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November 18, 2013 (Updated: February 3, 2023)
As a content creator, you receive a ton of satisfaction from watching your article go live on a site. Admit it, there’s a bit of internal euphoria that comes with seeing your byline attached to a great article or infographic.
To get to that point though, there are many steps required to keep your content yours and the way you want it posted. What I mean is protecting what’s rightfully your content. Unfortunately, there are plenty out there eager to repost or downright steal your article. If there is no white label deal (where you agree to offer content without attribution) you should remember certain protocols to make sure your work won’t get swiped.
The most crucial element to make sure your content goes where it’s intended is to discuss the topic and the goals behind the article from the onset. This way you and the publisher are on the same page in terms of topic and niche – there’s limited risk of them accidentally editing out your call to action or changing the message.
It’s also important to be honest about the content’s authenticity, aka the originality of the piece. Duplicating content on the web hurts your credibility as a writer and damages your Internet marketing efforts. Stand by your work and make the publisher know from the outset that the content you provide is from you. If you fail to establish that framework, there’s reason to believe your work may have been either copyrighted or “borrowed” from another site. There’s a quick resource for publishers to check for duplicate content by visiting http://copyscape.com/. You as a writer can save the publisher a step and check before submitting your content. If a publisher finds that your content isn’t entirely yours, your relationship will end immediately.
As much as you are excited to contribute content for someone else and get your name out there, know that you’re helping the publisher out too. This is a mutually benefitting relationship and you should be met with an accommodating and level-headed publisher.
As your relationship develops, try asking for a publish date when you submit the content or set parameters on content’s edits. If you are proud of the article and don’t wish to alter its substance, tell the publisher that you wish to place the article as is. Otherwise, you are leaving your article in the hands of the publisher and his/her team of editors.
If you are growing your relationship and asking the publisher to refrain from editing, make sure the content still meets the publishers’ standards and requirements. Remember, you are supplying content for THEIR site so it’s important to write in the style they require.
As much as I just spoke about being blunt, there are natural steps to consider when supplying your work. Make sure word count, point of view, style, heading and formatting rules are followed. If not, you are in danger of having your piece altered in a way you didn’t intend.
Control with your content is sometimes out of your hands. The best way to guarantee that you stay in control of your content is trust. Build a strong relationship with the publisher. There needs to be give and take. Once you establish a mutual understanding that what you are providing is yours and what they intend to publish becomes theirs, it’s a match.
As a writer and content creator, staying in control really starts and ends with a clear line of communication. The publisher will ultimately determine yes and no, but it’s important –as aforementioned—to not be shy and demand your needs. Don’t be hesitant. As the supplier of content, provide what you intended and the way you want content to appear. And at the same time, adhere and listen to their style.
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