Thinking up ideas for videos ideas isn’t easy, especially when you have to do it on a regular basis. Here are 8 tips to help you unleash the creative genius within
If you are ever required to come up with creative ideas you can no doubt sympathise with Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale. “Blank pages inspire with me terror,” she said. We feel the same way about blank screens.
Unfortunately, the need to feed the machine, in other words social media and the internet, means waiting for inspiration to strike is seldom an option. The chances are, you are under pressure to think of a killer idea for your next video sharpish, followed by the next one and then the one after that.
So how do you come up with great ideas when the clock is ticking louder and louder? Here are 8 ideas:
1) Set up a content calendar
Every industry has its own natural cycle. For designers it revolves round London Fashion Week, florists obsess over Valentine’s Day and Christmas tree sellers… you get the idea.
Think about what happens every year that has an impact on your business, what the key annual dates in your sector are and what is coming up that is specific to your business – a product launch, new premises or whatever. These will be the pillars of your content calendar and should spark a host of ideas to get you kick-started.
2) Listen to your customers
Annoying isn’t it when clients or customers all seem to ask the same questions? It happens in every business and is a vital clue to your clients’ pain points. Videos that answer these questions are great topics. Riverpools has built its whole marketing strategy around answering customer queries, including this video about the Pros, Cons and Cost of Fiberglass, Concrete and Vinyl Pools.
3) Track what your customers are engaging with
However you host your video, (and our White Paper How To Use Video Marketing To Win More Business has a section on this), you will have an army of statistics that tell you what your clients are engaging with.
You should use these statistics to inform the types of videos you make. By all means play around with different types of videos but if it becomes obvious that certain types create better responses than others, ditch the poor performers and put your efforts into the ones that work.
4) Use the power of teamwork
One of the joys of working in video is that it is a collaborative effort. Author Steven Johnson says in his book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation that the “sole inventor working alone” is a total myth. If you want to be creative, work in a group, throw out random ideas and have fun. Johnson describes how many of the cultural innovations of the 1920s arose largely as a result of artists, poets and writers meeting in Parisian cafés. To save you reading the book, watch Johnson’s TED talk on Where good ideas come from.
5) Go for a walk (or take a bath)
If a group discussion is out of the question and you’re on your own, get away from your desk and do some exercise. Activity invigorates the senses and if you’re really lucky, like Isaac Newton, an apple may clunk you on the head and give you the jolt you need. Or, do as Archimedes did and take a bath. Your eureka moment is sure to follow.
6) “Take inspiration”
Who hasn’t, umm, “taken inspiration” from one of their competitors? Newspapers and magazines do it all the time. They even copy and recycle their own ideas. (If Men’s Health has told me once how to get great abs it’s told me a hundred times – to no avail, sadly.)
If it works for someone else, don’t be afraid to use the same idea. We are not suggesting you lift an idea wholesale, far from it, rather that you take something you like and add some spin to make it your own.
7) Use an idea for more than one video
With a little bit of lateral thought you may find that you can use the footage shot for one video elsewhere.
I know of one journalist who every time he interviewed someone famous would ask them what their favourite song was and why. Over a period of years he had enough material for a lengthy article for a music magazine.
While you’re shooting your main video, how about doing a spin off at the same time. Last summer, a behind the scenes teaser was released for the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, despite it being a closed set. If it’s good enough for Star Wars, there’s no reason for you to be shy.
8) Don’t be afraid to try come up with a crazy idea
Some of the best ideas start out as seemingly insane. Gary Dahl came up with the idea for the Pet Rock in a bar (unsurprisingly) in 1975. Despite being nothing more than a rock on some straw in a cardboard box, it made him $15m in six months.
This should serve as proof that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Except, of course, that since then someone came up with the idea for The Emoji Movie, so maybe that’s not completely true. If you are in any doubt, here’s the trailer.
To discuss how you can turn your ideas into great videos, please contact us.