As a webmaster, you are expected to wear a lot of hats in your company. If you’re going to create and manage a website, you should possess a least basic knowledge of web design, marketing, social media, and advertising, just to name a few areas of expertise. Success for your website also comes down to the quality of your content. Your website can be visually appealing, offer impressive interactive features, and provide an easy-to-use interface, but if the quality stinks your visitors won’t spend much time.
Visual appeal hooks your customers in the first few seconds, but quality content engages their minds and keeps them on your site and brings them back for more later on. If copywriting, SEO, and creative content aren’t your specialty, you might consider outsourcing that task. There are a number of content-creation companies out there today that boast a stable full of qualified writers to help you generate strong content. My personal favorite is Constant-Content.com.
One big problem you could face is the legitimacy of that content. You can’t possibly know all the facts and figures in your industry, so how do you know if the content you paid for is accurate? More importantly, how do you know it hasn’t been copy-and-pasted from a competitor’s site? Copyright infringement can land your site in hot water, so how can you check to ensure your outsourced content doesn’t contain copyright infringement?
Read It Over
Even though we just said you can’t possible know everything about your industry, you almost certainly know the basics. When you receive a blog post, web copy, or a new article for your site, take the time to read through it before posting it on your page. Some content-creation groups use writers from overseas, and one immediate sign will be the use of unusual phrases, strange synonyms, and English words that aren’t commonly used.
Inconsistent style and concepts that are too advanced for your niche or particular purpose are early signs of copyright infringement and warrant further investigation. If nothing else, reading through the content you receive gives you a chance to evaluate its quality and determine if the web copy you just paid for is engaging.
If you aren’t already requesting sources from the writers you outsource content creation to, you need to start doing so. Some writers will provides sources and link to relevant data they’ve discovered during research in an effort to avoid copyright infringement and plagiarism, but if they don’t it’s up to you to ask for the sources.
With links for sources in your hands, it is easy to spot copyright infringement issues. It is a time consuming task to check the sources, but it is well worth the time you invest in doing so. Unfortunately, you cannot trust that every writer you work with is acting properly when researching and writing pieces for your page.
Use Free and Paid Detector Services
There are numerous free and paid services available online that allow you to check your content for copyright issues and potential plagiarism. Copyscape is the most popular service to use when judging the quality of the content you’ve just purchased and is one of my personal favorites. Certain content-creation companies actually use Copyscape to check content before making it available for purchase. The free version of Copyscape provides a list of possible copies of the content you purchased, but the list is capped at 10 results. The paid version provides more results, but each search costs you 5 cents. If you buy a lot of content, it could get expensive.
Paid services are a better idea if you are an established authority in your field. Copyright infringement is more than just a minor issue for a business with a big brand with a respected profile. Copyright issues could lead to embarrassment that damages your brand. Paid services test written content thoroughly and provide you better filtering capabilities. The result is fresh content that is 100% original and free of copyright infringement.
Test Writers Beforehand
If you want to avoid copyright infringement before it becomes a problem, you can build a better working relationship with your writers by testing them ahead of any assignments or contracts. Whether you hold a conference call, meet in person, or ask them to complete a test assignment, testing their knowledge of the industry and subject matter provides you with insight into their ability level.
Not only does it allow you to familiarize yourself with their writing style, you can use that familiarity later to compare your knowledge of their skill sets with the content they deliver. This should be used sparingly however. If you use this approach too often, you risk offending a good copywriter and loser them as an associate altogether.
When all else fails, turn to Google to help you discover any potential copyright infringement issues. If you don’t have time for the other options we’ve covered in this post, conducting a search on Google is easy and convenient. All you need to do is type in key phrases or statements from the content you’ve received and Google’s search engine will check its massive database for potential issues online.
Another benefit to using Google, aside from the fact that it’s free, is the fact that its results are updated in real time. Whether statements or data are new or old, Google is likely to help you identify potential copyright infringement issues.
Why Spend the Time?
Copyright infringement and ownership issues pose a sticky problem for all companies. With more businesses turning to freelance writers to provide them with quality content for business pages and professional blogs, copyright ownership and transfer issues have gotten more difficult to navigate. When you outsource content creation to freelance writers, you need to take the time to check the quality and legitimacy of the content you receive.
The last thing your business needs to deal with is a copyright battle with another writer or business because of content that was created by someone outside of your business. The extra time might seem like a pain, but it will save you from bigger problems in the future.