As long as creative professions have existed, there have been plagiarists. As unscrupulous and unprincipled as they are talentless, these men and women have only one desire — to profit in some way from the hard work of others, while putting in very little work of their own. Maybe they seek financial gain, or recognition, or simply more traffic for their website.
Whatever their reason, they are thieves, and you need to do what you can to safeguard your own content against them. Given that it’s generally impossible to do this manually, we recommend the use of anti-plagiarism software like Copyscape or Grammarly Professional Edition. Here are just a few reasons why.
Keep Track of Unauthorized Mirrors of Your Work
Most plagiarism checkers have two core functions. First, they can manually trawl the web to see if copies of your work have surfaced elsewhere. Second, for a nominal subscription fee, they can automatically protect your content, notifying you the moment it surfaces elsewhere.
Once you’ve received this notification, you can then set out an attempt to get the stolen content removed. We’d recommend first contacting the webmaster if possible with a complete list of plagiarized content. If they ignore your request, the next step is to send a cease and desist order.
Finally, if that still doesn’t get the content taken down, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Takedown Request through Google.
Figure Out if a Content Writer Is Above Board
If you’re contracting your content creation out to a third-party, it’s generally assumed that what they return to you is original. After all, that’s what you’re paying them for, right? Unfortunately, as with the wider web, there are plenty of people in content marketing who, through some unique combination of incompetence and laziness, think they can get away with content theft.
And unfortunately, if you don’t catch them in the act, it’s you that suffers.
The good news is that content marketing agencies usually have an editorial staff that is responsible for safeguarding against this. If, however, you’re working with an independent contractor, you may want to occasionally double-check that all the work they’ve submitted to you is unique. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, after all.
Avoid Penalties for Duplicate Content
If you’re refreshing old content or rewriting it for a microsite, you need to ensure that it’s different enough from the original piece that Google doesn’t flag as a duplicate piece of content. Again, a plagiarism checker can help with this, allowing you to tweak and optimize rewrites until they are, for all intents and purposes, entirely unique from the original blog post. Granted, this process should include a few updates beyond simply spinning your materials, such as weaving in updated information or adding new insights.
In Marketing, Imitation Isn’t Always Flattering
Plagiarism is and always will be a consistent problem on the web. It isn’t something that will go away, nor is it something you can completely protect yourself against. However, through anti-plagiarism tools, you can at least have safeguards in place to mitigate the harm it does to your business and brand.