Stealing Content: Is it Okay?

Why does the creation of fresh content pose such a challenge for so many business center and coworking space operators? Everyone wants creative, interesting blogs and inspiring websites and yet many struggle to create content that is fresh and eye grabbing.

There is a solution, according to HubSpot. Steal your content. Ethically, of course.

For the record, Hubspot makes it very clear that it is never, ever okay to plagiarize the work of another author. That said, there is a difference between building upon another’s ideas and concepts and brazenly plagiarizing sentences and paragraphs and calling them your own.

Here are a few ideas (Hubspot’s and a couple of our own) for using the work of others to fuel your own unique content:

  1. What are your competitors writing about? Hubspot recommends you take a look at their content and improve upon it. Ask yourself: how can we make this more interesting? Can we put our own spin on it? What does it leave out? Can we fill in the gaps?
  2. What styles and formats are others using? (infographics, blogs, tips) No one has a copyright on a format or style of presenting information. See something you like? Take it and drop in your own content.
  3. What studies have been quoted? There are lots of studies, reports and gathered statistics available on the internet. Give credit to the source and use the data. It helps build your own story.
  4. What do the experts say? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the wisdom of experts to provide the framework for your content. Many will provide lists and tips. Use them as your foundation. Then add your own insight. It will help bolster your credibility.

While you’re at it, you will want to give some thought to your headlines. Whether it’s your newsletter, blog post or other media about your center, only 2 of 10 folks will get beyond your headline, according to a study by Copyblogger.  Worse yet, most won’t even read your entire headline, focusing instead, according to KISSmetrics, on the first and last 3 words.

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Wow. And to think of all that time wasted around the water cooler tossing ideas around.

The bottom line on content is that nothing is really new anymore. Get used to it. Most content has roots in someone else’s work. And if anyone disagrees with you, you can always share this quote from someone who knows a thing or two about writing.

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations.”
–Mark Twain

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