5 Easy Checkpoints On How To Define Original Content

Recently while talking with a brand owner, we talked about PR and the need for their newly established startup brand to invest in it. But a mere PR was not the problem (getting noticed by anyone requires effort, yes). The larger problem they faced was this: Even if we engage with an established PR professional, how would we get the time and resources to create original content? In the branding and Content Marketing domain, this is a grave problem. It starts from: how to define original content, to finding the right resources that are able to create original content that works. In this post, I want to answer the first question, what is original content? As an agency fully involved in the process of defining strategies for and creating original content, this is key.

How to Define Original Content

5 Easy Checkpoints on How to Define Original Content

I need to start with a joke. A long lost classmate of mine, on a class group once published a comment that got many of us weirdly upset. We had just finished writing the master thesis for a University program, and he had (openly) asked others this:

“Is there a software that I can use to check if my thesis is plagiarized?” A friend of mine immediately responded- “Should you not know if you plagiarized or not?”

Several Facebook likes and secret chuckles followed. While I have a severe issue against anyone that plagiarizes, in a world where we are constantly churning content, it remains a relevant question. And describing it here enables me to put out one view that we tend to go by.

1. You are the Creator of Original Content

Original Content is the type of content (e.g. text, audio, video, images, eBooks, videos etc.) that you create. If it has been co-created with another individual you share the co-creation rights, but the content remains original.

2. Original Content Can Also be Curated

Curation of Content has been described as a nifty way to generate quantity and high value insights for your readers by curating different views together in a reader friendly format. However, it is important to attribute and refer to original sources and individuals whose views or statistics you may have worked with. You do not need to reinvent the wheel, but you definitely need to show some gratefulness to those that did the hard work that you derive your new curated content from. Examples include: Infographics, Storifying Tweet Chats or comments, SlideShare presentations which at times bring together multiple views.

3. Original Content Adds Value to the Source Material

Curation or say even using data from previous studies without adding any new insight or a spin to the content is a mere re-production of what was there before. The question to ask is: What new value did I add?

4. Original Content Does Not Infringe Copyrights

Most frequently seen with images or even text, people do not understand attribution. The idea way is, if you have found a source that you’d like to get some text or content from, drop an email and reach out. Usually content creators tend to have copyright notices or the correct process on how they expect you to attribute them. If it’s available online for a public view, does not mean it can be stolen.

Hubspot’s post on: How Not to Steal People’s Content Online

5. Original Content Is Authentic

A friend of mine once reported that a Facebook page sharing love stories promoted his photograph with his wife as some army love story- that was obviously not true. When questioned, the page administrator told him that they had found the image on Google Image search. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Google Images is NOT the source for quick images. There are programs like Canva, your own mobile phones for original picture content, or even the good old stock images from Getty or other sources that you need to feed into. Getting pictures of people from Google and then claiming falsehood is definitely not getting you far. And your brand is slated to have a massive downfall right afterwards. Premium brands are visually appealing. Visual content needs attribution and effort.

Another good read: Defining Original Content and Exclusive Rights

So, the next time you are confused about how to define original content, don’t forget to check this list. We are here to help 🙂


Upasna Kakroo

Upasna co-founded Brandanew in 2014 for the sheer love of storytelling and authentic connections. She has been blogging and documenting digital stories since 2003.