Lydia Sweatt is a writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.
3 Ways to Discover Viral YouTube Video Ideas
Did you know that some people never run out of video ideas? It's true. Such creators do exist on YouTube, and for once, we aren't talking about MrBeast!
No, this time, we're highlighting Jamie Rawsthorne, a YouTube creator and strategist. He started his channel with a friend back in 2018 (Zac Alsop) and was tasked with brainstorming viral, must-see videos. But where others may have taken years, Jamie only needed days. His second idea, "We Entered the World's Strangest Sport," got 400,000 views in one month!
That sparked four years of fame, success, and virality. In fact, the channel is still thriving with over 1 million subscribers and 180 million views.
The Viral Video Trick
So, how does Jamie create viral ideas? He does a little something called extrapolating. It's the art of finding patterns and trends within a successful video, then using them to brainstorm better videos.
According to Jamie, there are three ways to extrapolate great ideas:
- Direct extrapolation: Tweak an idea that's already working on YouTube.
- Indirect extrapolation: Blend two or more ideas.
- Abstract extrapolation: Build an idea around the emotional triggers in popular content.
1. Tweak an Idea that's Already Working
The last thing you want to do is copy another creator's work, so try to pull inspiration from your own channel. Jamie recommends finding a video idea that performed well, then tweaking one thing about it to develop a new concept.
We use this strategy often at vidIQ, and it definitely works. For example, one of our videos — "Small Channels: Do This to Double Your Views in 5 Minutes" — got over 700,000 views. We wanted to double down on that brilliance, so we remixed the idea using direct extrapolation.
To shake things up, we tweaked the concept to emphasize subscribers rather than views. Our new title, "Small Channels: Do This to Double Your Subscribers in 5 Minutes," got 1.5 million views!
2. Blend 2 or More Ideas Together
Combining two ideas is an easy way to make a popular video. With such a dynamic approach, your content is sure to stand out on YouTube and bring in hundreds or even thousands of views.
Again, let's use the vidIQ channel as an example. Our viewers love watching videos about YouTube growth, but more specifically, they flock to these video titles:
- "This Is the Biggest YouTube Update in Years": 67,000 views
- "YouTubers, Do This and The Algorithm Will Love You": 232,000 views
When we blended these ideas, we created a video titled "Algorithm Update: Did This Stop You from Getting Views?" It did even better than the first two, raking in 346,000 views! Our strategy of mixing hot topics — YouTube updates and algorithm advice — paid off instantly.
3. Borrow Emotional Triggers from a Successful Video
This strategy is advanced, but it works wonders if you can pull it off.
First, study the YouTube channels within your niche. You're looking for popular videos that could have easily gone on your channel, or at least, videos that align with your core topic.
Next, identify the psychological triggers in those videos, such as fear, nostalgia, or curiosity.
Once you have those puzzle pieces, build an idea using the same triggers from the video(s) you analyzed.
For example, creator Angela Masson went viral using a combination of triggers, like fear and curiosity. She ended up getting over 800,000 views with the title "10 Regrets After Moving to The Villages, FL."
And guess what? We used the same combination of triggers to build a fantastic idea: "5 Mistakes that Send Your Channel to YouTube Hell." It got 312,000 views because it pressed on a real fear and made viewers curious at the same time!
No matter which technique you use — direct, indirect, or abstract extrapolation — choose ideas that align with your channel. After all, you want to serve your viewers so they keep coming back to watch more videos!
Need a few pointers? Watch this video for a detailed guide on crafting good ideas (that are original and not stolen from others!).
Get AI-Generated Video Ideas
Of course, you don't always have to come up with YouTube ideas. Artificial intelligence can do the heavy lifting for you and return precious brain power (and time) to your life. So if you have access to AI content tools, use them!
Daily Ideas is one of those power tools, and it's a great option if you want personalized video ideas for your channel. With this AI helper, you'll get new ideas every day that you can save for later or dismiss anytime.