Plagiarism is one of the biggest worries of freelance content writers, particularly academic writers. The shame which even accidental plagiarism brings is difficult to bear and get rid of, and hence, you will come across writers sweating over possibilities of their article getting caught under the scanner of a plagiarism-check software.
Whether or not plagiarism checks exhaust you, you cannot undermine their importance. These checks are indicators of originality and efforts. They help clients know whether you have actually worked hard on the article and have given your inputs in the creation of the content.
In this article, we will help freelance content writers to figure out ways to avoid plagiarism and impress clients in the way you should. So, let us take a look at ten such things which can significantly help our fellow freelance content writers.
1. Research Well
Before you start out writing on any topic, you must research thoroughly. Many freelancers do not have enough content to start off, and they create content and research simultaneously. While this technique is not necessarily without any good, it does no good when the topic is entirely new or too technical for you.
The benefit of researching is that you have read enough to create information in your own words. You may not create anything new, but the language you use will be different and materially original.
2. You Don’t Get Away With Plagiarism Just By Paraphrasing
If you think that the plagiarism-check software of the 21st century does not understand the once-clever tricks of humans, then you are living in a bubble, and we would like to burst it immediately. There is no absolute way of bypassing plagiarism-check software simply by paraphrasing every other sentence from an article.
You need to understand the essence of the article and give your own words to it. You can end up using similar words and phrases, but you will be original in your framework. In order to paraphrase better, you should read more and learn to write better. This will take time, but as we all know—practice makes a man perfect.
3. Use Authentic Sources of Information
You must learn the art of distinguishing between reliable and unreliable sources of information. There is a tendency among freelancers to not engage in an in-depth research before they get down to writing anything.
Generally, and quite sadly, our first choice, of course, is Wikipedia or anything that first appears in the Google page. If you cannot access sources as big as Jstor or others, then you should not rely on the information from just one source. We advise that you verify the information through other sources so that you are in a better position to state your content.
4. Learn Citation
A good content writer knows the importance of giving credits. Even if you only derived an idea from a particular source, but the idea is peculiar to that article, then you must give credit to the author of that source.
There are many forms of citations you might consider such as Bluebook or MLA. If this seems too much work to you, then you can just mention the source in the content. But, the point is to give due credit whenever you use anything which is not yours.
5. Get A Plagiarism-Check Software
Those who have been into the writing business for long are experts in avoiding plagiarism. However, in case you are starting afresh, we highly recommend that you get a plagiarism-check software to develop confidence which would be more beneficial in the content writing business.
There are many free online plagiarism-check software which you can use. However, you can also consider opting for advanced plagiarism software such as Turnitin. With time and practice, you will learn the art of avoiding plagiarism, and the software will then be used only for convenience.
6. Use Quotes
One of the most important rules in content writing is using quotes whenever needed. When you have to cite anything in the exact manner as mentioned in an article, then you must use quotes.
While quoting, you must keep in mind the length of the quote. The standard rule is, not to quote more than 40 words. If you quote too much, it will make readers question your inputs in the making of the content.
7. Do Not Go Overboard With Citations
Many writers think the more citations they use, the more authoritative or believable their article will look. Well, there are two things to keep in mind: first, the number of citations and the quality of citations.
You might use an extensive number of citations, but where the sources cited are without authority, then there is no authenticity added to your content. In case you use a few citations but those citations are qualitative, your article may be considered authoritative.
8. Do Not Copy Everything From One Source
If you are going through a writer’s block or are just lazy to put in efforts, here is a tip for you. All you need to is to avoid getting information from one source only.
Even if you want to write what is jotted down in that one article, you must refer articles on the same subject-matter and get content from there too.
9. Go Through The Guidelines Carefully
Your clients might provide you with guidelines on how to write content. It is highly advisable that you pay special attention to the guidelines you have been given because this will prevent clients from making baseless allegations that, you did not follow them. In fact, following those guidelines will provide a clear picture as to what you need to deliver.
10. Do Not Panic
Whenever we hear the word ‘plagiarism’, we often end up panicking and conjuring up our worst nightmares. Well, plagiarism is unethical and often with severe consequences, but it does not mean it is necessarily difficult to avoid—this is not the case.
The only thing you need to do is to give due credit—and we do not think that is too hard for you to do that.
Plagiarism is one of the things you, as a freelance content writer, must necessarily avoid. It is an unethical act whose repercussion can be as severe as a complete ban on the publication of your articles. However, as against what we often hear, one can avoid plagiarism by keeping in mind only a handful of considerations.
With the help of this article, we aim to give our fellow freelance content writers a direction as to how to go about writing articles. We wish that more people can read this article and appreciate the relevance of this subject-matter. For that, we would like you to let us know your views in comments and share the article.