How to Make Your Content Marketing Impossible for Competitors to Copy

How to Make Your Content Marketing Impossible for Competitors to CopyThe more advancements in digital marketing we make and the more information on how to spy on competitors we share, the more those things are being adopted in various industries around the world.

That means you’re more likely to be the target of a spying competitor.

It’s all fun and games until they start using the same tactics to replicate the work you’ve been doing.

Sometimes, competitors will piggyback on your hard work to steal market share and customers.

When you’ve got a direct competitor shadowing your content marketing strategy, social engagement, and audience outreach, it’s enough to inspire vengeance and make you lose focus!

I speak from experience. This has happened to me several times.

It makes you question whether it’s something that should be promoted. Where’s the line between spying to replicate a competitor and just monitoring for awareness?

It’s enough to make you question the ethics of competitive intelligence.

What drives the competition to shadow you?

I’m reluctant to put any kind of blame on influencers and marketers, but we should share some of it.

As an industry, we’re constantly creating content, teaching business owners:

  • how to analyze the social activities of competitors
  • how to steal their social followers
  • when it’s okay to swipe content from competitors and copy them
  • how to steal backlinks from competitors
  • how to swipe rankings and spy on the competition

Of course, none of that would be an issue if there weren’t people who wanted those shortcuts and resources in the first place.

The main issue is the individual who is your competitor. They are in business for the same reasons you are—to make money. They want to gain market share; they want the audience’s attention; and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

The problem is that many of them don’t have the resources to do what you’re doing.

When you create 10x content or find something that’s worth curating to provide value to your audience, your competitor grabs that same resource and shares it.

Then, they take your blog topics and spin them, maybe adding just a little more value to try to make them better than yours.

Worried about your competition? Follow these 3 tips that will make your content marketing impossible for competitors to copy.

In my situation, many competitors have simply copied/pasted my articles onto their own blogs!

Why do people do this? It’s probably because they lack in one or more areas:

  • time
  • skill
  • resources
  • creativity

That’s likely one of the reasons why over 60% of marketers have trouble creating engaging content.

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Some of them are playing “follow the leader” rather than generating anything unique for their audiences.

They may not have the skill to understand who their audience really is or the creativity to come up with something original. Perhaps they feel that they don’t have the time to source their own materials, so they ride your coattails.

Here’s how you can shake them off and stop it from happening.

1. Produce the best content

Creating original content is not an easy task, especially packing in a lot of value. A long-form post can take hours to research and write. Some articles may even take days to produce. That’s a significant investment.

To prevent a competitor from spinning your hard work into a “new” piece by sprinkling in some extra value, make your content as comprehensive as possible.

This is the approach that helped Peep Laja build such a tremendous following when he first launched ConversionXL.

Rather than adding to the noise in the industry with shorter posts, he created comprehensive articles of great length around a specific industry gap, loaded with value for the reader.

Every data point, fact, and statement was backed by authoritative research and case studies. Peep’s posts were, and still are, exhaustive in nature.

If you take the same approach, you’ll make it virtually impossible for a competitor to spin your content into something with more value.

And because of the exhaustive nature of the content, they would need to commit considerable time to come up with a different angle—which is almost the same as researching and producing original content.

That’s something you know they’re not willing to do.

Competition aside, the biggest benefit is the value you’re providing to your audience. When you step up the quality of your content, your followers notice.

You will see not only stronger relationships develop with your brand but also a lot more shares and engagement around your content.

2. Don’t just curate. Cooperate

Finding great content to curate is like gold. It’s content you didn’t have to spend time producing, but your audience will still enjoy it and appreciate the information.

That’s why it’s all the more frustrating when your competitor keeps sharing the same things you post.

If you’ve got an influencer from whom you regularly curate content, make a connection with them.

Rather than simply sharing the content they produce, find some way to cooperate with them.

This could include:

  • Interviews
  • Guest posts on their site
  • Co-authoring great content
  • Working together on infographics or other visual content

If you co-produce something with them or guest-post, you can share that like curated content when it goes live. It’s branded to the influencer, so your audience will pay closer attention.

It looks like curated content but also carries your brand with it.

Do this on a regular basis with influencers and other businesses that share audience interests with you, and you’ll make it next to impossible for a competitor to swipe the content you’re “curating.”

That’s unless they want to share something that talks about your brand. If they’re not paying attention, that just might happen.

3. Diversify your content

If it becomes a recurring problem, remember that it’s relatively easy to take written content and spin it into something else.

The web is full of derivative content, with business owners and marketers echoing each other nonstop.

Diversification in your content can make it a lot harder for this to happen. Creating derivative content from a blog is easy, but it’s not as easy when things have a little more production value.

Put your greatest effort into creating other types of content that are far more difficult to swipe. That would include:

  • Branded explainer videos, how-tos, and tutorials to educate and entertain your fans
  • Shorter videos and branded images on Instagram
  • Detail-packed infographics
  • Comprehensive slide decks
  • Interactive content that boosts engagement

Any kind of content that requires more resources and skill to convert into a derivative will stop competitors in their tracks.

Likewise, by diversifying your content, you’ll be distributing it through different channels, which improves your overall reach and visibility with new audience segments.

Conclusion

If you’ve had enough with competitors gaining from your hard work, sweat just a little harder and create something that makes it impossible for them to capitalize on unless they work just as hard.

From that point forward, no measure of spying or chasing will earn them the market share you’ll be conquering as a result of your efforts.

Have you had a competitor attempt to follow your content strategy? How did you handle it?

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Comments

  1. I started my own company writesideup and this blog is informative to explore the content world.

  2. I like this post and the most important ones are creating great contents and diversify it. These will surely place you above the other competitors. Thanks.

  3. Hi Neil – Thanks for all the great ideas for generating new content. One approach we’ve found to be useful for our readers relates to talks by speakers, panels and experts. Summarizing the talks, or just focusing on one or two key points, makes for a great article. Do you have any suggestions for best way to craft these types of articles? Here’s a recent example we did from a speaker about Civic Innovation …
    http://sourcetech411.com/2017/01/applications-civic-innovation/
    Thanks …

  4. Michael Howard :

    Whoever copied and pasted your articles should be penalized, perhaps banished from the internet or at least given a time out.

    Do you think publicly shaming them would be appropriate? It seems like a good idea to warn people (including their current and potential clients) that they are dealing with someone who is dishonest.

    What about having your legal team (or a friend who is a lawyer) sending a cease and desist letter?

    Actually, I believe there are laws against what they are doing. It’s possible to determine how much traffic they generated and perhaps how much money they generated by stealing your stuff. You may be entitled to compensation. If you decide to go that route, you could even give the money you win (minus legal fees) to your favorite charity.

    Last but not least, I know you are the big success story but still, it’s not ok to copy from you. Consider this story about The Verve getting sued for using a tiny sample (which they actually paid for) of a Rolling Stones song and losing 100% of their songwriting royalties as a result. http://recycledbeatz.tumblr.com/post/4783151146/landmark-case-rolling-stones-v-the-verve

  5. Sandra Fotoidile :

    Very useful article, thank you very much for sharing it!

  6. Hi Neil, just wanted to point out that the ‘explosive SEO secrets’ box following your article isn’t optimised for mobiles. On my device is cut off and I can’t even scroll right to see the entire box or fill out my email id. You’re an expert in this field, so we don’t expect this from your website…;-)

  7. Dear Niel your email marketing stretegy it’s make me eager to click and check what is new in your blog for us

  8. Meenakshi Krishnan :

    Hi Neil, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article although this is getting repeated in various curated forms from all content marketing experts. The points on derivative contents were amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I’d also go for something like writing a pretty big article, but mentioning you brand name often and in diffrent ways. They might miss words or get discouraged. Linking to other articles on key points makes it almost impossible for them to replicate everthing. For example ‘of you have ready/our past article here on how yo xyz…’ and so on. Great article once again Neil.

  10. So true. Thanks for writing on this
    When someone copies my article then I take it as complement and work harder to make better content.

  11. Hi Neil,

    It is a useful strategy. I wanted to ask you something. As a marketer I have started feeling insecure because of rumors about the future of SEO and Google’s advanced updates. Is SEO no longer a good career? What do we need to feel empowered in 2017? What are some skills to learn this year to survive?

  12. Deon Christie :

    Great Article as always Neil, thanks for sharing. I couldn’t agree more with your baseline, Content Is the King of Online Success. In a word, it all comes down to Research which requires a lot of time sacrifice. Here are a few Content tactics of my own – http://easyinternetmoneyandjobs.com/the-3-things-google-want

  13. J. Ustpassing :

    Hmmmm.

    110% – the whole industry stinks of ‘see and copy’. Not just the ‘SEO’ side of things either, the advertising and promotion areas do to, as well as the content creation.
    There is very little originality – and what is original is seldom so for long.

    The problem is long standing – and one that many of us have contributed to.
    Unfortunately, it doesn’t help when certain ‘names’ suggest certain methods … copying has been kind of blatantly promoted for years 🙁
    (Hell, even some of the ‘names’ can be seen to at least topic-trend-track and jump on bandwagons if they weren’t the starters of it).

    Solutions?

    Technically, there aren’t any.
    You cannot (and will not) stop people copying your ideas/approaches/content/methods etc.
    Plagerism and Paraphrasing, Emulation and Simulation have been around for thousands of years. Computers and the Net jsut make it more accessible and easier for the masses to do.

    But you can make it more difficult. The more ‘costly’ it is for people to copy/emulate you, the less likely they are to do so.

    1) Personal Injection.
    Ensure that your content screams ‘you’. All your little quirks, your comments/views etc. All your lttle syntactic oddities and punctuation abuses. These mark the content as yours, and take time/effort to remove.
    This means that they have to a) know their language b) read your content c) rewrite your content their own way – that’s a fair amount of effort and failing to apply it will show them as blatant copiers

    2) Special Perspectives.
    You are, well, you. No one else is. You are the sum of your experiences – and that should be giving you special insights, putting you in a position that few others are in when viewing things.
    When you write/create content from your special perspective, it should show. The types of topic you cover may be common to your industry, but how you cover them should be less common.
    The things you point out, the way you relate them and how you solve them should all be that bit different to how others do.

    3) Go on the offensive.
    Depending on your nature, you could go on the offensive.
    You could do this with a bit of subtlety and openly thank X for their rewrites of recent posts.
    You could be sarcastic and publicly ask them when you get the royalty cheque/commission for their rendition of your content.
    You could be all-out tooth and claw and publicly brand them as content thieves.
    It all depends on you, your public standing, their public standing, the amount of ‘evidence’ you have covered/collected etc.
    Obviously, the strong you are, the better things should go – but do keep in mind that people can be fickle … and you’d better have a clean past yourself, lest you get called out too (how embarrassing would that be?)

    4) Give credit when/where it’s due.
    Okay – so you aren’t 100% original … be honest about it.
    Stop creating content like you were the first person to do so.
    Instead, reference the name and the page you were inspired by! There is No Harm in admitting you read other peoples content. Nor is there anything bad in pointing out it was a good piece.
    (Alternatively, nofollow the links if you are ripping apart someones garbage-post.)

    5) Take a different route.
    If we take the common numbers, 80% of the content out there covers the same 20% of topic ideas. That means 20% of the content covers a varied 80% … that’s lots of room to play with.
    That means a) less chance of you copying, b) any copying of you becomes more obvious, c) any attempts to cover the same topic will likely involve going into areas they are less knowledgeable and comfortable with.

    6) Get nasty.
    If you know there are certain people that are watching – see if you can spike things.
    If you pay attention, you may see them using a specific tool/bot/UA/IP etc. They may pickup within a small window of time. If this is the case, it may be worth generating two versions of your content, and then switching from the less-that-perfect to the awesome version … no reason they should copy from your best content 😀
    If you are skilled enough, and they are blatant enough, there are nastier things you can do…

    • Appreciate the long feedback and it is hard to be truly unique as with any art it has a founding in something else in your life or experience. Thanks for joining the conversation or at least starting one 🙂

  14. As usual, awesome info…you rock!

  15. i think there are lot of free tools still online available , from which others can somehow get the idea of your strategy ..

  16. wonderful article , you have shared your experience , it’s really helpful

  17. Marcio Santos :

    good stuff Neil.

  18. JOPESTKIL-KENYA :

    Neil, I have been following you closely and generally learning your strategies step by step and this have resulted in my website being ranked top ten in google search in our local territory. Thanks to your rich helpful tutorials…..

  19. Dhaval Parmar :

    Hi Neil – Thanks for all the great ideas for generating new content. One approach we’ve found to be useful for our readers relates to talks by speakers, panels and experts. Summarizing the talks, or just focusing on one or two key points, makes for a great article.

  20. nice post neil great ideas for new content to online marketing. http://www.mysmsmantra.in/

  21. Great article Neil.

  22. Cristina Sliva :

    I read out this blog. Thanks for sharing this informative blog. This blog is very useful for everyone. keep it on.

  23. Wow amazing i saw the article with execution models you had posted. It was such informative. Really its a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing and please keep update like this type of article because i want to learn more relevant to this topic.

    Hr Consultancy in Chennai

  24. I’ve been reading up on backlinking strategies because I’ve cofounded a blog, but we are brand new, and even though we produce a decent amount of (really good in my opinion) content, it’s been a tough road getting traffic to visit our website without paid advertising.

    Now, I feel like a total newb, but I had no idea that simply leaving a comment on a blog was enough for a back link. I thought you had to post an actual link to your content some how in order for blog commenting as a strategy for getting backlinks to work. I guess I’ve learned some things in the past 30 minutes of scrolling through your articles, so thanks for that 🙂

    • It is not the only tactic to use but something you can use if you do it well. I would try and network with influencers as that can really open the flood gates.

  25. Management Consulting Company :

    Nice post dear . I like your post thanks for sharing .

  26. shivani sharma :

    This is very informative for everyone. Thanks for sharing this blog. it will help me in blogging.

  27. Great post Neil! Thanks for the tips 🙂

    SmartBlogIncome.com

  28. I started using my brand logo so that my videos are not copied any further. This worked magic.

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