Updated: Oct 11
According to Dictionary.com, plagiarism is “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author.”
In other words, if you take someone’s report, blog post, or infographic and pass it off as your own without making any changes, that is plagiarizing. Likewise, copying a few sentences or paragraphs from an article on the internet and pasting it into your own blog post or report is also plagiarism. Plagiarizing is a big no-no, even at middle and high school levels.
Some business people have the misunderstanding that “repurposing content” means taking someone else’s content and rewriting it or reconfiguring it so it matches their brand, but this is a gray area that needs careful consideration. The absolute best way to think of repurposing content is to think about only the content that YOU created and how you can use that content differently.
Not only is plagiarism wrong, but Google may hide your plagiarized content in search results, so follow these three tips for avoiding plagiarism claims:
1. Cite sources properly. Using a quote from a former president, favorite author, or cult classic movie is perfectly fine IF you give the proper citation. Generally, that means putting quotation marks around the exact words and adding the person’s name or movie’s title. If you’re writing an academic piece, then a formal bibliography is necessary with more information but this simple citation is fine for general internet writing.
2. Borrow topics or themes, not exact words. Esteemed author Mark Twain believed, “There’s no such thing as a new idea,” and others argue this point today. Whether you agree with this or not, you can certainly write content about why business owners need a business coach (for example) but you need to put your own spin and perspective on the topic. You are completely unique from the other entrepreneurs out there, which needs to come through in your content. You have a different voice, different experiences, different clients, and all these things will give you a multitude of ways to write about a broad topic that thousands have already written about, just not in your voice.
3. Focus on the content YOU have created already. Look at your blog posts, videos, webinars, etc., and plan your repurposing strategy with only these pieces in mind. Take bits and pieces from YOUR content and weave them together to create a new blog post, video, or webinar. Since YOU created this content, it’s alright to copy and paste YOUR words into a new format.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed…Take Action!
If you’ve been in business for a while, then you have a LOT of content that can be repurposed. In my article 3 Ways to Repurpose Multimedia Content and Win More Customers I give you options to create more original content for your business!
But if you’re intimidated by the idea of creating these different mediums, I can help you. Book a complimentary consultation, and let's talk about your needs! Book your appointment here!
Meet Tracey Lee Davis, the brains behind ZingPop Social Media, a company that helps small business owners become online marketing rockstars! As a social media expert and Certified Partner for Constant Contact, Tracey Lee coaches entrepreneurs on utilizing social media and provides comprehensive management for their email marketing campaigns. Tracey Lee is a popular speaker at associations and business groups, and she's been awarded some pretty cool titles, like one of the Silicon Valley Business Journal's 2022 Silicon Valley Woman of Influence, Alignable's Local Business Person of the Year for San Jose (2018-2023), and a Top 25 U.S. Business Mentor of 2021. Plus, she's a Certified Content Marketing Strategist and the Co-Owner and Vice President of the Women's Networking Alliance. And let's not forget, she has a serious love affair with cheese, popcorn, and comic book movies!