Stop Trying To Aim For Being First, That’s Taken

Trying to aim for being first when that position’s already taken is counter-productive.

It’s how you create something that’s your own, building on what’s gone on before and rearranging it to suit you and your audience, that makes you a good person or business to get to closer to. 

This article looks at why it’s time to let others do the work of being first so you can then tune into what’s right for you. 

You don’t need to be aiming for the number one place on Google, that went a long time ago. You don’t need to release a new marketing podcast, that’s already taken. You don’t need to start a Zoom networking event, that’s already taken. It’s more important to figure things out yourself and then deliver something better that steps away from what everyone else is doing.  

What we are talking about here is breaking things down and rearranging them on your terms. 

A recent article from animalz.co focused on the topic of second mover advantage. It highlights, “Many of today’s SEO powerhouses were simply the first to adopt content marketing. They were just early enough that mediocre content was relatively good. Early enough to build a moat of links, rankings, and brand recognition.” 

The article highlights that the ‘how to’ and ’round-up’ articles have now had their day. If you are spending time on this in the hope of being found, it just won’t work. A way to make a dent now is not necessarily allocating budgets to Adwords but to recognising a style that, ‘looks and sounds different from anything that’s come before it.’ 

Following on from this and adding my own take…if you can build people around that message too and get them to commit, you can address your audience directly (such as the weekly, You Are The Media email). 

You’ve just got to work that little bit harder – Google is not going to save you. I know I’m never going to come top in a generic Google search. And it’s too expensive and wasteful to even try. People find me through my content and being part of the You Are The Media community, not through search. 

What I want to highlight to you is that you don’t need to be first on a list, you need to figure out the lie of the landscape you’re in and how it works and become relevant for the audience you’re choosing to get closer to. 

Take what is already there and rearrange it. 

So, What Have I Done? 

A lot of my activity has been based on what has been done by others first, adjusted to fit in with my own take on it.  

I was late to the party of creating a networking event in my local area. I was a long way down anyone’s list of choices for this but, by rearranging the format and honing the focus, the You Are The Media Lunch Club became a means of having a main guest speaking on a topic that related to creating content or how a media channel worked, with the event built around providing a networking experience. 

For instance, in having to postpone the You Are The Media Conference this year (trust me 2021 is going to be a belter! I’ll keep you posted), the easiest thing would have been to lift what was off-line and do it online. It would have been easier to bank the money and deliver a day of talks online. However, we all now know that a day watching a screen is extremely draining and can be an awful experience.

I didn’t want to be one of the first to have an online conference, I’d rather figure things out properly before making any hasty decisions.  

The big lesson here: figure out what others are doing, so you don’t get it wrong. 

Originality is impossible, adding your own interpretation is not. That’s how you make magic.

via GIPHY

What Can You Do? 

Here is what to consider when you take your foot off the pedal and know that you don’t need to aspire to be the first person off the blocks: 


Acquaint yourself with what’s out there first, then bring your own fireworks.

If you step into a new space and think you are the pioneer, get to the back of the queue. For instance, if you want to start your own podcast, it doesn’t have to be a Q&A theme with one guest and you. You can create a show with segments and different guests. You can even have someone who has their own slot on every show (such as John Espirian on the You Are The Media Podcast). 

You don’t need to be ranking for industry keywords.

There are two sides here. One side is what everyone is accustomed to (traffic, clicks, reach), the other side focuses on becoming a recognised voice in the space you want to dominate. This means you direct the message to an audience that has already subscribed and will be fully prepared when they are willing to buy. Read this article on content leadership

Take everything that’s out there on board so that you can explain it in a more easily digestible way.

When someone has beaten you to it, you can observe and mull it over so that you can then articulate it better, highlighting what’s most valuable for your audience. By not being first, you have the opportunity of looking in as an outsider, something that you can use to your advantage. 

Don’t be envious of those before you, be the ‘other.’

Similar to chasing keyword rankings, looking to fit in with what’s around you, be heard and accepted, can be a unending uphill struggle. You Are The Media may initially look no different from other marketing initiatives but has chosen its focus carefully, zeroing in on an owned media approach and helping its audience become trusted in their marketplaces. Plus it has a very heavy community feel. I wouldn’t want to, nor did I look to compete with the likes of CMI (Content Marketing Institute) or CIM (Chartered Institute Of Marketing).  


Look at this approach as helping you all the better provide an enjoyable experience for your audience, the people who matter to you.

Rather than aspiring to be generic and treading well-worn industry paths, put everything into building vauable conversations with the people who are going to feel a part of what you do. This is how you enthuse others to spread the word about what you’re doing. 

Lets Round-Up 

Instead of playing by your industry rule book, play on your own terms: Help people learn from you and each other within the community you build, rather than focusing solely on the products or services you deliver. 

You don’t have to follow what others have done over the years, they have already put their mast in the sand and many have been active a long time before you even made your stand. They now provide ideas and waymarkers for your imagination, not a path that you should feel you have to follow behind. 

You don’t need to be the first or deliver something that no one else has thought of before. Save time by remodelling what has already been done and shape it in a way that is true to you and has meaning to others, where the connections you make resonate and fit the style you’ve worked so hard to develop.

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