“They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Yet on the Internet, some people take this type of compliment way too far,” says Nick Schaferhoff of torquemag.io, referring to plagiarism of blog content.
“Building on the work of others is good. Stealing from them is not,” says Michelle Lindblom of wiredimpact.com. Of course you want to offer quality information your readers can’t find elsewhere, she acknowledges, and coming up with totally original information is not the only way to do that. So what can you do to build on the work of others without stealing their words? Lindblom offers a number of tips for blog content writers who want to curate content in a professional and ethical way:
- Take Your Time. Give yourself enough time to research, write, and rewrite blog content.
- Read multiple sources and combine the information into content that is original.
- Link liberally to the original authors’ work.
- Paraphrase, putting the ideas into your own words.
Actually, I think well-done blog posts need to do a lot more than simply avoiding the sin of plagiarism. In training newbie business blog writers, I explain that in business blog posts, as compared to brochures, ads, or even the company website, it’s easier to communicate the unique personality and core beliefs of the business owners. Over time, in fact a business blog becomes the “voice” of the corporate culture, whether the “corporation” (or partnership or LLC) consists of one person or many. That means that, no matter how valuable the “other people’s wisdom” you choose to share in your blog, you absolutely need to put you(or the business owner’s or the professional practitioner’s unique slant on it.
If blog content writers properly attribute content to its source, their “imitation” may be welcomed as a sincere form of flattery by the original content writers, and the information may be useful and therefore welcomed by readers as well. But assuming the purpose of blog marketing is to gain friends and customers, it’s only when blogging for business reveals your unique slant or philosophy within your field that readers will feel they know who you are, not merely what you do.