Reposting someone else’s content is NOT blogging
A while ago, I wrote a post about using public domain materials in which I said:
OK – this is just my opinion (as is most of what you’ll read on this blog), but I think co-opting public domain materials to create your own books or info products is a cop-out. It’s not illegal, but it is a lazy shortcut that shortchanges the reader, the person whom you, as a writer, want to be keeping at the forefront of your focus.
Well, the same is true of your blog posts! If you’re going to blog, you owe it to your readers to come up with your own material. This is not to say you cannot or should not reference other relevant blog posts. As you may have noticed, I do it quite often. But there’s a difference between referencing another post and simply co-opting the material and putting your name on it.
Here’s an example. I was going through my Google Alerts for “book marketing” recently, and came across two very similar posts. The first was 5 Book Marketing Mistakes That Cost You Sales, on the Smart Author Sites blog. The second was Are you Making These 4 Book Marketing Mistakes that Cost you Sales?, by Judy Cullins on BookCoaching.com.
Hmmm… I thought. These topics seem awfully similar. Because of the number discrepancy, I at first thought that Cullins had taken material from Smart Author. As it turns out, it was the other way around. Cullins mistitled her post – she actually delineates five book marketing mistakes. And Smart Author, rather than writing an actual post with any real material in it, simply “borrowed” an abbreviated version of Cullins’ post.
The entirety of original content in the Smart Author post is as follows:
I came across a GREAT blog post today by author marketing guru Judy Cullins. Here are some of the highlights, quoted directly from the post…
As far as I am concerned, this is simply cheating. To be fair, I have not read any other posts on the Smart Author site, so I am in no way alleging that this is a habit. But even in this one instance, it’s not fair to Cullins, the original author of the material. How could Smart Author have made the material their own? By adding their own commentary (i.e., work) to Cullins’ thoughts. Why do they agree? What has been their experience with the five mistakes Cullins mentions? How would they expand or digress on said mistakes?
When it comes to your own blog, please do the work. You know how you’d feel if someone abridged your book and put their name on it, right? A blog post is no different. Your readers want to hear your thoughts, your ideas, your words.
To originality in blogging!
P.S. If you’re not using Google Alerts, you should be. You can ask Google to email you whenever your selected keywords are mentioned in new online content. It’s simple to sign up and helps you stay up-to-date on your topic, industry, trends, or even your own name.
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
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