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Where to Find Ideas for Videos on YouTube

24 Aug, 2023

A lot of content creators miss the mark on one of the most important aspects of video creation - coming up with ideas and topics. Content idea generation is the determining factor for the success of a future video. If the video idea is poor, unpopular, or simply boring, then no matter how hard you try, the video is unlikely to be successful.

Of course, no one can guarantee that a particular concept will take off. It will be up to you to test and execute on your ideas.  You will have to spend time trying out different things and learning from your mistakes. But in this article we will provide you with some tried and true methods that will help you generate ideas and topics for your videos. Then it will be your responsibility to learn from your mistakes.

➔ Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a collective method of generating ideas for solving a specific problem. The main feature is that no ideas are discarded in the initial stages.

Then, based on the results of the brainstorming session, you choose what will best help you solve the issue.

There are several brainstorming techniques, but most of them are focused on collaborative work. In fact, in any format of brainstorming — whether alone or in a group — three stages can be identified:

  1. Freedom of imagination. You don't hold yourself back, you don't limit yourself in terms of format and level of ideas.

  2. Connecting with reality. After a break, you review everything that came to your mind in the first stage and connect it with reality, filtering out some completely wild ideas or transforming them into more viable formats.

  3. Critique. Out of all the realistic ideas, you filter out the ones you don't like, that won't be interesting to the audience, that aren't relevant today, and you use any other criteria to determine the level of value for each idea.

What can help you get your job done?

  • Warm up

For many, sitting in front of a blank page and immediately coming up with something is extremely difficult. Every brain needs time to warm up and start functioning, so we would recommend trying a warm-up exercise. One of our favorites is “the game of associations”.

In it, your task is to explain a certain hidden word to other people using a synonym.

These types of exercises give a boost to your imagination. You start exploring various associations, synonyms, and the gears inside your head begin to turn.

  • Throwing in ideas

The classical approach to brainstorming might not suit everyone. But don’t worry because you can confidently mix up the stages and, for example, throw any fantasies into a document without making corrections.

Some people already have experience in brainstorming ideas, and in that case, wild and unrealistic ideas will be automatically filtered out. Others might need a bit more time to grasp this 'game.' In any case, the more you practice something like this, the less time it will require in the future.

Ideas can sometimes strike at the most unexpected moments, so create a note on your phone or a private chat in a messenger where you can jot down your thoughts.

Some individuals are even capable of generating ideas right after waking up or extracting details from their own dreams. In this case, you can use voice messages to capture your wildest ideas on your phone. When you're deeply engaged in working on your channel and constantly training your brain to find interesting ideas, they might start literally coming to you in dreams over time.

However, don't focus on the format in which you record ideas — voice messages in a private chat, text in notes, jotting them down with a pen in a notebook — the most important thing here is to start recording everything that comes to mind. Just remember, make sure to keep the tool you use to record your idea within reach.

➔ Portrait of a viewer

Question: How do you come up with good video ideas if you don't know who your audience is? 

Answer: you can't. 

The next method may sound simple but it takes work. It relies on finding out who your target viewers are, and allowing them to tell you what they want to watch on your channel.

To stimulate your imagination, you don't necessarily need to delve into statistics and complex data right away, although we will come back to that. To begin with, let yourself imagine the typical viewer of your channel in an exaggerated format — like a caricature or a cartoon.

For instance, imagine you're running a channel about historical facts.

A potential viewer here could be a 30-35 year-old man who isn't deeply passionate about history but enjoys listening to informative videos in the background. Especially if he can pick up some astonishing facts on topics he has only heard about vaguely. He listens to videos during lunch break, on his drive to and from work, or when going to bed. He's unlikely to comment or like videos, but it's important to him that they are easy and pleasant to listen to. He prefers not having information overly dependent on images or video supers, as he mostly treats the videos like podcasts.

To capture the attention of this type of character, you need to focus on more "popular" topics that have an element of clickbait. For example, "What Scientists Are Hiding About Atlantis" or something like; "Amazing Facts About World War I."

The idea is to take a popular topic and thoroughly explore it in detail, because what this audience is after is the narrative. They are not too concerned with the utility of information or having a question answered.

You can envision other characters for this topic. Hopefully, this example demonstrates how to build a viewer profile for your topic and niche. This method helps you see which topics will attract an audience and what needs to be done with the content on your channel to meet the viewers' demands and create videos that are sure to be viewed.

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➔  Polls, statistics and internet

Statistics can easily provide you with video topics. These will be topics that people are genuinely interested in. 

For instance, let's consider that our channel's niche is automobiles. It's a fairly extensive niche with various formats of videos and countless topics hidden within it. We're interested in the value that surveys and statistics hold. Go to any search engine you prefer and choose a topic like "Car Sales in 2023," for example. The first links will undoubtedly lead you to a popular video topic. What happened in the car sales market this year? Did the statistics improve or decline?

Imagine that this year brought depressing news in the car market, this can be the basis for content: "The Auto Market Experienced a Crash in the Last Year." It sounds intriguing, the topic is interesting, and if you conduct an in-depth analysis of what specifically led to this event, thousands of car enthusiasts will be drawn to your content.

Study articles, focus on details, and you'll have an endless source of video ideas.

Besides online surveys, there are nearly limitless possibilities for finding video topics and ideas: social media, articles, niche-specific services, forums, and even memes can serve as sources of inspiration!

Just be attentive: this doesn't mean you can take someone else's article and present it in your video, as that would simply be plagiarism and a violation of copyright. However, you can easily use the data from the article or comment on it from your own perspective, agreeing or disagreeing with its points.

When you start typing a query into a search bar, algorithms automatically suggest the top popular queries. You can alter the phrasing, shorten or lengthen the number of words in your query, and jot down all the ideas the service with up-to-date information provides. These aren't just random queries — they're what real people are searching for, and your video might help them find an answer to their pressing questions.

Let's not forget about specialized services like Google Trends. It doesn't just provide the number of searches for a specific query, but also offers a list of related queries. It allows you to sort the obtained data by different periods, in different countries, across various categories, and from different sources, such as YouTube alone.

➔ Archive of ideas

The archive is a vast multifunctional table where you can record all your ideas, whether they come from brainstorming sessions or any other methods. The idea is to store all your ideas, organizing them into columns/folders/branches for convenience.

First, this helps you avoid losing interesting ideas and important articles that you can refer to when creating your videos. Second, every content creator occasionally faces brain fog when trying to come up with new ideas. Having a reserve of topics on hand ensures that you won't run dry when it comes to producing fresh content.

For example, a great tool for idea storage could be Notion. It helps you create a personalized dashboard with boards, folders, graphs, and calendars. Alternatively, you might explore visual boards like Miro or Figma. Another good option for task management and idea storage could be a service like Jira. Choose what suits you best and use it to your advantage.

Perhaps the most essential method for idea development is taking timely breaks and not putting excessive pressure on yourself. If you're struggling to come up with something great and no methods seem to help, it's better to take a break. Don't forget to go for walks with friends, spend time with pets, distract yourself from routine through active leisure, watching movies, or indulging in your favorite hobbies. Remember that deriving pleasure is an integral part of working on your own channel. After all, why would we do all this otherwise, right?!


Sasha Lerman

Copywriter, writer, editor. Development and promotion on YouTube, as well as many other exciting topics.

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