How to Write From a Reference Article

As an SEO company, we often have to write about topics that we’re not that familiar with. While we have written about nearly every topic imaginable in our years of combined experience, every once in a while we’re presented with a topic with which we’re not familiar. If you have a business selling horn warmers for rhinoceros living in cold winter climates, chances are the topic is new to us.

To handle your copywriting needs we use reference articles. Reference articles are articles whose content is either similar or related to the content we are writing for your website. The idea is simple – use that content to write a completely unique article that will read as a new article in Google.

Reference Articles and Plagiarism

Using reference articles is not plagiarism. Stealing from reference articles is plagiarism. That’s why as copywriters, it’s important that the content we write doesn’t read or feel like a carbon copy of the articles being used as reference. Many new writers struggle with this – after all, you’re staring at an article that says exactly what you need. It’s easy to accidentally steal content if you don’t have experience formulating new ideas.

I received an email from my still-young-at-heart grandmother a while back, asking if she could try to write an article for a website I was working on at the time. Since I was working hard on a number of projects for GLS clients, I had been neglecting my side projects and I asked her if she could write an article about a topic I chose, and I sent her a reference article to work from since I was sure she didn’t know the material.

What I got back was a well written article that was exactly what I needed. It was also nearly entirely plagiarized. I asked her why she stole whole sentences from the reference article. She told me that she didn’t even realize she stole anything – she was simply working back and forth from the article, and without realizing it used identical words to the article I sent her.

Writing Unique Articles

This happens with a lot of new writers, which is why, when you hire GLS you work directly with us, not a subcontractor you’ve never heard of. If you focus too heavily on an article’s words, you risk inadvertently borrowing them. To truly write a unique article, you need to look at ideas, not words. We generally use the following process:

  • Find several different reference articles.
  • Read the articles completely.
  • Write the article without the reference articles.

By reading multiple articles and focusing on the content, rather than the words themselves, we’re able to write a brand new article from our own expertise. Essentially, we’re learning the topic, so that when we write an article it’s coming from our own understanding, not from the initial articles we used. Doing so prevents us from using any similar words, stealing direct ideas, or creating an article that is essentially a copy of another article. Even though we did not initially have expertise in the area, we’re able to write an article that is unique to you and your company, so you get credit in search engines and provide your readers with interesting information.


  • Micah Abraham

    Micah Abraham is the owner and lead content writer at Great Leap Studios ( and High Volt Digital (
    Micah has over 15 years of content writing and digital marketing experience, and has owned and operated Great Leap Studios since 2013 and High Volt since 2022.
    He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and has researched and written content on a wide range of topics in the medical and health fields, home services, tech, and beyond.
    Micah lives with his family in California.

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