Deciding to produce video content is a big deal. It involves entering a new realm and once you are in it, there is no going back. There is no going back because once you have seen the benefits it would be daft to walk away from it. However, that doesn’t mean it is always easy. The most difficult part of video production for me is coming up with the initial idea. Once I know what I am working with, I run with it. However, it is easy to get stuck on the starting block trying to think of an idea.
So, over time, I have developed a few simple but useful techniques to get the brain juices flowing. The following tips are useful for finding inspiration for your video production.
1 Analyse what other videos are going viral
While you are lacking inspiration, and the temptation to procrastinate is becoming stronger than ever, take some time to watch lots of other online videos. In particular, analyse which online videos are currently going viral. This will give you a sense of a number of different factors. Firstly, it can tell you what subject matters people are interested in. Secondly, it will tell you what genres are working well. Finally, it will give you an indication of what people find emotionally compelling – whatever the emotions may be.
At certain times of the year there are definitely themes to the videos which are going viral – i.e. Christmas/end of year videos! Here are a couple of my favourites from the seasonal period 2012:
Zeitgeist 2012: Year In Review
Cartier Winter Tale
2. Look at what your industry competitors are doing
This is not about cheating or ‘copying’, it is about being aware of the context within which you are producing your videos. It might be that your best ideas are created out of wanting to do the exact opposite to your competitor, or as a response to a competitor. The Mac versus PC adverts are a good example of this:
Mac versus PC
3. Get ideas from other content types
As well as looking at other videos, research other online content types and identify what is doing well. For example, written blog posts, infographics, images, podcasts. Which ones are getting more ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘comments’, ‘downloads’. Think about what characteristics the successful content has and think about how you can apply these qualities to your video production. You can look at these content types within your own industry but it is also useful to think laterally and look outside.
4. Talk to someone else!
It depends on the individual entirely, but for me, one of the best ways to generate ideas is to talk to someone else about it. Whether you engage in some good old-fashioned thought showering with a group or just with one other person, more heads are better than one. You can bounce ideas off each other and refine the good ones.
See the video below about where good ideas come from. The idea of hunches colliding is a useful one – but you probably don’t want to be waiting decades for your video ideas to incubate!
Where Good Ideas Come From:
5. Think in terms of your goals and your audience
If you are making videos to help sell a brand or a product or service, think about your goals and ultimately about what your audience want to see. If you have any market research reports to draw from, use them. There could be a golden nugget of wisdom in some of those results that will guide you to a wonderful video production idea!
An example might be that a significant proportion of customers have mentioned a product or an element of a product that they are finding difficult to operate. Your response to this could be a ‘how to’ video to explain to your customers in a fun and friendly way how the product works.
My final advice would be to keep it simple. One of the biggest mistakes is to overcomplicate ideas, which can make it feel like you have a mountain to climb! Good luck.
Neil Davidson is the Founder of My Web Presenters, who are a leading video spokesperson production company. They work with businesses of all sizes to create and market compelling and emotive videos. They also write a web video blog with clear, practical video marketing tips.