How to Come Up with YouTube Video Ideas like Your Favorite Creators
Nov 8, 2021
Two billion people log into YouTube every month, and that’s because it’s a hub for any sort of content you want. People follow creators, catch the news, check out sports highlights, watch short films, listen to music, and generally find anything they could possibly want to enjoy.
As a content creator, that puts you in a weird position. You’ve been working hard to grow your YouTube channel, but you’re competing against tens of thousands of other people. Even once you attract an audience, you still have to compete for their time and attention each day.
The phrase “variety is the spice of life” is kind of deceptive. On one hand, your subscribers trust you for a specific type of content, whether it’s travel videos or vlogs or tutorials.
But you also need to develop your filmmaking skills, level up your production quality, and find ways to attract new viewers while still satisfying your long-time subscribers.
It’s the problem every creator has to solve at some point: How do you come up with YouTube video ideas to keep things fresh, but still stick to your brand or niche?
In addition to providing a list of kinds of videos you can make, we’ll pair each one with an explanation of why it’s popular and how you can tweak or adjust the “formula” to align with the goals you have for your channel.
Oh, and we’ll throw in some examples in case you want some visual inspiration to get you excited about how you could put a spin on these YouTube video ideas.
Think about why you make the content you do. Are there specific filmmakers or creators who inspired you? A book or TV series you obsessed over when you were younger?
Chances are that your audience shares a few of your interests. (Otherwise, they’d be spending their time on another channel.) And they’ll probably be open to hearing your thoughts or opinions on those things, especially if you present them in a unique way.
Maybe you can edit together a video essay about what [insert your favorite film here] is the best by that director. Or maybe you track down and interview one of the creative minds behind that TV show you loved. Or maybe you just put together a personal list of your favorite things in a specific field, then share that.
Either way, this sort of content is pretty popular from creators, and it’s an easy way for viewers to get to know you better and want to jump into the comments section and respond to your list.
Even if you’re out of YouTube video ideas for your channel, you’ve got inspiration all around you. What editing software do you use? Do you have a favorite lens? Is there a specific camera that you swear by?
Every creator has preferences, specifically about the gear they use. And there’s a good chance that some of the people who watch your videos are interested in content creation and understanding how you do what you do.
So review your gear, or the software and tools you use in post-production. You may even attract a new audience and win them over as subscribers with your personality and presentation.
Unboxing videos are another one of those YouTube video ideas that has absolutely blown up in the last 10 years. For some reason, people just love watching creators get something in the mail, open the packaging, react to the stuff inside, and experiment with their new goodies.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive path either. You could order gifts for friends, kitchen stuff, or even Christmas presents for family members...or, you know, for yourself.
The point is that people want to see the packaging, watch your reaction, and live vicariously through you as you experience something that they haven’t. And unboxing videos are an easy way to take advantage of a trend but still cater it to your audience and your personal interests.
People love to get a peek behind the curtain and see how things are made. Even if your latest video isn’t getting a ton of traction online, there’s a chance your behind the scenes footage will do better or at least build more interest around the initial video.
The good news is that behind the scenes videos are pretty easy to make. You don’t need scripted scenes or dramatic lighting or anything like that. Just dedicate one camera (or recruit a friend) to capture you setting up a scene, finding the right color temperature for lighting, changing camera angles, capturing ambient audio, etc.
People subscribe to your channel because they enjoy your content, they like your personality, or both. Behind the scenes videos lean heavily into both of those things.
No one has the amount of time, money, or skill that they wish they had. And that’s why people get excited at the mention of DIY hacks and tips to save time/money/skill.
Is there a particular trick you use in your work? A DIY prop you use to avoid buying a $2,000 piece of gear? An editing tip you heard that made your life easier?
That’s the sort of content that people want to hear, whether they use it themselves or just get a little information about your work. And it usually makes for an entertaining video since you can show specifically how what you do makes your life better.
In the same way that behind the scenes videos show your creative process, video tours (of your creative space, your home, your favorite local spot, etc.) pull viewers into your life. You’re showing off who you are and building honest and organic connections with your audience.
You can incorporate other things here, like answering common questions or talking about how you tackle video creation. It could be like a behind the scenes video or not depending on which direction you want to take and how much your life/personality is at the center of your channel.
Continuing in the vein of letting people see how you work, you could also challenge yourself with something new. Maybe you find a creative prompt or editing challenge that sounds interesting, or there’s some new software or piece of gear you’ve been wanting to try.
Well, try it out. And record the experience to share with your audience. They get to see you learn and experiment, and you get ideas for different videos you can make. It might even lead you to changing your creative process entirely and focusing more on the new stuff.
And that leads us to the next idea: tutorials.
Tutorials are officially the bread-and-butter of content creators. In a way, this style of video can attract new people to your channel in droves. Look up any popular filmmaking topic (“motion graphics on YouTube” or “how to light YouTube videos” are decent examples) and you’ll see an entire catalog of tutorials on how to do those things well.
Except you aren’t trying to attract millions of viewers. You’re just looking for YouTube video ideas to keep you busy or develop your production skills or engage your audience. Tutorial videos and other educational content is probably your best bet.
And you don’t even have to be an expert on the topic — just know how to do it, and be open to feedback from viewers who might be more familiar with the technique or tool you’re diving into.
The Q&A or “ask me anything” video is something you’ll see all the time on Instagram Stories, Twitch streams, or popular subreddits. And that’s because it’s an easy way to get people to engage with you and — depending on the topics you cover —even visit your channel for the first time.
This is obviously something you can tackle on YouTube. You can put out a request for questions on social media, or go back through the comments on previous videos and look for questions or topics that come up often.
If you’re feeling very brave, you could even go live on YouTube and answer questions from the chat. Again, the point is to get to know your audience. Once you know their interests and what they care about, you’ll have a better idea of what kinds of videos to make in the future.
Before you head off to start work on your next video, here are a few more tools that will — hopefully — make your life easier.
Part of getting your YouTube channel to where you want it to be is making the most of the tools and resources available to you. And when you pair that stuff with clever YouTube video ideas, you’ll be able to craft the sort of content your subscribers (and new viewers) will love.
If you're interested in honing your production and content creation skills even more, these articles from the Soundstripe blog are worth checking out next: