Fresh Original Content
Fresh Original Content Can Include Excerpts from Other Authors – With Attribution
The key to a great blog or website is to keep it updated with fresh original content. A admit that isn’t always easy. Conceiving blog topics takes time and research, especially if you are writing for a specific industry or target audience. It is okay to use excerpts from previously published or posted content as long as you attribute the original author. This goes for anything you post, whether it’s a blog, quote or Tweet. If you didn’t write it yourself, you need to give credit to whoever did.
I am writing this post because I saw a tweet the other day from someone who tweeted that another person tried to connect with her on LinkedIn. That second person proceeded to copy and paste a good portion of her content and pass it off as his/her own. Plagiarism is never okay. Think back to all of those research papers you wrote in school. You always had to include some kind of attribution to other authors, researchers, etc. The same concept applies online. Just because it’s so easy to copy and paste other people’s work doesn’t mean that it is okay.
The good news is that unlike your high school and college term papers, you don’t need a super detailed works cited page in order to attribute content. The easiest thing to do is name the person or publication in the body of your post, put the content in quotes or italics and include a link back to the original post you used. I also like to include a “Resources” list at the bottom of blog posts with links to all of the articles I have sourced. That way, you are linking to the original content in both the body of your post and including an easy-to-find list at the bottom. As long as you are giving the original authors credit, there is no reason you can’t source them.
There is one caveat: you should never re-post a blog or article in full without first getting permission. There are often copyright issues or potential search engine problems from duplicate content. If you want to re-post someone else’s work, first get permission in writing. Email is fine. You should always include something in your headline that indicates it is not original content. For example, you can identify it as Guest Post, Guest Blog or something of your own creation. You should also include a couple of sentences at the bottom of your post indicating that you re-posted with permission. Always link back to the original posting.
If you are using someone else’s photo or image, you should include a caption to the effect of “Image courtesy” and the image author’s name. You will notice a courtesy under most images on this blog. It is a requirement of the free image site I use and makes perfect sense to me – giving credit to the image’s creator.
If you are tweeting someone else’s content, the easiest thing to do is to put RT (stands for re-tweet) at the beginning of the original tweet. You can also put via and the original twitter handle at the end as an alternative. You just need to include the original tweeter’s handle to give him/her proper attribution.
Think about it this way: you wouldn’t want someone to take your hard work and pass it off as his/her own. Other people deserve that same courtesy from you. The internet is a treasure trove of information and inspiration that you can use; just make sure other people get the credit where credit is due.