Content Marketing Tips for Non-Publishers

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By Craig Fitzgerald

To those unfa­mil­iar with the nuances, nav­i­gat­ing the rules that sur­round con­tent mar­ket­ing, cre­ation, syn­di­ca­tion and cura­tion can be a full-time job.

Uti­liz­ing orig­i­nal con­tent is bet­ter than push­ing out free con­tent or lever­ag­ing con­tent from con­tent farms. The prob­lem is, many mar­keters don’t have the bud­get, skill set or per­son­nel to pro­duce a steady drum­beat of var­ied and engag­ing orig­i­nal con­tent. As such, the nat­ur­al incli­na­tion is to sim­ply pass along con­tent found in a web search.

But the legal impli­ca­tions of doing so can be cost­ly, espe­cial­ly in a land­scape where con­tent providers are look­ing to max­i­mize rev­enue from their con­tent.

Here are three con­tent mar­ket­ing tips to fol­low to cor­rect­ly use con­tent found on the web:

1. Live by the gold­en rule: “if you didn’t write it, you need writ­ten per­mis­sion to repub­lish it.”

The rules around copy­right are clear and unam­bigu­ous: If you didn’t write it, you don’t have the right to repub­lish it, in any form, with­out the writ­ten per­mis­sion of the per­son who did.  This applies to pho­tographs, video, arti­cles, and pod­casts. At one time, work was only pro­tect­ed if it includ­ed the copy­right sym­bol (©) but today, works are now con­sid­ered copy­right­ed regard­less of the symbol’s pres­ence.

How­ev­er, almost all cas­es of pla­gia­rism can be avoid­ed by cit­ing a source. Acknowl­edg­ing that cer­tain mate­r­i­al has been bor­rowed, and then pro­vid­ing the audi­ence with the infor­ma­tion nec­es­sary to find that source, is gen­er­al­ly con­sid­ered enough to pre­vent pla­gia­rism.

2. Uti­lize web resources to legal­ly source images to enhance con­tent.

While a quick search on Google images will pro­vide you with plen­ty of pic­tures that could enhance your con­tent, these images are not meant to be copied and shared. The page asso­ci­at­ed with the image details the copy­right hold­er. You need to find out where the image came from, get per­mis­sions to use it and then attribute it to the orig­i­nal cre­ator. Oth­er­wise, you risk gen­er­at­ing an unex­pect­ed expense.

3. Refrain from using the names of trade­marked events in busi­ness com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Con­tent mar­keters are always look­ing for ways to tie into time­ly events as a rel­e­vant way to con­nect with cus­tomers and prospects, but you will notice that the some events includ­ing “Super Bowl,” “Oscars,” “Final Four” and “Olympics” are nev­er referred to direct­ly, as the names are trade­marked.  Mar­keters need to refrain from the temp­ta­tion of using the name of trade­marked events in busi­ness com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The bot­tom line is that to tru­ly pro­tect your­self, you should have writ­ten per­mis­sion to use any con­tent not cre­at­ed by you in your web­site con­tent, com­mu­ni­ca­tions or social media. It’s a best prac­tice for avoid­ing cost­ly legal action in the future.

by Craig Fitzger­ald is edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor of , and can be reached via the .

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