This past weekend I was contacted by the lovely Pantophile Panic, who was seeking some advice on getting into the wonderful world of sex toy reviewing. More specifically, vlogging and blogging…
After realizing it took me 4 full DM’d speech bubbles on twitter just to answer one question, not thoroughly enough or the way I wanted to, I thought it would be easier to do a Q&A with her on vlogging vs blogging since I’ve had experience with both… so here we are, 19ish questions later.
For as much as I wanted to, I’ve decided that instead of doing all 19 questions in one piece, I’m splitting this in three parts. 9ish questions in this part, 9ish questions in the next, and another that answers a question on tips and concerns. As you can likely tell by the length of this post, I talk, or write depending on how you look at it, way too much.
At least it’s an easy read. Promise!
What are the best and worst parts of video reviewing?
I’m not going to lie, one of the best parts of video reviewing is seeing the video views climb and watching the hits on my website rise, though it’s not for the reason most would think. Sure, the attention is nice, especially when the majority of comments come from viewers you’ve seen pop up time and time again in support of you and what you do, but instead because to me that means I’m reaching people and having an effect.
At the end of the day if I’ve made one more person aware of a better sex toy manufacturer or retailer, helped someone realize it’s time to toss that stank jelly toy, educated on the benefits of eco-friendly sex toys, or provided the info someone needed to feel confident and okay in their sexuality (my Sex Ed 102 videos specifically), then I’ve done my job and achieved the goal I set for myself. Feeling like I’m a positive force in the community, one that’s working towards a greater good is worth its weight in gold, or sex toys as the case may be.
Also… working with people I admire, receiving thank you notes from viewers saying I saved the from buying something unsafe, seeing the finished product and the way it fills me with a sense of pride, and building friendships with my viewers are priceless things I wouldn’t trade. There’s been many times over the past few years where I’ve let my vulnerabilities show, only to have them welcomed with open arms and unconditional support. It’s nice to know that over for every troll I’ve had to deal with over the years there’s been at least another 20 kick ass individuals that have had my back. That’s an amazing feeling.
The worst… the trolls, the countless hours of editing only to have your software crash before saving, forgetting to charge something like a battery before hand, spilling water on your notes that you wrote in marker, so they bleed and leave you with damn near nothing to go from. Having a video not turn out the way you expected (too much glare, out of focus, etc), feeling unprepared even though you’ve spent the last 4 hours getting everything ready, dealing with censorship. Feeling like it’s a numbers game, as in – each video must get higher views then the last or else! (it’s such bullshit). Being interrupted by a ringing phone mid sentence, the trolls, that moment when you’ve been talking for 5 minutes only to realize the camera isn’t on. Knowing that you will be judged by someone, somewhere, simply because you’re talking about sex or sex toys. Feeling like the video you’ve created isn’t good enough even though 9 times out of 10 it is (oh, that shitty little voice in my head, how I loathe thee!). Creating the video, taking far too many hours to edit it, thinking you’re done… only realize you forgot to cover something exceptionally important. Talking as if you have marbles in your mouth, for no good reason (again, blooper vids!). Did I mention the trolls?
Should I both write a written review and make a video for each product to accommodate people who prefer one vs the other?
At the end of the day what you do is entirely up to you, but in my opinion if you can manage it, do both.
The video doesn’t need to be long unless you want it to be. The written portion doesn’t need to be long unless you want it to be. But doing both is definitely a good idea. There’s a reason YouTube videos are so popular… I’ll probably catch some slack for this but I think most people don’t want to make any real effort if they don’t have to. The majority of our days are spent working to put food on the table, a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and dildos in our drawers. After someone busts their ass for 9+ hours the last thing they want to do is sit down and do something that requires them to think. If you ask people to watch a video that’s 10 minutes in length, or read a review that will take them 10 minutes, both covering the exact same content, 9 times out of 10 they’ll choose to watch the video. It’s just easier.
My point? The more content you can offer to the sex-centric melting pot, the better.
Do you recommend video reviewing vs traditional blogging?
The short answer, not entirely.
The long answer…
Over the past 6 years the landscape of the internet has changed quite drastically. Some say blogging is dead, however I think it’s starting to really take off, especially in the sex positive community. Yes, I know, sex bloggers have been here all along… but here’s the thing, now more than ever sex ed is far more accessible, unbiased, open minded, all-inclusive of gender, race, and sexual orientation, up to and including the use of sex toys. It’s shifting towards being pleasure centered rather than penis-goes-in-vagina-this-is-how-you-make-a-baby or vibrators-go-in-a-vagina-and-NOTHING-goes-in-your-butt type of thinking. And that’s important.
Of course there are benefits of each…
Written content will help build your SEO in a way videos can’t, give you the opportunity to talk about things you might not want to on camera (i.e. your personal experience), allow a space to place text and banner ads so you can hopefully make an income, provide a place you can upload photos and make everything work together seamlessly in one place, and keep you safe from censorship or being shut down.
Videos on the other hand will grant you a much wider reach, make your content easier to find, likely be viewed more than a written review, offer a completely different and much more relevant way to show the product off (seeing someone hold a vibrator gives them a better idea of the size etc then seeing it in a picture), potentially make money (if you can monetize views), and get to know the person behind the reviews – you – in a far more personal way.
Which do you enjoy more personally?
To be honest, I love them both for very different reasons, with the written element coming in slightly ahead. The videos help get my content out there and are much more fun to create, but the written aspect is mine. Let me explain…
When I first started reviewing I just did videos and was totally happy with that. But as my videos started to gain regular views in the tens of thousands I found there were far too many people that judged, ridiculed, posted crappy comments, and acted like juvenile asshats. That’s when I decided to include the written element as an outlet for my personal experiences; rather than voluntarily airing my goings on with the world, I saved them for my blog. It was where I felt protected and safe to say what I wanted, without having to deal with a shit tonne of immaturity or negativity. My videos became less of a ‘review’ and more of a ‘product feature’ to compliment my writing, my blog became my own little corner of the internet. If someone really wanted to know what it was like they could go read about it on my site, if they didn’t that was their choice. Either way, I covered all of the bases and had two bodies of work that made me feel proud and accomplished.
How do you work with affiliates when reviewing a video, do you leave their links in the video description? Give them a verbal thank you?
This is something you’ll want to work out with each company you work with but for the most part, I’d include 2 links to their site within the video (one unaffiliated, one affiliated), a link to them in the description bar (affiliated), and a thank you within the video. Anyone that sends you a toy to review and an affiliate program to make a bit of money deserves some respect, and thank yous are always nice.
Here’s my one little warning: anything you put in the video will remain there forever. Even if you don’t work with the company anymore. Even if they kill their affiliate account. Even if they turn out to be assholes that you’d never want to work with again. I repeat, anything you put in the video will remain there forever. Be careful who you choose to work with and what you choose to include in your videos, once it’s online there’s no way to fix it. Sure you can pull the video down, re-edit it, and re-upload it, but that’s a major pain in the ass, especially if it’s a video with a high view count.
Would you say having a YouTube channel increases traffic to your website at all? By how much?
Yes. Most definitely, yes. Days when I upload videos I’ll see an immediate spike in traffic on my websites, social media, and an increase in sales on ShopSexEd102.com. But that’s me, and I’ve been at it for 6 years. Unfortunately I can’t specifically say how much it will increase your traffic because that’s dependent on a variety of things; your view counts, how well you use the various opportunities for being found (linking, social media, tags, annotations, proper video labeling, etc), whether the content your covering is something people are interested in, how many subscribers you have, how many videos you have, how credible you seem etc. It’s different from person to person, but in the long run it will definitely help.
I don’t want to remain completely anonymous as a blogger. I want to be able to show people, and say “look at what I created.” People have suggested that I only do toy reviews while wearing a mask, or a wig and contacts. Disguise myself. I don’t want to do that. What are your feelings about that?
If you don’t want to do that, then don’t. The world needs more people that are willing to talk about sex in an open and transparent way, who are fearless when it comes to changing the game, who have a passion for what they do, take pride in it, aren’t ashamed, embarrassed, or scared of having their faces seen. Not that I have a problem with those that do, I understand more than many the importance of anonymity, but the more visible those within the sex positive community become, the better for everyone.
So that’s it for this part of the Vlogging vs Blogging Q&A! Thanks to Pantophile Panic for getting in touch and asking such thought provoking questions, you can find her website here. I suggest you take a gander at her eye opening post on the dangers of toxic jelly sex toys. All I can say is Ouch!
For those of you just getting into reviews, be it vlogging, or blogging, hopefully all the info I packed in didn’t overwhelm you. ‘Cause Lord knows, that’s the last thing I want to do.
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