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Repurposing Content Is for Lazy Writers Who End up Frustrated

by | Mar 6, 2023 | Writing

Every writing guru promotes repurposing content.

And I’m bloody sick of them. It’s why our social media platforms are clogged up with content sludge that smells worse than my newborn daughter when she hasn’t had her diaper changed for a few hours.

Stop being tricked.

Most writers who repurpose content do it because they’re lazy and want to save time. And readers know that so they switch off.

Then their writing dreams are destroyed and we all have to hear about it with another “this platform is dead” post from a degenerate.

I blame Gary Vee

Now, I love Gary Vee and would have his children if he asked me to.

But a few years ago he gave some bad advice, and all the current writing gurus we have copy and pasted it like the sheep that they are. They added the whole “gotta have a niche” crap, too. (Story for another day.)

Gary famously said you could make one piece of content and reuse it 54 times. He was trying to illustrate a point that it’s possible, and now the advice has got out of control.

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Write one article
  • Chop it up into a tweet thread
  • Make single tweets out of the best sentences
  • Make the article a script for a Youtube video
  • Turn the article into a newsletter
  • Post the article on LinkedIn
  • Post the article on your personal website
  • Chop up the Youtube video into Youtube shorts and TikToks

I call it the pray and spray method.

Writers treat publishing like the lottery and think if they blast their crap everywhere then they’ll get lucky and Penguin Random House will give them a 7-figure book advance that later gets turned into a Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.

It drives me bat sh*t crazy. They do this blindly and just “hope.”

Repurposing content is lazy. And last time I checked being lazy doesn’t make you successful or wealthy.

Writers do it because they think they can get quick wins. They fall for the overnight success lie made popular by Hollywood. They want shortcuts cheat codes, and hacks. Yuck.

***Spews everywhere***

The theory goes, the more places your content appears the more it gets seen. This is completely wrong.

Being everywhere means you make this crucial mistake

I run a writing academy.

As part of my offering I do social media audits for writers. What I see time and time again is writers who are on every platform.

They’ve got Youtube, TikTok, LinkedIn, the birdy app, Instaglam … but their presence on each platform is lukewarm.

They don’t understand the one-percenters of each platform.

They let the deceptively simple user interfaces of each of these popular apps fool them and rob them blind.

Writing on social media is supposed to look simple so you’ll do it, get paid $0, get useless likes and followers, and let tech giants run ads against the content you give them for free.

Once you go deeper on each writing platform you start to see trends. You notice little things, like if you’re going to post on LinkedIn you need to ensure you use LinkedIn language to engage readers.

  • All that means is instead of sharing life lessons you share career lessons.
  • Instead of getting married, you took a day off work to get married.
  • Instead of going on holiday, you took a break from work to travel Europe.

The positioning changes. I call it reading the room.

If you walk into a massive room of cattle farmers and start yapping about lines of software code in an app, they’ll probably tell you to get the hell out of their room and take your MacBook with you.

So when you blindly repurpose content on all these platforms, you’re not reading the room.

This is the solution and it doesn’t mean making more content

“Be like Timbo. Publish 40,000 words a day or never be successful.”

That might be where you think I was heading. I’m not so don’t worry. The solution to the repurposing content problem is to adapt and edit your existing content. You don’t adapt every piece of content for every platform.

But you adapt certain pieces for certain platforms where it makes sense.

And most of the time it’s fine not to repurpose content. The strategy that works better than becoming one of the copy and paste sheep is to master ONE platform. Then maybe a second one … but that’s it.

Being everywhere is overrated.

You build a decent-sized audience by going deep on a platform. By understanding what type of people are on that platform. And by thinking a lot about how they engage and what problems they need help with.

When you do this a-ha moments start to slap you in the face.

Like recently, I learned that controversial posts on LinkedIn don’t do so well because everyone’s watching you — bosses, customers, suppliers, colleagues. There’s far too much at stake to engage with Timmy boy’s post that says “9–5 jobs are a scam.”

It’s the same reason you don’t use the f-word on LinkedIn. It turns professional career-orientated people off.

If Mark Manson originally published his article “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F**k” on LinkedIn, we’d never have heard of him and he’d still be broke living at his mommy’s house.

One more time for those up the back…

Read the room.

Closing Thought

Most writers misunderstand what it means to repurpose content.

So you’re best not to use this strategy until you’ve reached mastery on a couple of platforms.

Because no one wants to read non-contextualized content on a platform where it doesn’t belong, all so the writer can save some time and feel smart/productive.

The best writers in the world write in one place and understand their audience intimately before they ever venture to a new platform. And most will only ever focus on two platforms maximum.

One primary, one as an insurance policy.

And when they do reuse content they edit it first and freshen it up a little. Make contextual content and become a practitioner. Let the copy and paste sheep eat the leftover scraps.

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