Last week, Nancy Myrland did a post on her blog, "Competition Watching? Who Cares?!" in which she reminded her readers that,
You can’t go through your professional life not showing your clients and potential clients what you know because it might tip off your competition.
Well said, Nancy!
Like Nancy, I often hear from lawyers that they are afraid to "put too much out there" on the internet about themselves and their practice for fear that other attorneys in their jurisdiction will copy them. They don't want to write articles, start a blog or otherwise demonstrate their expertise because they think another attorney is going to come along and steal their content.
But as Nancy so eloquently points out,
There is no way they can do exactly what you do, and do it how you do it.
In other words, you are the only you out there. No one else has your unique perspective, your background and your approach. No one else says things exactly the way you say them.
For the same reasons that I recommend that my clients don't blindly copy other lawyer or law firms' marketing, I recommend that you not worry too much about the competition trying to copy you. If you've done your homework in identifying and targeting your ideal clients, focusing on your unique strengths, differentiating yourself from others in the field and your marketing accurately reflects who you are, real duplication will be impossible.
Sure, your competition could steal some of your ideas or even steal some of your content, but that shouldn't stop you from demonstrating what you know. After all, it might be easy to cut and paste from a web page, but that only goes so far.
Don't forget that marketing and business development isn't all about promotion and pushing your marketing message out to the world; it's about interacting and building relationships, which isn't easy to "fake" or copy.
Instead of letting the fear that your competition "might" copy your marketing and business development efforts stop you from using the tools and platforms available to you, jump in and participate. Be your authentic self, participate consistently, target appropriately, provide value and show a genuine interest. If your message and your participation are an accurate reflection of you, and if you follow through as only you can, you won't need to worry about the competition.