Brainstorm ideas for your YouTube video

The first step for authors to determine what will be the specific content for their YouTube video begins with brainstorming ideas. You want to have a bevy of ideas from which to draw upon and to keep the momentum going with a follow-up vid.

You can come up with video ideas just by spending 10 minutes listing every idea that pops into your head. That probably will get you a couple of really good ideas and keep you going for a few weeks. But what do you do then? Or what if most of the ideas you’ve come up just aren’t very good?

Either way, you’ll need to do some more brainstorming.

Don’t go back to another 10 minutes of listing ideas, though. That likely will be unproductive. Instead, you can employ any of several other brainstorming techniques:

Mind mapping
Write a keyword describing your topic at the center of a whiteboard or a piece of paper. Then write subcategories that branch off the keyword as well as categories branching off each subcategory. If writing about astronomy, for example, Astronomy is the keyword. Stars, planets and asteroids might be subcategories branching off it. Rocky worlds and gas giants could be subcategories for planets.

Ask questions
Use the 5 W’s and 1 H to come up with as many questions as you can about your topic. If you write about financial planning, you could ask: What is financial planning? Why should I plan my finances? When should I begin planning my finances? How do I plan my finances? All of these could be a video posting.

Connect the dots
Think of the problem as trying to get from where you are (Point A) to where you want to be (Point Z). For example, if putting together videos about kayaking, list all the steps you would need to take from the beginning of a trip (Point A) to the end of the day (Point Z). Ask yourself what are all of the steps you need to take throughout the trip: loading the kayak on the truck roof; how to paddle the kayak; how to portage, etc. All of these steps are ideas for videos.

New attribute
Think of yourself in different ways. For example, what if you weighed 10 pounds more or 10 pounds less? What if you were a different ethnic group or race? How would any of these change your view or perspective about what you might write? For example, if you live in a city and are making videos about jogging, imagine you live in a small town. How would this change the way you jogged? Would you jog on country roads with no sidewalks? How can that be done safely? You now have a new video idea.

Role playing
Ask what kinds of videos others would make. Don’t think in terms of other YouTubers but celebrities, role models, or family members. Your goal is to see the problem from a fresh perspective. If you make videos about canoeing, certainly Barack Obama would have a different response than Donald Trump. You now have two video ideas: philosophically recognizing the beauty of the pristine land while on a canoe trip and land development’s effect on canoeing waterways.

Time travel
Pretend that you live in a different time period. How would that shape the way you think about a topic? If you write about snowshoeing, for example, in the 1800s people used wood rather than aluminum snowshoes. Wood snowshoes are still worn, however, so a video might discuss their merits or how they are made.

Medici Effect
When people with two different backgrounds get together, often new ideas are unleashed as they find parallels in their interests. You can do the same. If you write about basketball, for example, talk with a mathematician. You might discover that geometry can be used to indicate where the ball will go if it hits the backboard but not go through the hoop. That could be video on how to get more rebounds.

Two heads are better than one
If still stymied, get together with others who know a lot about your topic and try to come up with a list of ideas. You’ll be amazed at the great ideas they come up with. This is a good approach for those authors who work solo.

Once you write a list, select the topic you think is best for your first video. You’re then ready to move on to your next step: outlining your video presentation.