How to Not Accidentally Publish Copycat Content
The most common cause of plagiarism or copyright infringement is when a website owner intentionally takes content published on an existing site and then rewrites or “spins” it around to pass a plagiarism tool. This is still stealing and obviously a bad idea.
Yet the most unfortunate cases are not entirely intentional… just reckless. Here’s how you can avoid ending up in a legal mess:
Understand that you get what you pay for.
The less you pay for a content writer, the less likely you are to receive truly original content. Yes, the industry is saturated with cheap overseas “writers” willing to work for slave wages. If what you spend per page is comparable to what you spend for a gallon of gas, be warned. The amount of work that goes into publishing original content (that sets your brand apart rather than blending in or duplicating a competitor) is worth investing in.
Understand that just because something works for somebody else, it doesn’t mean that same thing will work for you.
Originality can’t be faked. In fact, that’s usually why something works for a competitor… the concepts you admire were unique to that brand. It is one thing to adopt certain strategies but the more that you copy, the less value it has. Instead, try to provide the ideas that are truly unique and original to you. That’s what your brand should be all about.
Understand that passing a plagiarism tool does not mean you aren’t stealing.
Even with the words twisted all around, it is apparent when content is stolen. You might even find the telltale signs yourself, which include (but are not limited to):
- Ridiculously lengthy alternate versions of a common phrase. (Example: “…a woman who is 43 years of age…” instead of just “… a 43 year old woman…”.
- Excessive use of fluff, fillers, and jargon
- Information reads as though it’s written out of order, or (worse) the entire article reads as if there is a lack of substantial information
Understand the right way to benefit from a published page you really like:
Sometimes you read an article related to your industry and it just sticks with you. Instead of trying to rewrite it as your own, respond. Add your own response and always link back to the original source. With that being said, the best blogs to follow should be related to your industry but non-competitors. Consider the websites that you don’t mind leading your audience to.