Making Multi-Channel Content

Monday, February 08, 2021

As a writer, I’ve always had the tendency to hide behind my words. While I don’t mind being on camera every now and then, every time I’ve been asked to appear on a TV news segment (only a handful of times in my editing career) I get really anxious and nervous beforehand but usually do pretty well. 

Starting up a podcast wasn’t that much of a stretch for me, once I got set up with microphone, got my scripts in shape and figured out the proper balance of themes to cover, background music and sound effects. But again, I was hiding faceless behind a microphone and had/have control of the editing process.

It my was my teenage daughter (and tech support) who suggested I create a YouTube channel. At first I was hesitant. Sure, I go to YouTube for various things, including music playlists and tech tutorial videos, but I don’t consume it the way my teenagers do. Then she started telling me how many true crime YouTube channels there are out there, and how we could easily take audio from the podcast, add in visuals such as stock photography and photos from the cases and find a whole new audience. This would all be for free, because for now, YouTube is a platform that allows you to create and host your channel at no cost. 

I began thinking of creating a series of videos—short snippets of me discussing true crime or missing persons cases, but they would all be around five minutes long, so people could watch them in short bits. As I scrolled through my blog, I realized how much content I already had prepped, with just a few short tweaks I could use true crime blog posts I’ve already written (and not covered on my podcast) for video. Not everyone reads my blog, so this could turn into new content for a different audience. 

My husband gifted me with a “vlogging” kit complete with a tripod for my phone, microphone and small stage light for Christmas so I already had the equipment. I got my first script ready, practiced reading it aloud, and lo and behold, it came in at just over five minutes with intro credits. 

I currently have two “Five Minutes of True Crime” segments on my YouTube channel called “Missing in the Carolinas,” and a few more already recorded that I need to edit. While editing video has been another learning curve for me, I am using an app called InShot that allows me to record videos on my phone and edit them within minutes. While I’m still trying to figure out the best way to present the stories (reading from a script on the table and looking up periodically or reading from a script directly behind the camera), it’s been fun living out my childhood dream of becoming a news anchor. I’ve been able to use these videos on both YouTube and Instagram on IGTV, and I’m slowly attracting more podcast listeners from this new form of content. 

As a writer, I highly recommend creating your own YouTube channel and recording content for it, whether interviews with other writers, tips for writing fiction, background research from your latest book, etc. The possibilities are endless and I encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t already!

Do you have a YouTube channel? What types of content do you post on it? Would you watch a YouTube or IGTV channel from one of your favorite authors? 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and magazine editor who also hosts the true crime podcast "Missing in the Carolinas." Learn more at her website,


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--There are a couple of "big" things I still have not done as a writer. Creating my own Youtube channel is one of them.

If any of us have done research, it should be easy to do, following your suggestions. If any of us have struggled with a draft, it shouldn't be too hard to create a short video discussing our writing process. If any of us have submitted to countless agents and publishers, we should be able to easily talk for a few minutes about how we narrowed our search or how we remained hopeful.

Thanks for the nudge, Renee.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Love the videos! Maybe in your sprare time you should teach a class? I've played around with videos but yours put mine to shame!

Hmm. Another goal for 2021?

Sioux Roslawski said...

Crudola. I saw Sue's comment, and thought, 'There was a video I could watch?' Of course there was.

I have to agree with Sue, or at least I would if I had any videos to compare yours to. As I've said before, you have a lovely, soothing voice. I'm very much a visual person, so being able to see you along with hearing you was delightful.

Keep makin' those videos. You'll connect to an even wider audience...

Renee Roberson said...

Sue--Thanks! I really don't know a ton about video editing, but this InShot app is pretty user friendly. It's free but there is an upgraded version I may consider using in the future. I have to shoot the videos on my phone, though, because that's how the interface works the best (I think). There have been a few times when I've had to call Mia over and she just sticks out her hand so she can take over with tweaking. I'm worst about trimming clips and find that's the hardest part, not cutting off my words.

Sioux--There was a brief period when I checked the post this morning and it didn't look like the videos I embedded were showing up but then they magically appeared later! That may have happened when you first looked at it. Thanks for watching! I thought if I focused on doing very short segments more people may have time to watch! Not many people have 45 minutes to an hour to sit around watching videos (except for maybe my teens).

Jeanine DeHoney said...

So glad you created your YouTube channel Renee, and thank you for sharing your journey. I don't have a YouTube channel but it is something to think about in the near future. I would definitely watch a YouTube channel from one of my favorite authors.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I watched until you said, "A word of caution. This contains graphic content" and then I had to stop because I have issues with real life crime images. (I'm up all night, scared to bits!)

However, you have a great voice for YouTube (and your podcast) and I think this is a great idea since you have the material and the skills (not everyone has the kind of voice that other people want to listen to, trust me).

I don't watch a lot of authors on video (I will watch a book trailer and a lot of those are on YouTube) just because I try to limit screen time. Now a podcast? One can listen and walk or listen and clean or listen and take a bath...well, that's probably a picture no one wants to imagine but you know what I mean. :-)

Renee Roberson said...

Jeanine--I feel like YouTube is a good way to attract more people to your work and it's not too difficult to make a short video to tide people over until longer content can be released. At least, that's the way I see it for now! I also plan to use it to review true crime documentaries and books in the future.

Cathy--Yeah, because I don't want people to be shocked by the content I put in that warning. I don't show any graphic photos or images in my work, ever, but stories that have sexual assault or murder in them can be triggering for people so I want to be sensitive to that. Thank you for your kind words on my speaking voice! I do work really hard at it and am considering offering voice over work on Fiverr, maybe, since I already have the equipment here.

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