Getting great YouTube
video ideas is more than just making videos around your topic, it’s about the research
to find ideas that go viral
So you’ve started a YouTube channel, you’ve put in hours setting up your page and thinking through branding. You’ve got your video equipment set up and you’re ready to go.
Now, there’s just one problem…what should you make videos
It seems there would be an obvious answer, make videos around
your niche. Just start making videos that you think your audience will want to
watch…but not so fast.
With over 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every
minute, you need more than just a quick video idea to compete. Your video content
strategy needs to be just that…strategic.
This means research to find the YouTube video ideas that get
views. Just 15 minutes of research and SEO can mean all the difference and I’m
going to show you exactly how to do it.
How to Find Video
Ideas to Get as Many Views as Possible on YouTube
Just like with Google search, video views on YouTube revolve around keywords. It’s your video’s ranking for keywords that determines where it shows up in search and suggested videos. These are going to be two of the biggest traffic sources for your videos so it’s important to find the keywords that will drive views.
Also like Google though, you can’t just create a video
around a high-volume keyword. Create a video around the keyword ‘make money
online’ and you’ll be buried under millions of other videos. The keyword might
get over 70,000 searches a month but you’ll need some serious watch-time to
rank for it.
Instead, you’ll need to find keywords with a high
search-volume but that have lower competition from other creators. You’ll take
that broad, highly-searched keyword and find related keywords by adding a few
There are two methods I use to research keywords and YouTube
video ideas that every new creators should know; using keyword research tools
and the video-hacking method.
How to Keyword Research
I’ll show you the video-hacking method next but let’s start
with basic keyword research that accounts for the majority of my video ideas on
Keywords Everywhere is a free browser addon for Chrome or
Firefox that shows you search volume and cost-per-click rates when searching on
Google or YouTube. This allows you to see actual monthly search volume for a
keyword, on the search term and any suggested terms.
- Start with a broad keyword idea that you think
will be popular and type it in the YouTube search box
- Suggestions for video ideas will auto-populate
in the drop-down with the monthly search volume next to each
- Work through the alphabet, typing your main keyword
plus ‘a’ then ‘b’ and so on, looking at what appears and the search volume for
- For smaller channels, a good place to start is
keywords with between 500 to 1,000 searches but note any keywords with more
than 500 searches for more research
- You can also try working through the alphabet
with additional words before the main keyword, so typing ‘a’ then ‘b’ before
your broad keyword
- Try adjectives before your main keyword, words
like ‘best, fast, easy’ to see what is suggested and the search volume
Remember, you’re looking for long-tail variations on your
broad keyword. These are still going to have solid search volume but will not
be as difficult to rank as that main idea.
With the list of potential keyword variations, I use the
TubeBuddy extension to find the ones with the least amount of competition and
the highest traffic.
After installing the free TubeBuddy tool, you’ll find a Keyword Score that combines search volume and competition any time you search on YouTube. In the right sidebar, TubeBuddy shows you this Keyword Score as well as related searches and most used tags in results.
I use the Star-pricing level for TubeBuddy but you get a lot
of features with the free extension. The upgrades are worth it if you’re
serious about growing a channel but everyone needs at least the free features.
Grow your YouTube channel and you’ll eventually be able to
rank for competitive keywords but you’ll want to start with keywords and video
ideas with a score of 30 or higher at first.
For example, the broad keyword ‘high paying jobs’ gets over
90,000 searches a month on YouTube but has a ‘poor’ overall keyword score of 12
from TubeBuddy. Channels ranking for the keyword have subscriber counts in the hundreds
of thousands and tens of thousands of views on the ranked video.
It’s not likely many channels will be able to compete here.
On the other hand, the keyword ‘high paying jobs without a
degree’ still gets over 3,200 searches a month and a TubeBuddy keyword score of
30 or ‘fair’. One video ranking for the keyword has just 265 views and channels
with just a few thousand subs are ranking.
TubeBuddy also has a Keyword Explorer tool that helps find
suggestions for video ideas. Open the TubeBuddy platform and click to the
explorer. You’ll see the keyword score for any search term as well as related
and trending results.
A nice feature for paid accounts is that TubeBuddy shows you
a Weighted ranking score based on your channel metrics like average views. This
fine-tunes your search for keywords you know will rank.
Remember, while you want to find keyword variations with solid
search volume, don’t sacrifice ranking or a high Keyword Score just to target a
video idea with thousands of search traffic. It does you no good to rank 20th
for a high-traffic keyword when you could rank in the top five for a smaller
keyword and get legit views.
Aim for those keywords for which you can rank and get steady
views. Over time, those views will contribute to the video watch-time and the overall
watch-time for your channel. That’s what it takes to grow on YouTube. Growing
your watch-time to rank for more competitive keywords.
Video Hacking to Find
Viral Keywords on YouTube
While researching keywords comes up with the majority of my
YouTube video ideas, there’s another strategy I use that has produced some of
my biggest hits.
It’s called video-hacking and it’s a much more
straight-forward way to getting viral video ideas.
Whereas keyword research feels like you’re starting from scratch,
finding a good keyword and creating content, video-hacking starts you off with
ideas that are already proven winners.
Start by finding five YouTube channels similar to yours.
These should be popular channels but not necessarily ones with millions of
subscribers. The idea here is to find channels with some really popular videos,
with views in the hundreds of thousands, but not channels that will rank for
anything by virtue of their size.
I’ve found the best targets for this video-hacking idea are
channels with between 100k to 350k subscribers.
For each of the five target channels, go to ‘Videos’ and
sort by popularity. Then list the title of the top five or ten videos in a
Since having the keyword in the title is so important for
YouTube, the main keyword is probably going to be in the title for each of the
videos in your list. You can also click through to the videos and see which
keywords they’re ranking by using the TubeBuddy extension.
Once you’ve got a list of the most viewed videos for each of
your target channels, you’re going to start seeing overlap. There will be
keywords that are popular across all the channels, keywords that get massive
views for everyone in the niche.
Pick out at least three or four of these winning video ideas
and get ready to make a viral video!
To compete with some of these bigger channels, we’re going to be using an old keyword research technique called the ‘skyscraper approach’. The strategy, attributed to Brian Dean of Backlinko, involves searching your keyword on YouTube and Google to brainstorm everything that needs to be in an epic video.
Do a search for your keyword and within the top five or ten
- Click through and note the main topics and ideas
that are covered, these are usually revealed in the section headings for
- Note the ‘People Also Ask’ suggestions in a
- Note the ‘Searches Related to…’ at the bottom of
the Google search
- Note the talking points and anything unique in YouTube
These are all ideas that both Google and YouTube feel relate
closely to the keyword and need to be in any content that ranks. Your goal in
creating epic content is going to be to create a ‘super-video’ that incorporates
as much as possible.
The Skyscraper is more than just copying down what other
people are saying. You’ll want to research and find the detail others missed
and put your video together in a way that keeps people watching in its
Don’t forget to add graphics, personal stories, branding and
all the other things that keep people watching and engaged with your video.
While you’re looking at the top results for the keyword on
YouTube, check out the titles and thumbnails as well. You’ll need to create
something special and different from the existing content to get noticed so you
might want to brainstorm your title ideas and thumbnails now while it’s
Produce five or more of these video-hacking YouTube ideas
and I guarantee they’ll blow your other videos away in terms of views and it’s
likely at least one will become a most-viewed video for your channel.
Running with Your Winners
Finding a strong keyword or one that’s worked for other
channels doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to get viral views. There are
reportedly millions of factors that go into the YouTube discovery algorithm so
even finding keywords that work well for peer channels, sometimes it all seems
like a crap shoot.
But spend just ten minutes to do your keyword and video idea
research and you will have winners.
It’s here where you have the chance to really grow your
When you do have a winning video, we’re talking a video that
blows all your others away and gets 100K+ views, take the broader keyword from
the video and develop it into your content strategy.
This means taking that broader keyword and finding at least
four to six long-tail variations on it for more videos. This will create a
library of videos around that topic, each detailing a more specific but related
The idea here is that YouTube now sees your channel as an authority on that core keyword with the successful video. Any videos you make around that will cumulatively add watch-time to the keyword authority you have on the channel and will help each rank.
Each of the videos will also show up in the suggested videos for each other so you’ll have that power video sending traffic to the others for instant organic ranking.
For example, if you have a video titled ‘Best Jobs for
- Keyword themes here might be something like:
best jobs, high-paying jobs, or college students.
- Brainstorm other video ideas that include these
themes for example; Best Jobs for High School Students, High-Paying Jobs without
a Degree, Credit Cards for College Students
- Research each long-tail variation of your
keywords to find the ones with good volume and low search then produce four or
five videos around the keywords
It helps to publish these follow-on videos as soon as possible to the success of your previous video. All the people that watched your viral video will be shown the new videos in their suggested and in the browser, especially the ones that ‘Liked’ or commented on the video.
Growing a YouTube channel is about more than just producing content. Getting great YouTube video ideas takes time and research but your effort will be rewarded. Spend just 10 or 15 minutes researching your topic ideas and keywords before filming and you’ll boost views with keywords you can actually rank.