How to come up with great video ideas

One of the hardest things for any video content creator to do is coming up with ideas for their next video. Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to help get your creative juices flowing.

There are many brainstorming techniques you can utilize to start using right away. We’ll list a few of them you can try for yourself. We’ll also give a few tips to keep in mind when coming up with video ideas and help you decide when you should throw an idea out.

Let’s dive into it:

Brainstorming techniques

Stream-of-consciousness brainstorming

For brainstorming to be effective, you have to allow your mind to think freely. When brainstorming, people tend to overthink things, which ultimately halts the creative process.

Stream-of-consciousness brainstorming avoids overthinking by forcing you to write down your thoughts at a rapid pace. Open a word document or get a piece of paper and pen. For there, set a time limit to write down as many thoughts or ideas as you can in that amount of time. Constantly write down words. The point of the technique is to give you no time to stop and think about what you’ve written. For the amount of time you’re writing, you’re thinking freely.

At this point, you shouldn’t be worried about if an idea is bad or not, or if it will work. Once the time is up you can review all that you’ve written to see if anything sparks a video idea or a starting point you can develop further.

Round Robin brainstorming

If you’re working with a group of people, you can use the Round Robin brainstorming method. In this method, every individual in the group comes to a meeting with an idea they thought of prior. Once everyone is together, go one-by-one and have each person talk about their idea until everyone has had a turn. Record all ideas so that they can be discussed once everyone has shared what they came up with. This gives everyone a chance to pitch in and contribute. Be open to all ideas and give each one equal consideration.

Image courtesy: ToolsHero

Come up with questions about a topic

Oftentimes, successful videos are centered around a single question. A huge margin of YouTube videos are dedicated to answering a question they show in the title or the thumbnail. You can come up with video ideas by forming questions about a topic that interests you. Pick a topic and write down all the questions you have about the topic. If you have a question about something, likely there are many other people who will have the same question. From there, you can pick a question that your future video will answer.

Honing in on a concept

Look at trends

If you’re drawing a blank on what you want your video to be about, take a look at what is trending. Search Google Trends to get ideas based on what is popular right now. It will help you better understand what people are looking for, allowing you to fill the demand. Additionally, your video could get more views because the topic is popular and more people are looking for content about that topic.

Google Trends
Use Google trends to find what topics are popular. Image courtesy Image courtesy: Bruce Clay

Reach out to others

If you are having trouble coming up with ideas on your own, reach out to others. You can ask people who watch your videos for content ideas they want to see in the future. You can also look at comments on previous videos you’ve uploaded or feedback you’ve received from clients. Oftentimes, people will either request future content or ask a question you can form a video around.

Try something new

Humans are creatures of habit. When we are taken out of our comfort zone and try something new, we experience new things we’ve never felt before. Ideas come from experiences and feelings we have. If you are drawing a blank on ideas, maybe you should try doing something new in your real life that you’ve never done before.

When should you throw out an idea?

There comes a time when you have to look at an idea realistically. While you might want to live stream from the bottom of the ocean, that’s likely not possible for you to do. You have to look at the amount of time, effort and money you’re willing to put into a project. You also have to look into laws to make sure your ideas are legal to do. Many YouTubers get in trouble because they assumed what they were doing was legal, for instance crashing a classroom Zoom session.

Also, an idea might be possible for you to do, but you might find it doesn’t interest you. While a video may become more popular because you follow a trend, if the topic doesn’t interest you, you won’t be attracting the right people to your work. While they might like the one video you made, they might not watch the content you regularly post. Find a balance between doing something that is popular and something that interests you.

It’s a horrible feeling when you’re trying to come up with video ideas and you’re drawing a blank. The techniques above will help you think of content that will interest both you and your audience.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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