Competition is healthy. It drives up the quality of work we produce.
If you’re writing a blog, you’re competing with millions of other bloggers out there (with thousands more starting each day). You’re also competing with Time.com, Facebook, Twitter and every news outlets for attention.
If you’re a musician, you’re competing with the thousands of established labels and musicians already entrenched on your audience’s iPhones and Spotify playlists. You’re also competing with the thousands of indie artists and amateurs uploading their songs through GarageBand on their new Mac to share on YouTube.
If you make physical products, you not only have to compete with Target, Amazon, and other established brands that provide a one-stop shop for virtually anything your customer might want. You also have to compete with all of the new store owners powered by WooCommerce, Etsy, Shopify, and Square. Let’s go ahead and add in the entrepreneurs on Kickstarter as well.
The same concept applies for podcasters, painters, photographers, and any other creative out there on the planet.
In The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, he presents two simple facts applicable to creatives:
- The potential audience for your work is growing. Unbridled selection on the internet and powerful search tools means it’s possible for a consumer to find virtually anything they want online including your work. You can now build a diehard audience without the previous constraints of an existing distribution list, special connections, or physical proximity.
- Along with that potential new audience comes competition. While it has become easier and easier to reach your target audience, it has also become easier and easier to produce art as well.
This all boils down to a simple question: You’re always competing against someone for your audience’s attention. You have to identify your edge.
What dimensions of your craft can you compete on and have an unhealthy advantage?