In the creative space, I don’t believe in the idea that we can experience writer’s block – or in this case, creator’s block. While there are challenges when it comes to generating ideas for articles or for videos, by no means is it impossible to achieve.
I know this because when you look to other creators – those who are struggling and those who are making it – they have one big difference between them. One group has a framework while the other lacks it.
The existence of this framework is what you can use to create an endless amount of videos. Below I’ll explain the steps taken to have this framework.
Step 1: Adopt A Developing & Creative Mindset
To generate ideas, you’re going to have to encourage yourself to be creative. How you can be more creative though varies from person to person. Regardless, here are a few things you can do to help with that:
- Be open to new experiences. Creative people are open to more experiences. Not only is the event itself grounds for a video, but the things you learn and what you experience can be turned into various forms of content.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep matters a lot to a creative. We should be getting between seven and nine hours to begin with. But one other reason to hit that mark is that if we’re sleeping for at least six hours, our sleep enhances our memories and ability to learn. That fact was discussed in Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep.
- Criticize less. It’s impossible to be a critique of your work and be creative at the same time.
Step 2: Have A Content Calendar
Before you start creating, you need a place to dump your video ideas into. Keeping them all stored in your head doesn’t count and I wouldn’t rely on it. Not that I don’t trust your memory, but we’re looking to generate a lot of ideas.
Keeping them in a written format is smarter.
Anyway, when creating a content calendar, there is no right answer to how it should look. Everyone has their own calendar so do one that fits for you. Open up an excel spreadsheet, write it out on hand, or use some cloud-based software if you like.
As for the model I’ll be taking, I’ll be suggesting a spreadsheet. Here are the elements that you want to be putting into them:
- Content ID – This is a key part if you want to be creating a web of content. What this means is that every video that you create is connected in some way to another. Having content IDs makes it easy to identify how everything fits. This is an ideal system because you can make the connections faster than by scanning the titles of your videos. Sure it’ll be easy at first but once you hit 100+, it’s going to be tougher to figure out what piece is connected to another.
- Start & End Date – These should be two different columns, but they’re still important. Putting the start date is helpful because it helps you to manage your workflow. It also gives you a timeframe for how long it takes you to complete a video and upload it. This helps when you’re budgeting time and money.
- Post Date – Having a post date gives you a deadline. It’s important to have this up before before you start creating the content. Similar to start and end dates this can help you in managing your work flow too.
- Scheduled – This column you might not need but this is sort of a safety net. Some people make the videos and have them ready, but can forget to schedule or upload them.
- Type – Not necessarily the video type but what the video’s purpose is for. Examples are using the content as a video or a podcast.
- Topic – This column can be a place where you can dump ideas. You could have it separate as well but it’s your brainstorm spot.
- Title, Sources, Notes – Pretty straight forward what these all are.
- Link to the video – Very helpful in getting to it quickly rather than hunting it down through YouTube. This is also good when you want to refer to other pieces.
Step 3: Follow The Copy, Transform, And Combine Formula
With that content schedule and mindset prepped, next is creating the ideas. How to go about that is through three steps:
- Copying what’s around you.
- Transforming what you found.
- Then combine the ideas.
Here is how it’s broken down.
Find something that you like and then “copy” it. What I mean by this is don’t rip it off entirely. You do not want to come off as a weaker version of something that’s already out there.
Instead copying is taking the framework of the idea and then putting your own style to it.
Take car commercials. When you look at car commercials they feel like they’re all the same. They talk about the features and the show off the car and all that. But every brand has their own sort of style to it.
This is also the same thing with pharmaceutical commercials. They all have a similar format, but a different style.
While the videos for small and medium sized businesses are going to be more amateur, you can still take the frameworks and run with them. So long as you put your own style into them.
The next stage is transforming. Transforming what exactly? The framework of the idea.
Going back to car commercials, sometimes car companies take a different approach to their commercials. Instead of the standard commercial we’re used to, some companies will have more of a storyline.
A good example of this is the Mini Cooper storyline by BMW.
So how can you do this with your own business? Well it pays to look at how most videos are presented in your industry. If there is a standard method, look at how you can shake up the framework.
Last thing to do is to combine. One example of this at work is the 2012 Kia Soul commercial. What they did with this commercial was a mishmash of elements. They took video games, break dancing moves, and mascots and meshed in a popular song at the time to hype it up.
It was… interesting to say the least.
Now you don’t need to go to that extreme, but the Kia Soul commercial is a good example of taking several elements and putting them into their framework for a car commercial. Your business can do the same.
Look at what is popular in your industry video wise. Are there elements that you can use that can enhance your videos for the future?
While these three small steps focus on the video itself, you can still use that to spark ideas. When you take an idea and add other ideas to it, new ideas can spring forth that you can turn into more content.
Step 4: Connecting Everything You Create
I wanted to focus on content ID above because of this particular step. People tend to create content in a linear fashion.
When we think of an idea, we’ll focus on the next topic linked to it and continue to stretch it that way. In some cases, people will refer back to older posts, but only if it occurs to them that they should.
While you could say this is them creating an endless stream of videos, those stuck in this loop don’t feel that way. They feel like they’re running in a marathon rather than effortlessly creating topics and content.
In these cycles people often feel like they have to constantly make content.
Instead, I pushed for the content ID aspect because of this step. This step moves you away from that linear process and makes it more dynamic.
So how does it do that?
Well when you have a plan in place and a place to dump ideas you’re not so focused on what topic will feed off of the other. You’ll let ideas flow freely. There’s also some perks to it too:
- First, the content that you’re producing will feel natural. Behind the scenes you’re not jumping from topic to topic. Instead you’re offering an easy way for people to learn more.
- When you have a web of content it’s easier for people to go back to older pieces of content. This is because with your new content, you’re referring back to those older videos.
- You won’t run out of ideas because you’re using past content as inspiration. Just like with articles, we often bring up several topics or subjects that could be converted into a full fledged article. Videos are the same way.
Step 5: Bake Ideation into Your Life And Business
The last step is creating a culture of cross-pollination. What I mean by this is instilling in your business that ideas can come from any part of your business. Many people have different levels and experiences with creativity.
Not only that, but people have different view points and that in of itself can create more ideas too. If you’re not a solopreneur, you’re not alone in generating ideas here.
Going further with this idea though, you can integrate this culture into every day business. How you do that is by scheduling time for a team to be put together. As for the specifics, that’ll vary from business to business and their goals.
Whatever the case is, make sure they are getting together at reasonable times and are function in generating ideas.
Bust Creator’s Block And Create Videos
Creating a framework for videos does take time to build and it can demand a lot from you. But if you are disciplined, focused on creating content, and have a team to support you, creating videos and making them shine will be easier.
Trust the process and follow these steps and I’m confident you can make some fantastic videos.