Freelance Writing 106: Copyscape Should Be Your Best Friend

Online writing professionals have a reputation for submitting copied and plagiarized articles to make a fast buck. While it is only the most low-down, dirty freelance writing scoundrels that would even consider doing this, it is a problem you have to face in the business.

Understanding how copyscape works is particularly important. The system takes the submitted text and compares it to articles and content already on the web. Any word for word matches will be identified and links to the matching sources will be provided.

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Most people think it is essential to obtain a 100% uniqueness rating from Copyscape. Your clients will understand that this isn’t always possible. What they will be looking for is blatant plagiarism. Copy and pasting is a way of living for some of the “fly by night” online writing professionals, and your client has the right to verify that this isn’t your modus operandi.

Of course, commonly used phrases are excluded. Copyscape runs on a proprietary technology and these phrases aren’t available for review. You can be sure that you won’t be inappropriately flagged for plagiarism for writing naturally, though.

What Are the Costs for Copyscape to Compare Online Writing Pieces?

The cost per article is five cents. You have to purchase “credits” to compare your pieces to other online writing pieces. The minimum order is 100 credits, meaning you need to dedicate at least five dollars to this service.

You can’t replace copyscape with simple web queries of your own. While you may be able to spot some issues, you won’t ever have the time to manually check your work as thoroughly as the Copyscape system can.

Shouldn’t the Clients Pay for Comparing Submissions to Online Writing?

They can and the will. The issue here isn’t who is responsible for verifying the originality of online writing work. It is building and establishing trust with your clients. If you generate a piece that is original yet flagged for plagiarism by Copyscape you need to know this before you submit it to your client.

Sure, you know that your online writing is always original, but your client doesn’t. How would it look if a piece you sent over was reported as being plagiarized? Your client won’t have the same trust in your services and may switch to another writer entirely.

You can avoid losing clients in this manner by buying and paying for your own copyscape subscription. With current rates for freelance writing professionals it is but a small investment. Copyscape checks will cost less than 1% of your total annual earnings. That may seem like a lot, but since it can bring in repeat business and additional orders you should view it as an investment – not an expense.

Benefits of Using Copyscape on Your Freelance Writing Pieces

Freelance writing doesn’t require an expertise in any particular subject. It only requires an ability to research and write unique articles based on a specific subject. The typical method you will utilize is one of searching the web for information, putting together an outline, and then regurgitating the information in your own words.

When you look at it this way, you can see that freelance writing is more about being a content filtering and processing machine than doing anything tremendously creative. The problem, though, is that you may end up regurgitating something that you didn’t actually process and rework thoroughly.

If this happens in your writing and your client passes the work through Copyscape he or she is likely to find some of your sources. This is not a good thing.

Your methods and processes should remain relatively private. They comprise the system you use to earn your living. Part of your value is in having a well developed and efficient approach. If you give your writing methods away to your clients they could always replace you with a less expensive, inexperienced writer.

Anyone can hire a virtual assistant to do some research. Even the most basic writers can take research pieces and generate an outline from which to create a unique piece.

Why would you risk giving this up to your clients? It is paramount to telling them that your services aren’t worth what you’re charging, and that isn’t how you make money in any business, including online writing.

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Prime Aque is the back-end guy of Self-Help. He is a blogger and WordPress front-end designer. Importantly, he is a husband and a father of three wonderful kids. His firstborn are twin girls. He loves writing and sharing.

2 thoughts on “Freelance Writing 106: Copyscape Should Be Your Best Friend”

  1. Copyscape is the only way to go! But when it comes right down to it when your writing unique quality information does copyscape really matter? I mean think about it, if your writing in your own words, your thoughts so you really think that someone else has copied that already?

    Just some thoughts!

    Reply
    • Brilliant Eric! Yes, no one can beat your own brain power! If you are 100% sure you are writing down information from your own words, from your own stored vocabulary, I am sure you are confident enough to submit it to your client, who will copyscape your submitted article in silence 🙂

      Reply

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