Ze Frank's daily video blog looks simple enough. In each installment of "The Show" ( zefrank.com/theshow ), one of the most popular "vlogs" on the Internet as ranked by technorati.com , the 34-year-old New Yorker riffs on airport delays, politicians' names and other topics. But what takes viewers a few minutes to watch, takes Frank nearly six hours to produce. Coming up with fresh material, he says, is a daily struggle.
"There is a myth that you can just put a video on YouTube and suddenly it's going to get watched by a million people," says Jay Dedman, who moderates a video-blogging discussion group on Yahoo.com . That myth fell away last week when the popular vlogger lonelygirl15 ( YouTube.com ) turned out to be an actress starring in an early version of a film. Lonelygirl had attracted a following with her snappily edited monologues about life as a home-schooled teen with strictly religious parents. But even if you don't have movie-studio muscle to devote to your monologues, there are still ways to make a splash in the vlogosphere.
Get equipped: Make sure you have the right tools. Jeff Pulver, founder of Web development company Pulver Media, recommends using a digital video camera that's no older than 18 months. To edit, use iMovie or Movie Maker, which comes preloaded on new Macs and PCs, or, for more-professional results, try Vlog It! ( seriousmagic.com ).
Reveal something: "People are looking for an emotional connection," says Ben Going, a.k.a. boh3m3, a 21-year-old from Huntsville, Ala., who vlogs about music at MySpace.com and YouTube. Discuss your passions, but keep it short: no more than two or three minutes.
Be entertaining: "This is a style of performance, and you can't forget that," says Frank. Test your video on friends to make sure their eyes don't glaze over.
Build an audience: Start a text blog to host your video and shoot new spots to keep people coming back. Finally, tune in to other vlogs and post comments."People will watch you if you watch them," says Dedman. In the end, that's what video blogging is all about.