Lately my husband is mildly obsessed with YouTube car review videos. (He’s watching one right now while I type).
I don’t really mind the videos, because he watches and listens to them on his phone with a headset while I play on my NES Classic. (Which I did a little bit this morning before typing this up).
I don’t really care much about cars. I’m in Rita Rudner’s camp: if you ask me what kind of car I drive, I’ll say “a white one.”
Still, every now and then I surrender the TV, or ask him what he’s laughing about, and I end up watching some of these videos.
Which isn’t really so bad because guess what? These YouTubers are pretty entertaining.
There’s a really critical lesson here about how to stand out with your content marketing but first I’m going to give you some examples.
The top 4 car reviewers (according to my husband)
In the one-man band camp, we have:
- Alex on Autos always includes his “Trunk Comfort Index” where he gets into the trunk and tells you how well he fits in there – or how well your mother-in-law might fit in there!
- The very personable Christopher Lawrence is Auto Academics and he does funny video inserts wherein he might tell you something is worth thinking about and then you see him on the treadmill with his thinking face saying “hmmm” as he contemplates a Subaru.
In the guys-with-crews camp, we have:
- Mat Watson of Carwow whose “flick test” has infiltrated my every car ride, and, he always includes a funny bit at the beginning like how the Skoda Superb is a clown car.
- Mark S. is Savage Geese and my film aficionado husband loves the professional videography with perfect lighting, and middle section where Mark takes the car to his mechanic friend Scott who puts the car on a lift.
Feminist aside: Where are the women YouTubers doing car reviews? I don’t know, but I kind of want to do a parody video where I get into my 2010 Honda CRV and tout its swank features like crumbs, gum wrappers, and Pokémon cards that I’ll conveniently blame on my stepson before I peel out of the driveway.
So these car YouTubers are funny. But are they educational?
My husband and I both enjoy these videos for how funny they are.
But my husband wouldn’t watch the videos if they weren’t educational. He’s dying to get a new car because he’s a guy who cares about cars and the one he’s got isn’t really up to his standards. He’s watching these videos to help him narrow down his car choice.
Here’s the thing: the car reviews are all pretty much the same.
- The reviewer gives an over of the car’s features
- He drives the car, describing his experience of the vehicle and how well it performs
- Then he summarizes his rating of the car and whether or not he’d recommend it
All of them are very thorough in describing the features, benefits, and drawbacks of each vehicle. Many of them make their living through sponsorships (Savage Geese does not, for the record).
They’re all working with the same material. There’s the potential for a lot of sameness. So why watch one over the other?
Maybe expertise and thoroughness aren't the place to make your point of differentiation. Maybe there's a better way to stand out with your content marketing.
What we can learn from YouTube car reviews about how to stand out with your content marketing
Expertise and car facts aren’t enough. To understand this, you have to understand the formula for YouTube success, which is pretty self-evident but I’m obviously trying to make a point here:
Car reviewers need views and subscribers in order to reap benefits from YouTube and car sponsorships.
To get those views and subscribers they need to stand out.
There are different points of differentiation where these reviewers could choose to compete:
- Types of cars
- Expertise, facts, thoroughness
- Videography and equipment
- Audio quality (yes really, think car cabin noise for example)
- Humor / personality
All 5 are important. But Kelley Blue Book and AutoGuide have numbers 1-4 covered. They’re also considered the authorities in their field.
For the independent car reviewer, it’s #5 where you can stand out with your content marketing.
If you want to take on the big guys, stop playing it safe and start competing where they can’t
Now let’s talk about you.
Who are the big guys in your industry? What’s their content marketing like?
A few months ago I wrote about how in 2017 content marketers would realize they needed to stop writing Content Marketing 101 articles and start writing at the 301 level. I used the example of looking up app reviews and realizing that Mashable’s reviews stunk but an unknown-to-me blog called Creative Bloq had just killed it.
Creative Bloq was much more thorough and included the blogger’s personal test drives of the different apps.
I also wrote about the two newsletters that make me drop everything to read them whenever they show up in my inbox. The tl;dr read version is: they offer me something I can’t get anywhere else, and they’re entertaining while educating.
Most industry leaders however are usually thorough, but dry and dull.
There’s no author name on their blog, just the name of the company.
The problem comes when the small and medium guys try to sound like the big guys. They think it sounds “more professional” to be faceless.
Except copycatting will not help you stand out. For once you can learn a lesson in what not to do from the big guys about how to stand out with your content marketing. I’d also like to see your proof that the faceless objectivity of a big firm is what drives their content marketing success. I’d be willing to wager that it’s the weight of their brand that drives those clicks.
So how do you turn your brand into a heavyweight? How can you stand out with your content marketing?
Take a page from those YouTubers and breathe some life into your content marketing. If you’re not sure how to get started, may I suggest you read our blog, listen to our podcast, or download our definitive free guide to developing brand personas for your business.
In the meantime I’m going to put on my face and prep for my parody car video.