I read a blog the other day and saw a blog post virtually identical to one of my own. Of course this has happened before. I’ve seen LinkedIn summaries virtually word for word the same as mine. The same with articles and even strategies I’ve created for clients.
So is copying a form of flattery or should we call the person out? And how can you protect yourself from people copying you?
Think of it as a compliment
You’ve heard it before: ‘You should consider it a compliment when someone copies you’. I get this sentiment, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. Sure you can get inspiration, but I think it’s pretty rude to blatantly copy someone else’s idea or work.
Be the real deal
We all have experiences, expertise and passion that we have developed over the years that makes us original. I don’t think anyone can copy the heart and soul of your personal or business brand. For me, I’m constantly innovating and re-strategising; growing and expanding my ideas; and trying new things. No one can copy that.
Focus your energy on you
When I saw that blog post, the first thing I wanted to do was put a “please explain” comment on it. But I held back as I knew it might lead to a potentially angry interaction. If they are a copycat, it will be pretty hard to appeal to their good nature! I’m not saying don’t call someone out, but pick your battles.
Do everything you can to protect your ideas and work. If you are having a conversation with anyone about an idea or sensitive business information have them sign a Non-disclosure Agreement.
Get trademarks and add copyright symbols to all of your work. If you are outsourcing any writing use Copyscape to check for online plagiarism before you publish (as you are responsible). Obtain permission to reproduce photographs and articles and clearly note the copyright owner.
There is so much content available to us now; millions of images, online articles, new interesting designs. That coupled with increased competition and the social media “comparison” game can lead to an easy environment to take other’s work and ideas.
Find muses and inspiration from other people’s work and businesses, but don’t steal from them. Be original, be your amazing self.