blogging: battling the copying game

What’s that line? “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?” While I guess that’s true when it applies to copying an outfit or someone’s hairstyle, when you’re potentially going to impact someone’s Google rankings, it’s no longer as cute.

Lately I’ve been noticing a trend in the blogging community where people are straight up yanking posts from other people–and y’all need to cut it out. I understand that there are a lot of general topics (I’ve seen a lot of people discuss burn-out at one point or another, and every wellness girl has praised overnight oats), but part of being a blogger is giving each topic your own voice.

Imitation is only flattering when you're referring to fashion--not when you're messing with someone's Google rankings.Click To Tweet

I mentioned in my last post the dangers of blog groups, and I think it’s important for me to reiterate to be wary of bloggers who use those communities as buffet lines to snag ideas from, rather than a place to build relationships and contribute. It’s great to use groups to build your post and social engagement, but the end result shouldn’t negate the people around you. I think that sometimes people get so busy trying to hit deadlines that they get desperate to to put something out. Your integrity (and brand image) is worth more than that!

THE DO-s:

Go get inspired.

love to flip through Pinterest and Instagram to find out what’s current within my blog niche and the world in general. If other people are writing about it, there’s probably a good reason, and you should probably be paying attention. There’s been so many times I’ve been checking out a friend’s blog and had a lightbulb go off in my head about a post idea, and that’s awesome! Follow people whose work will push you and your thoughts to new places.

Expand on someone’s thoughts.

Did you find something that hit at note with you, but you have more that you think you can add?? Or maybe you have an opposing opinion, and think people deserve to hear both sides? Write about it! This volleying of ideas builds connections, and chances are, you’ll probably inspire someone else in response!

Cite your inspiration.

If another blogger inspired your post, link back to them! Not only does this build a sense of community between bloggers by linking each other, this allows readers to get two viewpoints on the subject, and keeps your integrity intact because you’re citing your source. Nicole of Simply-Nicole did a great job of this a while back while discussing the “Instagram Comparison Trap“, where she linked Brighton’s OG post.

Follow people whose work pushes you and your thoughts to new places.Click To Tweet

THE DON’T-s:

Steal a dang post.

Y’all, this should go without saying, but I’m gonna be blunt: just don’t. It should be absolute common sense, but it seems that sometimes people think that either no one will notice, or that because they have such a large following, they can just get away with it. It may come as a surprise, but no matter how vast the internet may seem: the blogging community is significantly smaller. Not only do people talk and see, the internet remembers (or at least, screen caps do). Plus, if readers notice, chances are the people running social media for brands are also noticing.

If your readers are noticing, chances are brands are too.Click To Tweet

In case you’re not sure if what you’ve done is legit, I’d say think twice about:

Copying someone’s header word for word. Y’all, it’s tempting to change “20 crazy date ideas for the Taurus” to “22 crazy date ideas for the Taurus” (I mean, you expanded right?), but just credit the blogger you got the original idea from. Plus, it’ll be really awkward when someone tries to google YOUR post and the ORIGINAL comes up, won’t it? Yea, I bet.

Copying and pasting whole paragraphs. I had someone actually paste whole paragraphs AND my movie list from my Halloween post, and when confronted, didn’t see the issue. What?? Doing something stupid like this is enough to get a DMCA (this protects intellectual work and property) filed against your web-host, which will get the whole post removed. It’s just not a good look.

Repeating every bullet point from someone’s post. I saw this happen a while back with Elena Peters post “The Ugly Side of Blogging“, and a girl thought because she changed one word in the title and had a different intro, it was okay. Y’ALL! If it would get you kicked out of college for plagiarism, you should know better than hitting publish.

If it'd get you booted from college for plagiarism, think twice before hitting 'publish'.Click To Tweet

Scramble to create content.

I find that work suffers and it’s more tempting to take a peek at what your neighbor has written when: people rush to put together posts, spread themselves too thin, or are too strict about posting schedules.

Set yourself up for success by doing regular “brain-dumps” for ideas, build a content calendar, or shorten your post schedule! Still struggling with content? Sheila has an awesome post on making great blog content, and so does Summer. No excuses!

(related read: Tips for Tackling Writer’s Block)

 

Have you ever had someone copy you?

20 Comments

  1. InstafatherAndy March 2, 2018 / 3:19 pm

    How sad is it that you have to write a post that says “Um don’t plagiarize, dummies.” But I’m glad you did. Now, we wait to see if someone copies your copying post.

  2. Life with Larissa March 2, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    Copying someone’s work can definitely be tempting, especially if you’re stressed about meeting deadlines or getting a post out. But like you pointed out, it’s common sense to NOT DO IT. Instead, get inspiration and build upon those ideas and integrate your own voice. Great post with friendly reminders!

  3. ashleysolbergblog March 2, 2018 / 10:12 pm

    Ugh, say no to copy cating for sure. Everyone works so very very hard that it certainly feel good to see someone else taking credit. So much better to uplift someones work and do a fun round up of faves or the sort with permission of course hehe!

  4. Kelly March 3, 2018 / 2:21 am

    So true. I know it can be tough being original, especially when you have other bigger friends who write on the same things.

  5. kara March 3, 2018 / 11:20 am

    If I find myself obsessing over something or someone, I decide to avoid their work completely. I couldn’t ever copy and don’t want to tempt myself.

  6. mylifeindarwin March 3, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    Well said, Kate! If you have to resort to stealing other people’s content, you might as well stop blogging. What’s the point? Why waste your time and other people’s time? It’s unacceptable.

  7. Holly Lasha March 4, 2018 / 10:49 am

    Love your perspective on this! Thanks for the info!!

  8. Jessica Lam March 4, 2018 / 4:12 pm

    Jeez, I’ve never seen this happen and I had no idea people actually did this! So ridiculous. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Marissa Myhill March 5, 2018 / 9:59 am

    YES GIRL. Say it louder for the people in the back. It should go without saying to not do this but thank you for saying it. I know something I always try to do as a writer is create my own voice and make whatever I’m talking about my own. If only everyon did that too…

  10. Julia March 5, 2018 / 10:42 am

    You are so true!
    I have had this happening to myself and it was horrible because the girl is lliving just a few steps away from me!
    Hate it and will never do such a thing.

  11. sofieyah March 5, 2018 / 11:33 am

    yeeeeesss totally agree!! i didn’t know this was happening, but i for sure get inspo from other bloggers, and i really should link back…oops!! thanks for the reminder for sure!!

  12. Lis March 5, 2018 / 2:16 pm

    What a cheeky sod copying full blown paragraphs!! I guess this is one of the things that separates those who blog for genuine reasons and those who blog for that dolla dolla…’tis a shame they don’t understand why this is trash behaviour!
    X

  13. Taylor March 5, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    You would think as adults you wouldn’t have to write a post like this but sadly, it’s 100% true. I’ve only been blogging a few short months but dang if I haven’t noticed this happening between platforms!

  14. beautychaos March 5, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    Plagiarism sucks. Is there any way to track it other than googling your own paragraphs? I often wonder about this…

  15. Grace March 5, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    Bloggers outright copying other bloggers word for word is ridiculous. They should be ashamed of themselves that they’re stooping so low and risking their reputation. Had this happen to me before and it’s such a horrible feeling when you find out because you know you spent hours on that post only to have someone pretend they wrote it themselves.

  16. gracefulglamouruk March 5, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    Wow I didn’t realise people actually did that! I’ve heard of people’s pics being used, but this is even worse! I started blogging because I enjoy writing about makeup and I’m passionate about it, you can’t have that with someone else’s content. Plus, why would you want to? Xx

  17. marciagonzalez March 5, 2018 / 9:46 pm

    Thank you for telling the truth! so much time, thought and love goes into writing your own content, that its truly disheartening to see someone with a higher follower count come in and essentially take your words and make them “theirs.” Enough is enough!

  18. Peter Martin March 22, 2018 / 2:33 am

    This has been a really eye opener to me. I’m unaware of theae issues in Ireland but it certainly made me think as I look to grow my blog! Thanks, great article!!

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