Speakers and blog content writers have an awful lot in common, I‘m constantly reminded as I read through my monthly copy of Speaker magazine. And talk about a grabber title! “How to Stay Out of Speaker Theft Jail”, this one read.
After a 30-year business career in sales and marketing, Kordell Norton, Certified Speaking Professional, was shocked when another veteran speaker implied that Kordell had stolen some of that other speaker’s material. (To his relief, Norton discovered he had not, but the scare inspired him to compile a list of practices to avoid in creating content.) As a corporate blogging trainer, I realized that list might very well apply to us blog writers.
- Other people’s stories.
- Other people’s taglines and phrases (Norton gives Zig Ziglar’s famous “See you at the top” as an example.)
“Build speaking around your own life experiences,” advises Norton. That’s perfect advice when writing blogs for a business or a professional practice. One very positive “side effect” is that the very process of formulating stories to tell your “public” helps you clarify the meaning of those stories for yourself and your employees.
True stories about mistakes, ironically, are very humanizing. I teach freelance blog writers in Indianapolis to include stories of their clients’ past mistakes and failures. Such stories actually have the potential to create feelings of empathy and admiration for the business owners or who overcame not only adversity, but the effects of their own mistakes!
In what appears at first to be a stunning about-face, Kordell Norton goes on to recommend CASE, standing for “copy and steal everything.” You can, and should, he reminds us, steal great ideas from your environment." That’s on the line of the advice I always give about “reading around for your blog” and “curating” material.
But the sort of “stealing” Norton’s talking about includes attribution, meaning giving credit where credit is due. Check origins of work on the Internet, he cautions, and when in doubt, leave it out.
Quoting others in your blog adds value in and of itself – you’re aggregating resources for the benefit of your readers. Still, that’s hardly enough; as business blogging service providers, we need to add our own “spin” to the material based on our own business wisdom and expertise.