February 2016

Vaping From the Outside – Deconstruction of a Vape Show Host

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By Susan Oser

For those of you who venture online and have come across an online vaping show (whether it’s a podcast, VapeTV.com or vapers.tv), you probably have enjoyed one or two focused on D.I.Y., modding or giveaways. Perhaps, you’ve always considered how cool and easy it might be to become a host.

As an online show host for vaping and non-vaping alike, there is a lot to learn and do when it comes to going on camera and hosting a show. It takes planning, finding the right equipment, getting music and marketing yourself, to name a few. However, though you need to be both host and producer, and it might seem a lot of work at times, it also can be rewarding and a lot of fun.

Having said that, let me give you a list of some things to consider if you are thinking about becoming a vape show host:

Channels
Believe it or not, there are a lot of channels to choose from when it comes to hosting on a vape network or channel. Some have some names that you might know. Some channels are fairly new. Some have been around five-plus years. So, how are you to decide where you’d like to host?

The best thing that you can do is surf around. Check out the browse preview to see if there is anyone who looks remotely interesting to you. If you don’t have that option, pick a channel name that sounds interesting and jump in.

Once you do that, sit back, relax and listen. However, if you feel comfortable enough with the hosts and the chatters to participate, by all means, go for it. You might find yourself a regular of the show and a regular to the channel, while making some good friends along the way. However, don’t limit yourself to that one show or one channel. If you develop a positive relationship with chatters or hosts, ask about shows they recommend. Look into hosting possibilities, but allow yourself a few months to observe the chemistry and interaction of the hosts and chatters to make sure that it’s where you want to host and what you want to do.

Sponsors and giveaways
It’s important to remember that giveaways and sponsorships are marketing. They’re a great way for vendors to get their names out there to potential markets and buyers. That’s why it’s free, and it’s also why these generous vendors offer coupon codes. However, you have to make sure that you have a substantial number of people in the room, or else their sponsorships will not be to your benefit; vendors want solid numbers so they can reach the most people possible.

Also, choose a vendor with whom you have a good relationship. Research who they are and find out what their goals are: are they in it for the money? To save lives? Do they have clean e-liquid? Are they activists in the community? You might also try the e-liquid yourself; that way, you’ll be able to gauge whether the juice is worth buying or giving away.

With all vendors, paid customers are first in line for their goods. So there may be times a vendor offers to sponsor you, but becomes so busy that they do not have time to send giveaways. As a host, make an effort to maintain communication with vendors to find out exactly what’s happening in their world; make sure that they, as well as your viewers, are happy.

Some vendors may like the idea of sponsoring you, then see how your show or channel works and decide you are not the right fit for their brand—or vice versa. Sometimes, this causes a revolving door effect. As a host, this can be frustrating. However, with every vendor that leaves, a new one can comes your way. Sometimes, you have to go through a few to find the right fit.

There also are some vendors that will do giveaways, but are slow to send their prizes. Or, your winners might contact you after three weeks, letting you know they did not receive their prizes. Not only does this look bad for your sponsor, it also looks bad for your show (and maybe even your channel).

Because this is a big frustration with most hosts, many decide to drop giveaways altogether.

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Content
Most, if not all, vape shows emphasize content and talk about something related to vaping. It doesn’t matter if it’s e-liquid, product reviews or vaping activism; there always is something to talk about in terms of vaping. But, what if that’s not your thing all the time? That’s when you learn to find your voice and create a show that is unique to you and the audience who visits you. For example, some shows focus on hanging out and having a good conversation about vaping and other topics. Some have trivia shows, where the prize is vaping related. Some give away vaping products. Others use the host’s personal hobbies as a theme for the show. You never know what kind of audience you will draw or the regulars you’ll gain. Sometimes, that audience becomes a part of your show; other times, your commentary is the show. Sometimes, the best shows are unplanned, when you throw away the script and just be. It’s all a matter of what works for you.

Rules (if any)
Almost every channel has rules to follow. Sometimes they are followed. Sometimes they are just there to look good or for legality. Most of the time, they’re common sense, like no slander or drama, no talk of drugs, and sometimes not to do anything without permission of the owners or management of the channel. Some channels will have newcomers try out for the show by being a co-host, go on a probationary period for a matter of weeks or try out for a spot you’re interested in to see if you’re a good fit. For the most part, it works out. Sometimes, it isn’t meant to be. But that means you can still shop around for another channel that’s a perfect fit for you.

Social media
Advertising yourself online is key when it comes to being an online host. It’s best to create a Facebook page or group to promote your show, post updates and establish rules. Twitter also is one of the best ways to advertise your show in a few short sentences (it also gives your followers a chance to retweet and spread the word about you). You also can use LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest to get the word out, but it depends on your show and how active you are on those sites. Your best bet is to stick to the social media platforms that most vapers use regularly.

As far as how much you advertise, it’s truly up to you. Generally, more is better. However, you don’t want to come off like a spammer or someone desperate to get viewers. Instead, advertise a few days ahead of time, as well as the day of your show, so it can serve as a reminder to your audience.

Other important points to remember:
Despite the contrary, hosting on a channel is not a popularity contest (even if you are on a popular channel). It’s all about being entertaining, informational and, most of all, welcoming and friendly. Your biggest reward should be what you get out of it as a host, and whether the audience gained something from you in return. I know personally that it is for me.

Don’t let the pressures of hanging out at other channels influence how you host or what you talk about. Learn from the shows in which you’re a member of the audience, and learn from what they do. Find out what makes their audience tick and see how you can improve on it. That’s how your change and grow every time you do your show—from openings to topics and more.

Hosting should not feel like a 9-to-5 job (unless you are actually getting paid or are able to make a career out of hosting). If it does, you might want to find another channel or give yourself a break for a while. There could be times when life gets in the way and you just don’t have the time. That’s OK. Your audience will understand. Hosting shouldn’t be an obligation. At the end of the day, when the camera is turned off, every host has their own life with work, family and other offline commitments. You shouldn’t be any different.

You are one of the many voices out there in the vaping community. It is up to you to be the name and face of vaping in a way that is comfortable to you. Overall, hosting should be fun, and it should be a great tool to teach others about what you know, and to show to world that vapers are respectable people. As long as you don’t let drama get in the way or get too involved in it, you should be OK. Remember: it’s an experience that can you use to help gain new friends, networks, self-esteem and more. Don’t do it because you want to be popular or for attention’s sake. Do it because you feel like you have something to say and because you want to.

So, do you think you have what it takes to be a host? Are there any questions you’d like to ask? If you are a host, what’s missing for this list? What additional advice would you give? Contact me at angelwritercreations@gmail.com.

Learn more about me and my knitted goods store on my website (http://www.angelwritercreations.com), and connect with
me on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, I currently host a show on VapeTVLive on vapetv.com on Thursday nights at
11 p.m. – midnight EST. I hope you come by for a visit, and make sure you mention you read about this topic in VAPE.

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