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!
Go get inspired.
I 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
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)