Tutorial: How To Package Other People's Video Clips So They Go Viral And People Pay For Them
Curating other people’s content is one of the most under-appreciated skills of thought leadership. More specifically, curating the best shortform video clips in your niche presents one of the best opportunities that I’ve ever seen for thought leaders.
Over the years, I’ve curated thousands of pieces of content (quotes, excerpts, videos, questions, mental models, and visuals) on many platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Substack, Medium). This curation content has been viewed 10M+ times. In addition, my curation of mental models via the Mental Model Club has earned $1M+ from curation. This experience has given me a clear understanding of how to best package other people’s content.
With that said, in today's post, I share my 9 step process to package video clips.
How This Post Fits In With Other Tutorials
At its heart, curating content has four steps:
Find the best content in the world
Extract the most valuable parts of it
Package it so it stands out and has more value
Publishing those clips on the right platform(s) in the right ways
So far I’ve shared the first two steps:
Today, I’m going to share a third and crucial ingredient to become a master curator. More specifically, I’m going to show you how to package video clips such that they go viral and people gladly pay for them.
Before I jump in, I want to connect the dots on why I think curation is such a big opportunity creators. Because, if you don’t understand the power of curation, then the tutorial will be worthless to you.
The Surprising Power Of Curation
Section Summary: 1. Curation helps you become an idea machine 2. Curation helps you get successful faster
1. Curation helps you become an idea machine
All original ideas are combinations of other people’s ideas. So the more you curate other people’s ideas, the more you develop your own rare and valuable ideas. This is in contrast to what many people think, which is that curating other people’s ideas makes you less original.
The book that most convincingly lays out this argument is Creativity: Understanding Innovation in Problem Solving, Science, Invention, and the Arts by researcher Robert Weisberg. In contrast to other creativity researchers who come up with creativity exercises, Weisberg spent his whole career pouring through the journals of the most creative people in history, like Picasso and Edison, in order to understand the detailed evolution of all of their most famous ideas.
While it might look like original ideas come out of nowhere, Weisberg saw that all of their ideas actually have a long history of evolution based on the creator’s learning and experimentation. In other words, big ideas don’t just come out of nowhere like a lightning bolt from the sky. Noticing this pattern, Weisberg boldly states:
The basic assumption that it is possible for a truly creative person to produce something that completely breaks with the past is fiction.
Put differently, we need past knowledge to create new knowledge. No one invents something new from scratch. A person with no knowledge of computers could never invent a computer. A person with no knowledge of rockets could never invent a rocket.
Weisberg explains further:
How could a person produce something that had no connection to his or her past? First of all, we are organisms whose functioning is inextricably tied in with our memories, so it would be highly unlikely that we could turn off the influence of memory on what we do. Also, even if we decided to try to produce something 'completely different', the only way we could do that is through reference to what is already available. That is, in producing the new, we must explicitly reject the old, which means that the influence of the old will be detectable in the new.
In the end, my favorite quote from Weisberg that summarizes the premise of his work and gives us an action plan is the following:
The broader the knowledge base possessed by a person, the more elements will be available to enter into combinations, which will increase the probability that a useful configuration will happen.
Summary: Taken altogether, Weisberg’s research challenges the fundamental idea that original ideas come from out of nowhere based on a sudden and almost magical leap of insight. Rather, Weisberg found that original ideas evolve slowly based on accumulating and experimenting with knowledge. He further goes on to make the case that the most creative people have extraordinary knowledge bases and regular thinking rather than vice-versa.
Implication: If Weisberg’s premise is true, then creativity grows exponentially as our knowledge grows linearly. In other words, every new chunk of knowledge can theoretically be combined with every other knowledge chunk. Therefore, every new thing you learned, makes it possible for you to create more and higher quality ideas and also to make surprising connections between disparate topics. The chart below breaks down this power of combinatorial creativity.
Personal takeaway: I first read Weisberg’s book in 2019, and it had such an impact on me that I remember where I was when I read it and how I felt. It inspired me to spend way more time learning the most rare, diverse, timeless, and valuable knowledge I could find. Today, I spend 5-6 hours per day learning. In other words, most of my time as a thought leader is spent learning, not writing. And I can attribute that lifestyle decision back to this book.
This brings us back to the power of curation. Curation helps you get a higher return on investment for all of the time you spend learning. Rather than just producing occasional longform articles from what you learn, it makes it possible to produce way more content along the way. For example, I’m working an article series right now, and I’ve already posted 30+ video clips related to it this year.
Learn more: If you like this model of creativity, I recommend checking out the Insight Mastery Manual in my Mental Model Club where I condense all of the books I’ve read into an integrated framework and then help you apply this framework to your life in order to maximize your insightfulness. If you prefer books, then I’d also recommend:
Borrowing Brilliance from entrepreneur David Kord Murray for a business perspective.
Where Good Ideas Come From by author.
2. Curation helps you get successful faster
While being a thought leader may sound easy, most people fail for one fundamental reason—they show up to a gunfight with knives.
More specifically, there are two thought leadership challenges that people underestimate:
The bar to capture attention is very high. Gaining traction online is extremely difficult, because there is a global war for people’s attention. Therefore, the quality bar you must attain in order to rise above that noise is super high. Not only that, the bar is getting higher as more talented people create more content using more and more advanced AI. I write about this global attention war in detail in Understand These 8 Truths And Our Crazy World Will Suddenly Make Sense To You.
You need to master a lot of skills in order to leap over the bar. Thought leadership can seem easy from the outside. First, social media platforms have made it easy to publish online. Second, there are lots of creator success stories that show that it’s possible. What we don’t learn about until years of practice is that success at thought leadership requires mastering dozens of micro-skills, which takes years. Not only that we don’t hear about all the creators who failed.
The bad news is that thought leadership is hard.
But the good news is that once you accept the reality of any situation, you’ll be more prepared to find a better and faster path to success.
For example, if you try to climb Mount Everest without much prep, you'll die. But, if you take it seriously, prepare, and start with smaller mountains, you’ll succeed.
I believe that curation is the “easy button” for success as a thought leader. Here’s why…
It requires fewer skills to master
It pushes you to publish more, which gives you momentum
It provides more outside feedback so you can focus more on what works
It helps you make money sooner, which makes it easier to keep investing time
The curation skills help you with idea creation
Said differently, successful learners put the right skills in the right sequence such that momentum builds like the following domino fall:
Shortform video curation is the first domino.
Now you understand the two primary benefits to curation:
Curation helps you become an idea machine
Curation helps you get successful faster
With these two benefits, the question becomes…
What is the most effective way to curate video content such that you gain traction in a busy world and monetize rapidly?
Over the years, I have developed a framework that can help you go to 6-figures in 6 months as a curator—at least that’s what has happened for me.
I first proved this framework when I launched the Mental Model Club to curate the top mental models in the world. We got 700 subscribers in the first 6 months paying $20/month. This means that we were making $10,000+ per month (6 figures annually) within 6 months.
Blockbuster Blueprint is my second attempt at monetizing curation, and it incorporates everything I learned from the successes and challenges of the Mental Model Club. So far we’re off to a very good start. In a future newsletter post, I’ll share our steps and my lessons learned.
With that said, here is my framework…
9 Steps To Package Video Clips So They’re Viral And Others Pay For Them
In this section, I break down all of the steps I follow to package each video clip:
Clarify your niche
Select “hell yeah” videos
Clip out what isn’t relevant or interesting
Hook the reader so they stop scrolling
Summarize for clarity
Review to make it personal
Contextualize so reader see the big picture
Apply so readers get results
Coin a phrase that captures the clip’s core (bonus)
I also break down my current thinking on what steps to give away for free and what parts you can charge for.
With that said, let’s jump into each step in detail…