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5 steps to choose the best topic for your YouTube channel 2020

5 steps to choose the best topic for your YouTube channel 2020
Written by: Dexxter Clark, 29-01-2020
In this article I describe a path in five easy actionable steps to find the perfect YouTube channel idea in 2020.
Not a list of what you should (or shouldn’t) do, because that works counter productive: it obstructs the creative process of finding a good topic.
But in this article a step-by-step guide for the creative process to find a YouTube channel topic that is the best fit for you in 2020.


Realize that you need to pick a topic that you love to the bone, because you are going to do it for the next five years.
It needs to fit like a glove.

But what is a good fit?



I’m going to show you my process when I wanted to start a new YouTube channel and was searching for a great channel idea.

I did a discovery process that helped to find out what my best fit was.

I’ll show you this process step by step with my personal examples.

1. Write down interesting topics

Over the course of the next 2 weeks, write down every topic you have an interest in or good at.

Don’t think about if it is achievable or not, it’s supposed to be a brainstorm session.
Negativity obstructs the creative process, there is no place for it in this step.


My list of YouTube channel ideas was:

  • Dutch translation / language channel
  • computers and programming
  • trivia quizzes
  • humor / comedy / anecdotes / satire / sketches
  • doing business / entrepreneur
  • curiosity / (computer) science channel


2. Write down possibilities

After two weeks of the first step, sit down and think about all the possibilities that those channels have, what you can do with them?

Try to find channels on YouTube in that niche, see what they do.

What can you do that they don’t?
What great ideas do they have? Can you do it better?
Do you have other (topic) ideas that they don’t? Most ideas come from watching others.
What kinds videos can you make?
Is the content discoverable by Google and YouTube?
How many subscribers do they have? How fast did they grow? How long has the channel existed?

My list looked something like this:

Dutch translation / language channel

I would like to teach people Dutch spelling because the language is highly irregular and 90% of the Dutch forgot what they learned at elementary school.

The Dutch language is a strong suit of mine.

I also could help immigrants with the Dutch language and explain why things are the way they are.

Topics could be:

  • “d”, “t”, “dt” and the mnemonic aid: “’t Kofschip”
  • why “e” sounds like "ee" and sometimes not
  • the “e,i,o,a,u, ei, ij, ui, oe, au, ou, eu” sounds

There are possibilities for books and courses.
Channels: learndutch.org, not many others


Computers and programming
Explain computer components, programming languages (C, Java, PHP, Object Pascal), security issues, philosophy and ethics.

There are possibilities for courses about programming languages.

Channels: Computerphile, Tom Scott, both big channels


Quizzes

I want to do curiosity driven quizzes with questions about general facts and knowledge.
Every episode is a pub quiz with 30 - 50 questions.

Possibilities to sell pub quiz packages.

Channels: De Online Pubquiz, not many others


Humor / comedy / anecdotes / satire / sketches

I want to write sketches for a weekly episode.

I want to change that up with funny anecdotes: non-sexy cartoon pyjama for girls, with granny dancing falling in the dog basket together, laughing during funeral with my grandmother.

The amount of topics are endless.

I don’t want to be a prank channel, I can’t see the humor in those.
Channels: Jay Foreman, Zach King


Doing business

I have been an entrepreneur since I was still in college.

There are an endless amount of topics.

Huge amount of possibilities for books, speaking gigs and courses.

Channels: Dan Lok, Sunny Leonarduzi, Smart passive income


Curiosity / (computer) science channel

I want to go to interesting places on this earth and tell the story about it.
possible topics: series: sightseeing beautiful cities in the Netherlands, (computer) science
.
The amount of topics are endless.
Channels: Physics girl, Smarter every day, Veritasium, Tom Scott


3. Write down demands


Now make a list of demands and things that you don’t want.

Think of all the negative things that you couldn’t think of before.

Then strike all your “bad” ideas.

My list of demands was:

  • the channel needs to be bankable with a huge commercial potential. I need to make money within a year. ebooks, courses, sponsorships, you name it…
  • I need to be able to make episodes fast. If I need to, on a daily basis. 
Content needs to be batch-able.
Available time is an issue, it’s not my only YouTube channel. So I want a low amount of research and preparation.
  • Possibility of enough topics
  • I hate investing money in every single video when I start
  • Worldwide viewing potential, The Netherlands is too small.
  • I must love the topic to the bone, I need to make tons of videos about it.
  • The topic needs to be broad enough to fill a whole YouTube channel about, but niche enough so I stand a chance against the competition.

Those demands took a huge hit on my list:

Dutch translation / language channel

I see a limitation in the amount of topics and the growth potential is minimal.

There are only 17 million people in The Netherlands and the borders for immigrants are pretty much closed.

I target the illiterate and the people that are willing to learn. 
That is an oxymoron in itself.

On top of that, the illiterate are not known for being employed in the highest paying jobs or even employed at all.

So, selling courses or books can be quite tricky.


Computers and programming

I see potential in the amount of topics and growth.

But, although I like tech, I’m afraid I don’t like it enough to it for 5 days a week.

When I had a job as a computer programmer I started to hate it.


Quizzes
There is a potential here: I couldn’t find big channels with this concept.

That means two things: nobody thought of it, or there is no interest in the topic.

To think that nobody thought of the concept is maybe a bit naive.

Pioneering is a risky move. 

I’d rather choose a strategy that someone has proven to be successful.



I presented quizzes for 10 years and became an expert in the field, but I started to hate it.

The energy to start is not positive for me, on top of that: I finally want to do something else with my life.

Also, making good questions takes a lot of work.


I need to do a lot of research for just one question, if you don’t, you lose your credibility, someone will point out in the comments that something is wrong.

If I want to gather watch time minutes, asking questions that take only 10 seconds to ask (and 15 minutes of research a pop), that is only a 5 minute video (30x10 seconds).


Humor / comedy / anecdotes / satire / sketches

It’s hard and exhausting to be creative all the time, any form of stress or pressure is killing for creativity.

This channel leans heavy on my creativity,
For sketches I need to go shoot on locations, I really need a cameraman for that.

I like it, but I’m a bit skeptical about this idea.


Doing business

There is a huge potential.

I see the researched channels doing incredibly well, not only in subscribers/views but also commercially.

There is a potential to sit down and talk about topics from experience that require little to no research.


Curiosity / (computer) science channel

Super fun to do with a lot of potential topics.
I’m curious by nature and want to learn all the time.
But batching content is difficult (location based shoots) and you need a lot of research.
You need to go on locations, that takes up a lot of time and money to travel.
Channels like Tom Scott have videos of a couple of minutes, that is not very “fertile” in terms of watch time minutes
From all the ideas I like this one the most.

My remaining list is now:

  • doing business
  • curiosity / (computer) science channel

4. Write down topics

Take two weeks for the next step.
Write down as many video topics for the remaining channels on your list.


This has three advantages:

  • The channel that you have the most ideas for, you won’t have any trouble coming up with topics in the future.
  • The channel with the most ideas, has the most potential. That’s a huge hint of which channel idea you should pursue.
  • If you choose the channel with the most topics, you have already a huge list of video ideas to start with. It saves you time in the future.


In my case, I’m not doubting about the amount of topics for the curiosity channel, but for the business channel I started writing down topic after topic, 41 in total!

And I drafted up 7 scripts already.

This one is obvious: It’s gonna be the business channel!


5. Make your first video

The last step is the most tangible.
Make a video for the channel you chose.
Go through the whole process from research, scripting to editing, uploading, titles and subtitles.



You may feel ill at ease, but do you get a positive vibe?

Is it something you see yourself doing for the next five years?
Yes? You found your channel!
If not, try to make a video for the channel that was second on your priority list after the elimination process.

The reason why I work in increments of weeks, because of the way the creative process works.

You can not push it.

When you try to come up with ideas on the spot, you don’t reach a full range of ideas.

You might have ten ideas up your sleeve, but when you try to come up with them on demand, you may only come up with three.

When I have an argument with someone, I always think afterwards: “I should have said that”.

It’s the same thing.



Inspiration comes in the weirdest places and comes when you don’t think about it.

Your assignment is still in your head over the course of a week.
If you are busy with other things, then you get the most brilliant ideas.

Conclusion

I wrote these steps for myself and I hope they helped you as much as it did mine.
It got me closer to what I really want, because choosing a topic means that you are “stuck” on that topic for years to come.
So it needs to be darn good!

Do you want to make good video titles that people actually click on?
try the free YouTube video title generator on this website.

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photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Music Producer / YouTuber

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