When is it OK to copy content?
Welcome to episode 260 which has been inspired by two separate incidents that occurred this week.
Firstly I had a session with a client who was really struggling to come up with ideas for content – I recommended she should start by using other peoples posts as inspiration to create similar posts.
Secondly, a friend found out that someone had been copying his content – word for word, A clear example of plagiarism.
This got me thinking about the differences between the two and where the line of acceptable practice sits.
More of that later…
Interesting Stuff I Saw This Week
- Introducing “A Brief History of LinkedIn Sales Navigator” Infographic
- Chinese agents are using LinkedIn to recruit foreign spies
- LinkedIn Page Content Strategy: What Marketers Need to Know
Can We Trust Post View Numbers?
My buddy Angus Grady showed me this re-share post he did this week. The engagement figures are really good for a Share although nothing spectacular for a regular post.
It works well as a Share because the post is actually about Angus and it’s also very honest and authentic.
This, however, is not what really shocked me. Shares can occasionally perform well, what really shocked me was the screenshot Angus sent me of the posts view count…..over 100,000 views!!
78 Likes and 21 comments is good and would normally expect to come from c5000 views. My engagement rates (Likes+ Comments) on Shieldapp.ai average about 2%. this post from Angus has an engagement rate of 0.09%!
This is a real mystery and has got me wondering if we can really trust our view stats. Comments and Likes can be proven but for views, we simply rely on the fact that LinkedIn are giving us a true figure…but are they? In this case, I suspect Angus is being given the wrong information…which is really troubling.
Actually this is more of an old feature that has been updated and improved.
‘Find Nearby’ on mobile can now be located in the bottom right corner of ‘My Network’
Then you can select to have ‘Find Nearby’ on all the time! I’ve had mine on for 3 days now and have seen no battery drain….I also haven’t ever found anyone!
This week I’m going to be flying to San Francisco so I’m hoping I will see some names appear!
When Is It OK To Copy Content?
I think most of us would automatically answer this question with “never”!
But is it as simple as that?
What constitutes copying?
Plagiarism (originally covered in episode 173) is, unfortunately, alive and well on LinkedIn as highlighted this week by John Espirian.
This is a very frustrating situation for content creators and I totally understand Johns annoyance. If you think it’s just individual upstarts who do this, think again! This post from GrowthHackers shows that even massive organisations like Hubspot do it!
If you’re worried that your content might be being plagiarised then you can use this tool to check although it doesn’t appear to work for LinkedIn content
But I do think there is a big difference between directly copying content and using other peoples content as inspiration for your own posts.
I have noticed that people often find it difficult to think of subjects that will resonate with their audience. One way you can help yourself is to engage with other content…find relevant topics and start commenting. Once you get into the swing of things you will find it easier to come up with inspiration for your own content.
That process however often results in a post which turns out to be very similar to the original post that inspired you….so is this plagiarism?
I don’t believe it is, provided you do it in the right way.
- Always Like and Comment on the original post first
- Always credit and @mention (tag) the original author. Make it clear that their post was your inspiration
- Take a slightly different angle to the original…..if you don’t have one, don’t do it!
- Add a link to the original post either in the comments or by using the edit method
You can find inspiration for content from many places, LinkedIn posts or Articles or even external articles using the above methods. You can even use tools such as Buzzsumo which can show you content that is trending elsewhere.
So long as you follow the above rules, you are operating in a credible and effective manner.
This shouldn’t last forever!
I believe that original (truly all your idea) content will always perform best so you should only expect to this for a few months, after that you will start to find it much easier to come up with your own, truly original ideas.
I have mixed feelings about this post. I think it’s a good example of a relevant subject for his target audience and it would be a good example of using inspiration from others….if he had followed the steps outlined above!
Instead, he is posting it without any reference to where he originally saw the post or the image…..Maybe he saw it elsewhere as clearly others have done. I’m prepared to give him the benefit of doubt on this occasion as I do think it’s a good post.
The comment thread makes really interesting reading and I do think it’s an important topic to discuss.
However, the original post (as far as I can tell) seems to be this one which doesn’t really engage very well.
Here’s an interesting question from Alan regarding being falsely accused of using automation.
Alan sent another message later to say that he had found a couple of dormant Chrome extensions that might be causing the issue. One of which was Dux-soup (autoviewing).
I would be surprised if LinkedIn can penalise you for merely having the extension, only using them is likely to cause you problems. It may be worth checking your active sessions to see if it throws up any unusual / suspicious logins.
This can be done by going to your settings > Account > were you’re signed in.
If you are concerned I would advise logging out of all sessions and then change your password.
That’s all for this week. There won’t be an episode next week as I’m away visiting San Francisco for a wedding!
Catch up again soon.