One of the things that keeps businesses from going “all in” with content marketing is the fear that their content will be stolen by competitors. There is a FANTASTIC video from Marcus Sheridan that explains some of the flaws with this type of thinking.
You can share your content and someone might steal it, but by putting great ideas on your website(s) establishes you as THE authority. The benefit of being the authority—being ranked number one on Google for a heavily searched keyword phrase relevant to your business—far outweighs the disadvantages of competitors creating variations of your content.
When we started Blue Corona, I specifically remember thinking, “I should write a tell-all case study about why call tracking is so important for pay per click advertising.” Today, it’s pretty well established that PPC advertising and call tracking go together like accounting and business, but back then virtually no one even knew it was possible.
I wanted to share the benefits and launch Blue Corona as an authority in the space, but I also remember thinking, “None of our competitors are doing this, and if I walk everyone through the benefits, they’ll all start doing it and one of our key differentiators will go right out the window.”
Not a month later, one of our competitors wrote the article I should have written on a large search engine site! Immediately, they were being referenced on thousands of blogs around the web. The takeaway—all your “secret sauce” is (eventually) going to be exposed. It’s better to be the one who exposes it—getting referenced again and again as the innovator of it—than to try to keep it hidden and start crying “me too” after a competitor comes out with it.
This logic doesn’t just apply to internet marketing companies. I run into home service businesses that will tell me they don’t want any “how to” articles on their blog. After all, why would they tell one of their prospective customers how to keep their air conditioner working when they want the prospect to hire them to fix it? The reason you should share helpful information is to:
- Get ranked on the first page of Google for keywords relevant to your business
- Be recognized as an authority and referenced by other sites (references or links equal higher search rankings and more referral web traffic)
- Get the attention of those prospects who have a problem you can solve and DON’T want to deal with it on their own
There are two types of people searching a keyword phrase like, “how to prevent my AC from breaking.”
There are those that like to play Mr. Fixit. These guys (and gals) will probably never hire you—ever. So don’t worry about them. If they can use your blog to solve their problem, great. They end up thinking of you as the expert. When they try to fix something and make matter worse, they’ll call you.
Then there are those prospects that feel a certain responsibility to research the problem they are having, but have NO intention of fixing it themselves. By providing valuable content, these people will find you FIRST. These are the people you’re trying to attract with your inbound marketing efforts.