Meeting the ‘100% unique’ demand
When people post writing jobs online, they invariably include a requirement along the lines of ‘must be completely original and unique’.
This is an entirely reasonable request: nobody wants to pay for content for their newsletter or website and then find out that the same material is lurking elsewhere online.
On the other hand, articles are rarely written completely from the mind of the writer. There is usually research involved to find the important issues on a topic or to find ideas on how to structure your piece. The principle is that there’s nothing wrong with taking some existing ideas and information and writing them up in a different way to satisfy your client’s individual requirements.
As far as web content is concerned, search engines penalise sites that post up content copied from elsewhere by pushing them down the search rankings results and making them harder to find. It’s therefore essential that you are never tempted to copy and paste even one paragraph from other content.
Getting the right balance
- Do your research on the topic. Most writers these days undertake this task online and it’s a quick and easy way of gathering information. Check your information on several sites to make sure that what you are reading is accurate. If you need some statistics, make sure that you pull them from reliable websites such as government or industry sources. Also, don’t forget YouTube as a source of material. Many knowledgeable people post up educational videos that provide valuable data.
- If this is a new subject to you, make sure that you understand it and how it applies to your client’s requirements. This will help you to find the unique slant or approach that will make your article look different to others that you have read.
- Rewrite the information you’ve gathered, using your own style and client data. If you’re writing your own blog, add in your opinion to make it unique. Keep in mind the communications goal of the article you’re writing and that should help you to be original.
Checking your work with Copyscape
Copyscape is a free to use website that allows people to check if their content has been plagiarised. It provides the searcher with details of similar content that has been published online and is certainly useful in checking the quality of your research material. However, the free version is limited in the number of results that it produces, the number of scans you can request and is restricted to searching web pages.
Copyscape also offers a free comparison tool that allows you to compare two pieces of content, including text. That at least means that you can compare your article with a web page to ensure that it’s not too similar. The tool isn’t designed to pull up results for commonly used words but works by comparing blocks of words used.
It’s really the premium service that is of most use to writers as you can copy and paste your work into the search box and check if it is too similar to existing online content. Each search costs 5 cents and you have to buy a minimum block of 200 searches so your outlay is moderate. Sometimes you can unwittingly write text that is very similar to someone else’s content and a quick search will prevent you from falling foul of plagiarism issues.
Many clients use Copyscape Premium before accepting and paying for work that has been submitted to them so it’s really important that you are confident that you have produced quality original content.
A quick tip
Inspiration can be hard to find, especially if you are regularly blogging or writing content for one client. To stay original, look outside of your usual information sources and bring some of your personality into your work. Using your individuality will bring out the unique qualities in your writing.
Now you have discovered how to write original content, move on to the next section where you will learn how to use “keywords” in your articles. They are less important than once was BUT you need to know how to do it, especially after the ongoing google changes: The Importance of Keywords
Author: Marc Walton