Finding Ideas for a Video Series or Podcast – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by PhilNottingham

Video and podcasts are only growing in popularity, proving to be
an engaging way to reach your audience and find ways to talk about
your industry or product. But it’s a crowded market out there, and
finding a good idea is only half the battle. Join video marketing
extraordinaire Phil Nottingham from Wistia as he explores how we
can both uncover great ideas for a podcast or video series and
follow through on them in this week’s episode of Whiteboard

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution
version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. My name is Phil Nottingham, and welcome to
another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going to talk
about how to come up with a great idea for your video series or
podcast. I think a lot of businesses out there understand that
there’s just this great opportunity now to do a longer form series,
a show in podcast or video form, but really struggle with that
moment of finding what kind of idea could take them to the next
level and help them stand out.

1. Audience

I think the most common error that businesses make is to start
with the worst idea in the world, which is interviewing our
customers about how they use our product. I’m sure many of you have
accidentally fallen down this trap, where you’ve thought, “Ah,
maybe that will be a good idea.” But the thing is even if you’re
Ferrari or Christian Louboutin or the most desirable product in the
world, it’s never going to be interesting for someone to sit there
and just listen to your customers talking about your product.

The problem is that your customers are not a unique group of
people, aside from the fact that they use your product. Usually
there isn’t anything else that brings them together. For this kind
of content, for a video series and podcast to really stand out and
to grow in terms of their audience, we need to harness word of
mouth. Word of mouth doesn’t grow through the way we often think
about audience growth in marketing.

Many of us, particularly in the performance marketing space, are
used to thinking about funnels. So we get more and more traffic
into the funnel, get more people in there, and ultimately some of
them convert. But the way word of mouth works is that a small group
of people start communicating to another group of people who start
communicating to another group of people. You have these
ever-expanding circles of communication that ultimately allow you
to grow your audience.

How to find a niche audience

But that means you need to start with a group of people who are
talking to one another. Invariably, your customers are not talking
to each other as a kind of rule of thumb. So what you need to do is
find a group of people, an audience who are talking to each other,
and that really means a subculture, a community, or maybe an
interest group. So find your group of customers and work out what
is a subset of customers, what kind of community, wider culture
they’re part of, a group of people who you could actually speak

The way you might find this is using things like
Reddit. If there’s a subculture, there’s going to
be a subreddit. A tool like SparkToro will allow
you to discover other topics that your customer base might be
interested in. Slack communities can be a great
source of this. Blogs, there’s often any sort of
topic or a niche audience have a blog. Hashtags as
well on social media and perhaps meetup groups as

So spend some time finding who this audience is for your show, a
real group of people who are communicating with one another and who
ultimately are someone who you could speak to in a meaningful

2. Insight

Once you’ve got your audience, you then need to think about the
insight. What the insight is, is this gap between desire and
outcome. So what you normally find is that when you’re speaking to
groups of people, they will have something they want to achieve,
but there is a barrier in the way of them doing it.

This might be something to do with tools or hardware/software.
It could be just to do with professional experience. It could be to
do with emotional problems. It could be anything really. So you
need to kind of discover what that might be. The essential way to
do that is just through good, old-fashioned talking to

  • Focus groups, 
  • Surveys, 
  • Social media interactions, 
  • Conversations, 
  • Data that you have from search, like using Google Search
  • Internal site search, 
  • Search volume 

That kind of thing might tell you exactly what sort of topics,
what problems people are having that they really try to solve in
this interest group.

Solve for the barrier

So what we need to do is find this particular little nugget of
wisdom, this gold that’s going to give us the insight that allows
us to come up with a really good idea to try and solve this
barrier, whatever that might be, that makes a difference between
desire and outcome for this audience. Once we’ve got that, you
might see a show idea starting to emerge. So let’s take a couple of

A few examples

Let’s assume that we are working for like a DIY supplies
company. Maybe we’re doing just sort of piping. We will discover
that a subset of our customers are plumbers, and there’s a
community there of plumbing professionals. Now what might we find
about plumbers? Well, maybe it’s true that all plumbers are kind of
really into cars, and one of the challenges they have is making
sure that their car or their van is up to the job for their

Okay, so we now have an interesting insight there, that there’s
something to do with improving cars that we could hook up for
plumbers. Or let’s say we are doing a furniture company and we’re
creating furniture for people. We might discover that a subset of
our audience are actually amateur carpenters who really love wooden
furniture. Their desire is to become professional.

But maybe the barrier is they don’t have the skills or the
experience or the belief that they could actually do that with
their lives and their career. So we see these sort of very personal
problems that we can start to emerge an idea for a show that we
might have. 

3. Format

So once we’ve got that, we can then take inspiration from
existing TV and media. I think the mistake that a lot of us make is
thinking about the format that we might be doing with a show in a
very broad sense.

Don’t think about the format in a broad sense — get specific

So like we’re doing an interview show. We’re doing a talk show.
We’re doing a documentary. We’re doing a talent show. Whatever it
might be. But actually, if we think about the great history of TV
and radio the last hundred years or so, all these really smart
formats have emerged. So within talk show, there’s “Inside the
Actors Studio,” a very sort of serious, long, in-depth interview
with one person about their practice.

There’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” which has got
lots of kind of set pieces and sketches and things that intermingle
with the interview. There’s “Ellen,” where multiple people are
interviewed in one show. If we think about documentaries, there’s
like fly-on-the-wall stuff, just run and gun with a camera, like
“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Carrying on the food thing, there’s
“Chef’s Table,” where it’s very planned and meticulously shot and
is an exposé of one particular chef.

Or something like “Ugly Delicious,” which is a bit more like a
kind of exploratory piece of documentary, where there’s kind of one
protagonist going around the world and they piece it together at
the end. So you can think about all these different formats and try
to find an idea that maybe has been done before in TV in some
format and find your way through that. 

A few more examples

So let’s think about our plumber example. Plumbers who love
cars, well, we could do “Pimp My Ride for Tradesmen.”

That’s an interesting idea for a talk. Or let’s say we’re going
after like amateur carpenters who would love to be professional. We
could easily do “American Idol for Lumberjacks or Carpenters.” So
we can start to see this idea emerge. Or let’s take a kind of B2B
example. Maybe we are a marketing agency, as I’m sure many of you
are. If you’re a marketing agency, maybe you know that some of your
customers are in startups, and there’s this startup community.

One of the real problems that startups have is getting their
product ready for market. So you could kind of think, well, the
barrier is getting the product ready for market. We could then do
“Queer Eye for Product Teams and Startups,”and we’ll bring in five
specialists in different areas to kind of get their product ready
and sort of iron out the details and make sure they’re ready to go
to market and support marketing.

So you can start to see by having a clear niche audience and an
insight into the problems that they’re having, then pulling
together a whole list of different show ideas how you can bring
together an idea for a potential, interesting TV show, video
series, or podcast that could really make your business stand out.
But remember that great ideas are kind of 10 a penny, and
the really hard thing is finding the right one and making sure that
it works for you.

So spend a lot of time coming up with lots and lots of different
executions, trying them out, doing kind of little pilots before you
work out and commit to the idea that works for you. The most
important thing is to keep going and keep trying and teasing out
those ideas rather than just settling on the first thing that comes
to mind, because usually it’s not going to be the right answer. So
I hope that was very useful, and we will see you again on another
episode of Whiteboard Friday.

Take care.


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Source: FS – _Marketing
Finding Ideas for a Video Series or Podcast – Whiteboard Friday