I’ve been learning about content marketing from Copyblogger since the days when its only writer was Brian Clark, and the phrase “content marketing” didn’t yet exist.
Yep, that was a long time ago.
At first I was seduced by Copyblogger. It lured me in with useful content marketing and copywriting advice, and all the lovely instruction that a young publisher needed to learn.
But now I know the truth … I actually hate Copyblogger.
And I’m going to tell you why …
Copyblogger stole all of my readers
Why does Copyblogger have something like 190,000 subscribers while I’m stuck at a measly 10 or 15 thousand?
It’s because all of the people who would have signed up to my mailing list already found Copyblogger! And let’s face it, what do I have to offer them that they’re not already getting here?
You see, at a time when blogging was taking off in a really big way, the Copyblogger team was creating content and information that solved so many damn problems that they cemented themselves as an ever-relevant authority.
And they just went from strength to strength.
Once you get that many readers it’s not hard to make your stuff go massively viral. Your existing readers help spread your work to new people and eventually you’ve “stolen” everyone’s future readers.
Have you seen how many “likes” this silly grammar graphic got?
Yeah, that says 32,000!
Copyblogger took my ideas before I had them
I’ve come up with some pretty cracking ideas for the blogging and digital publishing niches lately.
Oh wait … they’re already taken. UGH!
I remember when premium WordPress themes started to become a big thing. Before I even knew how to properly install one, these guys had created a WordPress theme marketplace.
Or how about when Google first announced that site speed was going to be an important factor for rankings? Yeah, Clark already had a note in his sidebar about his new, blazing-fast WordPress hosting service.
How about when bloggers wanted to move away from just selling ebooks to doing something a little bit more comprehensive? Yep — they launched easy-to-use membership site software that lets you build one without needing to spend a fortune hiring a coder.
And don’t get me started on responsive design for mobile devices …
Copyblogger can’t possibly be beaten
How can I possibly go viral when this site is on the scene?
Should I just wait it out?
Surely a time will come when they slip up — maybe they’ll somehow lose the respect and adoration of the entire mailing list. It happens … right?
Well, that’s not happening here.
This site continually produces high quality content, training courses, and products. And although it does keep up with the times, Copyblogger never seems to deviate from the fundamentals that made it famous in the first place.
It’s absolutely bloody infuriating.
Really, it seems pointless to even try.
Well, not really …
You know what?
There is always going to be someone better than you.
There is always going to be a website, blog, or business that was doing it before you.
Here are some facts:
- There are a crap-load of people online
You think just because some site is massive and powerful that you don’t have room to grow in the same market? That’s crazy. Not only are populations growing around the world, but more people are getting access to the internet every day. There are literally five people online in my house as I write this.
- People aren’t loyal to just one website
Sure, people who subscribe to Copyblogger might really love them and their content, but I bet a lot of them also subscribe to my site. Even if every single person in the world was subscribed to your competitor’s mailing list, you’re still going to get subscribers. You might even become the new powerhouse. Haven’t you seen Game of Thrones? Kingdoms rise and fall all the time.
- You don’t need to be first
Can you imagine if Subway decided not to go in business just because McDonald’s was already around? I guess they wouldn’t have grown to the point of having more stores than the big guys. Whoops.
- You don’t need to be original
I’ve never plagiarized an article in my entire life, but I highly doubt that any of them are 100% original. I’m not the Beatles. What I have done is absorb ideas from other websites, copied theories from offline businesses, and, as such, my blog is an awesome mixture of hybrid un-originalities. And it’s still successful.
- The big guys will teach you a lot
Yes, it sucks to always sort of be in someone’s shadow. But you know what? These people have a lot to teach us. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be working from home, starting WordPress blogs, and traveling the world if Brian Clark hadn’t built this site first. I owe him a lot.
The takeaway …
So the next time you get a little bit depressed about the fact that your blog is not the biggest or the best or the first … it would be good to remember these three simple things:
1. No need to be first. Be different.
2. No need to be the biggest. Be effective.
3. No need to hate your competitors. Make friends and learn from them.
Who knows … they might even let you write an article on their website.