How to Generate Ideas For Your YouTube Videos
Join us at Entrepreneur magazine's Growth Conference, Dec. 15 in Long Beach, Calif. for a day of fresh ideas, business mentoring and networking. Register here for exclusive pricing, available only for a limited time.
In his book Entrepreneur Magazine's Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business, marketing and public relations consultant Jason Rich show you how to master the secrets of successful "YouTubers" and put your brand, product or service in front of millions of potential viewers. In this edited excerpt, the author offers a list of questions you should answer to help you come up with ideas for your YouTube videos.
Ideas for new YouTube videos can come from anywhere. Look for inspiration in your daily life, and be sure to seek out ideas from friends, coworkers, employees, customers, and clients. You’ll also want to invest time exploring YouTube by watching plenty of different types of videos that other companies and individuals have produced.
The core concepts for videos that you generate should stand out and excite you (as well as your intended audience). They need to be original, creative, interesting, thought-provoking, entertaining, and/or informative, and, at the same time, be of direct interest to your intended audience. One way to begin your search for ideas is to determine what your competition is already doing, and then figure out how you can do that better or differently within your videos.
With so much content already available from YouTube, coming up with truly unique ideas is going to be difficult. Instead, focus on ways to set your ideas apart from what’s already out there. Don’t be afraid to jump on the bandwagon and use currently popular videos as your inspiration, as long as you’re able and willing to add a unique, original, or compelling twist. If you opt to use other videos as inspiration, make sure you’re not violating anyone else’s copyrights, intellectual properties, or trademarks when you produce your own videos.
Once you have a general idea about what your overall goals are for YouTube, have defined your audience, and have outlined your primary message, it’s time to brainstorm ideas for individual videos. Start by determining what you want to say. Then, based on your video production skills, equipment, and capabilities, consider the very best way to present that content.
For each potential idea you come up with, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my idea consistent with what I’m trying to accomplish on YouTube?
- What is the best approach to take with my idea within the video?
- Will my idea and my intended approach appeal to my intended audience?
- Do I have the skill, knowledge, and proper equipment to produce the video I’m envisioning and do it well?
- Can the video be produced within my budget, without compromising production quality?
- How do I want the audience to react to the video? What will be the call to action?
- How do I anticipate the audience will actually react to the video?
- Will watching this video entice the viewer to watch other videos already published on my YouTube channel, to somehow make contact with me or my company, and/or to place an order for my product/service, if applicable?
- While someone is watching the video, or immediately after it’s over, will they be motivated to click on the “Like” button, give it a good rating, write and post a favorable comment, and/or share the video (or a link to it) with their online friends (via Facebook, Google+, or Twitter, for example)?
- Does the video, its message, its call to action, and its overall approach fit with what I’m already doing for myself or my company elsewhere online, using Facebook, Google+, and/or Twitter, for example?
During the entire pre-production phase, and then later when engaged in post production, go back and ask yourself these questions again and again to make sure you’re on target.
As you answer each of these questions, you’ll often discover the need to fine-tune or tweak your original ideas to transform them into something that’s more viable or on-target with your message, call to action, and overall goals. At the same time you’re evaluating your ideas, however, think about creative, off-beat, and original ways you can present your content in a fun, unusual, or memorable way.
Then, before investing too much time or money as you move forward in the pre-production phase, bounce your ideas off other people who are familiar with you, your company, its products/services, your target audience, and your online goals. Sharing ideas with other creative people whom you trust will help you consider things from different perspectives that could impact how your videos are perceived and/or accepted by your audience.
If your goal is to launch a YouTube channel and populate it with new videos on a regular basis, during this early phase of idea generation, develop a list that outlines concepts for your first 10 or so videos. Then, as you brainstorm ideas in the future, be sure to write them down so you can later refer back to your ideas.
Make sure that what you intend to do with your YouTube channel is sustainable and consistent with your brand, online business reputation, and overall business model. For example, you may have great ideas for your first few videos, but what will you do to maintain and build your audience several months or even several years down the road?