Choosing Your Next Best Idea – The 80/20 Principle in Video Content Creation
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Choosing Your Next Best Idea – The 80/20 Principle in Video Content Creation

The Pareto Effect, also known as the 80/20 Principle, states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Let’s see how to use it in video creation

Brandon Fan
Brandon Fan

There’s a lot of content out there now. I mean you see thousands of podcasts being created everyday. According to youtube statistics alone, there are over 3.7 million new videos that are created every single day. How are you going to be able to compete for viewership and attention out of the slew of videos that might be out there? It’s a tough question and there are a lot of components to it, some of which, unfortunately, are out of your control even (think things like timing or a base platform). Fortunately, there are things that you CAN do nowadays to optimize your video content along with how you pick and choose which ideas that you want to pursue.

The Pareto Effect and the 80/20 Principle

The Pareto Effect, also known as the 80/20 Principle, states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. For example, in the software development industry, 80% of the software bugs are caused by 20% of the code. By focusing on fixing those 20% of the code, developers can prevent a majority of the issues.

In the retail industry, it’s common for 80% of a store’s revenue to come from 20% of its products. By analyzing which products are the most popular and ensuring they are always in stock, retailers can optimize their profits.

In the healthcare industry, the Pareto Effect can be seen in the fact that 80% of healthcare costs are usually incurred by 20% of patients. By focusing on preventative care for those high-risk patients, healthcare providers can save on costs and improve patient outcomes.

Now clearly, we see that the pareto effect has a wide range of implications when it comes to others, so why can’t video content be the same? The reality is that it can, and it probably will.

It’s most likely to be the case that 80% of the success of your video content comes from 20% of the ideas you generate. And that’s just the plain reality. There’s going to be that subset of videos that you create that might just blow up, because people love it so much, and of those 20%, those are the videos that will catalyze you to have the viewership numbers that you’re seeking for.

Now obviously the question is how do we identify those 20%?

Optimizing for the Pareto Effect

To apply this principle, you need to focus on the top 20% of your ideas that have the highest potential for success. This means analyzing your audience and their interests, as well as keeping up with trends in your niche. By focusing your efforts on these high-potential ideas, you can optimize your content for better viewership and engagement. Now how do we do this?

To optimize your content for your niche, you need to stay up to date with trends and interests in your industry. Here are some websites and sources that can help you do that:

  • Google Trends: This tool allows you to see what people are searching for in your niche and how those trends change over time.
  • Buzzsumo: This website shows you the most shared content in your niche, so you can get an idea of what’s popular and what’s resonating with your target audience.
  • Reddit: This platform has a subreddit for just about every topic under the sun. By subscribing to subreddits related to your niche, you can see what people are talking about, what questions they have, and what content is getting upvoted.
  • Industry publications: Keep up with the latest news and developments in your industry by reading industry publications and blogs. This will help you stay informed about the latest trends and changes in your niche.

By using these resources and staying engaged with your audience, you can identify the top 20% of your ideas that have the highest potential for success and optimize your content accordingly. Remember, the Pareto Effect doesn’t mean ignoring the other 80% of your ideas – it means prioritizing and optimizing the top 20% for maximum impact. This doesn’t mean that the 80% of content isn’t valuable (if anything the 80% can be repurposed for other social media channels, etc.) – but it’s moreso that the 20% of content will drive your users to the 80% of content that you will more regularly post. Think of the 20% of content as “magnets”.

Now it’s not just about staying on top of trends and ideas. I mean there are a plethora of ones that you can consider even now:

  • AI and ___ industry
  • Virtual events and conferences
  • Health and wellness content, including at-home workouts and meditation practices
  • DIY and home improvement projects
  • Cooking and baking tutorials
  • Educational content for students of all ages, including homeschooling resources

Obviously each one of these will be specific to your industry (only listing a few), but the focus of these top 20% is to identify core “searchability” whereas your 80% should focus more on engagement.

How to Create that Hook

Okay so you’ve identified those ideas, now it’s time to get your users on the hook. Here are some tips for creating a hook that will make your video content stand out:

  • Start with a question: Ask a question that will pique viewers’ curiosity and make them want to keep watching to find the answer.
  • Use humor: Humor is a great way to grab viewers’ attention and keep them engaged. Just make sure it’s appropriate for your audience and the tone of your video.
  • Tease the content: Give viewers a taste of what’s to come by teasing the content of your video. This can be a quick overview of what you’ll cover or a preview of some of the most interesting points.
  • Use visuals: If possible, use visuals to create a hook for your video. This could be a striking image or video clip that will make viewers want to keep watching.

Remember, your hook is just the beginning. Once you’ve grabbed viewers’ attention, you need to deliver on the promise of your hook by providing valuable and engaging content throughout your video. By combining a strong hook with high-quality content, you can create video content that will not only grab viewers’ attention, but keep them engaged and coming back for more.

This is what your 20% of video content should be optimized for – grabbing a hook that gets the user attention in your respective industry. And then you deliver in the content that you’re so interested in talking about.

Creating a Unique Voice

Now as you continue to create hook pieces, let’s turn back to those 80% pieces. These should focus on user engagement. Focus your videos here on what you want to prescribe and focus these on your long term subscribers. These subscribers should be die hard fans of your content because they’re going to gain the most value out of your content. Optimize for shareability too. There should easily be tidbits and sections that can be used to share with others. Use the YouTube sectioning feature to segment out the video for easy viewing and skipping as well.

Now how do you create a unique voice? My best tip is to just put yourself on a camera and start talking. Start talking about the various questions that you’re interested in and let the camera roll. Over time, you’ll learn more about yourself and about your own voicing and branding. And don’t worry, if you have an umm, or an and, you can always edit it out.

Now once you’ve done an initial draft and take of just talking about the subject. Let’s formalize it more. If you want to take it one step further, then write up a script and a draft of the questions you want, and prepare some answers (but don’t copy them verbatim as you speak) – rerecord and get ready to edit.

Your Unique Voice isn’t just your words!

Now what’s amazing to think about is that your unique voice and your brand is not just your voice, but it’s also what you show on the screen! What an awesome opportunity for you to film about the things you care about, or the B roll of your life. Focus on showcasing who you are and how you live. Or find B roll clips and content that mean something to your content and viewers. Better yet, go out and buy a nice DSLR or BlackMagic camera and film. People are attracted to high quality content, and statistics have shown that the more movement and cuts you have in a video, the more engagement with the content itself (and it doesn’t even need to be complex). Not super sure what that workflow looks like? Check out our article on The Modern Creator Workflow and great storage solutions for your film.

Repurposing Content

Now the biggest thing that you can take advantage of in your top 20% and even in your 80% of content is content repurposing. Nowadays, if you’re just using one social media platform, you’re dead. If you’re just posting on YouTube, you’re missing out on the large audience that leverages short form content for their daily consumption. Indeed, over 73% of consumers prefer short-form video to learn about a product or service. If you’re not repurposing your content, you are losing valuable consumers. Now what are the best ways to do this at scale?

A good asset management system

For one, a good asset management system is imperative. Whether you have photos, videos, B Roll, stock footage, audio tracks, etc. all of these are part of your brand image and you should have easy access to the footage that you want and need in order to repurpose. A good software that can easily search through your assets, identify the ones that you need, or even simply query for “Footage at the coffee shop I took three weeks ago” could greatly save you time as you repurpose content.

Filming with the purpose of repurposing

Now it’s also important to film with the purpose of repurposing. With modern cameras, you can easily film in multiple aspect ratios and optimize for the 9:16 that IG stories and tiktok’s want. Making sure that what you’re filming is front and center, you recording yourself talking can easily be converted into Short-form without too much fuss, are going to be imperative and incredibly important. After all, you don’t want to record yourself twice if you don’t have to.

Captions ⇒ Engagement

It’s super easy nowadays to plop up captions onto something that you filmed to repurpose it. Sometimes the content that you repurpose doesn’t have to be overtly complex or require a lot of editing. Sometimes a few cuts with some captions will do.

Organization and Scaling

Okay, so now you’ve come to the end of the article. You’re serious about this, you really care about scaling your content creation and you want to really kick things off. Here are a couple of things to reiterate.

Keep yourself organized

If you don’t have a video asset management solution in place or even a digital asset management solution in place, then you absolutely should get one started. Systems like Shade are built in a way to help you from ground zero, and easily integrate and search your entire hard drive (and all external hard drives) instantly and without any set up required. If you’re interested, you can check out this demo here and sign up for our early beta. We’ve built Shade for the sole purpose of helping creators and studios manage terabytes of content at scale. So trust us, it’s going to work as you scale too.

Now if you don’t want to use Shade, that’s fine! Here’s what I’d recommend:

  • Keep organized folders for separated B roll content, clips, audio, etc.
  • Make sure that things are dated, catalogued and tagged
  • Use some standard spreadsheet or asset rating system to keep track of footage and people that are in each shot
  • Upload and backup all footage to a standard location like Backblaze or Google Drive (check out our storage article here)
  • Use online stock footage sources like Pexels and Storyblocks and combine that with your short form content as needed.

And that’s all there is to it!

Good Hardware = Good Content

Hardware for cameras and audio have become insanely cheap. And not just that, the quality of content that people are expecting is only getting higher and higher. If you’re not optimizing for your audio and sound, or even your image and video quality (shooting in 6K, not using a Rode mic), you’re going to fall behind over other people in your niche. People care a lot about good content (and soothing voices too). Invest in high quality hardware, and you will reap the benefits.


Building a serious content creation system is hard, and it’ll take time and hard work. But even as you approach this work, realize that the pareto principle still applies. 20% of your content will bring in 80% of the customers. So optimize for it: write those hooks, repurpose the content, and more. We’re so excited to see what you do, and we’d love to chat with you too! Set up a time here at Shade to talk more.

TaggedContent CreationPareto PrincipleToolsVideo Asset Management

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