How to Find Awesome YouTube Content Ideas For Your Channel: The Best Tools and Strategies
Finding captivating, original YouTube content ideas is one of the biggest challenges at any stage of running your channel.
Maybe you have a channel already and have hit a creative dry spell. Or you want to launch one but don’t know which ideas to run with. Or maybe you need to optimize your creative process to increase the volume or get your time back.
Luckily, the process of finding engaging ideas for your YouTube channel is similar to coming up with content for a blog or podcast. And there are plenty of strategies, tools, and resources you can use.
Here’s the run-down.
Clearly Define Your Niche and Audience
If you’re just starting out with your channel, you have to define your niche and audience before you go any further.
Your niche is simply the topic you specialize in. The more specific, the better.
When you’re just about to launch your channel, you may be bursting with inspiration and want to go in a hundred different directions at once. You might want to hop through the entire lifestyle range, from makeup tutorials and fashion haul try-ons over yoga to cooking videos.
However, having extremely diverse content on one channel makes it hard to build a loyal audience and get a respectable number of views for any one of these topics. This means lower engagement scores, which YouTube’s algorithm translates into lower search rankings and visibility for your videos.
Instead, spend some time clearly defining what topic you want to specialize in – and who your audience is.
Saying you want to start a lifestyle channel for women is one thing.
It’s quite a different thing to plan launching of a fashion channel for young women in the US, aged 22-25, who are transitioning from college to their careers and need help establishing a professional style.
Your choice of niche will influence every aspect of your channel – from picking the perfect channel name to crafting your brand image.
Evaluate the Performance of Your Current Content
If you already have a channel and a niche, check out how your content is doing before brainstorming for new ideas.
Have a good look at the viewing stats of your videos. Which ones have seen increased interest recently? Which ones haven’t been doing so well?
This can tell you what aspects of your niche your audience is most interested in. That focus of attention is constantly shifting. Reviewing your content’s performance gives you an idea of what’s hot at the moment – and what isn’t worth doing any longer.
Analyze Your Own Interests and Searches
Most likely, you’re passionate about the topic of your channel. That makes your own thoughts, interests, and frustrations a prime source of original YouTube content ideas.
What has annoyed you recently in your niche?
What mistakes did you make – and how did you overcome them?
What do you wish you’d known a month, a year, or maybe even 10 years ago before doing something related to your niche?
What did you yourself search for on YouTube, Google, or social media? Tip: You can check out your account’s My Activity page to see your own searches.
Whenever you ask yourself a niche-related question, note it down as a potential content idea. It’s pretty likely that others will want the answer too, or at least your take on it.
Keep all those ideas in one place. That may be a Google Doc that you can access from anywhere, a note app on your phone, or even an old-school paper notebook that you carry around with you.
Then, when you’re looking for inspiration, come back to this treasure trove.
Check Out Forums, Comment Sections, and Search Engines for Audience FAQs
Next, you can deep-dive into your audience’s questions. What problems are they looking to solve? What are they curious about at the moment?
The easiest way to mine these questions is to go straight to where people ask them: Specifically, this means search engines and forums.
First, of course, there are two great Google features: Autocomplete and People Also Ask.
When you start typing a search, Google will suggest terms its users frequently search for. These are a great source of relevant ideas.
Similarly, there’s the “People also ask” section it you scroll down a bit on the first results page. Here, you can see related searches – often pretty specific ones.
And at the bottom, you’ll find even more suggestions!
Google also has Trends, a dedicated site for exploring topics and trends. It gives you insight into frequent searches by region and even by platform.
More FAQ Sources
Apart from Google, you can also check out YouTube’s own autocomplete feature, and Pinterest’s – especially if your niche is related to lifestyle. As a bonus, Pinterest’s audience earns more on average than other platforms’. Consequently, topics that are popular here can be attractive for channel monetization.
Going further, you can hit up dedicated forums or sites like Quora and Reddit, where people discuss whatever is on their minds. Monitor subreddits in your niche, and periodically check the front pages for trending topics and controversies.
If you’re dealing mostly with products and reviews, ProductHunt’s Ask section is a great place to start. Here, you’ll also be able to monitor which problems your audience is looking to solve, and which products they’re using to do so.
Finally, check for content ideas in the comments of popular videos in your niche – both your own and those of similar channels. Frequently, the most popular comments are questions or requests for specific content.
Ask Your Viewers
Another great way of finding out what your audience cares about is to just ask them. This has an added benefit – it’s a good, natural opportunity to interact and connect with your viewers.
There are a few ways to go about this.
To start with, you could ask viewers about what future content they’d like to see – just tell them to leave a comment.
The handy Community tab lets you do that on your channel page, too. Besides simply asking for ideas, you can also run polls (and user-decided content is currently a hot trend) and make general announcements.
Another way to check out ideas is to interact with your audience in real time.
For example, you could launch a live stream or set up a Discord server. The immediate reactions you get out of this can be really valuable.
Of course, you can also launch a survey. Using a platform like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or Typeform, that kind of thing has never been easier.
You can then distribute it through links in your video end screens and descriptions, or a newsletter and other social profiles.
Another great venue for idea-finding audience sessions are creator platforms like Patreon or Buy me a coffee. Here, you can pre-filter access to paying subscribers. This limits your idea-giving audience to those who are actually ready to take their commitment to the next level.
Harness YouTube SEO to Find Content Ideas
Next up is a big one: SEO research.
It’s not just great for generating YouTube content ideas in general. On top of that, it also makes it a good deal more likely that they’ll actually resonate with your audience. That’ll get your videos ranking highly.
And, let’s face it, glowing audience feedback is also huge for keeping your passion up.
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. And at its core, YouTube is just that – a search engine. The second biggest after Google, in fact.
YouTube SEO is about finding the right keywords to target with your content.
Keywords are what users type into Google’s or YouTube’s search bars. These can be single words, entire phrases, or whole questions.
There are various tools to help you find those, some of them free, some paid. We take an in-depth look at them in this article, but here are the basics.
Keyword Research Tools
First, there is the aptly-named Keyword Tool. Here, you can set the social platform, region, and language you want to do research for. With it, you can use the platform’s own autocomplete functions – but much more efficiently – to come up with a huge amount of keywords.
For popular topics, it’ll also provide questions, longer phrases, and hashtags. The basic version is free.
Next up, Ubersuggest provides the same functionalities. Additionally, it has a dedicated content idea search tool. Again, the basics are free.
In the paid tier, BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, and SEMrush are some of the best tools that are available. You can check each of them out with a free trial and limited free functionalities. To unlock their full power, though, you’ll have to shell out for a subscription, and those start at around $100 per month.
Going further, there are tools that let you see what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for. Specifically, these are vidIQ, TubeBuddy, and – off-YouTube, too – Keywords Anywhere.
Finally, there are specialized keyword research tools for many platforms, such as the (free) Reddit Keyword Research Tool.
Use Trend Finders and Internet Agendas
Another great way to find YouTube content ideas is to keep up with trending content and events in your niche. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you do just that.
To start with, Exploding Topics picks up on rapidly rising searches for certain topics in a huge variety of niches. The basic version is free. Plus, there is a newsletter that will deliver content inspiration straight to your inbox.
Second, Forekast is an event calendar for the internet. This can be extremely useful for scheduling topical content.
Did you know, for instance, that June 29th is International Camera Day? If you’re a vlogger, this could be a great date to show off your gear!
Third, you can hit up tag- and idea generators to keep an eye on trends. Most of these are paid, and many only deliver very generic ideas. However, they ought to give you a decent baseline overview.
In addition to that, you can keep an eye on conference and webinar agendas, especially if you’re in a more technical or B2B niche. Since people usually pay to attend, content presented there is obviously valuable to them – which is a good point you can raise in brand negotiations, too.
Recycle Content from Your Blog and Social Media
If you’re operating cross-platform, you can turn well-performing content into videos.
Did one of your blog posts or Insta stories really take off recently? Explore the topic further in a video!
Additionally, you can make a throwback reel, or give your viewers an update on a popular older topic. For example, you could circle back to reviews and unboxing videos you did a while ago. Talk about how those products have held up in the long run.
What’s more, you can also reflect on your own progress – what you’ve learned over the past year, what you would have done differently, how your motivation and passion has evolved since you started posting content.
Get Inspired By Other Creators in Your Niche on Other Platforms
When you’re trying to find ideas for YouTube content, you don’t have to limit yourself to this platform.
Follow creators in your niche on other platforms, from personal blogs to Twitter, TikTok, Tumblr, and Instagram. Check out podcasts, subscribe to newsletters, and follow writers on platforms like Medium.
If you set aside a little time each day to dive into what others are up to, you are bound to come across ideas you can explore further in your videos.
Plus, even if someone has already done a video on a topic you’re passionate about, you can always put a different spin on it.
Someone did an introduction or a review? Create a reaction video, interview an expert on the topic, give a tutorial, or hold a Q&A session with other creators. Or simply respond with your personal opinion video.
Additionally, you can also explore negatives. Think “don’t”, “shouldn’t”, and “never”.
There are always going to be valid criticisms of the latest fad in any topic. If it fits your voice and monetization goals, you can explore these and generate some buzz with controversy.
Evaluate: What Makes a Good YouTube Content Idea?
Once you have a bunch of content ideas scrawled into your notebook or typed up somewhere, you have to select the ones worth pursuing.
Ultimately, this should lead to you drawing up a content strategy for your channel.
To see which ideas resonate best with your audience, you can use similar tools and techniques as for SEO and keyword research.
Google Trends, for example, will tell you how the popularity of certain topics has evolved.
Keyword tools like SEMrush and Keyword Tool can tell you how many people search for a specific term every month, and where those queries come from.
And, of course, again, you can also ask your audience what they would like to see. Turn your ideas into a poll, and see what sparks engagement.
Consider Outsourcing YouTube Idea Generation and Content Research
Finally, you should consider outsourcing most of this process.
Finding YouTube content ideas can take a lot of time.
You’ll spend hours searching for inspiration, then vetting your ideas. Analyzing keyword data can take ages. It’s the same for analyzing your competitors’ performance.
To save time and energy for other tasks, hand some of this work off to an agency or a freelancer specializing in content research.
You can give them some general parameters. Then, they will dive into the data and crunch the numbers.
Eventually, they’ll get back to you with a number of content suggestions.
And ultimately, you can pick the ideas you like best in terms of brand voice, monetization goals and – very importantly – fun.
In terms of pricing, many freelancers offer packages for idea generation, content research, or competitor analysis starting at around $15. If you’re thinking about hiring a freelance writer for your channel, many of these services may be included.
The Bottom Line
Generating great YouTube content ideas is the basis for success on the platform.
Before you invest your energy into writing a captivating script, filming your video, or editing it, you have to make sure that the basic idea resonates with your audience.
With the strategies and tools outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to come up with a bunch of awesome ideas – and lay a solid foundation for your channel’s success.