Better Blogging: How to use videos in Agriculture

Part of my series sharing tips to improve blogging (Link)

Several people have asked how I come up with ideas for blog posts and how I am able to blog 3, or even 5 days each week. One simple answer is diversity. I change-up my post subjects and styles, utilizing a variety of mediums for posts. I also use daily experiences for post topics and make sure to jot down notes soon after an idea hits my brain.

One great way to create variety in your blogging efforts is to utilize videos. Video can be especially valuable in agriculture when we’re trying to share a message. Still-images can be great, but a short video adds a bit of reality for the audience and really helps to bring home the message.

Piecing together a video blog

Blogging via video doesn’t have to be professional. I’ve made several vlog (video + blog) entries from a hand-held camera in the middle of a pasture. Many phones or digital cameras have video features already on them that are easy to use.

These do not have to be mistake-free either. I can be caught stumbling over a few words and usually end up making a few different takes. Do whatever is comfortable for you. There are many examples on my YouTube channel.

As I’ve progressed in my vlogging experience, I’ve become more comfortable with editing video with software. Microsoft Movie Maker is a simple, free program that allows you to split or trim video clips and add captions or title slides.

Tips for better videos

When creating these videos, it’s important to shoot for a few goals.

  • Keep your content brief and topic narrow. A few minutes is plenty long for a vlog entry.
  • Jot down the main points you want to make. Rehearse what you want to say a few times, but don’t memorize.
  • Avoid awkward staring into the camera. Grab a drink of water between takes, retakes.
  • Use a tripod, stand or anything to stabilize your camera.
  • Be aware of wind, background noises, and volume.
  • Get your main message across in 90 seconds. Audiences have a short attention span.
  • Try to capture attention in the first 30 seconds.

Judi, blogger at FarmnWife (Twitter), always has great blogging tips to share.

  • Videos make great year-end post content, especially for slide shows (Link)
  • For those with slower internet connections, compress videos for faster uploading (Link)
  • 5 Steps for better videos include stabilizing, mic and light placement, head room, and retakes (Link)
  • Videos make great content for speed blogging, or topic starters (Link)

For more information about how to embed a video within your blog post, AgChat Foundation volunteer, Jodi Oleen (Twitter), shared a few tips recently on the AgChat website (Link)

Examples of my video blogs

I’ve had nothing viral like the recent Farming and I grow it from the Peterson Brothers, but here are a few of my more popular vlog entries.

  • In this video, I carried along the camera as I loaded a few bulls into the trailer last summer at the end of breeding season. This was preceded by a video sharing more about the cattle breeding season and care for breeding bulls.

  • After Spring Vaccinations last year, I captured what it looks like to walk through a set of cattle pens.

  • We had some pesky heifers that kept jumping the cattle guard last Spring. Here I tried to capture a few of them hopping back in the pasture.

Many farmers utilize videos to capture normal animal handling practices, farming methods, and agriculture events and use these as a stored bank of videos. When groups criticize our methods (example: animal abuse videos) we can use them as an example of what we’ve been doing. And because we have these practices already documented, our response is not as rushed or defensive.

What other suggestions do you have for utilizing video in blogging and sharing an agriculture message?

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2 Comments

  1. Video is a great way to communicate about agriculture. I’m working on getting Cooperative Extension Service agents to use more video to help get information out. Here’s a short video I filmed using a GoPro HD2 video camera to film my son learning how to drive a tractor at Oregon State University’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center yearly openhouse in Aurora, Oregon. http://www.telly.com/C0XSU (side note – my son absolutely loved driving that huge tractor!)

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