18 YouTube Shorts Ideas for Your Next Viral Hit
We know YouTube Shorts feels like yet another channel you have to come up with content for. Don't worry — we've got you covered when it comes to YouTube Shorts ideas!
Just like Instagram Reels before it, YouTube Shorts was introduced back in 2021 with one competitor in mind: TikTok.
TikTok proved social media users had a major appetite for short form video, and YouTube created Shorts to entice that audience back to YouTube. As of 2022, Shorts had been viewed more than 5 trillion times and YouTubed pumped $100 million into a fund to encourage creators to use shorts.
Shorts and TikTok have a lot in common: short videos (up to 60 seconds in length) in a mobile-friendly vertical format, with sharing and engagement options only a tap away. Shorts also feeds YouTube users an endless feed of content curated by a powerful algorithm — again, just like TikTok.
Given that YouTube has 2.68 billion active users and 62% of US adults visit YouTube everyday, adding Shorts has made YouTube a major player in mobile-friendly short video. An icon for Shorts is now featured prominently on both the YouTube app and desktop website, as well as a tab on every YouTube channel.
It also creates yet another channel begging for your attention, whether as a creator, a brand, or a marketer. Creating YouTube Shorts is fun work — if you have a solid idea. And we can help you with that.
Here, we’ll look at some top trending YouTube Shorts ideas to kickstart your creativity and inspire some short form YouTube videos.
18 YouTube Short Ideas
- Reuse a TikTok
- Reuse a Reel
- Clip a moment from Twitch
- Turn a long YouTube video into a Short
- Turn a live YouTube video in a Short
- Turn a webinar or other branded video into a YouTube Short
- Go behind the scenes
- Pack an order
- Show a before and after
- How to
- Product demonstration
- User-generated content and reviews
- Meet the team
- Answer customer questions
- Jump on a trend or challenge
- Create a multi-part series
- Share life hacks
Let’s take a closer look at the YouTube Shorts ideas above with some examples to inspire you.
YouTube Shorts Ideas That Reuse Other Content
If you’re already posting video content — whether on other social media platforms or long form videos on YouTube itself — you already have material to create a YouTube Short. Here are some ideas to repurpose existing content into Shorts.
Reuse a TikTok
If you post on TikTok, you already have content to kick off your presence on YouTube Shorts. By simply cross-posting your content from TikTok to YouTube, you can expand the reach of your social media marketing with very little extra effort.
There are a few ways to share a TikTok to YouTube Shorts, though some are better than others.
The first option is, after you post a TikTok, simply download the video and reupload it to YouTube. The problem with this is that the video will have a TikTok watermark. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s a bit of a faux pas and doesn’t look as slick.
The second option is to create your TikToks in a video editor, like Kapwing, so you have a raw video file already in the proper dimensions. The annoying part of this is you’ll have to resync the music and any effects on each platform separately, so they won’t be completely identical.
The easiest option is to use a third-party service that allows you to download TikToks without a watermark, like Kapwing. Simply copy and paste the link to your TikTok into Kapwing’s editor. Kapwing will import your TikTok without the TikTok watermark but with all the audio, effects, and overlay text preserved. The only thing that doesn’t come with is the automatic captions.
You can add those back with Kapwing’s automatic subtitler in just a few clicks.
Pro Tip: Check to make sure your captions will be visible when you post to YouTube Shorts by using the Safe Zones tool.
Check out this TikTok turned Short from @morgandrinkscoffee:
It’s a repost of this TikTok and you can tell it was originally created on TikTok from the style of the text overlay. Morgan has 6.3 million followers on TikTok, compared to 1.13M subscribers on YouTube. Reposting TikTok videos allows Morgan to feed content to their YouTube without having to film twice.
Reuse an Instagram Reel
Similar to TikTok, you may have Instagram Reels that would be great YouTube Shorts. However, again, we run into the issue of watermarks.
The watermark is small, so if you’re okay with it, simply navigate to your Reels, tap the “...” icon, and tap download. The Reel will then save to your camera roll.
To remove the watermark, you can use Kapwing again. Simply copy and paste the link to your Reel, and download without the watermark. Then, upload it as a YouTube Short.
Clip a Moment from Twitch
If you’re a Twitch streamer, you already have tons of content that can be turned into a YouTube Short.
The easiest way to do this is to simply take a clip from one of your streams and upload it on Youtube. The problem you’ll run into however, is it may not crop the way you’d like.
To create a slicker YouTube Short from a Twitch clip, use a video editing software like Kapwing to edit your stream into a vertical video.
Look at this YouTube Short, for example. Streamer @skyalux edited this video to show her webcam at the top, and the game at the bottom. She also added an overlay with her Twitch handle.
Turn a Long Form Video from YouTube into a Short
You may already have plenty of long form YouTube videos you can turn into Shorts. That’s two pieces of content for the effort of one.
Use video editing software to turn a longer YouTube video into a Short by cropping it into a vertical format and keeping it under 60 seconds. Aim to capture a particularly interesting or entertaining moment. It could also be a summary of the YouTube video.
For example, look at this Short from the Try Guys.
They took this video, where Keith eats everything at Cracker Barrel, and recut it into a Short about what to order at the restaurant.
Turn a Live YouTube Video into a Short
Similar to the above YouTube Shorts idea, you can turn a live YouTube video into a Short.
Again, the best method is to take your clips and use a video editor to reformat the content into a short, vertical video.
SimplyNailogical is a great example of a creator that does this often. She has a secondary channel where she often streams live videos of herself doing nail art. In this video, she recreates nail art worn by Taylor Swift.
She then edited that live video into this short.
Turn a Webinar or Other Branded Video into a Short
If you host webinars or other videos as a brand, make sure to record them as they can easily be turned into YouTube Shorts. Cut your clips to share a revealing moment or highlight a tip.
You can also create Shorts to promote your next webinar, like this one from an eating disorder treatment center.
YouTube Shorts Ideas for Small Businesses
As a small business, YouTube shorts is a smart platform to include in your video content marketing strategy. It promotes brand awareness and YouTube Shorts’ discovery-based algorithm means your brand will be shown to fresh eyes.
Here are some YouTube Shorts ideas for your small business to try out.
Go Behind the Scenes
Take your customers and customers-to-be behind the scenes to see how you run your business.
This YouTube Shorts idea adds a personal touch to your brand, and also serves as inspiration for fellow small business owners. You can incorporate a new product announcement, show how you organize your inventory, or show the process behind creating new goods.
Here’s an example from @Elysebreannedesign, a small business making home goods and notebooks. In this Short, the business owner shows the process of a new product release.
Pack an Order
This is like the opposite of unboxing videos, but just as satisfying to watch. Pick a new order you’ve had come in, and show the whole process of putting it together in a Short.
Viewers especially love when these are done ASMR style — minimal talking, soothing sounds, and clean visuals.
Take a look at this example, where @merybadalian packs an order of washi tapes and other goods.
Show Before and After
Before and after videos are an excellent idea for Shorts. They’re compelling because the viewer wants to stay and watch to see the reveal, and they’re also easy to pack into 60 seconds.
Here’s a very satisfying example from a rug cleaning business.
As a business owner, you certainly have some area of expertise you can share with viewers. Upload YouTube Shorts that show off your specialized knowledge.
Look at this example from a baker showing how to pipe roses out of icing.
Use YouTube Shorts to show off your products. You can use short form content to show how best to use your goods, or offer tips and tricks.
Here’s an example showing how to choose a size from this brand’s hair clips.
User-Generated Content and Reviews
If you’ve already established your small business on social media, you may find customers posting reviews or other video content about your products or services.
You can upload YouTube Shorts using this user-generated content. Just make sure to ask for permission first — you can even offer a discount or free products in exchange. You can also work with influencers to create content to share in Shorts.
Here’s a UGC example from Colourpop Cosmetics of someone using their products to create a makeup look.
Meet the Team
Let viewers get to know your staff with a fun YouTube Short. It gives customers a look behind the scenes and puts faces behind your brand identity. People trust other people more than they trust brands, so remind them of the people behind your brand.
Here’s a cute example from a food bank.
Answer Customer Questions
Wherever you post on social media, you probably have customers asking questions about your brand. Gather those questions — whether from TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, or via email — and turn it into a piece of short form content.
YouTube Shorts Ideas for Getting More Views
Sometimes when you upload YouTube Shorts, you’re just looking for those sweet, sweet views. And that’s okay! Here are some ideas for Shorts that are all about increasing your view count.
Jump on a Trend or Challenge
When it comes to short form videos, there’s always a new trend or challenge you can participate in.
While you can watch YouTube Shorts to get inspired, the truth is that most short form video trends emerge from TikTok. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to the biggest trends on TikTok and how to spot them.
Here’s an example of the Cupid dance trend from TikTok. This Short is simply a repost from TikTok, but it still got 49,000 likes on YouTube.
Create a Multi-Part Series
People use this tactic on TikTok all the time to increase views. Simply take an idea and break it into several parts.
You want your initial parts to end in cliffhangers, or have a reveal in the final part to keep viewers interested and watching.
For example, this creator does challenges over several parts, so viewers will come back to watch the series continue.
Share Life Hacks
One of the most popular types of short form video, whether on YouTube Shorts or TikTok, is life hacks. Who doesn’t want to learn how to make their life easier?
Either post your own hacks or test out a hack from someone else.
Vlog Your Life
Vlogging is what made YouTube what it is, and it works equally well for creating engaging YouTube Shorts. Take viewers through a day in your life, a major event, or a trip.
Here’s creator Safiya Nygaard vlogging a trip to Iceland.
Power Up Your YouTube Channel with Shorts
Long form content is not the only way to post content on your YouTube channel. Experiment with these ideas and create YouTube Shorts to attract your target audience, grow your presence online, and, if you’re lucky, go viral.
Creating YouTube Shorts FAQ
1. Which type of Shorts are most popular on YouTube?
It’s a good bet that if something is popular on TikTok, it will also be popular on YouTube Shorts.
- Funny videos
- Reaction videos
- Unboxing videos
- Meme videos
- Motivation videos
2. What makes YouTube Shorts go viral?
To understand why content goes viral on YouTube Shorts, you need to understand the YouTube algorithm. It serves up content based on a variety of factors, but some of the most important are watch time, watch history, and click-through rate.
3. What can you do on YouTube Shorts?
Anything you want! You can reuse long form content, make funny videos, create motivational videos, or share some fun facts. Creating engaging YouTube Shorts always starts with a strong idea, so read the list above for more.
4. What type of YouTube Shorts get views?
YouTube Shorts, similar to long form video on YouTube, get shown to users based on YouTube’s algorithm. Generally, videos that are engaging, entertaining, informative, or unique will get the most views.
5. How long can YouTube Shorts be?
A YouTube Short can be a maximum of 60 seconds.
- How to Auto-Caption YouTube Shorts
- How Use ChatGPT to Write a Video Script
- How to 10x Your Video Content Creation Without 10x the Work
- How to Turn a YouTube Video into a Blog Post
- How to Make Money on YouTube in 2023 with These 5 Methods