08/02/2016 12:55 EDT | Updated 08/02/2016 12:59 EDT

6 Ways Stealing Content Can Ruin Your Business

stokkete via Getty Images
Young male thief stealing data from computer

As a business writer of original content, I take pride in giving it all I have. I spend a great deal of time researching, paraphrasing, formatting and illustrating articles and blog posts. Then, I apply writing and marketing skills to produce a unique, search-optimized article.

Unfortunately, dedication to quality work puts a target on my back for content thieves who feel copyright restrictions don't apply to them. Stealing content is no different than stealing anything else that someone has worked hard for. In my case, the theft often extends to original content that businesses have paid me to produce. For some inexplicable reason, there are those who feel entitled to take it free of charge and use it for their own benefit.

6 Ways Stealing Content Can Ruin your Business

The culprits apparently fail to understand the negative impact that content theft has on their own business.

  1. All website hosts prohibit illegal activity, including copyright violations. If you're reported for violating a copyright they will remove your website.
  2. The search engines can detect where content was published first and the original site will usually outrank any sites that republish it. Adding a few sentences or changing things around doesn't make it original and the search engines recognize the tactic.
  3. If the writer reports you to Google or another search engine for plagiarism, you could be pulled from the results entirely.
  4. Virtually all affiliate programs prohibit illegal activity, including copyright violation. If the copyright holder contacts your affiliates, they could drop your site and take your outstanding commissions.
  5. If the writer goes public with your theft, you'll lose all credibility.
  6. You could end up in court for copyright infringement.

If you really want to use content you find online, ask for permission and credit the copyright owner as they request. If you love the writer, try to hire her to create original content for you. Many online writers provide freelance services.

A Good Writer Doesn't COST You Money, They MAKE You Money

In this age of digital content, you can't afford to not produce it. If you don't have the talent or time to produce original website or blog content, investing in a good online writer can be profitable. You can opt to hire a professional writer for content creation, or go all the way with a digital communications/content specialist who will wear a variety of hats, from writing content to social engagement.

The pros of hiring a professional for content creation include:

  • A talented writer or digital content/communications specialist spends hours researching and writing content that is suitable for your niche and unique to your business.
  • Professional online writers have a high level of knowledge about marketing and search engine optimization. They know how to apply that knowledge to content while still making it readable and interesting.
  • Communications specialists are talented social marketers who know how to use your content for engagement.
  • Ideally, your writer will have graphics design skills to professionally illustrate content and entice social media sharing.
  • It's a perfect job for remote employment. There's no need to expand office space or buy equipment because digital professionals have a fully equipped home office. That gives you a Canada-wide talent pool to fish from!

All of this converts to sales for your business, which pays for your digital content specialist and leaves a nice profit for you. The key is to resist the temptation to hire just anyone who says they can blog, and instead invest in an exceptional writer. The good news is we're all right here online, so you can preview skills and find a good fit for you.

Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook