Digital Marketing

Plagiarism and Its Consequences for Content Marketing

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What is plagiarism? And why is it important in content marketing? Well, we are going to answer both of these questions in this article.

Plagiarism is the act of using another person’s work, without or without their permission, without crediting them. It also includes claiming that the work is yours.

So, in essence, plagiarism is theft, and fraud of intellectual content such as artwork, poetry, or prose.

There are many different types of plagiarism, and most of them are relevant to content marketing. So, what are the consequences of plagiarism for content marketing?

Well, there are numerous. Now, we will discuss both the types of plagiarism and the consequences of plagiarism for content marketing.

Types of Plagiarism

There are several types of plagiarism. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1. Verbatim Plagiarism

Verbatim plagiarism is when the perpetrator directly uses words from a different source in their own work.

This is the most straightforward kind of plagiarism, and it is mostly done by people who have no idea what plagiarism is.

2. Patchwork Plagiarism

This is the sort of plagiarism that is done by stealing small parts of different works and combining them together to make “new” work.
This is a nefarious sort of plagiarism as it tries to hide the fact that plagiarism was committed.

3. Paraphrased Plagiarism

Another type of nefarious plagiarism is one in which the perpetrator steals the idea of another person.

They do not copy the words directly, instead, they paraphrase them to make them look different.

4. Accidental plagiarism

A relatively innocent sort of plagiarism as it is unintended. It occurs due to some mistakes such as:

  • Incorrect citations
  • Missing citations
  • Coincidental matching with another person’s work

5. Self-plagiarism

Another innocent sort of plagiarism as it involves stealing your own work for which you have already taken credit.

This is not usually done intentionally and is usually a sign that a writer needs a break.

There are other types of plagiarism as well, but these are the types that are the most common. Now, let’s see how they impact content marketing.

Consequences of Plagiarism for Content Marketing

There are many different consequences of plagiarism for content marketing, let’s take a look at some of them.

1. Search Engine Penalties

Search engines are very intelligent. They aim to show the best results for a search query. To that end, they crawl websites and determine whether the content on the sites is good or not.

Search Engine Penalties

They can detect when some content is plagiarized or not. Now there are two things search engines can do to penalize the offending webpage/site.

The removal from the index means that the website cannot be found on that search engine.

Obviously, that means that your content marketing strategy will fail because content marketing is an inbound marketing tactic.

If the content is impossible to find, your prospective audience will not be able to find it or stumble upon it.

2. Reduces the Efficacy of Your Content Marketing

Plagiarism may be difficult to accurately detect by human beings, but it does not mean that it is not detectable at all.

People can realize when they are reading something they have already read before surprisingly easily.

Reduces the Efficacy of Your Content Marketing

So, you should never use any sort of plagiarized content for your content marketing. When people are looking to read something, they want something:

  • New
  • Unique
  • Valuable

Plagiarized content is anything but. So, after one or two times, your audience will start catching on and they will start avoiding you.

This means that you won’t be able to get a lot of traffic or conversions.

3. Worsens Your Brand’s Reputation

Utilizing copied content gives the worst impression to your audience. You already know that plagiarism is stealing, and fraud, and most people know that too.

When you indulge in plagiarism for your content marketing, it gives people the impression that your brand is fraudulent.

Nobody likes to deal with a business that is fraudulent. It is scary to do so. Most people do not like to waste their money at all. So, they will shy away from your brand and look for better alternatives.

And guess what? people rarely sing praises of things they like, but they will deliberately bad mouth things they disliked. So, your poor brand reputation will start spreading from the word of mouth.

For a business, its reputation is its lifeline. A poor reputation can start eating into your profits. In the worst-case scenario, it can cause your business to become bankrupt. But you can be sure that you will face some losses.

4. Can Scare Away Investors

A poor reputation is already enough to scare away investors as nobody wants to be associated with fraud and theft. But apart from that, there is another reason why plagiarism can scare away investors.

Can Scare Away Investors

Investors are primarily looking for new and unique business ideas that can help them turn a profit.

Now, when a business indulges in plagiarism, it indicates to the investors that there are no new ideas here.

They don’t want to spend money on things that are already being done and have little chance of success. So, investors will withdraw their investment and look for greener pastures.

5. Can Land You in Legal Trouble

Most of the content online is protected by copyright law. That means that by plagiarizing you are opening yourself up to legal repercussions. If the original owners of the content that was plagiarized find out, they can sue you.

Can Land You in Legal Trouble

It can result in a lawsuit one which the perpetrator is usually bound to lose. Legal battles usually end up with a massive monetary loss on the defendant’s side.

Not to mention the very expensive lawyer fees that you would have to shell out.

Of course, lawsuits tend to gather a lot of negative attention which results in an even poorer reputation. So much bad PR is not good for business and your brand can take some serious financial damage.

What Can be Done to Check and Avoid Plagiarism?

Now that you know some of the consequences of plagiarism, you might be wondering what steps can help you to check and prevent it.

In this section, we will tell you a few ways to avoid, detect, and get rid of plagiarism.

1. Do plenty of Research Before Writing Your Content

Researching your topic and gaining a lot of information on it is a surefire way to avoid plagiarism. Basically, the idea is that when you have a lot of information, you can say it in many ways. That ends up giving you a lot of room to avoid copying others.

2. Check for Plagiarism After Writing Your Content

Once you are done with writing content for marketing, don’t forget to ensure its uniqueness.

The best and easy way to check the originality of your content is to utilize online plagiarism detection tools.

Some good checkers that can help you in this regard include Check-plagiarism and Turnitin. They will help to detect and point out if any parts of your content are copied or not.

3. Editing the Content

When you check your work for plagiarism and turns out there is some plagiarism present, then you need to deal with it.

So, what is the most effective way of dealing with plagiarism? Well, you can try the following according to your situation:

  • Completely remove the plagiarized parts
  • Reword the copied sections
  • Cite the sources

Removal works if the content is not that important for the rest of the article. Rewording works only if the content that is plagiarized is because the words are the same as someone else, while the actual information is public domain i.e., it doesn’t need to be cited.

Of course, if the source needs to be cited, then do it. There is no other way to deal with it.


So, now you know about plagiarism, its consequences, and a few ways of dealing with it. From this article, you should have learned that indulging in plagiarism is not good for anyone.

It has a lot of consequences that can really put a damper on your business. You also learned what you can do to deal with plagiarism and keep your content clean.

Blog Post written by:
Digital Marketing Institute