how-to-choose-hot-topicsAs you might know, I’ve mostly been stepping back this summer from the day to day and at the moment am sitting on a sunny beach chair lost in thought. At one point I was wondering why I’m not very good at doing mind maps.

Kind of random, but that’s what happens when your monkey mind breaks out and starts running all over the zoo.

Something that’s always on my mind is what makes a video useful, and these two completely random topics are about to combine into one very practical way for you to choose your video topics…even if you’re an expert at mind maps.

Here’s why you need to know this. If you’ve ever looked for help in solving a problem by searching YouTube, you will have noticed that most of the videos there are…well…kinda useless.

Why is this?

The reason is that the topics are not written for video…and they’re much too broad.

If you are a trusted advisor, this is a horrid thing to have happen to you. After all, your leverage is based on your ability to communicate your value far and wide.

But don’t worry. Making useless videos does not have to be your fate. In fact, after you read this and apply it, your videos are likely to be so interesting that they’ll be the ones people say a little prayer of thanks for!

Best of all, you can do it in a few short simple steps.

Here’s how.

Let’s take a nice ridiculously broad subject area to begin; say arts in the classroom. Where do you start to create any kind of a video topic out of this?

Let’s relate it to something you got very good at back in high school.

Think of your subject area as a term paper and your search for a topic as the outline for the term paper. Hey, don’t worry. Just follow along and this will all make sense shortly.

The phrase “Arts in the Classroom” would be the name of the paper.

Let’s just randomly start with Choosing an Art Form.

Arts in the Classroom

I. Choosing an Art Form

II. Connecting to a content area

Next down might be visual arts, music, dance and drama. Let’s leave off our Roman numeral II for the rest of this example. Here’s what that might look like.

Arts in the Classroom

I. Choosing an Art Form
          a. Drama
          b. Music
          c. Visual Arts
          d. Dance

Now we simply choose one of the above. Let’s take drama for our example. Under drama could be the following:

Applying to instructional area
Drama skills
How to set up a class to integrate drama
How a classroom teacher could integrate drama vs. a teaching artist’s method

Now we get this:

Arts in the Classroom

I. Choosing an Art Form
          a. Drama
                     i. Applying to instructional area
                    ii. Teaching Drama skills
                   iii. Setting up a class to integrate drama
                   iv. How to work with a teaching artist
         b. Music
         c. Visual Arts
         d. Dance

Let’s go a little deeper by choosing how to set up a class to integrate drama.

Here we might get the following subjects:

The physical setup of the class
The sequence of activities
Follow up and assessment

And here’s what that looks like:

Arts in the Classroom

I. Choosing an Art Form
           a. Drama
                      i. Applying to instructional area
                     ii. Teaching Drama skills
                   iii. Setting up a class to integrate drama
                              1. The physical setup of the class
                              2. The sequence of activities
                              3. Follow up and assessment
                   iv. How to work with a teaching artist
           b. Music
           c. Visual Arts
          d. Dance

Now we go one more level down. Don’t worry. This is the level at which you will find your topic.

Let’s take the physical setup of the class as our example.

(1) the set up of a classroom.
(2) the setup of a multipurpose room
(3) the setup on a stage in an auditorium.

So let’s review. We’ve gone from the very amorphous “arts in the classroom” to “the physical set up of classroom, multipurpose room and stage”.

I. Choosing an Art Form
           a. Drama
                      i. Applying to instructional area
                     ii. Teaching Drama skills
                   iii. Setting up a class to integrate drama
                              1. The physical setup of the class
                                           (1) the set up of a classroom.
                                           (2) the setup of a multipurpose room
                                           (3) the setup on a stage in an auditorium.
2. The sequence of activities
3. Follow up and assessment
                   iv. How to work with a teaching artist
           b. Music
           c. Visual Arts
          d. Dance

That’s five levels deep under our main topic, but because we used an outline we got there in just a couple of minutes! No stress, no strain, no writer’s block…

The Magic Number
Notice also we have three parts to this video. Three is a magic number, as it’s easy to remember while providing a lot of value to the viewer.

So what makes this particular topic video-friendly?

You can visualize it
Always a benefit in a video. For instance, can’t you just see someone moving chairs around into a semi-circle, adding floor plans, talking about function and safety along the way?

You can remember it
It’s long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting, what some refer to as the “miniskirt rule.”

You can do it
Finally, it provides immediately actionable advice to the viewer, which casts the person who made that video in a golden glow of appreciation.

By the way, notice how I had only 3 benefits listed above? I could have chosen more, but you’re more likely to remember three. ☺

So here’s a challenge. (hey, Labor Day means summer’s officially over anyway)

What are you going to write your next video about? Do a quick outline, then list your topic below. I bet you’ll inspire someone to think about their topics in a more actionable way.

From summer’s end at the Gulf of Mexico,

Steve

 

    6 replies to "How to quickly choose super-useful video topics"

    • Susan

      And exactly where on the Gulf of Mexico were you?

      • Steven Washer

        Actually, I’m here right now getting ready to watch a perfect sunset…can’t believe I have to leave this place soon…

    • Adam Gordon

      Steve,
      I’m a bit pf a mind map person, but that’s a pretty good example. I might just S & G it 🙂
      Adam

      • Steven Washer

        For me this is less S & G and more L & D. (life and death) 🙂

    • Adam Gordon

      Sorry – a few typos there; Swipe and Deploy!

    • Susan

      Just wondering…I’m about 4 hour from part of the Gulf…..not exactly a picturesque part.

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