Marketing content is a favorite target of hackers since it generally exists across a variety of different systems, and is public-facing. In addition, the data that exists in your online marketing platform is very valuable, whether it’s the personal information of your customers or marketing materials that represent a serious investment of your time and resources.

When it comes to protecting your marketing content, then, you need to be aware of several key threats. Learning from the companies who really understand security, in this article, we’ll run through a few strategies that you can use to keep your content safe.

Lock down your accounts

The first step in securing your marketing content is to make sure that all the accounts you are using have the best security protections in place. That might sound like generic advice, which applies to all aspects of your business. However, it is particularly important for marketing because of the sheer number of different platforms, and the ways in which these accounts are linked together.

It might be, for instance, that your website is linked to your other content marketing platforms, such as your social media accounts or your email marketing system. If an attacker manages to compromise the back-end of your systems, they will then have access to your entire online marketing operation. This is why it’s vital to secure all marketing content.

A good first step in this regard is to audit all of the systems you use and to map the connections between them. Where possible, you should put in place extra security checks when a user wants to ‘move between’ systems, in order to segment and further protect your accounts.

Email marketing security

One of the most important systems to secure when it comes to protecting your marketing content is your email marketing system. These systems generally hold some of the most critical and sensitive information in any business, and many of them are insecure.

The best email marketing tools come packaged with security measures that will allow you to lock down access, and to store your customers’ contact information using encryption. You should also pay attention to critical (and potentially dangerous) times in the business cycle: rolling out a huge outreach marketing strategy, for instance, is when you need to be particularly wary of attacks.

Email marketing systems don’t just hold customer data, however. The marketing content you send during outreach campaigns can be just as valuable. Developing highly effective email marketing content is one of the most effective ways to engage with your customers, according to recent marketing data. But you should be aware that this is also a target for hackers, and should be protected.

Lastly, remember that most data breaches are caused by human error. This means that everyone involved in your business’s online marketing efforts should receive regular training on how to keep the systems they use secure. This will include the importance of using strong passwords, how to filter outbound mail, and how to use any security software that you have in place. More advanced training can include instructions on how to make the most of encryption, and how to spot cyberattacks when they are in progress.

Protect your content from plagiarism

A linked concern for content marketers is the risk of plagiarism. This has actually been one of the huge disadvantages of the move to digital marketing techniques, which make it much easier for your competitors to copy and paste your marketing content and pass it off as their own.

There are two levels of protection you should put in place to limit the possibilities and effects of plagiarism. One is at a technical level. Basically, all businesses should store data in a secure way to limit the damage that can be done should a system be compromised. You can also put in place some basic tools that will make it more difficult for your website content to be stolen: using a small piece of code, for instance, to disable right-clicking on your content, which will stop your competitors copying it.

The second level of protection is a legal one. You should ensure that you include the copyright symbol on every page of your website to deter anyone from copying it. E-books, infographics and PDF downloads should also feature copyright symbols and even watermarks to prevent others from passing your content off as their own.

What to do if your content is stolen

If you have these legal protections in place, responding to theft is much easier. If you discover that another company has stolen your marketing content, the first step is to contact them directly. Inform them that they are in breach of copyright, and demand that the content be taken down. In many cases, this is enough to get the content removed. If it is not, you are beginning to create a paper trail that will be useful should the issue escalate.

If the thief refuses to comply, you can explore other options. The next step should be to send a cease and desist order, and this should be done within 48 hours of the initial contact. If they are still non-compliant, you can contact advertisers to let them know that the site they are using is stealing content: in many cases, advertisers will pull their ads from such sites. If all else fails, you can then request a ban for the site using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If you’ve made it clear that your content is copyrighted, this process is relatively straightforward.

The bottom line

Every content marketer should be aware of the value of the data they hold: not just the contact details of customers, but also content that has taken time and effort to develop. By following the steps above, you can dramatically reduce the vulnerability of your online marketing content, and reduce the damage that a hacker or thief can do to your business.