Will You Be Killed by the Kindness of Your Competitors?

Will You Be Killed by the Kindness of Your Competitors? image shutterstock 29359933shutterstock_29359933

“Killing with kindness” means to overwhelm or harm someone with over-the-top benevolence. If you’re depressed because your diet plan isn’t working and your mom responds by baking you a daily batch of cookies to cheer you up, she’s killing you with kindness.

Killing with kindness is also how content marketers vanquish their competitors in the marketplace.

One of the reasons many traditional marketers have opposed content marketing online is that they fear “giving away” valuable information to their competitors — or even sharing “too much” information with their customers and prospects.

That’s an outmoded way of thinking.

Sure, there are always trade secrets and confidential IP that need to be protected. But generally this represents only a tiny portion of the helpful information you have available to share with the world.

Generosity Can Be Lethal

Back in 2008, Shel Israel coined the term “lethal generosity” – the idea that companies that are more generous in sharing information are more credible and influential within their industry, and as such, can devastate their competition in the marketplace. As Shel put it then:

In short, the company whose representative posts the most tips, links, advice, case studies, best practices that followers find useful will always rise to the top, not just in influence but also in search results. The more outbound links you post, the more inbound links you are likely to receive.

In a post last year, Joe Pulizzi expanded on Shel’s idea, applying it specifically to content marketing:

Those companies that give away their industry insight and expertise on a consistent basis, and publish that information free and through multiple channels, can dominate their industry niche – including social media and communications in general.

What Shel and Joe call “lethal generosity,” we like to call the bikini principle: share the first 80 percent and the desire for the last 20 percent will skyrocket.

Marketers, you need to understand that in 2013, your biggest challenge isn’t protecting your secrets. It’s gaining visibility and engaging customers in a crowded information marketplace. Sharing generously is the best way to accomplish that.

So which is it? Would you rather conquer your industry niche with thought leadership and content sharing — or be killed by the kindness of your competitors?

Bikini Marketing works. Isn’t it time you tried it on for size?

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