Expert: Steve Garfield

Steve Garfield is a videoblogging pioneer & knows more ways to get video online – more easily – than anyone. He’s a stickler for ease of use & loves to experiment.

Steve works with & advises companies like Kodak, Nokia, Panasonic, AT&T, CNN, CBS and lectures on new media at Boston University, Northeastern & Emerson. - How to Become a Video Blogger - How to Become a Video Blogger - How to Become a Video Blogger - How to Become a Video Blogger
Steve’s a Humorist, writer and author of “Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business” & is an online video host and an advisor and investor in internet startups.



Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc., , from Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business (c) 2010 by Steve Garfield.


…this land we’ve all been harvesting for the past decade (not forgetting the early days of dial-up and streaming videos) is full of intensely passionate people. Whether it’s the actor/director/writer who can’t get a job in traditional Hollywood, the entrepreneur who is using video to promote their work, the artist experimenting with the form itself, the activist using video to bring a cause to light, or the new mom sending video of her newborn to family and friends—we all have the ability to tell our story.
—Zadi Diaz, new media producer and co-founder of Smashface Productions, 1st Annual Streamy Awards: Once in a Lifetime

Hi everyone, this is Steve Garfield from I’m here in my book. Thanks for reading.
Video is everywhere. It permeates many aspects of our lives every day. The ability to record video is as easy as pushing a button on any number of devices. Because of this ease and availability, video can be a powerful tool for you and your business.

I am one of the first bloggers to figure out how to put video on a blog. I had been producing videos and blogging for years, but never had put video on my blog and had never seen anyone else do it either.
On January 1, 2004, I created Steve Garfield’s Video Blog.

I visited and learned how to utilize the language of the Web, HTML, to enable me to embed a video and link to it from within a blog post. I became part of a community of video bloggers, and have been sharing my knowledge online and in classes and workshops ever since.

This book will demystify that process of recording and sharing video. It’s a lot easier now than it was back in 2004. There are so many ways to do it. I’ll share some of the tools you can use to capture video, and once you’ve got the video, show you where you should put it.

This book also encompasses the knowledge of other online video pioneers who are figuring out how to be successful telling stories and establishing a following. I’ve interviewed these successful people who are using video in many different ways. Read their stories, then follow my step-by-step guides that show you how you can follow their lead.

Since starting my video blog on January 1, 2004, I’ve watched online video grow into something I could never have imagined. It’s time for a new handbook to review how people have become successful, and share with you the tools you’ll need to use today.


The technical definition of video blogging is video on a blog. Blogging allows anyone with access to a computer the ability to have their thoughts seen and shared. Video blogging just adds a video component.
People want to share their stories.

You can share your stories on the Web by using text, audio, photos, and video. Compelling videos can enhance engagement and prompt people to participate. This participation can range from leaving a comment on someone else’s video to becoming part of a campaign to elect the president of the United States by shooting and sharing a video with a Flip camera.

Secret: Your video does not have to be professionally produced to be successful and tell a story.
Video blogging opened up the ability to share videos with others, just like blogging allowed people to easily share stories.

Cable TV has a finite audience and once your video is shown, it’s gone. How do viewers give you feedback? Write to the station? Doesn’t happen.
With new media a new two-way engagement is possible.
When you take a look at the video landscape there are many genres that make up video on the Web.

GET SEEN: The Secret to Online Video is to create good content.
Good content gets viewed, commented on, and passed around. In this book I show you many different ways to create great content.
Even if you don’t want to be seen on camera, you can create impressive web video.


Video allows you to tell a much richer story than you ever could with just words or pictures alone. Video enables you to engage the viewer emotionally. It’s the same reason why TV became popular—video stimulates more of your senses.

One of the most important powers of video is the ability to make a connection with a viewer. As a longtime video blogger, I’ve seen viewers feel like they actually get to know you on a much more personal level than text or photos offer. You’ll see in my story how I became friends with Late Night star Jimmy Fallon.

Video enables you to tell a story and connect with people on a more personal level. Those people could end up being important to you and to your business. Let’s say that you post a video online and someone with 500,000 followers on Twitter reposts it; maybe someone on your local news station sees the video and broadcasts it; maybe Oprah or Ellen find it amusing and broadcast it to millions more. You can’t guarantee that will happen, but if you don’t put video out there, you can guarantee that it won’t.
Before putting video on the Web, you might want to set some goals to gauge your success. These could be as simple as counting the number of views, comments, or time spent viewing a video.

Video is just one part of a marketing plan. It fits certain messages and people better than others.
It doesn’t cost much to get started. You can start with an inexpensive video solution and spend more money as you progress if you like.
In my case, as time has gone on, my equipment has actually become less expensive and of greater quality.


The right people to start video blogging are those with a passion to tell a story. One of the most passionate people out there right now telling stories with video is Gary Vaynerchuk. If you look up Gary Vaynerchuk on Google, the first entry to come up is Gary’s site with the description, “Gary Vaynerchuk’s place to talk about his passions, hustle, wine, and business.”
Okay, so Gary wrote that description, but isn’t that what you want? To have the first result on Google be written by you?

Video blogging can help make that happen. Video blogging means putting video in a blog. When you do that you gain all the power of blogging.

GET SEEN: Add text to your video blog entries so that they are indexed by Google and show up in Google searches.

Let’s look at some examples of people who should be putting video online:
 A company that wants to tell a story.
 A journalist who wants to show the world an unfiltered video on something.
 An artist who wants to show her fans the creative process.


This book includes interviews with many people who are successful in online video. Read about their stories and the tools they use. Many times when you hear someone speaking at a conference, they generally talk about their video production. Then, invariably what happens is that someone comes up to the mic during the Q&A sessions and asks what kind of camera they use and what type of mic. I asked and they answered, so you see technical sections of some of the interviews in the book where you can hear exactly what these video producers use to make their videos. You can even think of it as a shopping list.

If you are inspired by one of the interviews, I include step-by-step guides to show you how to produce your own video that mirror the successful producers. So, if you’re interested in producing a live show, I show you how. Want to find out the fastest way to get started, I cover that, too.


If you or your company is considering putting video on the Web, you have many confusing options. It’s like trying to choose a color and type of stain for your deck. There are myriad color samples and transparencies to choose from.

I appreciate what the paint company wants to do by giving us all these choices, but it would be much easier if they offered a gallon of Mahogany Semi-Transparent stain on the shelf with the label that read, “This is our most popular and people like it!”

That’s what I’m going to review in the book. I show you a variety of video blogging styles, and then provide step-by-step instructions on how to use the best platforms.
You have many options for how to share your story. These options include recording video, broadcasting live video, recording screen casts, and displaying photo slides shows, to name a few.

GET SEEN: Your videos don’t have to have people in them. You can have successful videos that tell a story with words and pictures.

There’s also a mountain of video equipment choices that changes every day. I spend a lot of time on Twitter and e-mail helping people decide which camera they should buy. You have options that include using an existing point and shoot digital camera, cell phone, Flip camera, miniDV tape camera, hard drive camera, memory card camera, standard definition, HD, and the list goes on and on.

GET SEEN: Take a look to see if your digital still camera has a video option. If it does, you can start shooting web video with it right away.
There’s a wide variety of cameras, microphones, and other equipment available, however, depending on your plans, you can find the right equipment for you. I help you decide among the many camera choices out there by running through some popular models and telling you the pros and cons of different models. I also take a look at some microphone and lighting solutions.


My experience in video production began with many years of volunteering at public access TV stations in the suburbs of Boston. During that time I was also very active in college radio. I pursued these interests “on the side” because my parents always wanted me to pursue a career in accounting.

My professional career has included jobs in programming, sales, marketing, and web development. While in those jobs, I continued to be involved in media. At one point I was producer of a morning radio show in Boston at the same time as being national marketing manager for a major computer distributor. I worked at the radio station from 3:30 A.M. to 9:30 A.M., then went in to work at the computer distributor from 10 A.M. to 7 P.M. I loved working at the radio station and took pride in my audio edits.

I finally combined my knowledge of computers and video editing in a job at a local HD video production company where I was an online editor, working with video producers to prepare HD footage for air on cable TV. No accounting experience was needed.

Around that same time I was also regularly producing online videos for my blog. Time magazine ran a story about video blogging that featured me, called “See Me, Blog Me.”6 The author, Jeffrey Ressner wrote, “someday anyone could conceivably mount original programming, bypassing the usual broadcast networks and cable outlets.” That day is here. I showed the article around the office. I then taught some of the producers I worked with how to set up a video blog. Ryan Hodson and Amy Carpenter were two of the people I trained. They went on to produce popular video blogs and continue to work in online video.

One of the most exciting aspects of the early days of online video was the difference between the reach of online video compared to video shown on cable TV. Online video had an unlimited audience with the added benefit of on-demand viewing and the ability to connect with the producer, be it via e-mail or comments on the video blog.


This book contains many examples of successful implementations of a video strategy. Much like blogging, there are certain steps you can take to become successful.

Five steps to be successful:

1. Publish on a regular basis. This lets people know that they can expect new videos at a certain interval.

2. Set your videos free. Publish to more than one location. This lets your videos organically find their audience. You might get a loyal following on some smaller niche video sites, but those viewers could turn out to be your most ardent supporters who end up spreading the word about you. Also make sure your videos are easy to share by providing sharing features like embed codes, “tweet this” buttons, and “e-mail this” links.

3. Be real. Make videos about something that you are passionate about. Gary Vaynerchuk has become extremely popular by producing a daily show about wine. He’s an expert on that. He produces his show with one camera, one light, in one take. Web video can be produced at little cost. You can hire production crews or learn production to make your videos look like TV or Hollywood productions, and that’s fine, but you can also try to do something different. Give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work with you or your company. You can be real. Viewers will appreciate it.

4. Have a conversation. The immediacy of web video allows you to connect with your viewers. They’ll be able to comment back in many different ways including text, audio, photo, and video. Encourage that communication. Incorporate viewer content in your videos. The wisdom of the audience is great and you’ll be richer for sharing with them. Tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Seesmic allow you to engage in rich communication.

5. Listen. Even more important than focusing on your message, listen to the market. Listen to your customers. Listen to your audience to see what they are saying. See what they want and provide that. See what they want to share and help them get seen.


This book is set up to teach what the best are doing in video blogging. I have interviewed the best video producers and included those interviews here. Many of the interviews were recorded on video and are available on the book web site.

You can read about their stories and the tools they use. While many people were putting video on the Web prior to embedding it in blogs, this book covers how to effectively use video in the video blogging space. I asked how they did it, and they answered, so you learn about the technical aspects of exactly what these video producers use to make their videos. You can think of them as potential shopping lists.

One thing to keep in mind: Posting video to the Web is more than just putting video on a web page. Your video can be a conversation starter. Take part. Have fun.
Let me know how you are doing.

Visit and join the online conversation about topics covered in this book. Ask questions and share your own videos and experiences.
I have links to online sites, examples, and equipment you can use to get started in online video.

See you online.

Steve Garfield
on Twitter

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