A colleague emailed me recently to ask: How do you capture your original content to ensure that it’s not “taken” by others without credit?

The short answer: You can’t.

You can lock down your content.

Lock on a wooden door

You can be hyper-vigilant. You can choose not to share slides or other information, which keeps it all in your hands. You can also choose to put a strict copyright on everything and vigorously monitor and pursue, but that’s not a terribly good use of time for most companies and most content. And I say that as someone who’s had my stuff lifted before.

Our ideas are mostly evolutionary and rarely revolutionary.

The point is to showcase your expertise.

Take, for example, my recent presentation on 2015 Trends. They’re my original slides, and my smarts in curating it–but the information isn’t unique to me any more than tips for creating killer content is unique to Content Rules author Ann Handley. Plus my slides only get you part of the way.

You still have to know what to do with the information.

An Empty Room with White Walls

I’m happy to tell you that building a more social business (trend #2) involves identifying the right people and putting in place the right processes and technology. But how will you do this?

I’m happy to tell you that paid social (trend #8) is on the rise. But is it right for your business?

It’s okay to give away your smarts–up to a point. The key is to give away just enough to provide value and to spark a conversation. You want people to know you know your stuff–but still require them to “hire” you (or keep you employed) in order to get the customization to do this stuff for them.