Many studies have shown that we are more creative and imagine greater things when we are more restricted.
Tools are the perfect place to position those boundaries. By simply picking up a ball of yarn and a pair of needles I’m giving myself restriction. I’m saying that I’m likely to knit.
I don’t just have yarn, which could become a woven bookmark, a crocheted blanket, a finger-knitted necklace or a pom-pom. I’ve selected needles too, which gives me the boundary of knitting. I’ll define my creativity more by realising how much yarn I have and the thickness of the needles. The colour and texture of the yarn can be important too.
Sharing your choice of tools opens the eyes of your customers and lets them in. It paints you as unique in your field, as authentic and individual, because you decide to master a collection of tools and materials that no-one else has agglomerated similarly.
Tools are the first step to creativity. You couldn’t watercolour roses without paper, brushes and paints. Or crochet baby beanies without yarn and a hook.
If your audience is watching you create and will buy an end product, such as cupcakes, silver necklaces, or digital photos, they’re going to be fascinated by your genius. They may have mastered a different skill to you, and admire your mastery as a fellow creative. They may equally admire your mastery from an awe-struck place which holds creativity in a place of worship.
Either way, your audience wants the inside story of your brand. Knowing which tools that you use comes from place of curiosity. Learning about the materials that go into their finished item can be extremely important to their decision to buy.
If you’re teaching, your students need some first steps to take before following your lessons. What better way to commit to learning to paint than to visit an art shop and spend birthday money on paper, brushes and Windsor and Newton paints?
And if you’re the one to give them advice and show them what you use, they’re more likely to choose you as a teacher further on in their journey. Because they know you’ll be teaching with the exact same tools that they have to hand, they’ll continue with you as their guide. Perfect student/teacher combination, right?
This variant of toolkit videos is great for teachers of creativity.
Beginners need to know about only the simplest of tools and materials to take the first steps towards embracing their new hobby. It’s very easy to get excited and share you passion in a big way but this does nothing but confuse and overwhelm beginners.
An easy way to restrict yourself in beginner’s tools videos is to stick to three or five essential points. (Again, you need to restrict your creativity to keep it firing on all cylinders!)
I’ve done this on the Knit With Hannah YouTube channel multiple times and it works really well.
Beginner Knitter’s Toolkit Essentials covers four tools and a bonus extra tool. I could have talked for 30 minutes about all the tools I have in my tool kit, and they’re all really useful when I’m knitting. But I chose the four things I use the most and left it at that.
Some beginner examples:
You can talk about one topic over several videos to explain the tools and materials to beginners, as I have done when teaching about yarn. I have one video that helps you choose yarn with 3 simple steps, and then a group of videos talking about the different types of yarn. I’ll be adding to that consistently as there are so many fine details that are really useful for beginners and experienced knitters, alike.
What Is DK Yarn has brought me 2.5K views and 44 new subscribers since it was released last year. It’s a stable video that does well under any circumstance.
To create this video I found four simple rules that help you identify this one type of yarn and shared them in turn. It is ranked highly in the Youtube search, first for many phrases that ask about DK yarn, and has a view retention rate of almost 50% (an excellent score)
I’ll dive deeper into videos for beginners next week- so keep a watch on this blog!
These video are perfect for your current subscribers, and may not catch new searches, but they’re ideal for responding to FAQs on your website. Embed them on your FAQ page and your customers will feel like they’ve been personally given a full and solid answer.
If they’re relevant to a point in time, like with your latest knitwear collection being released, you can share it multiple times, everywhere on social media and to our email list. By doing this you’ll draw attention to the inspirations for your creativity. This will likely inspire your audience into action and bring about an influx of new and repeat customers.
It may be obvious to you when you make a pair of earrings that you use sterling silver. But why do you do it? Your customers, of those completed earrings, would love to know the reasons for your choices, and how they benefit from those choices.
Do you always print your bookmarks, that you sell on Etsy, on recycled card? Do you use non-toxic ink when printing?
Perhaps you only buy yarn from the local alpaca farm when weaving your shawls. Or only use organic shea better when mixing your soaps.
Did you knit last season’s collection in purples and blues because you were inspired by the lilac trees in your neighbour’s garden?
Or maybe your latest canvases have been influenced by your winter holiday on the west coast of Africa, so the beach scenes all have grey sand.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Reviews are unbelievably popular on YouTube. There are YouTube channels dedicated to reviewing TV shows, restaurants, video games and vacuum cleaners! People want social proof when they make decisions in all walks of life, not just deciding on which series to watch next on Netflix!
Just as you’d probably prefer a recommendation from a friend when hiring a plumber, instead of blindly sticking a pin into the yellow pages (or picking the first result that shows up when you search for ‘plumber near me’ on Google!), you probably would rather pick your crafting and art tools knowing that they’re recommended by another crafter or artist.
Depending on your subject they may get a short wave of high numbers of views, but equally the popularity of these videos may last for years.
You can look at the review in a few ways:
You’re going to have favourites for all your tools and materials, so share them with your audience. As I said at the beginning of this post sharing your choices will show that you’re unique and someone who believes in their conscious creativity.
In both these scenarios you’re likely to have people who disagree with your choices. While many will respect your choices and be intrigued, some will not. The niche of creativity may seem like it should be immune to internet trolls and disrespectful critics. Believe me when I say, if we’re on the internet we’re always open to that.
It could become a conversation in real life that has it’s root in interest and curiosity, but online that’s a very difficult line to toe. Just be willing to share your choices and stand strong them. Know always that there are many more people who will feel inspired by your choices and celebrate you as someone who is willing to make them, than those who decide to make your decisions an outlet for their personal onslaught of negativity.
You may be given tools and materials by sponsors to test and review. In that case you can give a balanced response on which aspects you liked and which you didn’t.
New ranges of crafting paper, knitting yarn, quilting fabric and stencilling glitters are being released all the time. You can try them out and decide on your favourites or use a demo video to show them begin used.
Reviews can also be about flipping through books or magazines from your field and sharing your favourite chapters or articles. This is popular in the knitting field. We all want to know which patterns are released each month without going down to the store to shuffle through the racks of crafting magazines.
Just because you shared which cake stencils you prefer doesn’t mean someone will create a copycat cupcake business and steal all your customers. Remember as I said at the beginning, you’re a unique individual, not just from your creative choices now.
You have made choices all through your life which ensures your creativity has always been and will always remain unique.
You have creative experiences in your past that have moulded your choices. You have learned from a perfect blend of previous masters. No-one will ever experience, or learn from this gorgeous smorgasbord ever again.
Thanks for reading today’s blogpost, you’re going to love next week’s video ideas. We’re going to dive into beginner’s mastery with even more detail. Hope to see you there!
And if you’d like some support when brainstorming, come join me for a Blog-Busting Brainstorm. I have an uncanny knack for coming up with long lists of anything. We’ll meet for an hour and fill your content calendar for at least 6 months.