The dangers of using other blogs for inspiration

by Martin Reed on 3 April 2007 in Articles

Blogs are just as much online communities as forums are. Whilst with a blog the author makes much of the content, really good blogs involve interaction through the comments feature. In this post I want to write about the dangers of using other blogs for inspiration for your own articles.

If you are committed to your blog, I would suggest making at least one post per day – something which I always try my best to do. It can be harder on some days than others to find the inspiration to write an original article. Writer’s block can extend to bloggers too!

During these moments of ‘blogger’s block’ you may start to remember posts you have recently read on other blogs and decide to write an article on that subject. Whilst there is nothing wrong in using other blogs for inspiration, you have to be careful.

The dangers of using other blogs for inspiration

Are you adding anything original in your article, or are you just regurgitating the same information and opinions as the original blogger?

When relying on other bloggers for inspiration it is easy to find yourself simply republishing their article, but in your own words. Not only can this lead to accusations of plagiarism, but you are damaging the value of your blog – you are not providing unique, original content. Why should users visit your blog when it offers nothing but reused articles?

Secondly, I would assume that most of the blogs you read are relevant to your area of interest. This area of interest is also likely to be the subject of your blog, right? Most bloggers do the same as you – therefore it is likely they have also visited the same or similar blogs to you before they visit yours. The last thing they want to see is an article on your blog about the same subject they have just read on other blogs they have visited.

I am personally finding this becoming ever more common – of the ten or so blogs I visit on a daily basis, I find that once one blogger posts about something rather unique many of the other bloggers jump on the bandwagon.

This is boring – I don’t want to read about the same thing in every blog I visit! Be unique and offer original content – if you want to use other blogs for inspiration perhaps dig around their archives for ideas rather than relying on the most recent articles which will be fresh in the minds of readers.

Your blog will only be successful if it offers unique, valuable and quality content. Be careful when drawing inspiration from others, as it can be all too easy to lose sight of these goals.

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{ 12 comments }

Bri April 6, 2007 at 6:50 am

The most important part about using someone else’s blog post as inspiration is that you need to build off of or contribute to what they had written. If you are simply repeating, then you are writing unnecessarily. However, if you are writing about new ideas, then your post can be very useful, and to avoid issues of plagiarism, I think that you should always include a link to your inspiration.

Martin Reed April 6, 2007 at 10:46 am

Hey Bri – you are dead right in this regard. It is common courtesy to provide a source for your inspiration if it came directly from someone else’s work. I still think that bloggers have to be very careful when looking at other blogs for inspiration in order to ensure the originality of their articles.

Chris April 7, 2007 at 9:37 am

I found this post via John Chows blog and a comment you left, something you said resonated very strongly with me. So I just had to read the post because it is something I’m personally really growing tired of, and I’m going to sound harsh here, but there so many try hard experts out there regurgitating what they have seen on their idols blogs and in a bid to grab there own little bit of market share and so often to not be lame plagiarists try to add more to it but rarely have the experience or expertise to add anything meaningful to the original post – and only recently I have seen a couple examples of these wannabes sometimes regurgitating the ignorant myths that so many rookies believe or don’t understand making them look even more like wannabes.

LOL – I’m really sorry to rant on your blog but I haven’t started my own personal blog (yet) purely because I don’t believe I have the right to get out there and preach to the masses unless I’m already walking my talk, and bare in mind I already earn well over a full time income off the net and I have over 200 blog post ideas that haven’t been done to death in my notebooks, many of these blog posts are ideas and techniques I have never even seen implement on site or seen spoken about in blog posts. So I definitely plan to contribute a lot of fresh and original content to the blogosphere, which I don’t think many bloggers seem to enter the blogosphere with the intention to do these days.

So it annoys me when I see new average joe’s who are earning their $7.20/day feeling like they need to start a blog in a bid to make another $2/day and share their expertises (or lack there of) on how to achieve success online (which they have never achieved), and where I say share “their” expertise I really mean “just essentially paraphrasing the experts each day without true understanding or experience” and without adding anything to the debate or topic.

It’s just sad because if the were committed to creating an reasonable site on a topic they enjoyed other than something to do with being a webmaster they might actually find some pretty big success because they wouldn’t be competing with the best and brightest internet marketers. I dunno what you think but that makes much more sense to me. It makes so much sense to me that I often consider not starting my blog related to internet marketing purely because I can just make so much more money in the industries I’m already in.

So why can’t other people see this?

Martin Reed April 7, 2007 at 10:53 am

Hi Chris – welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment. You raise some really good points here. The reason I wrote this article was because I too, was fed up with seeing the same articles on blog after blog.

I agree with your comment that people should only setup a blog if they have a proven area of expertise – I hope you do not think I am overstepping the mark with this community building blog!

I think a lot of people start blogs not realising just how hard they are to maintain. They are a real commitment and should only be started if the author is passionate and knowledgeable about the subject area. Any other reasons for starting a blog will just not work.

Regarding your point about people spending time on their blogs rather than making money – many people these days see the success of the ‘pro-bloggers’ who are earning money with their blogs. I am sure they think they can emulate that success. Unfortunately this requires huge amounts of dedication, time and hard work and I agree with you that if your prime motivation is blogging for money then you should stick to developing your own site and ideas instead.

Anyway, thanks for your contribution – I hope you stick around and read future articles.

Abdalla July 20, 2007 at 5:21 pm

Great post. I agree with the dangers in “regurgitating” other peoples posts but then again, completely changing an article to make it look new and original is okay by my standards!

Martin Reed - Blog Author July 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm

Abdalla – Thanks for your comment. Even if you were to completely change an article, it would still carry the same theme or be based on the same subject that you have read elsewhere.

Even today, I have read six blogs carrying articles on the same subjects – none offered any additional reasoning or value.

Posting content on subjects that other bloggers are writing about will only turn regular readers away from your blog. You should strive for originality and quality at all times. That means finding your own inspiration!

segnala sito October 1, 2007 at 11:49 pm

I don’t think it’s really a dangerous thing. it could be if you duplicate or copy similar content from another blog.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 3, 2007 at 8:20 pm

segnala sito – Even if you reword an article you read on another blog, you are still telling people something that they already know. It’s far better to come up with your own, unique content. Otherwise, your blog itself fails to be unique.

How to Lose Belly Fat June 11, 2008 at 1:52 am

I agree, taking someones idea and rewording it is not the way to go; however, taking ideas and inspiration from others and say breaking off into sub-topic is something that can be quite effective.
If someones blogging about used car parts and you have a blog about cars too, take what you’ve read and put your own spin on it. Expand on one of the point and really put your own two cents in.

Martin Reed - Blog Author June 26, 2008 at 11:44 pm

Belly – Sure, there is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other blogs just so long as you can take the idea into an original direction. I have significantly cut down on the number of blogs I read now, as most write about the same old content without adding anything new.

Gary July 17, 2009 at 9:56 pm

There is an article for everything…
As long as you do not plagiarize or regurgitate, I think you’re in the clear.

Inspiration comes from others all the time, that’s the best way to keep yourself motivated!

susan September 12, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I agree with your post, once one person writes others tend to flock to the same stuff. If it doesn’t happen the same day it will happen within a few days.

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