Brainstorming Ideas for Your Content Series
Often the hardest part of formulating a marketing masterplan if the very first step. You can have all the time and money in the world, but without an original creative idea to start from you won’t be going anywhere. It can be infuriating when you can’t quite put your finger on what your brand needs from a content series. This is where brainstorming can prove to be an invaluable tool for creating that oh-so important initial spark.
Ironically, it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to starting the brainstorm itself. What questions should asked/answered? How should you structure the session? What sort of environment is best for encouraging creativity? In all honesty, there isn’t a right or wrong way of hosting a brainstorming session. Each session should have a natural flow that suits both the creative team present and the brand in question. This doesn’t mean that you can’t help fuel the creative process by using a well-suited structure and the right prompts.
Using the right creative approach for your video campaign is key to the success of the content itself. Bu that can’t begin without the original idea in place. Read on to discover how using the right brainstorming tactics can help create the initial spark that will lead to your video content series being a roaring success.
Choosing the right agenda for your brainstorm
It is true that some of the best brainstorms don’t have much of a structure. After all, creative thoughts can be hard to come by when being heavily regulated by a long list of rules. However, if you have no structure the opposite can happen, with the team drastically veering off topic.
As previously mentioned, the right amount of structuring varies according to the teams and brands involved. But by taking your project’s resources and format into consideration, you can help the session head in the right direction. Therefore, it is a good idea have a general style in mind to base your video content series on before things kick off.
Both time and money should be taken into consideration when outlining your plan. It’s no good planning out an epic series of videos that will take weeks to produce when you have a short turnaround time. Likewise, suggesting big-budget ideas when you’re relying on relatively scanty means will not get you anywhere.
However, a small budget or limited timeline don’t have to totally restrict your ambitious plans. There are a number of areas where budget reductions can be used tactically to reduce the effect that they have on the overall production. Read our Marketing a Video on a Budget blog for tips on how to effectively promote your content without having to splash the cash. Also, we live in a day and age where video turnaround times can be as rapid as a single week. This is why we at Kartoffel have become adept at streamlining the video production process, to ensure that our work is both fast and effective.
Whilst bearing resources in mind when brainstorming is important, thinking beyond the boundaries of your resources may also lead to ideas that would otherwise have gone unconsidered. This is a somewhat unconventional brainstorming technique but it can foster intriguing results. Imagine how you’d create the campaign if you had a limitless budget, then take inspiration from the resulting ideas. These valuable nuggets of creativity can then be made applicable to the resources that you are working with.
The format of your video lies at the very core of how the brainstorming session will unfold. Having a format in mind from the get-go ensures that your session doesn’t veer too far off track. You don’t want to spend time planning out a documentary series only to decide that it isn’t a suitable format further down the line, for example.
There is an almost endless array of video formats that could prove to be a relevant tool for your campaign. From product reviews and demonstrations to training videos and case studies, there is sure to be a video series genre to fit the bill. Deciding this in itself requires an incredibly imaginative process. Each style provides a different means of getting your message across.
For more inspiration on which form your content series should take, read our blog on 7 Types of Video Series You Can Make.
Taking a step back and looking at the overall agenda of your brainstorming session, it is also important that you have the right person at the helm. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the most senior team member. It simply needs to be an individual who has an in-depth understanding of what the project requires and has a talent for maintaining the right atmosphere. In fact, thinking outside the box is essential during a brainstorming session. Therefore, giving the reins to a more junior team member may lead to ideas that otherwise would have remained undiscovered. Something to bear in mind.
Foster a creative environment
Brainstorming is essentially a quest to uncover untapped creative ideas. Due to this, fostering an environment in which creative ideas thrive is vitally important. The atmosphere in the room should be fun and relaxed. Not only does this encourage more positive ideas from the team, it also helps build bonds between individuals. The long-term benefits of this are a greater sense of teamwork. On a more short-term basis, it allows for ideas to bounce off each other.
Brainstorming was an idea originally popularised by Alex Osborn in the 1950s. frustration over his team’s inability to come up with new ideas, he set about experimenting which exercise styles led to the best results. He eventually settled of 4 guidelines which would help any brainstorming session achieve better results:
- Try to generate as many ideas as possible. The more ideas there are on the table, the more likely you are to find the right idea. Quantity over quality.
- Don’t judge any ideas until the brainstorming session has finished. Having an open environment helps individuals put forward ideas without a fear of being rejected.
- Encourage outside-the-box thinking. Even unfeasible ideas can lead the conversation in the direction of something better suited to the situation at hand.
- Combine new ideas. Again, this helps build a sense of teamwork, a feeling of meaningful contribution and can even boost morale.
This set of rules was designed for more basic tasks like creating a slogan or naming a product. For something as complex as a video series, a more technical approach may be required to encourage the sort of deep-thinking necessary for achieving the desired results. However, these basic rules are a great stepping off point. They will help form an environment that will keep the conversation moving in new and inspirational directions.
Have inspirational activities prepared
In order to foster a creative atmosphere, you need to have some thought-provoking activities lined up. It can be difficult to come up with new ideas from a simple group conversation. Not only does it stifle the idea of thinking outside the box, but it can also make it difficult for certain ideas to be heard. Therefore, activities that stand out from the everyday are more likely to help prevent this.
These can vary from the basic to the downright absurd. What is important is that you create an environment that is right for the team in front of you. Whether it is using post-it notes or going for a team mediteation session, it doesn’t matter as long as you are getting the right results.
Here are some examples of activities to help get the ball rolling when brainstorming ideas for your content series:
Anonymous Brainstorming – A simple game where the everyone writes down an idea before passing their paper on and adding to the ideas written down. It is a good activity to begin with, where ideas converge and shyness is circumvented through anonymity.
Change the scenery – As previously stated, having a conversation in the office is no different from the everyday. Try mixing it up by taking the team out of their usual environment. It could be a walk around the local park or going for a couple of drinks at the local. (The latter can also be a good idea once the session has finished).
Take inspiration from other industries – A great means of thinking outside the box. Just because you don’t share anything in common with the industry doesn’t mean that it can’t inspire you. Look at what has made them successful in their endeavours and see if you can mould it to your plan.
Channel everyday inspirations – Going a step further, you can take inspiration from that which lies outside the workplace. Whether it be from a particular advertisement, your favourite programme or something you saw on YouTube, it inspired you for a reason. It doesn’t even need to be from the same form of media. Business mastermind Steve Jobs was known to take inspiration from the music that he listened to.
Again, there is no one way of hosting a brainstorming session. Simply do what feels right in the given scenario. If you manage this, then your video content is sure to tell the right story and therefore help muster the results that you desire from the campaign.
Use previous ideas and take inspiration from competitors
Let’s start but stating that you should never copy ideas from anyone. Let alone the work of your competitors. Plagiarism is not only controversial, but will also mean that the work wont directly related to your specific campaign. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take inspiration from others.
It has often been suggested that there is no such thing as an original idea and that all ideas are made from other ideas. Taking an idea and breaking it down to its bare elements can provide building blocks for ideas of your own. Don’t reject an idea in a brainstorming session because of where it originated.
You can also take inspiration from the past. Use what has happened to your company before to help drive it into the future. This helps you avoid old pitfalls and learn from previous successes as well as mistakes. It could be anything from the style of a particular shot to the way that a video is produced. A brilliant means of doing this is through the reviews that you have received. This could be through sites like Trustpilot or even comments on social media. If your audience are sharing their thoughts on your work, listen to them.
Brainstorming can be a tricky situation to master. Getting the right balance of control and freedom can prove difficult times. And choosing the correct means of creating this environment can change from session to session.
It is important to allow the session to adapt and grow as organically as possible, without heading into the realms of ridiculousness. Allow your team to go with the flow and the right ideas will present themselves. At the end of the day, you are simply looking for that one idea that will kick start the whole process. But goodness knows where it will come from. That is where brainstorming can be such a dynamic tool for harvesting creativity.
Once you have the idea in mind, you can start on the next stages of the creative process – fine-tuning the campaign content strategy and moving onto the video production itself. But by creating that initial seed of thought, brainstorming can prove to be an invaluable tool.
Once you have created your new idea drop us a line and we can help guide you through the next stages of the process.