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Why Good Marketers Copy & Great Ones Steal

great marketers steal

Marketers are confused.

It’s one thing to bring in traffic, leads, and clients, but it’s quite another to determine which channels work the best while also juggling a multitude of different marketing tactics.

One marketer claims that email is the best. Another claims that social media is the best.

And still another claims that SEO wins.

What makes it even more confusing, though, is that each marketer is right. In their own regard.

For them, the tactic they claim as best really is best.

For others, though, it might not be.

But the conversation rarely gets that far. Instead, most marketers can’t seem to figure out which tactics are providing the most revenue.

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Take personalization as another example of how confused marketers are today. 72% of marketers understand the importance of it but don’t know how to do it.

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That’s a massive majority of marketers who want to implement a personalization strategy, but don’t know how to.

In the end, though, most confusion among marketers is in regards to trying to generate traffic and leads and proving the ROI of their marketing activities.

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And you know those are two things that marketers can’t afford to ignore.

If you’re not generating traffic and leads for your business, then you’re not doing a very good job of marketing.

And if you can’t prove which tactics are working and which ones are a waste of time and money, then you might end up investing more into the bad and ditching the good.

Of course, that’s not a win for your marketing strategy either.

What you need is a set of tried-and-proven tricks for your marketing strategy that is guaranteed to generate leads, revenue, and traffic.

But does such a thing really exist?

In fact, it does.

And those hacks are all over the Internet. In particular, they come from your successful competitors.

But, should you steal their strategies? Won’t you end up violating some sort of copyright law?

Maybe you should just copy them.

The vital difference between copying and stealing

What, exactly, is the difference between copying a successful marketing strategy and stealing that strategy?

Well, the difference lies mostly in the nuance of how you borrow their hack.

Do you take their lessons and create your own strategy?

Or do you mimic them perfectly, verging on plagiarism?

The former is copying, and the latter is stealing.

Plagiarism is, of course, something you need to keep in mind when stealing someone else’s marketing strategy.

You don’t want to get into legal trouble, and you don’t want your audience to see you as a shady, spammy website.

You do, though, want to use strategies that work.

And when a competitor stumbles across one of these worthwhile hacks, there’s no reason you should hesitate to follow suit.

Imagine, for instance, that you’re in competition with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Here’s one of his most popular posts on Instagram.

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OK, so you know that this video did really well for Gary Vaynerchuk.

And that means it can likely do good for you as well. That is, assuming that you’re in direct competition with him.

If you are, that means you have the same or a very similar audience and his content will attract your audience.

And you can use that to your advantage.

You can take the above video, for example, and jot down all of the key points within it.

Then make, edit, and publish your very own video that talks about the same thing.

You want to make sure you include subtitles in the video like he does.

And maybe even try to mimic the interview setting.

That is what stealing looks like.

Copying, on the other hand, would simply be a matter of taking his ideas and creating some type of content around those ideas.

It’s not nearly as direct, and for that reason, not nearly as effective.

You could do the same thing with this video of his:

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Or this video from Tai Lopez:

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Regardless of the piece or type of content, you can almost always create your own version of the same thing.

Don’t copy it word for word and don’t steal images without due credit.

But don’t be afraid to steal the genius of other marketers and use it for your own gain.

Simply steal what they did, make it your own (slightly), and give credit where credit is due.

If the content worked for them, it can work for you. In fact, here’s why you should always steal instead of copy.

Why you should steal instead of copy

Good marketers copy, but great marketers steal.

Let me explain.

Good marketers take a great idea and make it their own. They take a video from Gary Vaynerchuk, think through it, and then make their own that is similar.

Great marketers, though, piggyback on the successes of others. They even go so far as to repost amazing content while giving due credit.

They aren’t afraid to admit the genius of other marketers, and they definitely aren’t afraid to use that genius to their own advantage.

Great marketers will also copy remarkable content, but with far more exactness than a good marketer.

And that’s a necessary step in the right direction.

Never before has the marketing environment been as cluttered and confusing as it is today.

Just from 2015 to 2016, content marketing skyrocketed in effectiveness.

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That’s a lot of growth in just one year.

Unfortunately, that confusion gets even worse when you consider that consumers and B2B buyers are browsing the Internet with a variety of devices.

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And many people are using ad blockers on their web browsers.

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And ad blockers affect how your website functions, which means the above information should impact how your website is set up.

The point is, marketers are already confused, and consumers are making it worse.

Marketers are fighting a two-sided battle.

While they are trying to understand their own tactics, they are also trying to understand their audience, traffic, and leads.

After all, no marketer can afford to simply understand tactics that work.

You must understand the tactics and why they work on your audience.

Without that knowledge, you can’t replicate successful efforts and ditch unsuccessful efforts.

Fortunately, there’s a way to simplify all of this, enhance your peace of mind, and increase your effectiveness as a marketer.

It’s called stealing.

To be more specific, though, here are five ways that you can steal from your competitors to become a great marketer instead of just a good one.

1. Create a free resource to generate leads

Have you ever seen an online resource so amazing that you just had to have it?

The title was so compelling and problem-solving that you would sell your soul to get it?

Most of you probably have. Maybe it was an amazing resource about how to craft headlines, produce content, or optimize for search engines.

Whatever the case, the resource intrigued you. So you entered your email and downloaded it for free.

This, of course, isn’t unintentional on the part of the marketer.

Because, now, you’re on their email list and they have direct, unrestricted access to your inbox.

Obviously, that’s a win for the marketer.

And you can steal resource ideas from your competitors.

Take this resource from SmartBlogger as an example.

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Inside, the reader can find templates for writing amazing headlines.

It’s arguably one of the best resources on the Internet for crafting headlines that compel people to click, read, and sign up.

You could create a resource that is very similar to that.

Or, imagine that HubSpot is one of your top competitors.

You could go the resource section on their website and steal their ideas for a lead magnet. Then create one of your own, giving credit to them when it’s necessary.

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You might be wondering, though, exactly how you can go about finding your top competitors.

Fortunately, Google makes that easier than ever.

Simply go to Google and search for the topic you want to cover with your marketing efforts.

For example, I typed in “digital marketing tips.”

Then, simply browse through the results and find the businesses that are ranking for those keywords.

If digital marketing is your topic, then these are some of your competitors.

digital marketing tips Google Search 1

Whatever your niche, you can find the competition by doing the same thing.

And then, once you’ve found them, you can steal the resources they’ve created and mimic them while building your own.

That way, you know your resource is going to pull in leads.

Since it’s working for your competition, it’s going to work for you as well.

2. Enhance your email subject lines

It’s no secret that email is one of the top marketing strategies in today’s world.

For a long time, email has given marketers direct access to their audiences and high-converting traffic.

With direct access, however, comes remarkable responsibility.

You might have direct access to the people on your email list, but the reality is that if those people don’t click on your email and open it, that direct access isn’t actually benefiting your business.

And the best way to get people to open your email is by improving your subject lines.

Clearly, though, that’s easier said than done.

Unless, of course, you steal from your competitors.

I’m gonna let you in on a secret of mine. I always keep a swipe file in my Gmail account.

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What is a swipe file?

Well, I subscribe to a lot of marketing email lists, and when I see a subject line that I love, I save it within this file.

That way, when I can’t think of a great subject line for my marketing emails, I go here to get ideas.

I don’t always copy the subject lines verbatim, but, if nothing else, I’ll use it for inspiration.

This strategy is a must for any serious email marketers.

Here are some of the recent subject lines I’ve saved.

Great Subject Lines 1 mchlblankenship10 gmail com Gmail

If you’re a marketer, the worst thing you can do is try to keep your inbox clean.

Instead, subscribe to all of your competitors’ newsletters to get an idea for what they’re up to, what they’re emails looks like, and how they use their subject lines to increase their email open rate.

For instance, here’s a subject line I received from Sol Orwell recently that I love.

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And another amazing one from Jon Morrow.

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There are tons of examples of great subject lines just waiting to be stolen from your competition.

Don’t miss out on that opportunity.

Create a swipe file and use it as inspiration when you can’t think of your own original subject line.

Or, use it every time to ensure you attract clicks.

3. Craft better blog headlines

You’ve probably heard that the headline of your blog content is the most important part.

Not the words that come after or even the last sentence, but the headline.

After all, if no one clicks on your blog post because the headline grabs their interest, the rest of the content doesn’t matter anyway.

For that reason, you should always spend a little extra time on crafting your headline.

Or, if you don’t have the time, you can steal successful headlines from your competitors. Which is the strategy I recommend.

Of course, I recommend tweaking them slightly to make them your own so you’re not plagiarizing.

But still, if a headline is working for your competition, it will work for you as well.

And doing this is dead simple. Go to Buzzsumo.

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And type in either a topic or the URL of a specific competitor. Then click “Go!”

This is what you’ll see.

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That’s a list of the most-shared blog posts around the topic or under the URL which you typed in.

From there, simply take the titles and make them your own.

For example, “How to Do SEO for a ‘Tiny’ Website That Doesn’t Have Any Visitors or Money” might become “How to Do SEO on a Tiny Budget” or “How to Do SEO When You are Just Starting Out.”

You know the titles that come up in Buzzsumo attract attention, so mimic them as much as possible.

Or, if you want to jump straight to the punch, then consider some of these headline ideas for your own blog.

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In fact, this provides a great example of what I’m talking about.

I went and typed the first recommended headline into Google to see what comes up, assuming that some people have already started using this resource.

As it turns out, I was right.

The 7 Easiest Ways To Grow a Successful Blog Google Search

But, as you can see by the results I highlighted, while all of those headlines are very similar, each one is slightly different so as not to plagiarize from the others.

That’s how you want to do it.

Use tried-and-true headlines rather than untested ones and you’ll attract far more attention.

Fortunately, your competition has already done loads of testing for you, and you can access their results through Buzzsumo.

4. Get more social media shares

Few things drive traffic and leads like social media shares.

Think about it.

Each share that you generate shows your content to a potential audience of thousands of people.

Of course, the potential of a share depends on the number of friends that the person sharing has.

Still, though, each share counts and gets your content in front of at least a few hundred extra eyes.

By working to generate more shares, a single post can quickly reach tens or hundreds of thousands of people instead of just a few thousand people.

That, in turn, generates more followers for your social media account and leads for your business.

And there’s no better way to generate social shares than by copying what works for your competitors.

Take HubSpot as an example.

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If HubSpot is your competitor, then simply go to their social media accounts, view their content, and publish content that is similar.

Ideally, mimic content that works the best for them.

It would be easy to steal the above post from them and make your own from it.

Or you could do the same thing with Buffer’s content if they are your competitor.

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Or you could steal from Hootsuite.

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Again, if the content works for them, it will work for you since you have the same audience.

So don’t be afraid to use their content to your advantage.

You can do the same thing with Facebook Ads.

If you come across a competitor’s Facebook Ad that is doing remarkably well, create one of your own that is almost identical.

Here’s a Facebook Ad from The New York Times that you could steal if you were in competition with them.

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The more shares you get, the more leads you’ll generate.

And the more you steal from your successful competitors, the more shares and leads you’ll get as a result.


So yeah.

Marketers are confused.

The world that you and I find ourselves in is a difficult one. With loads of different metrics to measure, strategies to implement, and A/B tests to run, keeping up with it all can be quite the challenge.

Fortunately, stealing from your competition won’t only save you time, but it will also make you a better marketer.

How’s the old quote go?

“If I’ve seen farther, it’s because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants…”

Well, your successful competitors are the giants.

And it’s time you swallowed your ego and stood on their shoulders to see farther and become a more effective marketer.

To do that, you can steal free resources, subject lines, blog headlines, and social media content.

Then you’ll steal like never before and, in the process, generate more attention than ever before.

What kind of content do you steal from your competitors to increase your effectiveness?

The post Why Good Marketers Copy & Great Ones Steal appeared first on Neil Patel.

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