging sensation, launched his daily Vlog (yes, a vlog is the same thing as a video blog) on his 34th birthday in March 2015. After 490 daily posts, he ended it to focus on new projects and his drive to try new concepts and find bigger and better ideas is something all marketers should embrace.

In his final video blog, Casey talked a bit about why he decided to stop the series, and his argument is something marketers should keep in mind when it comes to creating and running marketing campaigns.

“When I think back to why I started this blog, I spent so much of that time sitting here, talking to you about this premise, about this idea that I need to challenge myself creatively,” Casey said in his final post.

And though he found wild success in a short period (5.6 million subscribers and over 1 billion views), he fell into a rhythm and was no longer creatively challenged. So he shifted gears and decided to seek out a new project. A few days later, Casey announced the sale and merger of his technology company, Beme, to CNN.

“With each success comes a bigger, more ambitious goal,” he stated triumphantly.

It is in this that we can draw a lesson. If you find a marketing campaign that helps you meet your goals, you should not stop there and call the job done. You can and should continually find new and engaging ways to reach your audience. Remain stagnant and the competition will fly by and leave you in its dust.

PBS Idea Channel

With a reputation for providing educational content for people of all ages, PBS struck internet gold with the advent of PBS Idea Channel, a YouTube-based video blog that explores topics in the realm of pop culture, art and technology. The weekly video blog series, hosted by Mike Rugnetta, speaks to a millenial audience by discussing everything from Super Mario Bros. to Nicholas Cage and “50 Shades of Grey.” Rugnetta doesn’t just post a video and move on, either. His series includes videos where he responds to comments to create a dialogue with his audience. Considering Global Web Index found 94 percent of adults ages 25-34 watch video online, it’s a smart play to reach them through YouTube rather than traditional TV.

The video blog series makes good use of a green screen by including custom backgrounds for each video as well as animated and custom imagery that implore viewers to keep their eyes on the screen. At the same time, for those who prefer to listen but can’t also watch, the scripts are strong enough to stand alone, reaching a wider audience. They also take into account attention spans, as most of the videos are between three to six minutes long.

The #AskGaryVee Show

Educational, explainer-style videos are among the most popular online videos, and self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” Gary Vaynerchuk has found a way to share his knowledge with his viewers through an interactive video blog called “The #AskGaryVee Show.” Gary uses social media marketing outreach to collect questions from his audience about marketing, entrepreneurship and social media, which he then answers on his video blog in a very direct, uncut manner that resonates with viewers.

Unlike PBS, Gary Vaynerchuk does not use green screens and custom backgrounds, but instead films his video blogs in his office or meeting rooms. The videos often cut away from Gary to show the Tweets he’s answering, which helps incentivize engagement, as the askers are also featured on the blog to create a more personal experience. The camera is not fixed, either, creating flexibility for Gary to move around and interact with his guests and moderators in a way that feels a little more off the cuff than a highly produced video.

So what can you take away from these three video blogs? Most importantly, you need to know your audience. Idea Channel uses stylized videos and interesting spins on trendy topics to engage their viewers. But beyond that, you need to keep your video blogs exciting and interesting, no matter who you’re trying to reach, in order to stay relevant and top of mind, as Casey Neistat found before his Vlog had a chance to lose its luster. A great way to do that, as Gary Vaynerchuk realizes, is to personalize the experience by literally answering the questions your audience has and recognizing and thanking them for their input.

This has been the first of our 12 days of content series.