“Here’s a radical thought: don’t do a review. If you have nothing to write, write nothing.”
There’s always one, isn’t there?
The above comment was left on a Medium article I published last week which asked for some help with my forthcoming review of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
As I explained in that article, I’d encountered a conundrum. I didn’t know how to review Apple’s latest smartphone, and with every big tech reviewer having understandably got there first, what more was there for the small guys like me to say?
I revealed that I thought the iPhone was a rather dull product and one which is now firmly in an iterative phase of its development as opposed to consistently delivering headline-grabbing revolutionary leaps forward. There was, basically, very little left to say about it.
So, I asked for some input on my review to avoid falling into the trap of making just another unboxing video.
However, there was a lot more to this article than meets the eye, and I think the strategy employed behind the scenes might be useful to anyone who wants to make a success of this content creation thing.
Certainly, our commenting friend above completely missed the point.
Let me explain.
The launch of the iPhone 14 is a classic example of how tough it can be for content creators working in a tightly defined niche. There are only so many smartphones to review, there’s only so much those devices can do, and there is, consequently, only so much one can say about them.
More pressingly, manufacturers have reached a point where they’re simply adding nice-to-haves to each new version. There aren’t any seismic leaps forward like when the iPhone was first introduced – because there doesn’t need to be. There’s no specific want, need, or desire from smartphone owners that is yet to be met. It is incredibly hard to buy a crap device these days because we are at the pinnacle of what is currently possible and most of the once-premium smartphone tech has now been democratised.
Oh, and most people are far more concerned about paying their electricity bill at the moment than deciding which storage option to add to the new iPhone 14 Pro Max they can’t afford.
Creating content about this stuff is, therefore, challenging. And this is particularly the case if, like me, you’re not within the embargo crowd; I have to wait for my iPhone delivery like everyone else. That further squeezes the time I have available to make the video and publish it in time to ride the trending wave.
So, I had a rather dull product to work with, a sea of already-published reviews to swim against, and next to no time to invest in the concept behind a more unique take on the device.
I needed to get creative.
On the morning of Friday 16th September, I didn’t have a blog post planned. This happens occasionally, but, often, it’s when I literally pull something out of my backside that it performs the best.
It’s at times like this when content repurposing becomes your knight in shining armour. I discovered this strategy during my time as a marketer, and it is employed constantly behind the scenes at Mark Ellis Reviews.
The premise is simple: you publish one piece of content (any format – that’s entirely up to you) and then repurpose it for different formats and delivery methods. So, a blog post becomes the script for a YouTube video, that YouTube video’s audio becomes a Patreon member podcast, the YouTube video gets chopped up into short-form content for Instagram and TikTok, and snippets from the original blog are turned into a tweet thread. Oh, and if you need some images for your blog post, you can grab them from the YouTube video.
The result? Six pieces of content from one! It saves time, makes your brand more coherent, and builds advocacy with your audience.
The blog post I decided to write on Friday morning was the start of that process. I’d use it to ask for help reviewing a product I was genuinely unsure about reviewing and then use the basis of that blog post to form the narrative for the video review that needed to be published the next day.
This killed two birds with one stone – it was classic content repurposing, but it also encouraged interaction from my audience. And that interaction flooded in, both via comments on the article and on social media, where I created separate tweet threads and posts to publicise the article and ask for more help.
This meant that by Friday lunchtime, I’d published a blog post that was drawing in a sizeable crowd, I had some fascinating input from my audience on the review itself, and the basis of the forthcoming video was set in stone. What’s more, I’d set the path towards the follow-up review in two weeks’ time, thanks to all of that input from the people who were responding.
I was ahead, and I hadn’t even removed the iPhone from its packaging.
Did it work?
This isn’t a lesson in ‘tricking’ your audience, either. I simply combined the desire for views, engagement, and forward planning to create a content strategy for the iPhone 14 Pro Max review that was efficient and effective.
I’m not breaking new ground here. This isn’t my own, super secret sauce. Content repurposing has been around since the dawn of the written word – we just have far more tools available these days to expand this brilliant strategy and cast a far wider net for our content to be seen and heard.
For me, the decision to publish that blog post last Friday resulted in a far easier production process for the resulting video a mere 24 hours later (which is one of my top-performing recent videos, too). But it also encouraged loads of engagement on social media, and some wonderful conversations within the comments section on Medium.
If you’re creating any kind of content online, repurposing is your key to making the process fun, efficient, and far more likely to build an engaged, loyal following.
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