Intro quote from The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism
All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. . . .
Around the time when Brian Clark launched the initial Teaching Sells report I made a post covering many similar ideas from my perspective. About a month ago I wrote a guest post for ProBlogger about overcoming fears in writing a blog, but Darren's vacation got moved and the post just got published today. A couple days ago Brian wrote a post about overcoming writing fears.
If a person was to only read Brian's blog then read my post it might appear that I copied his story. Or that maybe a couple stories were published because of the other. We both read each other's blogs regularly, and in some cases ideas feed off each other, but in the above example I think the delay on the posting to ProBlogger and the timing shows that beyond the ability to recycle ideas sometimes people are just thinking about the same things at the same time. And it makes sense that people in similar markets would do that.
Some of the best writers focus on their own problems, struggles, and issues associated with their learning, background, or history. Many of the best ideas stem from personal experience, customer questions, and/or other market feedback. Thus some great ideas are obvious to any marketer who is creative and has a few months of experience.
The day that my wife Giovanna wrote her first post here asking when will Wikipedia rank for everything Rand posted about the dark side of Wikipedia. A total coincidence, but if Gio would have put a bit of a negative slant on her article it might have seemed like one was derived from (or inspired by) the other.
There are only so many topics that are interesting enough to write about. Well maybe the sea of stories is endless, but within the confines of any market some ideas are recycled once a year while others enjoy a fresh view every few months. When I wrote linkbait is the new reciprocal links page I was quickly reminded that someone else used that exact same title in the past. The sad thing is that I know I have accidentally done the same thing before without knowing it until after the fact.
In every market worth being in there are so many people competing for attention that you are bound to accidentally recycle stuff. And if you have any reach people will recycle your stuff or create additional ideas inspired by your stuff. The sooner you share your best ideas the more likely you are to be attributed as source and the less likely you are to be viewed as a copycat.
The Blogger's Guide to SEO was an idea kicking in my head for six months before we finally did it. And the motivation to do it stemmed from a panel at the Blog World Expo with Andy Beal, Vanessa Fox, and Stephan Spencer. After I published it, Andy linked to it and said it was something he was thinking about doing. If he had done it first he would have got thousands of links and I would have been busy eating crow, or meowing - as a copy cat does. :)
Many people are thinking similarly to you right now. The longer you wait to release your idea to the wild the more likely it is that someone else already did something similar.
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