Most of us get upset when someone steals our words and passes them off as their own. Some folks get their panties (or undies – probably unwashed with holes in them) in a bunch if someone uses a picture they took, even if they get a link. If you don’t want your ideas or content to be stolen, the only preventative is to not publish it. In my opinion, once it’s on the web, it becomes less yours anyway. Even if it is yours, it’s not that important. However, I avoid using other people’s ideas as often as possible. Really, the only way to write originally is to write fiction, poetry, about your cat, your opinion—everything else comes from someone else; otherwise, you wouldn’t know about it in the first place.
Plagiarism is usually defined as stealing content word for word and passing it off as your own. But there is another type of plagiarism I call indirect plagiarism. This is where a site owner writes articles about things already written in thousands of other articles.
200 Super-Awesome-Killer Twitter Tips: If you write an article about Twitter Tips, it is already pre-plagiarized and thus 100% unoriginal (even with whipped cream & cherries).
50 Ultra Bad-Ass Blogging Tips: There is no such thing as an original blogging tip.
Where do you draw the line on writing things already written? I know one money blogger who has started like 40 other blogs and rehashed the same articles from his own and thousands of other sites—and people actually read it! Is it plagiarism when you write the same crap other people write? Sure you title the post something different or reword the same information a hundred different ways, but is it really reformulated thievery? Here are some articles I generally don’t read or write about:
- How to comment on blogs
- How to get tons of comments on blogs
- How to make money on line
- How to write better articles
- How to use keywords
- How to increase traffic
- How to gain Twitter followers
- How to use social networking
- How to improve your life with the Law of Attraction
My blogging tip is to not write blogging tips. It’s much like McDonald’s commercials: we get it, you are the fast food restaurant that makes hamburgers. My Twitter tip is to never write Twitter tips.
Now, having said all this, what can we do to make an article more original? Does it even matter? I’ve seen thousands of bloggers create successful blogs writing the same exact information already written on thousands of others. I consider myself much more of a writer than a blogger, so I tend to read the sites of writers, or deep thinker oriented blogs (they have no problem being highly original).
If I open a hamburger restaurant, am I just a copy-cat plagiarist burger peddler? What makes people eat at the most popular chains anyways? I’m sorry, but McDonald’s makes terrible food and people still pour in like flies. The same is true of the biggest most popular sites (mostly). Their articles are uninspired. I can write a better one myself and so can you. I can read a better one on 50,000 less popular sites. I can cook the best hamburger in my own kitchen. Some of the most original sites are silly comedy sites!
Here are my ideas on how to have a more original site:
- Add personality to every article
- Be less professional and more real
- Don’t automate anything (like email marketing): getting an email from a big site is like getting a Christmas card from an insurance salesman—it goes straight in the trash.
- Add your opinion to every post (no matter what it’s about)
- Take chances and write something different than your normal fare
- Become a better writer. This will do more than anything else and make your articles taste better than the flavorless industrial articles.
There’s nothing worse in my Internet travels than to read articles which are basically reworded copies of others. It may not be plagiarism per se, but it’s almost the same thing when you really think about it. It’s extremely unoriginal.
- What say you?
- What do you do to make your articles more original?
- When you come across 95% of all sites does it feel like déjà vu?
- My main goal in blogging is for people to read my fiction stories and interact with lots of cool people. What’s yours?