The Guide to Not Stealing Other People’s Content

I know you would never do this intentionally, but it’s a fine line between using and stealing other people’s content. Especially when the difference online is not so evident. This guest post by Austin Rinehart provides us with some online etiquette and rules for using other people’s stuff and giving their due credit!

How to Cite Content on the Web

citing contentThe best Internet marketers are never afraid of sharing anything, including links, content, data, or ideas – and they reap numerous benefits because of this trait. It’s also a fact that not all marketers do the same – they think other people would take their content and use it as their own. However, it’s not bad to use other’s content as long as you cite the original source. If you’re also interested in using someone else’s hard work, you have to give them credit according to proper Internet etiquette. This article will guide you in the right direction. 

Citing Content in Your Blog Posts 

When it comes to dealing with source attribution issues, blogs are always in the limelight. Since there are so many blog posts published on daily basis, you’ll always find some background info that you could use in your own post.

  • Citing Text from Blogs: You can quote another blogger in your post, but you need to ensure that you don’t just use their words and adopt them as your own. At the same time, it’s not enough to throw some quotation marks around their statement and place it in your post. The right way is to mention the name of the blogger/writer to give credit for their quote, along with mentioning their company/business name with a link to their website – mentioning the writer’s Twitter handle would definitely be a friendly gesture. What it means is that you’re not using someone else’s content just for your own sake, but you’re also providing them with an inbound link in return. You’re required to follow the same protocol in case you’re making use of an entire blog post in your article.
  • Citing Text from Websites in Your Blog Post: An important thing to keep in mind is that when you quote text from another website, you should pay attention to their ‘content usage guidelines’. For instance, some sites would not allow you to use more than 75 words of text – they do it to ensure they don’t have to deal with duplicate content issues that have a huge impact on organic search rankings. Keeping this in mind, it’s always a good idea to do a quick check to see if a site has specific guidelines or not. 
  • Citing Data in Your Blog Post: If you have found some nice data that you think would help explain a topic, you should again pay attention to a certain set of rules. For instance, when using some statistics in your post, you should not only give credit to the publisher but you should also link back to the site of the eMarketer. Make sure the link you place points to the actual page that contains that statistical data. 


Citing Content in Social Media 

Considering the influence of social media, it’s important for you to actively participate in discussions and share interesting content. However, you should remember that when the content you’re publishing in social media is not yours, you’re required to give proper credit to the original poster. 

When trying to cite content in social media, you should do it according to the social media network you’re using. For instance: 

  • When using Twitter, make sure you’ve included a “via @username” somewhere in your tweet. You should also remember to convert “RT” to “MT”(modified tweet) in case you’re re-tweeting someone else’s content in your own words.
  • It’s quite straightforward to give credit to someone whose content is being used on your Facebook page – simply click the “Share” button and they’ll do the rest. In case you’re sharing such content on your page that is not from another Facebook page, make sure to mention a link to that content in your post.
  • To cite someone’s content on LinkedIn, just add the link to the content you’re using in your update – try to include the person or company name. 
  • Google+ works like Facebook; therefore, you should include the name or company name of someone whose content you’re using in your update – sometimes, it’s enough to include a @ or + and the Google+ name.
  • Since Pinterest is about content sharing, they have made proper source attribution a breeze. You can use the “Repin” button for this purpose, but make sure you don’t change any hastag, URL, or other indicator of authorship the original creator may have added with the content. Also, remember, marketers cannot add a link in the “Description”, or else they may be considered a spammer. 


Giving Credit to Ghost Writers and Guest Bloggers

If you’re taking help of a ghostwriter or a guest blogger, you will still have to follow certain Internet etiquettes. Since you cannot see a ghostwriter, it’s not important to give them credit for their efforts. However, you should treat guest bloggers differently. For instance, you should mention the name of that blogger, along with their company. It’s also a good idea to include a short bio of that blogger, so they could describe their company. Moreover, don’t shy away from adding an inbound link to their website. As links are quite important for guest bloggers, you should also allow them to use at least one hyperlink within the body of their blog post. 


Citing Images and Visual Content

When using images in your blog post, you should again follow some rules for proper citation of that visual content. For instance: 

Citing Infographics and Visualizations: For this, you should include a link to the website where the visual lives. You should also include their name in the text, and do your best to maintain the original image quality. In case you’ve hired someone to design some visual content for your site, you don’t always need to worry about citation. You don’t have to do anything special in case you hired a ghost designer, but if you’ve agreed to give credit to your designer, do it in the visual. 

Citing Photographs: In order to cite photographs and images, you should consider how you’ve obtained them. For instance, stock imagery is license free, so no citation is required. But if you don’t want to buy a stock image for every new blog post, you can consider going to Google Images and pick a few of them. Now, add a link to the original source when using this image on your blog/website. Remember, different images may have different levels of permissions, so be careful when making a choice. 


Guest author Austin Rinehart is the senior writer on, married and have two lovely adult daughters, looking for opportunities to publishing on various topics such as internet trends, science researches, strategies of life improving and etc.


image: photo credit: hjconti via photopin cc

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