Plagiarism and Repurposing Content: Things You Need To Know to Protect Your Business

“But she copied my idea!” exclaimed my client.

“Did you discuss the idea with her?” I ask

“No. We’ve never spoken. I wanted to write a post about Zebra Knitting* and now she’s published it. She’s stolen my idea.” (* = topic changed to protect the innocent)

“Okay” I reply “How are you going to raise the conversation with her that she’s stolen your idea? What evidence will you show her that the idea is yours, associated with you and is your intellectual property?”

“What do I need as evidence so I can write to her?”

“Have you any articles published on Zebra Knitting?”

“No”

“Any video content on Zebra Knitting?”

“No”

“Any webinar content on Zebra knitting? This would be good because you can see if she’s attended and you have an evidence trail”

“No. I don’t have anything. She’s got away with stealing my idea”

“What if we explore the idea of synchronicity and coincidence. What if we focus on bring our ideas to the surface faster than worrying about the ones that are stolen?”

Unfortunately, despite what you may have heard from late-night television commercials, there is no effective way to protect an idea with any form of intellectual property protection. Copyrights protect expression and creativity, not innovation.  Patents protect inventions. Neither copyrights or patents protect ideas.

Source: IP Watchdog – Can Ideas Be Patented

Copying, stealing and plagiarism

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of plagiarism is “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author.”

In other words, if you take someone’s report, blog post, or infographic and pass it off as your own without crediting your source, then you’re probably plagiarizing.  Copying a few sentences or paragraphs from a blog post on the internet and pasting it into your own blog post or report is also plagiarizing. Taking a blog post from someone else and turning it into a video is still Plagiarism if you don’t credit your sources in the content. Better still – get permission to do this rather than just taking it.

A good rule of thumb for deciding whether you should ethically do something is  to ask yourself “How would I feel if someone did this to me?”

Follow it up with “How would I feel if someone did this to me without my permission?”.

If you wouldn’t like it done it done to you, then the chances are your moral compass is guiding you correctly.

Plagiarizing is something you should avoid at all costs, from the workplace to schools to your own content creation activities. No matter the reason, it’s theft of someone’s intellectual property. And ignorance is no defense in the eyes of the law.

Some online entrepreneurs have the misunderstanding that “repurposing content” means taking someone else’s content and rewriting it or reconfiguring it so it matches their brand, with their own voice.  What you’ve done is theft of content or theft of an idea or concept. The absolute best way to think of repurposing content is to think about only the content that YOU created and how you can use that content in a different way.

Not only is plagiarism wrong but Google may hide your plagiarized content in search results, so follow these three tips for avoiding plagiarism claims:

  1. Cite sources properly. Using a quote from a favorite author, or cult classic movie is perfectly fine IF you give the proper citation. Generally, that means putting quotation marks around the exact words and adding the person’s name or movie’s title. Better still, link to the source so your readers can see your inspiration.  If you’re writing an academic piece, then a formal bibliography is necessary with more information but this simple citation is fine for general internet writing. The worst case of this I saw published by Hay House in a book for entrepreneurs. None of the quotes were attributed to the person that said them. If a big publishing house can get it wrong, you can see how easy it is to do.
  2. Borrow topics or themes, not words. Esteemed author Mark Twain believed, “There’s no such thing as a new idea,” and others argue this point today. Whether you agree with this or not, you can certainly write content about why Zebra knitting is the in thing (for example) but you need to put your own experience and perspective on the topic. You are completely unique from the other people out there and that needs to come through in your content. You have a different voice, different experiences, different clients, and all these things will give you a multitude of ways to write about a broad topic that thousands have already written about.
  3. Focus on the content YOU have created already. Look at your blog posts, videos, webinars, etc. and plan your repurposing strategy with only these pieces in mind. Take bits and pieces from YOUR content and weave it together to create a new blog post, video, or webinar. In this instance, since YOU created this content, it’s okay to copy and paste YOUR own words into a new format.

The Rights To Use A Piece of Content

A few months back I was talking music with a client. He had a piece ready for his podcast. It was him playing his Cello. His podcast was on Optimism and the benefits. The Cello piece was dark and melancholy. I said that I didn’t think the music fitted the topic. He replied with mock outrage “But it’s My Way by Frank Sinatra! I’ve played it slower”.

Now that’s a great song. Everyone knows it. But it belongs to someone else and you need a license to use the music on a podcast.

Not only was the tune setting the wrong mood, but my client could also be fined for stealing the music.

Here’s a Cello cover of My Way from Vesislava:

If you want to use other people’s content, particularly music, then you need to get a PPL PRS license. If you record a webinar and play a song at the beginning and the end to raise the energy of the room you need a license to do that. You’re broadcasting. Even if it’s an invitation-only broadcast. Play music at events? Either you or the venue needs a license.

Copyright theft isn’t just written words.

Unconscious Absorption

Unconscious absorption is something that so many people are unaware of when it comes to creating content. I demonstrated this in a live training a few weeks back.

I was taking a group of people through rapid product creation. I showed how I formed an outline from my research, and as I was sharing screens the source material displayed a testimonial from Kate Moss, the model.  I carried on creating the product, and I was editing and adding, and then we reached the part of the naming the ideal client this product is for… And without thinking I called her… Kate.

Coincidence? Nope. When you read and digest other people’s content – even if you skim it- you take some of it with you. In this example, it was the name that embedded in my brain and appeared in my work. It could have easily been ideas, content or the brand.

Did you notice earlier I mentioned the phrase “Moral Compass”. We’ve all got one right? You know what that means. but yesterday I attended a training from Core Sense around aligning your compass. It was unconscious absorption manifesting in a different way.

Repurposing your content is a fantastic way to grow your reach

Make sure that when you do repurpose your content that you don’t plagiarize.

Ensure you create your content legally, credit your sources and inspiration.

Check your moral compass.

And, check whether you need a license to use the content.

The last thing you want to lose your business to heavy fines because you didn’t know what you were doing.

Sarah

Business Builders: What’s Your Motivation?

I’m an accidental and somewhat reluctant entrepreneur. My motivations for achieving career status and business status aren’t different. They’re very much the same.  So what motivates you to build a business?

The answers lie in the things you said about your employment (past or present).

  • “I can’t wait to get away from this awful job.”
  • “I just want to be home with my kids.”
  • “This dead-end job is going nowhere.”
  • “I’m tired of working crazy hours and holidays.”
  • “I know I’m worth more than they’re paying me.”

These and many, many other yet similar thoughts go through the heads of every would-be business owner, and are often the driving force behind that final, “Enough! I’m starting up on my own.”

Whilst these thoughts are great for lighting a fire and encouraging you to make a scary jump to business ownership, they’re not so fabulous at motivating you to grow and improve. They won’t inspire you to increase your skills and raise your rates and be brave and authentic in your marketing. They won’t help you find the courage to hire a new coach or launch a brand new program.

To find the motivation to make your business thrive, you have to identify the real reasons behind what you do. This has been popularised by Simon Sinek’s Book “Start with Why”.

Sinek’s “Start With Why” suggests that when an organisation understand the reason why it exists then its leaders inspire their teams more effectively. With this in mind let’s look at the types of Why and how they motivate.

Passionate Whys

“Passion based” is a phrase that’s found a massive following in the past few years, and seems to be the holy grail of entrepreneurial adventures. And for business owners with a true passion for their field, it can be a strong motivator. Some business owners are passionate about a subject, spending all their waking hours learning about the topic. Some are passionate about a market, and would do anything to help their ideal client achieve his or her goals.

Whichever type of passion-based business owner you are, learning to harness that passion will help take your business to the next level.

Financial Whys

Maybe you want to retire at 40 to travel the world, or send your kids to an elite private school. Maybe you love fast cars, and dream of driving a brand new Ferrari. Whatever your big dream, you knew you’d never make it while putting in time at the day job. While everyone seems to go on and on about those passion-based dreams, the truth is there’s nothing wrong with wanting financial fulfillment. Money is a necessary tool. We need it, and the more we have, the easier life is. And wanting more of it is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you maintain your integrity and authenticity in pursuit of it.

Philanthropic Whys

Plenty of online business owners go into business so they can have more to give. You’ve no doubt heard of—or maybe even know—marketers who use their earnings to fund mission trips, build schools in war-torn, third world countries, and support a variety of charities at home and abroad. Others use the time freedom they’ve built into their business to volunteer with local hospitals, animal shelters and children’s organizations.

If you have a heart for a cause, a philanthropic why might be the driving force that takes your business to the next level.

What most people don’t realise is that any one of these three main “whys” can activate at any time. You may be financially motivated and that leads to philanthropic motivation. This, in turn, can ignite a passion motivation.  As you’re a smart, ethical entrepreneur and business builder the question is how can use these “whys” to reach the top of your game?

To find your own motivation, consider your biggest dreams.

  • If money were no object, what would you be doing?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
  • If you didn’t have to train what would you do?
  • If you want to change the world, how would you do it?

Answering the above 4 questions in your journal will give you the some of the answers you’re looking for.  Start with the “Money is no object” question and see where it takes you.

Please note, sometimes this can be a difficult question to journal because all you can see are obstacles. Visualise a day in the life of your dream.

  • Describe what it looks like
  • What does it feel like?
  • How are the people around you?
  • How do you feel achieving your dreams?

If you journal through your hopes and dreams you’ll start to see a pattern. You’ll start to see your true motivations emerge and you’ll be happier for it.

What’s my motivation? I love sharing knowledge because the application of knowledge powers our dreams

Sarah

Need More Time in the Day? Cost-Effective Cloning is Here!

I know as entrepreneurs we all joke about that elusive 25th hour of the day, but what if there was a tool that could get us several hours? Would you be interested?

Most entrepreneurs I know wish they had more time in their day to tackle their never-ending to-do list. Now there’s a way to work more productively while also putting your Facebook marketing activities on almost auto-pilot. You just need a Facebook Messenger Chatbot.

You may have already experienced this cool technology yourself as a consumer. Internet marketers use this technique to deliver their training materials but bigger companies, like Domino’s Pizza, and Whole Foods, also use Facebook Messenger chatbots to assist with placing and tracking orders, answering customer service questions, and providing recipes, all in an effort to make their customers’ lives easier.

So if you want to “clone” yourself so you can handle more tasks during your day, using a Facebook Messenger chatbot is an easy way to do that. Since chatbots can be programmed to do any tasks you want, you can program your bot for activities like:

  • Customer service.
  • If you need help closing sales, you can program your Facebook Messenger chatbot to lead your prospects down your funnel,
  • They can ask questions and make recommendations

So while your bots are at work doing those tasks on autopilot, you can focus on completing your money-making tasks, or just catching up on Season 8 of Suits.

Facebook Messenger Chatbots for the Personal Touch

Using Facebook Messenger chatbots can help automate your business but some customers are resistant to the latest technology and still prefer to speak to a live person. An important part of programming your Facebook Messenger chatbot is listing your contact phone number and your email for those who want a more personal response, or for those whose questions fall outside the realm of what your bot can answer. When those calls or emails come in, your virtual assistant should be able to handle them for you so you can still focus on the things you need to. .

Invest Your Time Upfront to Save Time Later On

Many different companies offer chatbot services and they make it very easy to program your Facebook Messenger chatbot without needing any complicated coding experience. But only you can decide what questions to ask and how your chatbot can best serve your customers, so you’ll need to spend time planning your sequences and predicting what your customers will need.

For instance, if you’re delivering your latest free report to your clients via chatbot, you will need a welcome message with a link to the free report (or training, whatever they agreed to receive). But don’t stop there! Programming a chatbot is much like planning an email sequence: if you are not consistent with your contact, your clients or prospects will stop using the bot and then your contact becomes much more limited.

So your next message may be a follow-up, asking if they read the report or asking if they have any questions. You can supply them with some standard questions to choose but now you need to create those responses to the programmed questions. You may feel a little like a mind-reader but the more intuitive you can make your Facebook Messenger chatbot, the better your clients will respond. Of course, if at any point in the messaging sequence you feel stuck or feel like there are too many possible answers to program, send a message encouraging them to call your number to speak to a representative.

Close Sales with Facebook Messenger Bots

If you like the idea of automating parts of your business with the latest technology, you’ll want to purchase my new Facebook Messenger Chatbot Planner. This planner goes more in-depth about the technology, how you can implement Facebook Messenger chatbots in your business, companies that provide chatbot services, and so much more. There’s plenty of room to take notes and to brainstorm ways to make this idea work for you. I even walk you through the process of creating a welcome message and give examples of funnels you can use for programming your chatbot. Plus, there are templates to help you create your messages. The Facebook Messenger Chatbot kit is a great starting point if you’re totally new to this technology.

Are you ready to get that hour back each day with this amazing, cost-effective cloning tool?

Yes, I am! 

Sarah

Business Builders: Chatbots or Email Marketing?

Facebook Messenger chatbots are becoming a popular way to connect prospects and delivering awesome customer service because:

  • It’s quick and automated, allowing you to focus on your marketing and client calls.
  • It’s a very cool form of Artificial Intelligence
  • It’s another avenue for connecting with your market

But it’s not a replacement of other tried and true marketing methods.

Take email marketing, for example. People complain all the time that their inboxes are inundated with emails and some do a bulk delete without even scanning a single message, just to open up some space for the important stuff. But according to recent research, 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based emails with promotional offers compared to direct mail, text, or social media. In the business-to-business market, email is the third most influential information source behind colleague recommendations and opinions of industry leaders.

In short, there is room for using both bots and email marketing. Consider it another gear in the marketing machine, meant to get your message out to your public. Relying on simply one marketing method will limit your reach whereas using multiple methods will expand your reach considerably.

Survey Your Target Audience

If you’re questioning whether to add a Facebook Messenger Chatbot to your business, a quick solution is to ask those in your target market how they prefer to be contacted. You may find a good mix between both email and chatbot replies or you may be surprised that one form is much more popular.

You may also find that those who are not connected to their phones 24/7 prefer email communication because they can check it at their leisure. Maybe those who conduct business with their phones prefer the bot because they can read your offers quickly and make a speedy decision. You truly won’t know the minds of your market until you ask them.

Effective Writing Tips for Wooing Your Audience

Whether you’re using email or chatbots, your audience will respond kindly to your authenticity. Show your true personality; write your messages as though you’re speaking to your best friend. Casual talk is perfectly acceptable. Focus on one primary topic per message to avoid confusion. Always include alternate ways to contact you because some people just prefer to speak to a live person when they have questions.

For chatbot messages, make them short and to the point, especially since people will most likely view these on their phones. Make the messages and responses sound human, just like you’re talking to a friend. Chatbots are meant to drive the conversation forward. For example, if your customer asks a simple question about a product, your Facebook Messenger Chatbot should ideally lead them toward the purchase while answering questions along the way.

The primary difference with email messages is the amount of details. Most consumers won’t want to read a novel in your email but if you’re making a limited time offer on a new product, they will want details before making a decision. Here you can give all the details in one communication as opposed to using a bot and going back and forth with the consumer.

Introducing a Facebook Messenger Chatbot to Your Business

In the end, both email and Facebook Messenger bots are beneficial marketing methods. They are meant to work together to reach different segments of your broad target market. If you want to implement a bot into your business, I have a comprehensive Facebook Messenger Chatbot kit just for you.  Each of the six steps highlights an important process, first setting you up for success and then advice for choosing a chatbot platform along with tips for writing your message sequence. Each step has its own exercise to help with brainstorming and planning. Before you know it, you’ll have a chatbot working to bring in more sales! Plus, there are even templates to inspire you.

Buy your Facebook Messenger Chatbot Kit here

Sarah