Every week or two I receive the following question: “Aren’t you worried about your competitors stealing your content?” If that isn’t the question, then it sounds like this: “How did you come to terms with publishing, knowing that your competitors would have access to your work?” This question gets to what is at the heart of so many failed content marketing strategies: fear.
Listen, if you are going to have a content marketing strategy, the greatest mistake you can make is withholding. Your content is not going to be interesting, compelling, or useful if you withhold your ideas, your insights, your experience, and your personality. .
Here is the math.
One of the reasons content marketing is such an effective strategy is that it allows you to be known. Developing and producing content provides you with an opportunity to be seen by your prospective clients or customers. It creates awareness.
But when you withhold and instead develop content you believe to be safe, it isn’t interesting or useful, and it isn’t likely to be seen or read. It’s almost certainly not going to be shared. When you withhold your best content, you waste the opportunity to be known.
It is better to be known than to be unknown. Obscurity isn’t a marketing strategy. Safe is dangerous.
Be A Value Creator
If you want new customers, it isn’t enough to be known. You have to be known for the value that you create. This is what differentiates and defines you in a marketplace with a glut of offerings that look like yours.
When you withhold, you deprive your prospective client of understanding how you create value. You derive them of the experience of what it might be like to work with you or buy what you sell. They can’t tell what you believe is important and why.
It is better to be known as someone with the chops to help than it is to be known without being known for your special something.
Everything Is Known
Well, not everything is known. But most anything that you believe is a unique and original idea that is too valuable to ever publish is known. Only the most arrogant or the delusional believe that they have the market cornered on creativity and new ideas.
Even though much is known, what isn’t known is your take on things. You have ideas. You have opinions. You believe that some things are more important than others. Share that.
You don’t need very many original ideas, but you do need to share your take on the big ideas, the big principles, and all the things you believe. Withholding what you believe makes your content uninteresting.
Your Competitors Have Their Own Ideas
Believe it or not, your competitors have their own ideas. Some of them believe their ideas are better and more powerful than yours. Some of our competitors believe you are flat-out wrong and would never dream of “borrowing” one of your ideas.
You don’t have to spend much time worrying about copycats stealing your content. Your concern is better saved for your competitors with chops of their own out garnering their own attention and establishing themselves.
Sometimes we fear on the wrong danger. We fear publishing because we worry about releasing our ideas into the wild where our competitors will have unfettered access. The greater fear should be in not publishing and eliminating any possibility of being known and being recognized as someone who creates value.