If you’ve felt the pesky sting of a person acting without integrity online, consider what they are doing to themselves
It is not uncommon for people building their thought leadership with online content to see some copycatting or piggybacking from ‘competitors’ from time to time. Certainly, this has happened to me more than once, and while frustrating, is in my opinion so detrimental to the personal brand of the one trying to get a free ride, that they may as well not have bothered at all!
To clarify what I mean by the terms above:
A copycat blatantly copies other people’s style or IP and claims it as their own. I have seen not one, but three examples of this happen to clients and friends in just the last couple of months. They are all willing to take legal action.
A piggybacker uses the audience, profile and creative ideas of their competitors to promote their own content. It is fine to join a conversation lead by a peer in your industry. It is not fine to slap your own promotion onto a post your competitor has written, just because they had a great idea and are getting lots of pick up on their content.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: An old concept that stands the test of time
If you act like a jerk at a BBQ, loudly taking over the conversation and making it all about you, trying to outdo everyone else – your friends might forgive you (a few times) and luckily, not too many people have overheard you.
But if you act like a jerk on social media, you can seriously damage your personal brand and break people’s trust… forever.
If you disrespect others, they will never respect you. Neither will the audience of thousands who gets to witness it online.
We are all working hard trying to build something. Yes, ideas are shared and built upon and re-interpreted – that’s a good thing. But if you are too scared or too lazy to do the work yourself, simply taking from others will only do you harm in the long run.
To those who have been guilty of what I describe, I urge you to have enough faith in your own brand and your own potential to do something original – it will be your best and most lasting work.
To those working hard to create something of quality, originality and authenticity – I say, keep up the great work, and don’t worry about those others who will prove to be a ‘flash in the pan’ and their own undoing.