In this article I would like to share 7 techniques I use to never run out of content ideas. I hope they will be useful for you too.
By the way, if you prefer to watch a video instead, please scroll down to find one.
I think here, the main idea is to listen to yourself and choose ideas that excite you, because this is the way you will enjoy the process along the way. And as a bonus, there will definitely be people who will also find it exciting and this is how you connect to someone who will find your information useful... or interesting... or entertaining.
And before we start, I think the biggest value of this post would be doing - really doing - one of these exercises or, even better, multiple exercises and experimenting with YouTube video ideas. Because knowing is being ready to make a step forward, but doing an exercise is doing a really strong step forward.
1. Brainstorming based on my values
First of all, I look at the generic topic of my channel/ platform, and for me it is self-development, productivity, building personal brand online.
And there are a ton of channels on YouTube with similar topics, but then I want to narrow down and talk to them in context of my values. So I thought of around 3-4 values and started with them first.
My values are:
- freedom - freedom to do what I like, to be where I want to be
- Self-development and hobbies - this is a big part of my life, and it helps me to learn, to keep exploring, to find ideas, to be excited about life
- Family and friends - and this is the big reason WHY I do things, because this is my priority and I love freedom to make sure I can spend time with loved ones. I would like to show my daughter that she can choose any path in her life as long as she is passionate about it.
So then I put all three of those values onto paper and put a 10 minute timer to start brainstorming my video ideas. They can be related to any of the topics, to several at the same time or to none at all, here it is important to put anything that comes into your mind without any filter. I like to do it in a mind map way, because some ideas actually arise one from another. And I do prefer to do it on paper, even though it means I will need to do an extra step digitizing them.
As soon as the timer is up, keep writing if you actually are still in process or stop if you feel like you have put all your ideas down
Now it is time to go one by one and see if there is something you can do about this idea for your video. You will likely have some under yes, some under maybe and some under no.
Journaling is not part of my current routine, but I do come back to it from time to time - sometimes for multiple weeks. Sometimes I do journaling every day for long stretches of multiple months.
And in the beginning, I didn’t know what to write about, so I just was writing what I was doing, what I had seen, and felt. It was good, because it helped me to be in the moment, but after several days I got bored of writing similar things, so I started asking myself some questions and they served like prompts to me. This free flow writing really helps me to come up with new ideas.
And there are so many prompts online that will help you start discovering something what is already in you and this will guide you to many ideas, because whatever is important to you might also be important to someone else.
3. Let your brain wander
This is my favourite, but it needs a bit of preparation.
So we can work in our focused mode, like during brainstorming, but we can also let our brain wander and it will collect and try to link all the knowledge and experiences we are getting through our life. And usually it happens when we are relaxed, or even when we are bored. This is why there are so many ideas and AHA!!! moments happening when we are in the shower, or doing something with our hands - like gardening or drawing. And here I would like to suggest that you just do something not directly related to the topic of the channel, and let your brain wander.
I find that I have many ideas when I am in the shower, when I walk, when I run, and when I knit, something that makes my brain relaxed. It is important to note here, when I do this, I try not to consume information at those times. I don’t listen to podcasts or music or audiobooks when I am running, because that's the time when I think, I observe, I am in the moment. The same with drawing and so on.
And the preparation part - it is important to have a place to drop down ideas as soon as they appear in your head, otherwise they can quickly disappear. So it could be a note app on your phone, a notebook in the room, your smartwatch or a voice message to yourself.
Actually, for all of the techniques, it is so important to have a space for your ideas, so that when you need them, you know where to find them.
4. Document what you are doing
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just share what you are doing. And every day there is something different to share. I think the important part here is not only to document what, but also to give the context on why you are doing it.
Really, if you are stuck with ideas, that's a good way to get going!
You could also get some ideas from your analytics.
In your YouTube analytics page under the “Reach” tab, check which search words lead people to finding your video. This may help you to see what sort of keywords help to find your videos, and maybe some of them will spark some ideas.
Secondly, check where my video was recommended. On the side of the playing video, there are usually some recommendations, and you can see where your video was recommended and this way you can get some more ideas. You can also go and check this video or channel to see if this is something that will help with topics.
6. See what other creators are doing
Okay, so this idea is quite popular, and I will have my take on it as well:
First of all, I watch YouTube videos on my topic, because it is interesting to me and I notice things that I would explain differently. I ask myself: what could I do or show differently if I were to make a video? Or how I would be able to share it given my circumstances and my perspective?
For example, I have watched so many investment videos, and while they were really inspirational, they were also quite generic, so I thought I would share my learnings on the topic in the way I understand it, and hope this can be useful for someone. Also, those types of videos can be location specific, because In the UK I would do things a bit differently compared to people the US, for example. And I can share how I do things here.
Secondly, sometimes I just look for YouTube recommendations or enter my topic words to see what the search shows me.
And the important part.
Here I try not to watch the video, or if I have watched it before, I wouldn't watch it again before publishing mine. It is very important to me, because even though some topics can overlap with other content creators, I would like to share mine, so I would like to hear myself first, and not be influenced by others ideas for the exact topic. And it is okay to make videos or posts on topics that already have a lot of content, because your interpretation is based on your experience in life and this is how it is unique. Or if you explain something, it might be the way that will finally click with another person.
And finally, I go and read comments under other creators' videos. This is the best way to understand what people want to see, what they like, what they don’t like, what their questions are. And those are questions I might have answers to.
7. Use artificial intelligence
Something I recently tried and I liked a lot - are daily ideas from vidIQ. If you already have some videos on your channel, give it a go. As far as I understand, this service uses AI to predict high demand topics for your channel, and you can save this topic or dismiss it. This is how it is trained - to suggest relevant topics to you. At first it was funny, some topics were very off, but after a few days of me liking or discarding them, I started getting ideas which were really interesting. I use the free version, so I get 3 ideas per day, and that is pretty much enough for me.
So guys, I hope you found some ideas interesting or even tried them. I hope they will help you with your content strategy.
Thanks for reading, and see you soon in the next post.