Why writers should avoid plagiarism at all costs.

Plagiarism: The Writer’s Kiss of Death

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In two earlier blog posts, I shared that my definition of a quality written product is one that: (a)is not generic, (b) is not half-baked, and (c) has no stolen content.

In this last post of the series, I tackle the third characteristic by explaining how and why you should check for plagiarism even for your own work. I also share my favorite sources for royalty-free images.

Checking for plagiarism is easier than most people realize

It takes very little effort and money to check for stolen content these days. A simple Google search returns dozens of free and paid tools to check for plagiarism, including:

Even though I write my articles from scratch, I still run my text through Grammarly’s Plagiarism Checker. I do this to guarantee that my articles are not flagged or rejected just because I happen to use a similar turn of phrase as another writer elsewhere.

Plagiarism gets you booted out of ArticleBunny

Stealing someone else’s work is not acceptable nor tolerated, and is the fastest way a writer gets booted out of ArticleBunny. Despite numerous warnings throughout the site, some parties still try to get away it. I don’t think you can blame me when I’m glad they get caught.

Plagiarism 1

Use royalty-free photos to avoid copyright issues

These days, it’s not unusual for a client to ask that the writer include a high quality, royalty-free or creative commons image that they can use as the ‘masthead’ of their article. Research by Jeff Bullas has shown that articles with images get 94 percent more total views than articles sans images, so we writers can expect this trend to continue.

I used to avoid projects that had the ‘royalty-free image’ requirement. After all, I’m a writer, not a photographer! These days, though, finding great images is a snap, thanks to a wonderful Medium post entitled Stock photos that don’t suck: A list of places to find the best free stock photos.

The blog post delivers just what the title promises: an exhaustive list of online photo sources. I’ve got the page bookmarked and suggest you do the same. The next time you need a high-quality image for a client, you know just where to go. Don’t forget to check the comments on that post; others have suggested useful sites as well. And while some sites say you can freely use the images without citing your source, I like to give credit where it’s due by adding a simple line of attribution.

Closing Thoughts

As a writer rendering a professional service, I owe it to my clients to deliver a high-quality written product. In other words, my articles must be tailored to the client, must be well-written and researched, and should not contain stolen material.

My litmus test is pretty simple: if I were to post the article online under my own name, would I be embarrassed if people I know were to read it? If the answer is yes, then the article isn’t ready and shouldn’t be submitted.

At the end of the day, nothing beats the thrill of getting a good review for my work. It’s incredibly motivating when a client recognizes and appreciates the effort I have put in, and there’s no better compliment than a client saying they would like to work with you again.

Plagiarism 2

I hope you’ve found this series of articles useful. If these tips have helped you, do let me know in the comments. I’d also love to learn your tactics, so I hope you’ll share what works for you! Thank you.

 

About the Writer

@mdy is a freelance consultant and writer who is passionate about business and technology. You can reach her on Twitter and read her latest thoughts on Medium. You can also hire her on ArticleBunny.

7 comments

  1. Plagiarism has been around a long time, and the Internet has made it easier than ever to copy and paste. But even with the rise of technology, people are still getting away with it. Yes, technology has helped bring awareness that it is indeed a very big problem, and make it more difficult for people to get away with it. But the bottom line is that people don’t know what they are doing wrong, they are lazy or don’t have the time to do their own work, which makes it necessary for institutions and publishers to have to “police” submitted work.

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