Copycat

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Hi Kat, I hope your well. I really need some help and don’t know who else to ask that will give me a straight answer. I have huge respect for you, your morals and your attitude. I hope you’ll be able to find the time to reply.

I launched a wedding blog a few months ago. Without going into too much detail (and using up more of your time) a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money has been put into it. I’ve created a team of contributors as well as showcasing local wedding businesses. It was a huge risk but since it launched we’ve had a fantastic response and we’ve already been getting enquiries for advertising! I’m really excited about where it’s going.

But I have a problem and a question for you. As your blog continues to grow and it attracts more attention, did you ever have other bloggers start to follow your format? Maybe showing similar posts to you but a week or so later? If so, how did you react to this and what did you do?

Basically, soon after we launched another blog with the same focus as us launched too (coincidence). It didn’t bother me at first but as the weeks have past we’ve been noticing her format changing, and her posts are following a similar style to ours. It is beginning to annoy me and my team as we’ve all a spent a lot of time researching & writing these posts and it feels like this other blogger is coming along and just repeating everything that we do.

I’m trying really hard to give her the benefit of the doubt but I really don’t know what to do. I can’t stand being copied but I know it happens everywhere but I’m worried about the fall out if I put my foot down and get angry or ‘out’ her. We’ve put so much effort into creating something different and we hate the idea of someone else piggy backing off all our hard work even if it is purely a coincidence.

What would you do? 

the blogcademy la 2

Ugh, I feel you. This can be a tricky situation to navigate. Especially when you’re first starting a blog or a business, and are still finding your own feet, it can be really frustrating to feel like someone is emulating your every move. I totally know how you feel. Yes, I’ve been there… but I’ve also been on the other side of it and have been accused of copying someone else. And it feels awful. 

My first piece of advice to you would be resist the urge to slate this girl to everyone you know, and I honestly wouldn’t confront her either. I know it sounds counter-productive, I mean obviously you’re in the right and she’s in the wrong… or is she?

In my experience, the likelihood is that this girl is not copying you in a malicious way. She is probably still finding her feet and is completely unaware how similar her posts are to yours. I’m sure, in time, she will find her own path. Either that, or she genuinely has no unique ideas or anything of value to say herself, and soon enough she’ll falter and give up. You can never be the most successful in your niche if you’re basing all your ideas on what someone else is doing.

Also, just think for a minute about how you’d feel if someone called you out on copying them. It can be really hard to see this situation from the other person’s point of view, and whether she is doing so intentionally or not, believe me when I say being on the receiving end of accusations is utterly crushing.

the blogcademy la 1

After some tough real life lessons I’ve since made the decision to never (privately or publicly) call out someone who I felt was copying me. Unless of course it was something obviously infringing on my copyright like using the same business name or logo (yes, this has happened to me!) but in that situation it’s usually a quite straight forward, if unpleasant, thing to resolve with a polite but direct email. In fact the emulation of ‘ideas’ is really a much more muddy dilemma to resolve.

My advice to you would be to try to let it go but also to shift your thinking and be a little bit proud of yourself. I know everyone hates the cliché ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ but come on… you know there’s a lot of truth in that sentiment. If you were rubbish people wouldn’t want to copy you!  It means that you must be doing something right. Recognise that you’re onto a good thing and revel in the fact that someone is looking to you as the benchmark for success.

The other thing I’ve come to realise in my time as a wedding blogger, is that there will always be overlap. PR companies will usually pitch articles to a lot of bloggers at the same time, or there might be a lot of industry chat about a certain topic which will, in turn, make a lot of bloggers want to write about it. If you let it, feeling like you’re being copied can and will eat you up inside, stifle your creativity and make you start to resent the very thing that you wanted to do in the first place.

the blogcademy la 5

Having a successful blog is about having something different to say and a unique voice to say it in. So instead of stressing over how this other person is imitating that unique voice of yours, use this as motivation to keep raising the bar with what you do. There is nothing more motivating that feeling someone nipping at your heels. You are clearly a leader, not a follower, so do what you do best – lead the way, come up with new ideas, keep pushing yourself and your blog to the next level. Make sure you’re always trying to think of a different angle, or a new way to write about something. Instead of taking the easy route, flip your article idea on it’s head and take some time to develop your own unique style and voice.  Challenge yourself to always strive to be better, and be satisfied with the fact that while you’re working towards coming up with what’s next, they’ll still be looking to you and following in your footsteps.

I know it’s hard but try to let it go. If she irritates you, unfollow her on social media and don’t look at her blog. Too much time and energy will be wasted getting stressed out and wondering what she’s copied next. Learn from my mistakes. When I started my blog I spent waaay too much time worrying about the people I thought were copying my ideas. Obviously that time and energy would have been much better spent in developing my own voice and my own website.

It’s never a good thing to start work feeling grumpy and pissed off, so try to alter your thinking and be proud that you’ve created something so amazing that it’s worth copying. Some people will always be followers, but you my dear, will not.

Suppliers

34 comments

  1. Another way is to try to connect to her – offer to meet up and just chat since you are in the same business and it can be hard to find friends that understand. Once you meet, its alot easier to get a read on her – if she is really catty, it will come across and you will know where her motives are… but she may be a really nice person who genuinely looks up to you – in that case, do become friends and try to help her out (in a different direction than you are going) – its always good to have connections, and besides that, Ive learned, that once someone becomes your friend and peer, then they are less likely to want to copy you as they want to see you succeed in your own right.

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. Well said Kat! I love to feel the nipping at my heals, as an artist I fell that a copy cat is huge form of flattery and also a little kick in the butt to start showing more of my true self. Bravo!

  3. Beyond awesome article and the same thing happened to me recently. Instead of my work being copied by a stranger, it was a “friend”. I’ll be taking your advice.

  4. Kel

    Totally agree with Kat – don’t sweat the small stuff. If you are doing things right – seo, topical issues, social media etc then you will be on top for lots of different reasons other than posts. I think I would also block them from seeing my fb and twitter!

  5. I know the sensible thing is up rise above it, but when you see someone is capitalising on your hard work you feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach. This has happened to me and I have found the best thing to do us to put down my phone and scream into a cushion.

  6. It’s a strange one. Well done for broaching a difficult subject so well & I completely agree with your approach having used it myself. I make a habit of not looking at other people’s work, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. I was accused of copying in a really aggressive email & when I asked which designs (so that I could remove them if they were the same) she wouldn’t tell me. I was confused and then a couple of months later saw that this person had copied several of my designs as well as a famous designer’s work…it’s best to rise above it as it can drive you mad! GG xx

  7. Man, do I hear you both on this one. We’ve been copied wholesale by a number of people (mainly companies trying to get into the whole ‘blogging thing’) and it drives me crazy each time. But like Kat our policy is to rise above and our motto is “if someone is copying you, they’re one step behind” so stay true to your vision and your voice, which is the most important thing – the thing your readers will connect with – and keep on going. It’s far from easy to take the high road, but it leads to better things. x

  8. well said Kat! i love your positive outlook and countering something “negative” into something productive & something that will actually make you better. Im actually new to blogging myself and im glad i read this. Just got me inspired even more! Thanks Kat! This is article is brilliant. 🙂

  9. Hear hear! I understand how hard it is when you feel like your hard work is being copied, I’ve had it with my collar clips – Primark now sell them WITH a shirt for bugger all. But Kat, you’re right – you just gotta be different. More awesome. Yourself.

    I’ve learnt that people who want crappy clips stuck on a crappy shirt for a tenner, will go to Primark. People who want quality, vintage, handmade treasures, will *hopefully* come to me. That’s the idea anyhow.

    And if this girl is properly copying you, she’ll run out of steam eventually. Hell, we all know how much hard work goes into blogging and how many hours it takes. She’ll give up, or find her own voice.

    Thanks for highlighting this issue ladies and keep rocking it!

    Jen x

  10. This is a great article and this sort of thing is so prevalent not just in the wedding industry, but in many others. I think there is always going to be someone that does the same thing I do. But if I do it with passion, integrity, and keeping true to my vision, it doesn’t matter as much what the other person is doing. Those who are just faking it will eventually fade away.

  11. Hi, I’ve been thinking recently about this problem. I launched wedding blog last year an although it’s not super popular I’m really proud of it because it’s different from what we have in our polish wedding industry. Unfortunatelly, the biggest polish wedding blog is copying me all the time, cause they publish posts about almost the same things as I do. It’s really frustrating but I will take your advice and try even harder to gain some space for my blog 😉 I love the way you talk about blogging and it’s really helpful for me 🙂 Kisses from Poland!

  12. Thank you for answering this question publicly, Kat, so we could all benefit. I dealt (and am dealing) with this by saying to myself that any idea that’s good is worth stealing/reworking/borrowing and pretending that nothing is original anymore. Still sucks though!

  13. Hi Kat
    Your blog is awsome and you speak from the heart which I love. I am a novice wedding blogger and working hard to increase my followers as I have only been writing for a year now! I would feel flattered if someone wanted to copy me as then I would know I must be doing something right but also mortified if someone thought I was copying them.
    You hit the nail on the head and its a difficult call and it’s so nice to hear your opinions as you are so respected in the industry, thank you so much for bringing this topic to bloggers attention x

  14. Am I the copycat? Haha, just kidding! ;P But YES, I have experienced this before, a number of times. So I’m hyper-sensitive, almost paranoid about making sure not to do anything that might even sort of look like copying. Letting it go is a good idea, though… I know I’d feel terrible if I was accused of being a copycat!

  15. Oh gosh, I often worry about subconsiously copying someone with my blog but I’m not aiming to make any money out of it apart from sales of shoes. It’s sort of a ploy for SEO but I do wonder before I hit publish. I’m also very aware of my competition and have on a few occasions tried to emulate their style but that just doesn’t wash with art.
    A few years ago an artist copied my work for a CD cover. I was fuming when I heard about it as she didn’t didn’t even try to change up the style or colours or anything but I let it go without confronting. I took the high road and havent’ seen or heard of her work since.

  16. Hi Kat, thanks for sharing your advice on this issue – I thought it was really well thought out and articulated. I love the positive approach you’re advocating here, especially where you encourage a shift in thinking, as opposed to an all out confrontation.

  17. Rio

    WOW! Glad I found this, I was having the same issue! I don’t think any wedding blogger is inventing the wheel, but we have to put our own stamp on what we do. I have a blogger hot on my heels, but I am letting it all go, keeping my head down and simply focusing on my work. Like you said ‘take it as a compliment’…..

  18. You are truly an inspiration Kat, well said! And we commend you for your incorporation of your personality and the positive vibes you bring into the wedding scene!

  19. Thanks for such a helpful post! I’ve gone through the same thing, where I see that a blog goes on to literally copy my ideas. But sometimes, I have thought of an idea and another person on the internet has implemented it before I could implement mine! So yes, sometimes it’s just a coincidence. And of course I look at other blogs for inspiration as well – not for posts, but for how to get my site to look better. And then there are times when I read a post written by someone, and it sparks off an idea in my head, or I just write a post with my reaction to what they said! Anyway, I’ve also gone ahead and unfollowed blog(s) which annoy me or lead to me stressing out about who put what up first. You’re right – just focus on your own self, and developing your unique voice. And along the way, enjoy the flattery! 🙂

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