Yesterday we received an email from a client who shared a link from a competitor’s site. Not only had the competitor plagiarized pages of content from our client’s website but the plagiarist was SO lazy they even kept in the name of our client in the content where a more thoughtful plagiarist would have substituted their own name.

By…making the conscious choice to lift someone’s else copy you have tarnished your own brand.By not taking the time to either write fresh content or spend the money to hire a professional writer and then making the conscious choice to lift someone’s else copy you have tarnished your own brand. People who behave or condone this behavior have no understanding of branding.

I have a friend and colleague who is often the victim of plagiarism. Nancy Hassel, President & Founder of  Long Island Pet Professionals, she is a leader in a very niche field and has had everything plagiarized  from photos, concept and entire blog posts. To her credit, she addresses those losers head on and checks in from time to see if their nonsense continues.

Do we look at competitor’s materials and admire a style or format? Of course, it’s smart to see what your competitor’s are doing but there is a clear line between inspiration and plagiarism.

The internet has made it incredibly easy to benchmark, analyze, compile, compare and yes, even copy other people’s content. But why would you want to do that? Branding is about identifying what is unique about your business and communicating it to your target audience. When you lift someone else’s copy you are also lifting their brand. Why in the world would you do that? A brand is a valuable asset that should be protected at all costs and yours should be unique.

Have you ever had your content ripped off? Share your story but please leave out the names.