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No one wants a Copy Cat

Two identical-looking cats, cuddling side by side

Writing content is difficult. Whether it's a 300-page dissertation, a 4,000-word article, or a 600-word blog post, there's a lot of weight to the words used and the structured sentences.

In College/University, there's a significant emphasis on plagiarism to ensure students do not copy the words and ideas of others. It's such a severe offence that removal from the educational institute is often imminent.

There's also something to say about inadvertent copying, where the writer doesn't know they've plagiarized, versus intentionally copying an author's words and using them as your own. Either way duplicating the writing and thoughts of others is disingenuous and taboo.

Creating original content can be done in various ways.

  1. Conduct an interview

  2. Provide your perspective on current trends

  3. Keep an open mind

  4. Remain on topic and be sure it’s aligned with your target audience

  5. AI technology can help get you started

  6. Reference credible sources and give them a shout out

Many times the writing process starts with reading and doing research from other sources on the topic in which you’ll write. That’s perfectly fine! In fact, it can be beneficial to use trusted sources to back up your writing as a means of supporting your perspective. The key here is to ensure you’re giving credit where credit is due in a formal piece of writing that can include references, footnotes, or endnotes.

Man sitting at a desk with pen in one hand and other hand resting on the keyboard

Blog writing is more casual; people want it to be quick and easy to read. So when utilizing another author’s words, be sure to put the words in quotation marks and specifically mention the author’s name in the text. For extra good measure, you can provide a link to the referenced material.

Just as in academic and journalistic writing, blog writing needs to follow the rules and unwritten etiquette to ensure plagiarism is avoided. As blogging is seen as a more casual form of writing, it’s expected that the blogger infuses their own opinion and personality into the content. That doesn’t mean traditional writing practices should be ignored.

When writing blog content, always -

  • Provide the sources you’ve referenced, even if you are just paraphrasing

  • Stick to a deadline so that readers know they can count on you; consistent content is key

  • Be unique, commit to a style

  • Don’t forget to edit before posting

  • Own your mistakes if you make one; honesty and humbleness are so important

  • Know your audience

Woman sitting on the floor typing on her laptop with a pile of books on one side and her mug on the other side

Having a backup, someone to proofread your writing, is key before publishing your blog. In a business, be sure to have a plagiarism check process so that all content is scrubbed before going live. Having a coworker, family member, or friend look over your writing is helpful for editing, but for plagiarism, there are several helpful online tools that can be used.

Useful Plagiarism Checker Tools

There is a fee to use the advanced plagiarism check services, but it is money well spent to avoid anyone claiming you’ve stolen their content.

Writing provides us with the opportunity to filter our thoughts and share what we’ve learned and what we’re thinking. To copy and paste is easy; it’s also plagiarism, and pretending something is ours when it’s not is unauthentic. It’s hard to be unique, but being original and different are exactly the perspectives that people want to hear or, in the case of blogging, read.

When blogging, be sure that it’s your voice in your writing because no one really likes a copycat.

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