You Need to Share Your Content (Even if People Try to Copy You)
I’ve been talking to a lot of creatives lately. Most of them—like me—are just taking that first leap into entrepreneurdom. Others are obsessively consuming webinars, ecourses, and blog posts to gather information for the moment when they are ready to shed the 9-to-5 norm. But a topic that has been coming up time and time again has been the fear of copycats. Some of these creatives (myself included) are afraid of having their own work stolen/copied, others are afraid of inadvertently coping someone they admire…or shrinking in fear because their grand business idea is already being done by someone else.
Bleh. I’m so over it.
Guess what? You are not original.
Your idea? Someone has already had it.
Your business? There are approximately 39485349875948735 people also doing it.
But does that mean you should avoid sharing your content all-together? Heck to the no!
And now I will use an example that includes hunky firemen.
It’s the night before Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving Eve, if you will). Alex and I are getting ready for dinner. It’s nothing fancy, we’ve got to save up stomach space for tomorrow’s big event, so we decided to go for some frozen things from Trader Joe’s—a stay-in-and-watch-a-movie sort of night.
We preheat the oven and stick the frozen food in before it’s completely preheated (because I’m impatient). And when we go to check on it a bit later, we notice the smoke.
Let me pause right here and describe this oven of ours. It came into being circa 1586. It’s one of those skinny oven/stoves that are completely annoying because none of your baking pans actually fit and it’s just constantly grimy because you’re in renter’s hell so who knows how many people have used this thing (gross…let’s not think about it). We’ve had issues with it in the past—something wrong with the heating element so we couldn’t actually set the temperature and it would just keep going up…
You get the picture. It’s gross and dysfunctional.
So back to the smoke.
There’s a tiny fire in the bottom of the over. No big deal, right? It’s probably just a piece of food that fell. We turned off the oven and closed the door, hoping it would get snuffed out.
Maybe it’s a grease fire? We stared the flame down through the slit of the cracked open oven door as if it would go out if it knew it was being watched. I can’t tell you how long we stared that thing down…this is when we started debating whether or not we needed to call 911 (“But I feel bad! Do you know how expensive it is to dispatch a firetruck??”).
But that bugger of a flame decided it was going to show off instead by emitting a few weird white sparks and dancing in a circle around the coil at the bottom of the oven—definitely not a normal fire.
We grabbed the fire extinguisher, but if you’ve ever used a fire extinguisher, you know why we hesitated to actually let ‘er rip.
“Let’s try baking soda first,” I said.
We threw half a box of baking soda over the flame, completely covering it. The fire should have been snuffed out.
But it was glowing red hot beneath the powder, and the glow was growing. We had angered it.
We didn’t know what to do. Our breaker box is not in our unit and for some reason I had it in my head that this was a gas stove (it’s not).
So I called 911 for the first time in my life.
And in the meantime as the flames got bigger, Alex tried the fire extinguisher which did nothing to extinguish the fire.
And then the hunky firemen showed up.
They were all stereotypically attractive. And I of course was shivering in the doorway in sweatpants, no bra, no makeup, gesturing toward our smoking oven like an idot and apologizing profusely because I’m a Minnesotan.
The hunky firemen pulled the stove away from the wall, unplugged it (because it’s electric, Caitlin you derp), and dragged it outside into the middle of the street until the flame went out.
“It’s the filament in the coil,” one of the hunky firemen said. “We’ll leave it out here until the fire goes out and the extinguisher powder settles, but don’t plug it back in until you get the part replaced.”
Cut to six days later when the maintenance guy who was very much not a hunky fireman (he was very nice, you guys. APPEARANCE ISN’T EVERYTHING!) came to the door to assess the issue.
I explained to him what had happened, and he knew immediately what the issue was.
Remember how this is a post about sharing content? Yup here’s where I make that connection.
The maintenance guy specialized in electrical work (I know that because he later told me so). He provided a service and that service is to figure out what the problem is and fix it.
All he had to do was arrive at my apartment, see that our devil stove had a messed up filament (which I probably didn’t even have to be there to explain to him), write down the stove serial number, and get the new part ordered.
Easy right? He provides a service that I cannot do. The end.
But I was skeptical. I didn’t want this to happen again, and at this point I kind of didn’t trust that he 100% knew what he was talking about.
So he explained it to me. He shared his gifts of knowledge—his content, if you will.
He made me trust him because he clearly explained to me what the problem was, in terms that I could understand, and why it had happened.
And then he took it a step further. He wanted me to understand what to do if this ever happened again (in a future apartment or home) and he even walked me down to show me where the breaker box was in our apartment and how to turn off electricity to the range (he even demonstrated it).
He told me that my oven would be fine if he just ordered a new part, but he additionally wrote on the work order that I requested a whole new oven because he knew I was still skeptical.
Do you get it yet?
Because this is what you do with your content, you guys!
Your followers, potential clients, random readers of the internets have no reason to trust you (and therefore hire you or take you as a credible source) unless you give them reason to.Your followers/clients/random readers of the internets have no reason to trust you unless you give them reason to. Click To Tweet
The maintenance guy knew what he had to do and could have been in and out of my apartment in less than five minutes to get the number for the part he needed, but instead he stayed for close to 20 minutes to explain to me everything I could have hoped to know AND show me what I needed to know.
He saw my hesitation. He anticipated my worry. He made me completely understand the situation and what steps needed to happen to fix it.
Am I going to turn around and try to fix someone else’s devil stove’s busted filament coil thing? Well, I am in the midst of a rebrand…
God no! I’m kidding!
I have the knowledge I need to understand the situation as it pertains to me. He could have shared MORE information. He could have taken me step-by-step how to replace the stupid coil myself and I still wouldn’t have done it, let alone turn around and do it for someone else.Knowing your clients is not something that can be copied. Click To Tweet
And if some other maintenance electrician guy came along and stole this guy’s content sharing secrets, it wouldn’t be the same. Knowing your clients is not something that can be copied. The second guy could have come into my apartment and still done a stellar job, but maybe he wouldn’t have noticed my hesitation in the same way. Or he could have had a completely different tenant—maybe some macho dude—who would have been insulted to have someone explain things in such detail even though he has no idea how it works either.
You can be good at the service you provide, but it’s about how you set yourself up as an expert and how you reassure your ideal clients with your content that makes you stand out.It’s how you set yourself up as an expert + reassure your ideal clients with your content that makes you stand out. Click To Tweet
And yes, electricians providing a technical service is a bit different from creative entrepreneurs providing a service like design or writing or coaching or yoga, but the part about completely understanding your clients’ concerns and needs and then communicating with them on a level that creates trust and understanding—that’s the same no matter what you do!
Are you sharing your gifts of knowledge in a way that addresses your target audiences needs? Are you pushing their pain points? Do you know what they’re looking for? That’s what good content strategy is all about (and if you can do that with an SEO twist, all the better!). Need help? Shoot me a message, and let’s start a conversation!