Check Your Competition for Video Ideas
If you're running out of video ideas, look to your competition to find out what's working and what's not working in terms of content for videos.
It's not cheating to get an idea from someone else, and it's not plagiarism. C'mon, as an info pro I would NEVER suggest anything that could be a violation of someone else's intellectual property! As long as you don't copy it directly, there is nothing wrong with that.
Think about how many brands of soap exist, the wild new flavors and extensions from Oreo, or how many different romance novels (with the same basic theme) have been written, and you know they get inspiration from each other or from what already exists. And, that is perfectly ok.
How to Pick Up Video Ideas From Inside Your Niche
- Subscribe to Other Channels – If you're on YouTube putting videos up, subscribe to your competition so that you can watch what they're doing and find out if what they are doing works. You can go to SocialBlade.com to find out which YouTube channels have big viewer bases, a following, or are making money. Also look at these top video channels and the lists you turn up in a search on SocialBlade to find out which videos get the most views and likes. Go watch a few of those videos to see if they have things worth emulating.
- Read Their Books – If your competition puts out books, read their books, or at least look at their table of contents. You can get a lot of ideas from books, especially by skimming their tables of contents. A ToC explains what topics an author is addressing and what answers the reader can look forward to as they read the book. You can make videos about any of the chapter topics but in your own words and with your own opinion.
- Join Their Lists – If your competition has an email list, join it. You can find out how they deliver messages and tell their audience about their new videos, and you'll also be less likely to miss something if you're on the list. I keep a separate gmail account I use primarily for newsletters – I have signed up for, and unsubscribed from, dozens and dozens of lists since starting my business. Sure, I want to learn and email can still be a good tool for getting info; but I also want to see what successful marketers do, what other solopreneurs are talking about in their emails. I've learned a lot of what to do, and what NOT to do, from the many email lists I've been on. And thanks to Gmail's filters, labels, and archiving – they don't clutter my main email box!
- Buy Their Products – If it makes sense and if you can afford it, then go so far as to buy their products. Give them a good test drive and look for what makes them better, or worse, than anything you offer. This can be especially useful if your competitor's products are very popular. Try and find out for yourself why that might be. You can see where the gaps are, and seek to fill those gaps with your own services or products, and show off those differences in your videos and information. When I'm looking at marketing tools, software, apps and such, I definitely sign up for free trials. And if a product seems like a good deal, I purchase and really test it out to see what I can learn from the product, its support, the email follow-up, their on-boarding process, and what happens if I decide it's not for me. Trying or buying can really give you a good look at your competition – and give you fodder for your own marketing and your own videos. Consider creating videos of your experience with your competitor's products – good or bad – it's you showing you care about your industry and all its buyers.
- Participate in Their Groups – If they have a message board or a Facebook group or other group on social media, join and participate in their groups. Don't go promoting yourself or selling (that's a no-no in just about every social group), but do be a voice of knowledge and reason within the group. Be helpful. Be trustworthy. That gets remembered.
- Follow Them on Social Media – Note, this says ‘follow', not stalk nor harass. If you want, do it stealthily. Create a private list on Twitter for all your competitors. But no matter which social media your competition is on, you should be following them. Youll not only get to observe how they use social media but you'll observe what questions their audience has. Pretty good chance your customers or clients have similar questions, even if they haven't asked yet. You can make a video on any question asked. Here's your chance to show your own knowledge and expertise and help folks out. Build that critical KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor.
- Know Their Audiences – You need to be sure that the audience of your competition matches up with your own. If not, how are they different? This is important because you don't want to duplicate something that won't work with your own audience.
Don't Steal – Even From Your Competition
I already said it, but I'll mention it again in case you were thinking ‘shortcut!' – Don't Plagiarize! Don't copy. Don't steal. Don't be mean. Don't out and out copy someone else's work. Ever. C'mon, it's not that hard to do things the right way. Plus, you don't want someone stealing your work down the road, do you?!
There is a difference between emulating something and downright plagiarizing it. It's great to take inspiration from something you see or read. By all means please go do that! For example, if someone is doing a video about making videos, just because you do one doesn't mean you're plagiarizing. Put your own spin on it – what lessons have you learned about how to make a video faster, or cheaper, or with fewer tools, or whatever. However, if you take their script word-for-word and then deliver it in your own voice, that's stealing. So don't do that.
Make It Your Own
For example, if you see someone doing a video about making videos, well, just because you create a video about shooting videos doesn't mean you're plagiarizing. Put your own spin on it – what lessons have you learned about how to make a video faster, or cheaper, or with fewer tools, or whatever. Yeah, if you take their script word-for-word and then deliver it in your own voice, that's stealing. So don't do that. Besides, those who read your blog, have discovered your website, or your YouTube channel want to hear what YOU have to say. They want examples and expertise only you have.
Put What Learn From Your Competition to Work for YOU
Your audience follows many different people offering them similar information. Find out where they go, and follow them there. Learn what they're learning. Learn about their complaints about what they're learning as well as their compliments.
So, if you think you're all out of video ideas – take another look around your industry, your niche, and take a peek inside your competitors to get new inspiration.